silent movie theater soundsystem

They have this original silent movie “soundsystem” at the National Music Center in Calgary. It’s about the most complex setup I’ve ever seen. Yes, all these things in this picture are a part of it. And it’s all controlled over on the right there by one person at the piano keyboard. She said in the ’20s they’d have this all hidden behind a curtain, and while the movie was playing there’d be some guy doing the entire soundtrack by himself. Pretty amazing.

Here are some more detailed shots:


So. Cool. It’s basically any instrument you can play with wind or mallets, all controlled mechanically.

Some of the organ bits are bent at the top because after the “talkies” became popular, someone decided this setup was worth saving and, probably to the dismay of their entire family, modified it to fit in their basement for decades. Amazing.


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