Self-playing pianos, or player pianos, are a type of piano that is able to play music automatically via reading metallic rolls, perforated paper or even modern MIDI files. The pneumatic or electro-mechanical keys are operated via the instructions received from the above methods. It gives you the traditional and in person sound of a piano without actually being at the piano.
Player pianos were all the rage in the early 1900’s but today there is less interest in them due to many of the modern inventions such as radio and iPods. This is truly a shame because these pianos are a very unique construction that brings music to life like no electronic device can truly do. More and more companies are starting to bring the self-playing piano back to life again.
There are a variety of companies that used to construct player pianos and more that are coming out today. Each one of these pianos are considered treasures to owners and some of them are even considered to be collectors pieces.