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MMD > Archives > August 1997 > 1997.08.21 > 04Prev  Next

Preservation of Mechanical Music
By Wayne Stahnke

In re-reading the recent postings regarding the best method for making
new copies of music rolls, it occurred to me that the discussion has
taken an increasingly academic turn.  Such technical discussions run the
risk of leaving many readers (especially those without formal training in
accuracy and tolerance) with an inadequate understanding of the pluses
and minuses of the underlying approaches.  This in turn means that only
specialists can take part in the discussion, which is a mistake for a
forum of this type.

I would like to see a broader understanding and discussion of the issues
at hand.  The idea of restoring a master roll, in particular, is an un-
obvious idea that is new to many readers of the Digest.

In order to acquaint readers with this notion, I have prepared a package
that will allow any subscriber of the Digest to examine a restored master
roll.  This is a valuable exercise; the internal structure of a master
roll, and the advantages of using it, are best appreciated by examining
one or more rolls themselves.  The equipment required to use the package
is as follows:

     (1) A computer capable of running Windows 3.X or Windows 95,
     (2) The ability to unzip a file,
     (3) A copy of the Ampico roll of Rachmaninoff playing his Prelude
         in C-sharp minor (this must be a roll made in the 1920s, not
         a recut),
     (4) A magnifying glass,
     (5) Sufficient interest and patience on the part of the user to
         invest at least an hour in hole-by-hole examination of the
         paper roll and master roll image.

If you are interested in obtaining a copy of the package, let me know by
e-mail and I will send you a copy privately.  I can guarantee that you
will come away from the exercise with a much improved understanding of
the standards and practices of Ampico roll manufacturing techniques.  I
will be out of town until Monday, so please do not expect a response from
me until then.

With best regards,

Wayne Stahnke

 [ The Prelude Op. 3 No. 2 in C-sharp minor was issued circa 1921 as
 [ Ampico 57504.  It appears also on Jumbo roll 100075 (4 tunes), but
 [ this later version may not be as suitable for Wayne's demonstration.
 [ (I wonder if Wayne thinks I need the magnifying glass to peer at the
 [ computer monitor. ... He's right!  ;)   -- Robbie

(Message sent Thu 21 Aug 1997, 16:22:38 GMT, from time zone GMT-0700.)

Key Words in Subject:  Mechanical, Music, Preservation

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