The first true Player Piano respectively Pianola was completed by Edwin Scott Votey by the spring or summer of 1895, although it was descended from a whole line of roll-operated musical instruments that stretched back to the mid-1870s.
Besides playing works from the standard piano repertoire, Pianolas may be used for music limited by the restrictions of the human hand. Well over one hundred composers have written or arranged special Pianola compositions over the years, including Stravinsky, Hindemith, Milhaud, Percy Grainger and Herbert Howells. Technological innovations in recent history (from XX century) have contributed for additional improvements to the modern piano .
In recent times the Pianola was used by the late American composer, Conlon Nancarrow, for an extended series of musical studies, and there are currently several composers writing contemporary music for the instrument.