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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The spooky, the mysterious...the bizarre! » » An introduction and gramophone effects (4 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

jiggerypokery
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As this is my first post in the Magic Café, I will by way of an introduction and as the subject is at hand, tell you the story of my gramophone.

I have a gramophone record of a narrative and incantation spoken by the one who taught me. It is the only surviving evidence of his existence beside an antique photograph and a key .. all the rest consumed long ago, in an unholy fire which destroyed the house.

One evening, late at night I was disturbed form my meditations by a delivery.
A man, very much the sort one would not admit to your home, called at the side door.
His knockings and banging were of the urgency one would expect in an alarm of possibly fatal consequences, his desperation to make the delivery palpable.
When I opened the door I was met with the face of one hardened by ill luck and ill will yet his eyes were ablaze with fright.
"Take the accursed package, take it I tell you ! This last service that fulfills my obligation and now I am free ! "
Thinking this odd delivery could have only come from one source I asked the man if it had come form Tallus and was immediately met with a look of horror so pitiable I discharged him at once pressing him no further for information.

I knew only too well the affects that Talus' magic had on the weaker mind. ~ Jennifer leM. duQuesnay

.... .... ....

I have several effects that I use my gramophone with and would like to know if anyone else uses antique phonograph of any kind in their performance ?
Originally inspired by Lee Earl's use of 'modernized' gramophone in the seance room I wanted to look into different ways this lovely object could enhance a performance.

The narrative above is from my 'Salon de Reves' which includes many characters form the original "Visions of Midnight" which was conceived by Fraughton and we performed for many years. As I live in Scotland we have continued to collaborate across the distance both developing and enlarging the characters and effects. - as a side note there will be a very limited art edition of the book with expanded features published in the Autumn which I am excited for.

SO there in, an introduction and a new topic ! Lets talk all things gramophone -

Click here to view attached image.
Dr Spektor
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I have one I had to get to emulate an effect from HELL HOUSE by Richard Matheson

I've used it once for a dopps performance but I might switch to a more compact version (we have a discussion there at dopps land)

Also, welcome!
"They are lean and athirst!!!!"
Slim King
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I'm all in!!! Ever seen the Universal movie .. SKELETON KEY? the gramphone scene is awesome. I've often wanted to duplicate it.
THE MAN THE SKEPTICS REFUSE TO TEST FOR ONE MILLION DOLLARS.. The Worlds Foremost Authority on Houdini's Life after Death.....
Slim King
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I'm all in!!! Ever seen the Universal movie .. SKELETON KEY? the gramphone scene is awesome. I've often wanted to duplicate it.
THE MAN THE SKEPTICS REFUSE TO TEST FOR ONE MILLION DOLLARS.. The Worlds Foremost Authority on Houdini's Life after Death.....
Fire Starter
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Quote:
On Aug 23, 2014, Slim King wrote:
I'm all in!!! Ever seen the Universal movie .. SKELETON KEY? the gramphone scene is awesome. I've often wanted to duplicate it.

Slim that is one hell of a darn good film and that I have in my collection.

jiggerypokery,that's one hell of a good first post,welcome OH spooky one.
Silvertongue
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Great for playing old Cult group records I'm sure. I watched a documentry on cults recently and it mentioned they are highly collectable. I could also imagine a recorded demon summoning gone horribly wrong...
For as long as space exists,
And living beings remain in cyclic existence,
For that long, may I too remain,
to dispel the sufferings of the world.
-Shantideva

Engaging in the Conduct of a Bodhisattva
jiggerypokery
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Some good ideas .. one of the challenges is recording material that can be used on a 78rpm gramophone style player. The head and arm are heavy and have a large steel needle which is actually sacrificial. You are meant to change it after a few plays or it will damage the record. They are inexpensive and you can still find packs of 100 for a few quid. The oldest records are made of shellac and are very hard and brittle. It used to be that you could have 10 inch vinyl records pressed in lots of 100 or so with a master for not a huge investment. You can play a vinyl record on the lighter gramophones without the big bell horn and a fiber needle 1x .. the record would be sacrificed as it will be destroyed by the weight of the needle. So if you had the cash to invest you could record something custom for an effect and just write off the cost of one record per show.

The modern solution is the addition of a tiny speaker in the horn like Lee Earl did in his seance. Of course you could pipe anything you want through it digitally .. or possibly super impose messages from beyond on top of genuine 78 antique records ..

There seems great room for experimenting.
horus1
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Love your post. Very interesting!
I don't use a gramophone.. but the possibilities look to be
very cool.

Welcome to Spooky, JiggeryPokery!
chmara
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I have a wonderful Victrola cabinet model from about 1918 -- where the opening and closing of the doors controlled the "volume." In the early 1920s (according to the provenance I have) one of Chicago's early conversions to make the turntable run was installed and I have the original plug.

When I acquired it I thought of playing some 78s I also have -- but they are short and need to be changed individually not allowing for continuity,. I then thought of rigging the Victrola as an intermittent effect -- nut have no way of inserting it into performance yet.

This turned out well though -- because in the interim there has been a lot of development of "contact transducers." These are not little speakers -- but a sort of "speaker guts" that attach to solid objects (and can be hidden well) that turn the contact surface into a speaker. This type ofo thing has been used (in larger sizes) to activate special effects roofs to produce realistic thunder -- and I imagine the new smaller sizes would allow the Victrola to resonant in a similar manner.

