Composers immortalize themselves

Advertisement “Paderewski puts the ‘red line’ on his own music rolls”, The Pittsburgh Press, Jan. 30, 1913: 4. Image with permission from

The Aeolian Company and other production companies hired numerous pianists and composers to draw the Metrostyle line on music rolls for the pianola. Well-known pianists of the time such as Cécile Chaminade, Moritz Moszkowski or Edvard Grieg took this opportunity to record their personal interpretations – often of their own compositions – and pass them on to players. Rolls of this type are also known as “Autograph Metrostyle” rolls.

The advertisement “Paderewski puts the ‘red line’ on his own music rolls” praises this principle of the Autograph Metrostyle; the illustration shown at the beginning symbolically traces the profile of the musician with the Metrostyle line.

Just as Paderewski drew “the red line”, the pianist and composer Moritz Moszkowski signed this roll of his Waltz in E Major Op. 34/1. In the handwritten note on the roll, which belongs to the Deutsches Museum collection, Moszkowski declared that he himself had recorded the Metrostyle line.

M. Moszkowski, Waltz in E major, Op. 34/1 with Metrostyle line by the composer; roll from the Aeolian Company in the collection of the Deutsches Museum, Munich, Inv. No. 1988-481T96. Photo: Deutsches Museum, K. Rainer. CC BY-SA 4.0

“Le mouvement indiqué sur ce rouleau de musique de “Pianola” a été marqué par moi, et c'est aussi que ce morceau doit être interprété.          Maurice Moszkowsky”
Note by M. Moszkowski on the roll (Inv. No. 1988-481T96). Photo: Deutsches Museum, K. Rainer CC BY-SA 4.0

Citation: Stephanie Probst, ‘Playing like Paderewski, Chaminade and Co: Music education with the pianola and music rolls’, in: Materiality of Musical Instruments. A Virtual Exhibition.

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