can anyone help me with information on the "Challen multitone" ("multi-tone" resp.). I find it featured in a few vintage jazz recordings the "Jack Simpson Sextette" made in 1949. It sounds like an electric harpsichord. I have asked Challen but they did not answer. Information in the internet is null.
thanks a lot.
xaver fruehbeis, munich, germany.
(bavarian radio station "BR Klassik")
Better than drawing pins in the hammers tho.
Any fool can make a piano-- it needs a tuner to put the music in it
Circa 1785 Ad (Courtesy John Davis): Robert & William Gray, No.72,
Queen Ann Street, East, Instruments Repaired, Tuned, &Let
to Hire. Organ, Harpsichord & Piano Forte Makers, Original
Inventors & Makers of the Addition of the Dulceana Stop
upright to the finall Piano Forte. [No details are available
to tell us what the Dulceana was.]
1882 Collard piano is fitted with a celeste stop
called "Dulcephone", made by Challen.
1887 Challen ad in The Times mentions their Dulcephone.
Circa 1895 Challen piano has a brass-geared celeste stop,
marked "Challen's Dulcephone".
The Faulkner Dulcichord looks like an upright piano above keyboard level, but is designed to sit on a table. In that respect, it resembles the Cramer Portable Piano. The keyboard has only 51 notes C-D, and the tonal quality is not very good by piano standards, but it is, technically, a piano. In spite of the Faulkner name, the sole manufacturer is stated as J.E.Reeve & Son Ltd., Spelbrook Lane, Bishops Stortford. Registered Design Number 883.799. Date unknown, possibly 1920-ish? I used to tune one of these in Thurrock Technical College.
1888 Machell patented the Dulcitone, a tuning fork piano, in
which the hammers strike tuning forks instead of
strings. "Dulcitone Regd. Patentees & Sole Makers Thomas
Machell & Sons, Glasgow, Scotland".
All this seems to be associated with a single pedal set to the far left of the instrument, and it is difficult to imagine how it could have been capable of all these effects, but Billy Mayerl was so impressed, he set up an "orchestra" of these instruments. There is a video on the net... somewhere! I think it is British Pathe.