Philipps Pianella / Wurlitzer PianOrchestra
Tracker-Bar Scales

Go to: Mandolin and Concert PianOrchestra Tracker Scales
Go to: Regular and Style 17 PianOrchestra Tracker Scale
Go to: Philipps Pianella E (P.E.) Tracker Scale

Introduction

The tracker scales described below are the result of many, many years of study and hands-on experience by this author and others dealing with and restoring Wurlitzer PianOrchestras and Philipps Pianellas (Wurlitzer imported and sold Philipps Pianella orchestrions under the Wurlitzer brand). Both original Wurlitzer and Philipps scale sticks and notations made from surviving instruments with all of their original tubing intact have contributed to the homogenized blending of what has been learned and shared below. However, getting to this point required a sorting out process that lasted many years, partly because in the quest to learn there were instances in when acquired information seemed to come from what should have been an authoritative source, but that, instead, did not perfectly coincide with original factory information or turned out to have major inaccuracies that led to a period of frustrating confusion as to what might be correct, or not. Facilitating this confusion was the fact that even original factory information was not always perfectly consistent, it occasionally displaying minor differences in terminology. Eventually, however, with continued investigative diligence the truth of the matter seemed to became self-evident. Nonetheless, there remain some differing opinions, past and present, as to the "correct" usage of a few register control tracker positions.

Mandolin (P.M.) and Concert (P.C.) Tracker Scales

There are some common terms used by Philipps and Wurlitzer to describe musical instrumentation that differs from standard pipe-organ usage. For instance, what did Wurlitzer mean when they described a PianOrchestra as having Brass Trombones, French Horns or Saxophones? Did they use reed pipes to create the tonal representations for each of these three orchestral instruments, as might be assumed from the advertising, or not? For answers to these kinds of questions, please see the page on Pianella/PianOrchestra Musical and Pipework Terminology.

Philipps Pianella Mandoline (P.M.) and
Wurlitzer Mandolin PianOrchestra
Philipps Pianella Caecilia (P.C.) and
Wurlitzer Concert PianOrchestra
1. * Bassoon (or Clarinet) pipes on.
2. ** Clarinet pipes on.
3. Coin trip (off).
4. Snare Drum (reiterating action).
5. Sustaining pedal off.
6. Register cancel (all off).
7. Kettle drum (tympani or Pauken).
8. Kettle drum (tympani or Pauken).
9. *** Triangle (reiterating action).
10. *** Bells on (glockenspiel).
11. *** Not used (automatic figure).
12. Mandolin attachment on.
13. Sustaining pedal on.
14. C
15. C#
16. D
17. D#
18. E
19. F
20. F#
21. G
22. G#
23. A
24. A#
25. B
26. C (bottom of 49-note compass).
27. C#
28. Rewind.
29. D
30. D#
31. E
32. F
33. F#
34. G (bottom of 42-note compass).
35. G#
36. A
37. A#
38. B
39. C (Middle C -- bottom of 37-note compass)
40. C#
41. D
42. D#
43. E
44. F
45. F#
46. G (bottom of 30-note compass).
47. G#
48. A
49. A#
50. B
51. *** Not used.
52. C
53. C#
54. D
55. D
56. E
57. F
58. F#
59. G
60. G#
61. A
62. A#
63. B
64. C (lowest bell note).
65. C#
66. D
67. D#
68. E
69. F
70. F#
71. G
72. G#
73. A
74. A#
75. B
76. C (top note for bells, xylo & pipework).
77. *** Swell shutters open.
78. *** Swell shutters closed.
79. *** Violoncello pipes on.
80. *** Violin (gamba) pipes on.
81. Flute pipes on.
82. *** Piano soft pedal off.
83. *** Drum expression loud.
84. *** Tambourine (reiterating action).
85. Bass drum and cymbal.
86. *** Castanets (reiterating action).
87. Piccolo pipes on.
88. Xylophone (reiterating action) on.
1. Bass violin pipes on.
2. French horn (gedeckt) pipes on.
3. Saxophone (fagott) pipes on.
4. Snare Drum (reiterating action).
5. Sustaining pedal off.
6. Register cancel (all off).
7. Kettle drum (tympani or Pauken).
8. Kettle drum (tympani or Pauken).
9. Triangle (reiterating action).
10. Bells on (glockenspiel).
11. Not used (automatic figure).
12. Chinese crash cymbal.
13. Sustaining pedal on.
14. **** Quintadena (clarinet) pipes on.
15. Violin (gamba and gamba bass) pipes on.
16. Oboe or clarionet pipes on.
17. Piccolo pipes on.
18. Tremolo (reiterating action) on.
19. F (bottom of 56-note compass).
20. F#
21. G
22. G#
23. A
24. A#
25. B
26. C (bottom of 49-note compass).
27. C#
28. Rewind.
29. D
30. D#
31. E
32. F
33. F#
34. G (bottom of 42-note compass).
35. G#
36. A
37. A#
38. B
39. C (Middle C)
40. C#
41. D
42. D#
43. E
44. F
45. F#
46. G (bottom of 30-note compass).
47. G#
48. A
49. A#
50. B
51. Coin trip (off).
52. C
53. C#
54. D
55. D
56. E
57. F
58. F#
59. G
60. G#
61. A
62. A#
63. B
64. C (lowest bell note).
65. C#
66. D
67. D#
68. E
69. F
70. F#
71. G
72. G#
73. A
74. A#
75. B
76. C (top note for bells, xylo & pipework).
77. Swell shutters open.
78. Swell shutters closed.
79. Violoncello pipes on.
80. Violin (second violin or set) pipes on.
81. Flute pipes on.
82. Piano soft pedal off.
83. Drum expression loud.
84. Tambourine (reiterating action).
85. Bass drum and cymbal.
86. Castanets (reiterating action).
87. Piano on.
88. Xylophone (reiterating action) on.

