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Here I would like to suggest some guideline to anybody willing to navigate to find information on the loved mechanical instruments.

Surfing the web I found different sites typologies which I would classify in these main families:

  1. Producers of instruments, finished crank organs or kits
  2. Producers of cartons or punched paper rolls to be played by the organs
  3. Organs designers who sell drawings and instructions (with books or video cassette) to build different models of instruments
  4. Companies selling the products built with the plans of the point 3 above or that supply some components
  5. Web sites of self constructors showing their instruments built according to above projects and many mechanical details to witness their work and to encourage other potential builders
  6. Clubs and Forums of this sector to seek and receive help and consultancy from more skilled experts
  7. Companies selling  accessory software and hardware for the instruments
  8. Web sites of hobbysts software applications designers that make freely available their developments which can be employed for accessory purposes for the instruments

A classification like this should match all the tastes, from who is only curious to deepen its knowledge to whom is seriously considering to organize himself to build its own instrument. I intend to address the latter category, into which I identify myself, to make available and to share a few things I discovered surfing since a few years on the subject.

Let's build a crank organ, from where shall we start?

The first thing to do is go to see who makes them, how they are built, their architecture and their prices!

 In the link section of this site, accessible by clicking the button below, as an example I mention some web address of crank organ manufacturers which I invite you to visit. You may find the catalogues, prices, and you can also listen some music examples performed by the instruments. You will realize that some company offer kits as well, whose prices however are not far from the finshed product. Regarding the demo music, you may find them in files in various formats. Those in wav, realaudio and MP3 contain the actual instrument sound, while, those in MID  contain the MIDI format of the performance, therefore when you will reproduce it you will listen the sound of the audio generator of your computer, not the real instrument sound. I however suggest to collect these MIDI files because, as we will see later, they may become particularly useful to create paper rolls, a thing impossible with the other file formats.

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