This week an odd topic: the mechanical reproduction of music - not using a loudspeaker, but via a mechanical movement directly to create acoustic sound waves. For example, by blowing a pipe or triggering a resonating body such as a drum head or a string. Normally, this requires a human to play an instrument: blow a pipe, hit a drum, pluck a string. But if you look up ‘street organ’ on Wikipedia you’ll find ‘barrel organs’ popping up in the 18th century, with operators called ‘organ grinders’. These were often accompanied by a monkey, producing acoustic music by means of mechanical reproduction. At the end of the 19th century, the ‘Pianola’ became a common reproduction method, peaking in popularity in the roaring Twenties. Shortly afterwards the radio and the electrical phonograph put an end to the phenomenon of mechanical music reproduction.