Picturolls contained additional “code” specifically for the instruments and sound effects on the Fotoplayer.

Though any piano roll could be used on the fotoplayer, the Picturoll made by the Film Music Co. were made specifically for the fotoplayer. The Picturolls were cut with a unique combination of long and short holes in the paper to make the piano and the organ pipes perform better together.

The titles of these rolls indicate the mood of music which one would play to match the action projected on the screen. Titles such as Mushy Music, Fire! Fire! Fire!, Drunk Soused Spree, and The Roaring Volcano, are some of the typical rolls that a fotoplayer operator would have ready-at-hand.

Please let Joe Rinaudo know if you have or have seen any of these Picturolls, as Joe  would love to hear them played on his machine. Contact him here.


Scott Lasky and Joe Rinaudo listen to a few test runs of Mr. Lasky’s new roll arrangement of “traditional” silent film chase music.

Scott Lasky is Musical Director for Famous Players Orchestra, a silent film orchestra based in Los Angeles. Mr. Lasky visited Joe Rinaudo to test his newly-cut piano roll.

According to Mr.  Lasky , “I recently dropped in on Joe Rinaudo and showed him a new piano roll arrangement I was working on. This was a test roll which we tried out on the American Fotoplayer in order to hear how it would sound using different settings and tempi and also check for errors.” That visit was filmed for the above video.


Visit the Famous Players Orchestra website, FPOrchestra.org, and enjoy this short piece about music of the silent cinema, and about the organization:

Famous Players Orchestra CD Fund Drive

Share your love of silent films and great historic music of the silent era with a contribution to Famous Players Orchestra. Famous Players Orchestra is an IRS 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization and your tax-deductable contributions are greatly appreciated! Your generous support will help FPO to continue their work in reviving this remarkable forgotten music through live concert performances and new recording projects. Visit the donation page.

The End

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