* PM Tracker position 1: Tracker hole #1 is still subject to a degree of interpretation, with a DeRoy scale stick referring to it as "Flagotten," an apparent misspelling of Fagott, which is equivalent to Bassoon. There are two known surviving Philipps P.M. ("Mandoline") type Pianellas with a rank of reed pipes that utilize this tracker position, as follows: (1) Philipps Modell 15 Pianella containing a bass rank of bassoon pipes--the only known P.M. specimen with a register solely devoted to a set of bass pipes (the larger P.C. or Concert Pianellas normally contained bass ranks). (2) In the only known Philipps Model 34 "Luxus" (style 34-A Mandolin PianOrchestra, the largest in the imported Wurlitzer Mandolin PianOrchestra series) tracker position #1 is used for Clarinet pipes. Wurlitzer Mandolin PianOrchestra rolls use perforation #1 frequently, and rarely, if ever, perforation #2, which, according to the DeRoy scale is for Clarinet. If the largest imported Mandolin series machine was the 34A, for instance, having only one reed voice, a clarinet, it would make sense for Wurlitzer to only use perforation #1, since that is how the largest Mandolin series machine was tubed, omitting any use of perforation #2, no matter whether it might have officially been intended by Philipps for a clarinet, or not.

** PM Tracker position 2: Wurlitzer Mandolin PianOrchestra rolls rarely, if ever, use this hole. One Philipps scale stick notes it as "Clarionet," another as Clarinette. There is a 4' organ reed stop known as Clarionet, which is tonally more correctly associated with a bright trumpet sound than that of a clarinet. Moreover, the term Clarinet has occasionally been mislabeled as Clarionet, adding to any confusion. All considered, it is highly likely that tracker position #2 was originally intended to control a Clarionet toned rank of reed pipes, providing a definite musical contrast to the softer sounding clarinet pipes. In actual practice, examining the surviving P.M. machines, tracker hole #2 was never used (blocked off behind the tracker bar), even when a Clarinet rank was present. See "PM Tracker position 1," above.

