Hupfeld piano rolls at Stanford

December 14, 2015
Hupfeld Logo, 1928

Now available through Stanford Archive of Recorded Sound: individually cataloged Ludwig Hupfeld piano rolls from the Denis Condon Collection of Reproducing Pianos and Rolls. Find all of these rolls in our online catalog.

Hupfeld Leader

Our collection of Hupfeld piano rolls is primarily Triphonola rolls. Alternatively known as Animatic-T rolls, they were produced in Leipzig, Germany during the 1920s and early 1930s. Despite the damage done to Leipzig during World War II, today a portion of the factory remains in Leipzig. You can even see it on Google Street View.

The collection is augmented by the Larry Sitsky Piano Roll Catalog Collection. It contains invaluable original catalogs and pamphlets from the Ludwig Hupfeld company for DEA, Phonola, Duophonola, Triphonola, and Pan. Also available in our reference collection is an interesting advertising booklet for customers shopping between the Phonola, Duophonola, and Triphonola.

Welte-Mignon vs Hupfeld

Both publishers represent primarily reproducing piano rolls, with expression data along the side of the rolls. While our collection features art music, we also have a number of popular music rolls with pieces from popular musical revues of the time or Tin Pan Alley. Some pianists, like William Backhaus and Teresa Carreño, recorded for both Hupfeld and Welte-Mignon.

Compared to dating Welte-Mignon piano rolls for cataloging, Hupfeld has considerably less documentation and published scholarship. Even in the original catalogs, many rolls have no pianist listed, most likely indicating performances by Hupfeld house pianists. When the pianist is listed, however, it's common to have at least a signature from the pianist on the leader's label, as well as a portrait (as seen above).

Unlike our collection of Welte-Mignon piano rolls, we do not have any modern recuts of Hupfeld rolls. However, there are conjoined Hupfeld rolls, similar to conjoined Welte-Mignon piano rolls, which will head to Stanford Conservation Lab in Redwood City to be restored as individual rolls.

What’s next?

Research into cataloging Duo-Art piano rolls from the Denis Condon Collection of Reproducing Pianos and Rolls begins this week. It will build on the practices developed from cataloging Welte-Mignon and Hupfeld rolls. The Welte-Mignon documentation will be publicly available through the Stanford Digital Repository by early 2016.

Researchers interested in using collections from the Player Piano Project should contact the Archive of Recorded Sound. Others can learn more about supporting ambitious digitization, cataloging, conservation, and outreach efforts on the Player Piano Project website.