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Author Topic: Would it be possible to construct a talking player piano?  (Read 614 times)
Time Traveler

Only The Shadow knows

« on: March 06, 2016, 10:56:55 pm »

I'm sure you are all aware that in the victorian age there existed pianos that could play by themselves, by following a kind of punch card strip. I'm not sure how complicated melodies they could actually play. However a video like the following made me wonder if it would perhaps be possible to construct a talking piano that way. What do you think?

Resurrectionist and freelance surgeon.
United States United States


Airship Builder

« Reply #1 on: March 07, 2016, 12:35:43 am »

Speaking Piano - Now with (somewhat decent) captions!

It seems they have done it.

Zeppelin Captain

« Reply #2 on: March 07, 2016, 05:49:36 am »

I found an article on this subject last year. It seams that in the 18th and 19th century there were attempts to build talking machines. The typical machine used a bellows to force air through reeds to produce a hum, and then through chambers of variable size and shape to reproduce the acoustic sounds of speech. One such machine used paper scrolls similar to a player piano; the speech produced was described by witnesses as comprehensible but artificial sounding. One reporter described it as being like the voice of the dead.

Research along this line was pretty much brought to a halt by Edison's phonograph, a device that reproduced real voices with normal inflexion. The phonograph, while cheaper and mechanically simpler, made the old talking machines seem primitive and obsolete.
United Kingdom United Kingdom

Be Good All! ;)

« Reply #3 on: March 16, 2016, 06:33:53 am »

Edison's Phonograph was purely a record and playback device - so it could not "talk" a custom message.  The "Talking Piano" shown in the video is criticised quite a bit online.  For example,  this article hints that the audio in the video has been altered to make it sound more "audible".

To spin a different angle, this post supports the original video to a certain extent, but, when you click on the link in the text near the end to play an example, it is VERY difficult to understand.

So I'd say it is possible, but only using higher frequencies and a LOT of skill programming it.  Therefore, you may be best of referring back to Edison's Phonograph's design for pre-set messages (or something similar), as the talking piano will require a lot of compute processing power (and the "right" programs).  My personal option would be a kids toy voice changer, and cutting and grafting that into your idea.

Oh - you didn't actually say what this whole thing was for???

"People call me a "Doctor", but only for my skills.  I know nothing of healing the flesh.  Metal, steam, and what I discover in the wastelands are the tools and techniques for my creations in the new world." - Dr.B.Goodall, Wasteland Explorer
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