*** Philipps Jazzband Orchestrions: The Jazzband piano orchestrions use Philipps P.M.10,000 series rolls, which featured jazz band arrangements popular during the 1920s .Philipps reportedly stopped cutting the older and previously standard P.M. rolls once production of the new 10,000 series of P.M. rolls commenced. In the new P.M. roll variation the function of certain control or percussive related tracker bar holes were changed or modified, but to what extent changes might have been made, due to the rarity of Philipps Jazzband machines to examine, is yet unknown. What follows is a list of verified modifications:

Expression and Registers:

Extra Instruments:

Percussion:

**** PC Tracker position 14: In the three surviving (two style 32 and one style 32A) Concert PianOrchestras, the actual instrumentation contains either a rank of clarinet pipes or oboe pipes, but not both types simultaneously, although the Wurlitzer catalogue description lists these machines as containing both clarinet and oboe voices. In the three observed Concert PianOrchestras, tracker position #14 is tubed to turn on a rank of 30 metal Quintadena pipes, which are a beautifully toned flute voice. However, an old, unsubstantiated tracker bar scale by a Wurlitzer distributor in Dallas, Texas, suggests the possibility that this position might have been used to control a clarinet voice in instruments containing both actual clarinet and oboe reed pipes.

Tracker positions 28 and 51: These two positions interrupt the otherwise continuous musical scale represented by the tracker bar. Art Reblitz has noted that these two positions coincide with the piano action brackets in the 61-note keyboardless piano used by Philipps. Thus, he concludes, it appears as though during the very early years of production Philipps must have used deck boards with valves where there were no piano pneumatics, using the "extra" valves for controls, instead of placing these control valves in a separate box. Other manufacturers occasionally did the same thing, except that they did not arrange these functions on the music roll so as to interrupt the note scale.

Tracker Scale Deviations: If the original tracker bar tubing is intact, and the register connections for a particular machine do not precisely conform to the appropriate above scale, it does not necessarily mean the instrument is incorrectly tubed. For instance, an instrument, such as the style 40 PianOrchestra with only two ranks of pipes, may have two or more tracker bar holes teed together. A rank of harmonic flutes might conceivably use either the flute or the piccolo register perforation, or both, the similarly voiced registers teed together. While this kind of arrangement may not "correctly" utilize or perfectly fulfill the intent of the music roll, it does cause pipes of a similar voice to sound, rather than leave a "hollow" or "dead" passage in the music. In machines with a single rank of pipes, the usual solution is to omit any register control, leaving the pipework turned on continuously.

Regular / Style 17 PianOrchestra (Pianella) Tracker Scale

The Regular (or early style PianOrchestra styles) and the style 17 PianOrchestra scale are one and the same. Once the Mandolin PianOrchestra (Pianella Mandoline, or P.M.) and Concert PianOrchestra (Pianella Caecilia, or P.C.) line was introduced, each with their own unique tracker scale, music rolls for the earlier type PianOrchestra (Pianella, or "P.") styles were thereafter titled "Regular PianOrchestra," rather than "The PianOrchestra," their original designation. Then later on, when the Style 17 PianOrchestra continued to be sold alongside the more sophisticated Mandolin and Concert PianOrchestra styles, the music roll title "Style 17 PianOrchestra" seems to have replaced the "Regular PianOrchestra" title designation. The Regular / Style 17 rolls are noteworthy in their use of separate bell-note perforations. This feature allowed independent use of the bells, rather than always playing them in unison with the piano (and/or along with any other register that was turned on), as was the case for all the later model Mandolin and Concert PianOrchestras.

According to Wurlitzer catalogue literature, the largest of the Regular PianOrchestras boasted 165 pipes, producing violin, clarinet, flute, piccolo, violoncello, and saxophone. Apparently it had a rank of reed pipes, the single rank probably being termed as clarinet for the upper compass and saxophone for the lower range. With only two tracker bar register control functions, it is anybody's guess how the registers were tubed to control the pipes in the largest style.

Most surviving Regular / Style 17 PianOrchestra music rolls are either the very early, somewhat fragile, red paper rolls perforated in Germany, or the later red paper rolls perforated by Wurlitzer in North Tonawanda, New York. Only a relatively few of the later and very durable Wurlitzer green paper rolls are known to exist. By dating the tunes on these green paper music rolls, it is apparent that style 17 music rolls continued to be sold up through 1915, and probably later, although Style 17 sales were probably limited to old unsold stock, as the Regular and Style 17 models by this time had became obsolete.