Now the problem is to make the rig wireless, cueable by remote and self powered while hidden in the cabinet. (I want to assure everyone sees phonograph is not plugged in by the old cord ) Using my MAC and synthesizers I can create a track that will allow me accent and highilite the seance at various points in the routine. Thios will let unexpected sound emminate from a place that it is expected to produce very different sounds (78RPM Records.) No pre-show music will emanate from it as it will be billed as a "display antique."

Because of the size y9u can see why the seance must be in a standing location and the props not moved between locations.



Smile
Gregg (C. H. Mara) Chmara

Commercial Operations, LLC

Tucson, AZ



C. H. Mara Illusion & Psychic Entertainments
Wizard of Oz
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I know zero, zilch, nada, nil regarding this subject...but I love this post already and can't wait to learn more. Yet another reason why Spooky rocks.
Welcome aboard our little boat to the underworld jiggerypokery!
Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.
jiggerypokery
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At Chmra - that is great information. I will look for more technical descriptions for contact transducers.

As a performance feature I wonder which would be stronger .. to have a "non working display come to life" or to have a normally working thing behave out of the normal. Most people don't know anything about old style phonographs horn or cabinet style. and while the authentic working means changing the reared avery 4 minutes people don't need to know that either. so if you had pre show music coming from the cabinet I don't think it would necessarily detract form the effect. The nice thing about the cabinet style is it can be operated with the top closed so people don't see if there is a record or source of music producing the sounds. With the victorian horn version everything is exposed in front of you so the record needs to be turning with the needle on it if sound is coming out ..

Either way the logical conclusion once someone things about it is that it is an effect
The Curator
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I've recorded texts on wax cylinders for a story/routine. We were helped by a professional opera singer who, later, became the first Belgian in a famous singing contest in Belgium (concours Reine Elisabeth). He could reproduced a voice from 1906.
jiggerypokery
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Hello Christian, Thank you for your information. What a wonderful use of that sound technology. I have seen a number of audio collectors using cylinders for recording as it is a medium that is still accessible.
The large challenge for using the gramophone is the lack of pressing shellac records today. I am experimenting using 'dub plates' which are much harder than vinyl and cut one at a time. It looks like you can get about 10 or so plays out of them before they succumb to the weight of the reproducer head and needle on gramophone.

There are some wonderful 78rpm shellac discs available .. I just received a disc of Danse Macabre to play
J
Eddie Garland
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Eddie Garland and Gramophone.

The Curator
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Http://www.gravuredevinyls.fr/
http://www.vinylogue.com/

You can press one record here. So, if you want to press your own 'Conjure of Sacrifice' (Skeleton Key) here, no problemo.
jiggerypokery
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On Aug 25, 2014, The Curator wrote:
Http://www.gravuredevinyls.fr/
http://www.vinylogue.com/

You can press one record here. So, if you want to press your own 'Conjure of Sacrifice' (Skeleton Key) here, no problemo.


Thank you for those valuable links. Those companies will make you a 'dubplate' which is a one off record that is cut into a material rather than pressed. This is a good solution and what I use.
If you want one made for playing on a gramaphone it must be 10 inch at 78RPM and while it will play, you must consider the record sacrificial as it will give you only a few plays. How many depends on several factors including how often you change the needle and the weight of the particular reproducer head of your phonograph.

They advertise using PVC for the one off cuttings which is comparable to the acetate plates I use. I am not sure which will give you more plays.

You will be able to find recording companies who can cut single records in many places. What does not seem to exist today is anyone who is making a shellac record which is durable enough to withstand the weight of the reproducer head and needle.

The most visual gramophones are of course the ones with the large trumpet sound horn .. the down side is these are the heaviest on the records. The cabinet and portable "picnick" or "suitcase" models are far less weight on the reproducer head and record. The cabinet ones give you the best bass. Also think about teh time period you want to evoke. The big flared horn wind up models gave way to elegant cabinet console models fairly quickly.

The Crap-o-phone is the affectionate name for the cheap modern reproduction you easily find. They range form £60 - 150 and work well enough. The nice thing is because it is modern you have no issues tinkering with it or with modifying it to enhance its abilities.

A very nice antique in reliable working condition can set you back hundreds at a minimum to thousands.

This is a link to an almost sacrilegious use of an old gramophone but an excellent example of possibility .. This is a modern pop song cut into a dubplate and played back on a wind up gramophone:
http://www.amish.classicalgasemissions.c......elly.wav

Frightening but eye opening.
The Curator
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Some gramophones have different speeds 33, 45 or 78 RPM.
jiggerypokery
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On Aug 25, 2014, The Curator wrote:
Some gramophones have different speeds 33, 45 or 78 RPM.


The modern ones do, but the 33 1/3 rpm 12 inch long play record wasn't introduced to the public till 1948.
For the purposes of this discussion I am working with pre 1940's record technology -
Wind up gramophones with needle and diaphragm reproducers and an acoustic horn Those played at 78 rpm which was standardized by 1925. Before that date other speeds were much higher up to 130 RPM. The slower speeds weren't available till later and the 45 overtook the 78 in the 1950's with successful marketing to teenagers.

There are loads of different directions and technologies available and so anyone wanting to play with this for an effect is certainly not limited to a specific technology, brant, or time period.

Lots to play with here ..
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