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MMD > Archives > October 2002 > 2002.10.21 > 04Prev  Next

The Best Upright Reproducing Piano
By Larry Norman

My best upright reproducing piano is my 1914 Steinway with Aeolian
Duo-Art reproducing system.  It has a lot of features.  There is a
3-position switch, that you can move from playing full reproducing
Duo-Art rolls, then move the switch to the center position to play the
Themodist rolls, which are basically 88 note rolls with the theme
accented.  Kind of gives you a little bit of expression.  The third
position is for 88-note rolls, and on the early Aeolians it would allow
all 88 notes to be played -- super nice when you have some of those old
rolls that did encompass the full 88-note range of the piano.

It is great to play my Duo-Art rolls and listen to the full expression

In the second position, I love to put on one of those Themodist
Metrostyle rolls.  It means you can get to use all the levers down on
the front of the keys to add a bit of your own expression to the rolls.
You first set up tempo of the roll, then set the pointer to the red
tempo line on the roll and as the roll is turning you can slide the
Tempomamic knob from side to side to follow the tempo coded by the
arranger of the roll.  Sometimes I think the arranger must have had a
few too many the night before as some of the tempo changes get rather
crazy at times.

The Temponamic knob also turns to allow changes of loudness to the
accompaniment notes.  The levers on the left side are for theme
loudness and theme bass and treble accents.  It gets pretty wild on
some Themodist-Metrostyle rolls, trying to move the theme volume or
loudness as well as following the tempo changes and the loudness lever
of for the theme.  You sometimes wonder who is the crazy fool that came
up with such madness in the first place.  So it makes you appreciate
the same tempo standard 88 note rolls even more.

When in the 88-note position, the lever controls can be used to add
expression much more better than the Welte and Ampico reproducers can
to 88-note rolls.  You can use the Temponamic knob to vary the tempo
and vary the volume or loudness from very soft to very loud.  (Loudness
can also be varied using the far left control which can be set to
select from Concert, Mezzo Forte, Soft, or Dance.)  And you can use the
Theme loudness lever in conjunction, with using the Bass and Treble
Theme levers, to accent very quickly certain notes.  So, you can give
quite a bit of expression to an 88-note roll.

The only disadvantage is when you go to an old foot pumped 88-note
player to use the levers for expression, you have to remember that on
the 88-note foot pumper that the levers or buttons, move the hammer
rail and control softness and not loudness or accent.  Maybe that's why
I always lose the pumper contests?  ;-))  Because you have to use your
feet on a foot pumper to accent certain notes instead of the lever

Musically Yours,
Larry Norman -  in the heart of the Blue Ridge mountains

(Message sent Mon 21 Oct 2002, 11:08:33 GMT, from time zone GMT-0400.)

Key Words in Subject:  Best, Piano, Reproducing, Upright

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