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MMD > Archives > July 1997 > 1997.07.24 > 10Prev  Next


"M" Rolls vs. "O" Rolls
By Craig Brougher

I would like to briefly clarify the discussion of opinions about the O
and M rolls and say that basically, John Rutowsky and I agree.  It's just
that sometimes, we don't read the other fellow before we launch our
contrary opinions, only to be reminded later that that is what I was
trying to say in defense of the O roll.

For example, I said the main difference between those rolls was the
selector device controls.  That is true from a mechanical instrument
viewpoint, not true from a musical standpoint -- which I clarified for
that viewpoint.  John forgot the instance and disagreed.  John prefers
the M roll over the O roll, without multiplexing involved.  I do to, as I
have already said.  So John is really arguing with someone else, I guess.
John's first paragraph said:

>First off, when I say that the arrangements on an "M" roll are better
>than the "O" roll, it is not only a personal opinion, but is based on
>the theory of the two scales when viewed side by side comparing their
>actual physical limitations.  (in other words, a personal opinion and a
theory)

>Forget about multiplexing rolls by cutting in actual perforations to
>multiplex and add further arrangements.  It is time consuming, and no
>one is going to do that in any quantity to make a difference.  For that
>matter, I could transform a home player piano roll into an orchestrion
>roll given a razor blade and a few hours time.

That neither comment is strictly correct, therefore his premise is
inapplicable from the beginning, let me quote myself, and remember, my
comments were based on multiplexing rolls -- solely! John's comments
were based on never multiplexing.  I said:

"Another way of looking at it is, if you do not care to multiplex, and
want to have two separate solo ranks of pipes and a xylophone instead
of two ranks of pipes that come on together, and a xylophone, then an M
roll is the way to go.  That's at the expense of a Good Snare Drum,
wood block, and 78 playing notes, as compared to 64.  That, to my mind,
is just too much of a trade-off!" ( I explained that 66 notes are 1
octave-coupled.  We'll get to that momentarily)

"If you planned to make no changes in the instrument you build, and if
a couple dozen rolls is all you will ever need, the Cremona M is great!
As a matter of fact, in that instance, I prefer it in more cases than
not.  But the O roll is still the better choice for a music library and
for the best expression, and from there, you can make your orchestrion
do about anything you want it to."

"and the fact that the extra hole positions in the M roll are "used,"
so unless you tape over them, you can't use them to multiplex with!
That means, you have to "change" the roll format, whereas in the O roll
with a new trackerbar, you don't."

As for the ability to take any existing 88 note roll and in a few
hours' time, create an orchestrion roll, that is impossible-- unless
you want to CHANGE the music by taping over the note holes in order to
add your own.  Better to start with a blank roll from scratch, John.

My entire premise was based on two principles that John cannot deny: 1)
IF you decide to multiplex, the O roll is the way to go for two
reasons: A.  There is a vast library of music readily available for it,
and B.  You can get the same musical effects that are available from
the really huge orchestrions-- the sky's the limit.  2) I do not like
the snare drum in a Cremona.  They try to do too much with a single
beater and the expression capability of the instrument is very limited.

Let me explain further: The empathy of the music is always in the
dynamics.  The most single important instrument in the entire format to
make this difference is the snare drum.  But it isn't possible to
control both clean single taps and rolls with one snare beater! So it
rrrrips along like a Seeburg G.  Now, for peppy music, that's not too
bad.  But if you ever picked up some classical music, it is the straw
that breaks the camel's back.  You won't like it.

And when you try to get swelling or diminishing crescendo rolls on a
snare drum with one beater and some single taps interspersed, the
single beater snare misses beats for the vacuum latitude required to do
that.  Believe me, a good snare with full expression capability makes
all the difference in the world! Go all out and build a good snare
drum, like I show in my book, and you won't be sorry.  But then, you
have to have a format that will play it! I also show how to build a
dual beater to take the place of a single beater.  It isn't quite as
good as having two snare drum tracks, but it's a lot better than what
Cremona uses.

Now about the statement that multiplexing is so time-consuming, editing
the rolls that nobody is going to do that...

I doubt that John has read my book.  90% of the multiplexing in an O
machine is automatic, anyway-- in other words, I've arranged it so that
you make NO CHANGES.  However, there are two extra holes on new
trackerbars.  So these extra holes (which are outside the note compass
of an original O format) are connected to SIL/C's (Single Input Lock
and Cancels) and so the first hole you cut turns on something, and the
next one turns it off.  It takes about 5 minutes/song to add in your
extra solo rank and the entire accompaniment section! So an hour later,
you have a ten tune roll ready to play.

It isn't hard at all, and a double bladed scalpel knife does the trick.
It fits right into the trackerbar hole through the paper.  You pull the
roll about 1/4" and you've got a small, short slot.  Then you remove
the paper between those cuts and go on to the next place where you want
to turn that rank off again.  The machine is on all the time, so you
can hear it at the same time you are editing.  By using the PPCo's
spoolframes, you are able to unplug the drive motor power and manually
control the paper yourself.

Regarding the octave-coupled bass that adds the 12 notes, I said that
if you were to play those notes marimba-like in sort of a pseudo-
tremolo, it sounds very much like bass pipes.  Seeburg G's do that on
occasion.  It makes one think that they have pipes extending all the
way down to bottom! That's really all the clever you need, John! I
want to encourage arrangers not to give up on O rolls because of
self-imposed limitations.  It just ain't so.

Also, I have "O" rolls, and quite a few, which play 4 notes at a time
in the pipe sections.  Usually during melody note transitions, where
the held notes overlap.  The number of pipes playing at one beat in the
music isn't so important, anyway.  It's the length of time they keep
them turned on that really counts.  A "G" will gas out very quickly too
with long held notes-- especially in the bass.  Its pump was not much
larger than a single rank O machine, by the way-- certainly not twice
the size-- but its double rank of pipes were much larger, and yet, the
"G" could play up to _16 pipes_ at any given instance.  I rebuilt a "G"
with two large diameter flute ranks, and it still played just fine.

So to say that the "O" didn't have the capability to play more than two
small melody pipes isn't true, John.  It had 8 fewer pipe notes, and
smaller pipes, at that.  The Seeburg breezed right through it with more
pipes, larger pipes, and _8 times_ as many pipes playing at one time as
you claim the "O" could manage.  Either the "O" had 1/8th the pumping
capacity of the Seeburg G, or there is something else wrong with your
premise! (hint: roll arranging)

If you would like a roll number to check out what I'm telling you, then
if my memory serves correctly, you will possibly find solo chords in
O-1005, O-1006, O-1007, O-1038G, and there's lots of others.  The O
machines had plenty of reserve, and you don't have to feel limited to
play only intervals.  You can chord in the solo if you want to, or hold
down notes in a run or glissando.  Most O-roll limitations are
self-imposed.

Craig Brougher


(Message sent Thu 24 Jul 1997, 14:25:49 GMT, from time zone GMT.)

Key Words in Subject:  M, O, Rolls, vs

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