Early Philipps Pianella (P.) and
Wurlitzer Regular / Style 17 PianOrchestra
1. Piano soft pedal off.
2. Violin pipes off.
3. Violoncello pipes off.
4. Snare Drum (reiterating action).
5. Sustaining pedal off.
6. Coin trip (off).
7. Bell note C
8. Bell note C#
9. Bell note D
10. Bell note D#
11. Automatic figure.
12. Bell note E
13. Sustaining pedal on.
14. C
15. C#
16. D
17. D#
18. E
19. F
20. F#
21. G
22. G#
23. A
24. A#
25. B
26. C
27. C#
28. Violoncello pipes on.
29. D
30. D#
31. E
32. F
33. F#
34. G
35. G#
36. A
37. A#
38. B
39. C (Middle C)
40. C#
41. D
42. D#
43. E
44. F
45. F#
46. G
47. G#
48. A
49. A#
50. B
51. Rewind.
52. C
53. C#
54. D
55. D
56. E
57. F
58. F#
59. G
60. G#
61. A
62. A#
63. B
64. C
65. C#
66. D
67. D#
68. E
69. F
70. F#
71. G
72. G#
73. A
74. A#
75. B
76. C
77. Bell note F
78. Bell note F#
79. Bell note G
80. Bell note G#
81. Bell note A
82. Bell note A#
83. Bell note B
84. Bell note C
85. Bass drum and cymbal.
86. Castanets.
87. Violin pipes on.
88. Piano soft pedal on.

Tracker position 11: Tracker bar perforation #11 is not used on any of the known style 17, Mandolin, or Concert series PianOrchestras, although occasional references to its use have been noted on various Philipps and Wurlitzer tracker scales for these instruments. Some models of the Regular PianOrchestra (the very early circa 1903-1907 machines) featured "automatic" mechanical figures on the front of the case, such as a bandleader, which "kept time to the music." I have noted references to tracker bar hole #11 as "Director," "Bandleader," "mechanical figure" or "automatic figure" for the Regular PianOrchestra, as well as for later style 17, Mandolin, and Concert models, too. Thus, tracker bar hole #11 is labeled "automatic figure," although that particular function for hole 11 cannot yet be proven beyond any shadow of doubt.

Tracker positions 28 and 51: These two positions interrupt the otherwise continuous musical scale represented by the tracker bar. Art Reblitz has noted that these two positions coincide with the piano action brackets in the 61-note keyboardless piano used by Philipps. Thus, he concludes, it appears as though during the very early years of production Philipps must have used deck boards with valves where there were no piano pneumatics, using the "extra" valves for controls, instead of placing these control valves in a separate box. Other manufacturers occasionally did the same thing, except that they did not arrange these functions on the music roll so as to interrupt the note scale.

Philipps Pianella E______ (P.E.) -- No Wurlitzer Equivalent

As of this writing there are only two known specimens of this relatively small Philippa Pianella Orchestrion, possibly introduced sometime around 1910. Moreover, absolutely no catalogue information (or inferences to it) have to date been observed regarding this odd machine, nor does there seem to be any mention of it in the German trade journal Zeitschrift fur Instrumentenbau. A plaque above the music roll access door simply reads: "Philipps - Pianella," and so it is known that it is some sort of Pianella. The music rolls bear a Philipps label with a "P.E." music roll type designation, but what the "E" represents is still a mystery. Other Philipps roll type designations are understood, such as P.C. = Pianella Caecilia, P.M = Pianella Mandoline; P.P. = Pianella Paganini, P.X. = Pianella Xylophone, and so on. If the P.E. rolls follows suit, with the same naming scheme, the "E" should represent some name beginning with the letter "E," but what that might be is yet unknown.

This Pianella plays the type P.E. music roll, which is the same exact width and hole spacing as (1) the early Philipps Pianella (Wurlitzer Regular/Style 17), (2) the Pianella Mandoline (Wurlitzer Mandolin PianOrchestra), and (3) the Philipps Caecilia (Wurlitzer Concert PianOrchestra) music rolls, but its tracker scale layout it is uniquely different. The piano plate is divided into two very distinct sections. On the left side is a 29 note piano, and on the right is a 17 note mandolin section with a reiterating ratchet type action, and there are separate music roll note sections for both the small piano and for the unique mandolin illusion.

