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MMD > Archives > August 1998 > 1998.08.07 > 05Prev  Next

New Roll Perforating Technology
By Dave Saul

Recent MMD postings have focused attention on the growing problem of
preserving musical performances in a time when so much original piano
roll paper is near the end of its useful life.

Relatively few factory masters are still around, and surviving ones are
in the same age category as original rolls.  Recuts as we have come to
know them are inexact approximations, poorly suited for future copying.

Like most of us, I've acquired many recuts over the years, and have
enjoyed them a great deal.  Enjoyable, yes, but from standpoint of true
preservation, something better is needed.

Fortunately, genuine progress is being made.  Thanks to the efforts
of Wayne Stahnke, electro-optical scanning has now been perfected that
provides a means for exact re-construction of perforated piano roll
performances.  The Wayne Stahnke scanning process generates a computer
file which is the electronic equivalent of a master roll.

It contains a rigorously accurate and complete mapping of all punch
operations that make up a given performance.  With such an electronic
master, it is possible to re-issue a performance, perforated on new
paper, with every punch corresponding exactly to the original.  There
is no copy degradation in the process.

I was quite enthusiastic when I learned of Wayne's new technology.
Buoyed by this enthusiasm, I made it my business to have the first
and (at least for now) the world's only perforator fully outfitted to
handle Wayne Stahnke's computerized masters and produce new rolls that
are punch-for-punch replicas of originals.

I am now in the process of putting together a modest collection of
master files of late Ampico rolls with B coding, and will be offering
a line of punch-for-punch replica rolls for sale later this year.  I'll
be including some very desirable late '30s popular titles not currently
available in electronic media.

If you would like to receive more information when these rolls become
available, please e-mail me at

Dave Saul

 [ I asked Dave how he evaluated the accuracy of his new perforator.
 [ He said that he would perforate a roll from a file provided by
 [ Wayne Stahnke, and then ship the new copy roll to Wayne, who
 [ would transcribe the copy roll with the same process used to
 [ transcribe the original roll.  Now he is able to perforate a long
 [ roll "that shows zero errors when Wayne transcribes my output roll
 [ and compares it to the transcription of the original.  How identical
 [ can you get!"
 [ -- Robbie

(Message sent Thu 6 Aug 1998, 14:08:34 GMT, from time zone GMT-0500.)

Key Words in Subject:  New, Perforating, Roll, Technology

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