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4.0
3 votes

Orchestria Palm Court

27 E William Street, San Jose, California 95112 USA

$$
$$$$
Reasonable
Closed Now
Opens Fri 5:45p

“Healthful food, tuneful music”

The Orchestria Palm Court restaurant operation is located in a rustic restored 1910 brick structure, complete with its original skylights.  It strives to emulate the character of restaurants and bars of the early part of the 20th century, which was largely defined by mechanical music equipment.  These machines were truly the "high tech" of their time, and efforts to out-engineer and out-market against competitors in the field were every bit as fierce as they are in today's high-tech industries. Music of the era, such as ragtime, jazz, blues, and novelty songs, was nearly always written to be played on a piano.  Sheet music provided the general tune, but it could only "come to life" by the skills of the artist playing the piano.  This is why we are fortunate to have transcriptions of actual performing artists on the day - in the form of the piano roll.  The premier recording medium of the period, the perforated paper roll allowed notes and controls punched in the paper to operate the piano by working off vacuum from an electric pump.  More importantly, it permitted a skilled arranger to encode the artist's expression in the music.  Thus, the electric piano became a primary source of entertainment in an era before audio amplification was developed.  The name Orchestria Palm Court derives from the term "orchestrion", a high-end version of the electric piano that also operates pipe, percussion, and even string instruments from the same punched paper roll.  These were popular as substitutes for small orchestras, and reached their technological pinnacle in the 1920s. Once amplified radio and jukeboxes became popular, the demand for orchestrions subsided; the stock market crash of 1929 effectively killed off further development.  Yet music from these machines remains entertaining today as it was then.  At the Palm Court, music comes from a variety of musical instruments; piano, pipes, bells, drums, and even a violin take part in making the songs come alive.   We also play vintage vocal tracks from the era on our two period jukeboxes.

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Orchestria Palm Court

27 E William Street
San Jose, California
95112 USA

Hours

Closed Now
  • Fri, Sat: 5:45 pm - 8:45 pm
  • Sun: 4:30 pm - 7:30 pm

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