History Mesh

Piano roll (19th Century)

A piano roll is the music storage medium used to operate the player piano, pianola or a reproducing piano. It was the first medium which could be produced and copied industrially, and made it possible to provide the customer with actual music quickly and easily.

A piano roll is a roll of paper with perforations (holes) punched in it. The position and length of the perforation determines the note played on the piano. The roll moves over a device known as the 'tracker bar’, which first had 58 holes, was expanded to 65 and then was upgraded to 88 holes (generally, one for each piano key). When a perforation passes over the hole, the note sounds.

Read more about Piano roll on Wikipedia.