Recut Rolls

Listen to and watch a reproducing roll recording of Mozart's Magic Flute Overture, played by Rudolph Ganz and Ernest Hutcheson. Notice the drastic dynamic changes when the recording gets loud and soft!

Recut box label

Recut rolls are copies made from an original piano roll. The copy may have been made for preservation purposes, because the original was too damaged to use or handle. An original roll is typically "re-cut" by scanning it into a computer, checking the scan for errors, editing the scan, and producing a new roll using a perforating machine. The new roll is then printed on high quality paper and stored properly to keep it in good condition, whereas the original roll may have been handled roughly and not stored well. MPAL has a number of recut rolls that were donated by Rob DeLand from Grayslake, Illinois. Included with the recuts is a scan of the original roll label on the back end of each roll's box, as seen here. All of the rolls that Rob donated to MPAL are reproducing.

Scan of original box label

The overture from Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's famous opera, The Magic Flute (Die Zauberflöte) is pictured below to illustrate the comparison between an original hand-played roll and a recut reproducing roll. Frédéric Chopin's well-known "Butterfly" Etude, Op. 25, No. 9 is pictured alongside the two Mozart rolls in the universal viewer for closer inspection. Each work has an original roll and a recut roll - can you spot all the differences between them? 

Comparison of an original Metrostyle-Themodist roll (roughly 1904, top) and a recut roll (2006, bottom). Notice the difference in the color of the paper and wear on edges of the rolls.

Comparison of an original Metrostyle-Themodist roll (from roughly 1904, left) and a recut roll (2006, right). Notice the aged coloration on the original roll, as well as the difference in markings and perforations between the rolls.

Tip: In the "Content" sidebar on the left of the universal viewer, use the "Index" tab to view the different items. Use the fullscreen option in the bottom right corner for easier navigation and viewing!


Click below for more information about some of our other recut rolls, including recordings.

  • Etude ("Butterfly") op. 25, No. 9 in G Flat Major
    Recording of "Etude ("Butterfly") op. 25, No. 9 in G Flat Major", composed by Frederic Chopin and performed by Ignace Jan Paderewski. Perforated roll intended for use on player pianos.
  • Prelude - Op. 45, No. 3, Winged Poem - Op. 51 No. 3
    Recording of "Prelude - Op. 45, No. 3" and "Winged Poem - Op. 51 No. 3", composed by Aleksandr Nikolayevich Scriabin and performed by Sergey Prokofiev. Perforated roll intended for use on player pianos.
  • Magic Flute Overture "Die Zauberflöte"
    Recording of "Magic Flute Overture", composed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, performed by [Rudolph] Ganz & [Ernest] Hutcheson. Perforated roll intended for use on player pianos.
  • Danza Espanolas, No. 5, Andaluza
    Recording of "Danza Espanolas, No. 5, Andaluza", composed and performed by Enrique Granados. Perforated roll intended for use on player pianos.
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