Call it a Carousel, a Roundabout or
a Merry-Go-Round -- it is still one of the most durable and popular
amusement rides ever constructed. Despite its humble beginnings
as a training tool for horsemen, the Carousel has grown to become
synonymous with fun, and is the one piece of apparatus no fairground,
carnival, theme or amusement park can afford to be without. They
are often the first ride we dare as children, yet even the oldest
among us can sometimes be spotted in an ornately carved chariot
enjoying a spin right alongside their galloping grandkids.
You don't even have to ride one of
the many fine old antique Carousels still operating to appreciate
the craftsmanship in its detailed woodwork, or to enjoy the old
fashioned sound of its band organ. A fine Carousel is a work of
art, sometimes too beautiful for its own good -- we've lost whole
Carousels to dealers who discovered that the individual horses could
sometimes be more valuable as separate collectibles than as parts
of a working ride. Fortunately, many parks and communities are waking
up to the treasures in their midst and are now working to restore
and preserve these historic Carousels so that they will always be
there for our kids, and their kids, in the future. But the best
way to keep them turning is also the most enjoyable -- grab the
kids and go and ride one!
The Band Organ Story
The history of the Carousel band organ
can be traced all the way back to the late nineteenth century when
these instruments were being imported principally from Germany,
France and Belgium. By turn of the century, as carnival owners lined
up in droves to get one, band organs were beginning to be made in
the US. The most prominent maker of band organs was WurliTzer, which
made their last organ in 1942.
In the 1960s, carnival owners began
to sell their organs as they were tired of the maintenance and the
heavy lifting involved. The advent of High Fidelity sound recordings
put an end to the band organ as midway people were quick to change
to recorded music.
One Minnesota carnival operator confessed
that his Carousel ridership dropped off 40% the first year he did
not have his band organ. He was further frustrated to find that
he had sold a valuable antique and it would cost many times more
to buy another. This sad state of affairs contributed directly to
the demise of the Carousel as many operators sold their rides. Ride
manufacturers took Merry-Go-Rounds and Carousels out of their catalogs.
More recently, carnival operators have
heard comments from the public that they miss the band organs. Some
more enterprising owners have upgraded their sound systems hoping
for better ridership only to find that there is no improvement.
In the 1990s, several ride makers are again offering new Merry-Go-Rounds
with some being highly decorated like the turn-of-the-century Carousels.
The band organ in conjunction with the traditional Merry-Go-Round
has been found an indispensable item. Another way of stating it
is that the Merry-Go-Round without a band organ has no soul. People
are not interested in riding to the sounds of blaring speakers.
Fairground organs, or band organs,
comprise some of the most colourful automatic musical instruments
ever made. These instruments, loudly-voiced so they could be heard
above the surrounding din, provided music for Carousels, carnivals,
circuses, amusement parks, skating rinks, and similar attractions.
Typically, such an instrument contains several ranks of organ pipes,
all voiced on high wind pressure (usually from 8 to 12 inches of
water-column pressure). In accompaniment to the organ pipes, limited
percussion effects -- usually a bass drum, snare drum, cymbal, and
some special effects devices like xylophone, marimba, Chinese blocks,
and gong -- are used. Fairground organs were designed to play loudly
-- in order to be heard above the noise of the Carousel, dozens
of skaters, or carnival rides and, equally important, to act as
a Pied Piper to draw crowds from far and near.
The following music
selections were digitized in PCM format, at 22,050 Hz, 8 bit, mono,
and have a slightly compressed quality to the tone. Recording in
8 bit reduced the file sizes by half and was a worthy compromise.
While the original RollerCoaster Tycoon dat files were recorded
in 16 bit, the overall tone quality of the new dats are, all things
To make these new selections
work, you must have performed a FULL INSTALL of RollerCoaster Tycoon
so that all the dat files are resident to, and read from, the hard
drive. If you have Corkscrew Follies/Added Attractions or Loopy
Landscapes expansion packs, the Drexler
Patch must be also installed first to remove the anti-cheat
code from the game.
The Carousel music
resides in several specific dat files in the game's Data folder.
The following new song titles have been arranged to replace the
old (original) RCT Carousel dat files. Simply double-click the dat
file number to download the new music selection.
||Alexander's Ragtime Band
Beside a Babbling Brook
||You Gotta See Mama Every Night
or You Can't See Mama at All
Old Reliable March
Beer Barrel Polka
||Yes, We Have No Bananas
Boston Commandery March
||When My Sugar Walks Down the Street
||Triumphant Banner March
||Sleepy Time Gal
||Doo Wacka Doo
King of the Air March
||Padolin Madelin Home
Limonaire photo and historical info Encyclopedia of Automatic
Carowinds Carousel and Glen Echo Band Organ Photos with the permission
of Walt Reiss and Coasterquest.com
Big Bertha Band Organ www.pauleakinsnickelodeonmusic.com