Mannheim Steamroller

Reading an article on the life of Mozart yesterday, I ran across the mention of a “Mannheim steamroller” as an orchestral sound effect, from its creation and used by the orchestra at the court of the Duke of Mannheim.

So: what musical work would it be in so I can listen to it?

I am not sure about its use as a sound effect.

But there is a “group” known as Mannheim Steamroller. They play mostly commonly known instrumental songs but they do so with a bit of flair. I cannot really describe their “style”, but I do have several of their CDs.

They really are quite good. A quick look brought up which seems to be their home. I am sure Chip Davis or someone else there could tell you if their name has any meaning.


Mannheim is a city in the Rheinland palatianate of Germany, perhaps 100km South of Frankfurt, adn this is where the group “Mannheim Steamrollers” hails from. As for the sound effect, I once heard a rumour that this was first played at the Rosengarten, an old concert hall in the center of Mannheim. However, what that sound might be or if this rumnour is indeed true I can not say.

It only hurts when I laugh.

I’ve known about the group for years, my stepdad plays their Christmas album every year. I’d be kinda suspect myself if it mentioned “Mannheim steamroller” all by its lonesome, but there were “Mannheim fireworks” mentioned as well. The article further stated that the Mannheim orchestra was noted for its sound effects such as the above. I’ll get the quote and put it in here tomorrow.

Cave Diem! Carpe Canem!

I had to take a year of Music History in college to get my music minor, (man, has that come in handy! :slight_smile: and I remember a little from the course. So if this is wrong, don’t blame me – blame my Music History teacher.

The Mannhiem orchestra at some point had a very loyal, active local following. It was kinda like following a local sports team today. The orchestra would come up with certain signature orchestrations that the fans became used to and would look forward to hearing. I imagine they’d probably get excited when they heard one coming. It’s like when your team scores.

The “Mannheim Steamroller” was executed by having different instruments come in one after the other and keep building and building to a loud wall of sound.

The “Mannheim Rocket” was executed by instruments forcefully going from low notes to high notes, I think all at the same time.

There were a few more, too, but I can’t remember.

I always thought that the group “Mannheim Steamroller” just picked that name referring to the Mannheim orchestra because it’s witty. Are they really from Mannheim?


Can’t help but note the “Star Trek”-Mannheim Steamroller connection.

Lawrence writes:

I am sorry but I am missing the connection. I am a Star Trek fan and a Mannheim Stemroller fan (not sure if fan is accurate but it will do). But I do not see the connection. Lawrence could you elaborate?


JAlan, you ROCK!

Here I been tuning in, turning on, and dropping out to “Sgt. Pepper” all these years, and I never knew I was listening to a Mannheim Steamroller. Thanks a bunch! :slight_smile:

Cave Diem! Carpe Canem!