The tracker scale shown below is derived from more than one source, and it has yet to be verified by a detailed examination of an extant specimen. The three separate but contiguous piano, violin pipe, and mandolin note scales are thought to be accurate, as are those tracker bar positions assigned to trapwork. However, there is doubt about the descriptive accuracy of certain control functions as noted in the tracker scale and accompanying notes shown below, and so please be aware that these control positions are subject to change as more information becomes available.

Philipps Pianella E______
1. Not used/Blank.
2. Bass drum and cymbal.
3. Coin trip (motor off)..
4. Snare Drum (reiterating action).
5. Sustaining pedal (chain perforation).
6. Hammer rail soft & Register general cancel.
7. Not used/Blank.
8. Not used/Blank.
9. Not used/Blank.
10. Swell shutters fast open.
11. Forte (loud) on (off with 6).
12. Mandolin on (off with 6).
13. Rewind.
14. Forte on.
15. Hammer rail loud (off with 6).
16. D (Lowest bichord bass piano note.)
17. D#
18. E
19. F
20. F#
21. G
22. G#
23. A
24. A#
25. H (or B in modern scale)
26. C
27. C#
28. Swell shutters slow (chain perforation).
29. D
30. D# (Highest bichord bass piano note.)
31. E (Lowest trichord mid-range piano note.)
32. F
33. F#
34. G
35. G#
36. A
37. A#
38. H (or B in modern scale)
39. C (Middle C)
40. C#
41. D
42. D#
43. E
44. F
45. F# (Highest trichord mid-range piano note.)
46. G (Lowest Violin pipe note.)
47. G#
48. A
49. A#
50. H (or B in modern scale)
51. Tremolo (chain perforation).
52. C
53. C#
54. D
55. D
56. E
57. F
58. F#
59. G
60. G#
61. A
62. A#
63. H (or B in modern scale)
64. C
65. C#
66. D
67. D#
68. E
69. F
70. F#
71. G (highest violin pipe note.)
72. G (lowest mandolin note.)
73. G#
74. A
75. A#
76. H (or B in modern scale)
77. C
78. C#
79. D
80. D#
81. E
82. F
83. F#
84. G
85. G#
86. A
87. A#
88. H (or B in modern scale)

Tracker position 5: Tracker bar perforation #5 is a chain perforation for the sustaining pedal. Although this is not yet certain, the sustaining pedal may also work with the mandolin mechanism, which has what appears to be in effect a damper mechanism that affects all notes.

Tracker position 10: Tracker bar perforation #10 when used in conjunction with perforation 51 (swell shutter chain perforation) bypasses the adjustable throttling orifice for the swell shutter motor pneumatic, thereby allowing the swell shutters to move quickly, instead of slowly.

Tracker position 11: Tracker bar perforation #11 is designated "Forte" or loud on (and off with 6), but the exact function of this control hole is unknown.

Tracker position 12: Tracker bar perforation #12 is designated "Mandolin mechanism on (off with 6)." However, the Mandolin has its own tracker bar note holes, and so why does it need a register control? Moreover, it looks like the pneumatic lock and cancel register control is located at the left side of the piano stack on the top tier. There are only three tubes from it going up to the tracker bar, Nos, 11, 6, and 15. This suggests that hole 12, “Mandolin mechanism on (off with 6)” is incorrect, and, if so, the function of this tracker bar position is unknown.

Tracker position 14: Tracker bar perforation #14 is designated "Forte" or loud on, but the exact function of this control hole is unknown. This item is not part of the register control system that uses hole 6 to cancel all register functions.

Tracker position 28: Tracker bar perforation #28 is swell shutters slow. The slow speed rate is set by means of an adjustable throttling orifice, which is bypassed when tracker position 10 is used in conjunction with tracker position 28.

Credits:

Written by Terry Hathaway, with information provided by Terry Hathaway, Art Reblitz, Ron Cappel, Jens Wendel, and Thomas Richter.

References:

Hathaway & Bowers, Inc., scale sheets; and original Philipps and Wurlitzer tracker-bar scale sticks.