Dear Sam, Julian and the MMD: I write in response to Sam Harris'
posting in 990505 MMD inquiring about the status of the "Killer"
Duo-Art test roll I first discussed in MMD of October 12, 1998.
I ultimately did create a Duo-Art test roll for my own use, and would
be willing to sell copies of it under Meliora Music Rolls, if there
is any interest. My goal was to improve on the "classic" Duo-Art test
roll, Test Roll # 3. Let me first explain how my test roll differs
from Aeolian's Test Roll # 3:
(1) The note repetition test is far more taxing, and requires the
piano to be able to do repetitions with the Duo-Art "off" at the rate
of 8 notes per second. Most folks seem to agree that a properly
restored player should be capable of at LEAST 8 noes per second
(2) There is no "functional" difference in the "tempo" test; you
set the tempo at 70, and begin timing when first treble blip appears.
The treble note "blips" should occur at 10 second intervals (as in the
original, the repetition test and tempo tests occur over the same
"segment" of the test roll.
(3) Each of the Accompaniment and Theme Level tests are repeated three
times so that the tech does not have to keep getting up from under the
piano to rewind (or at least not as much).
(4) Chopin's E-minor Waltz, played by Ethel Leginska (DA # 67079) was
substituted for the rather lame "Indian Love Call" on the Test Roll #3.
After speaking with several player techs, I got the sense that the
first order of business for regulating a Duo-Art from a dynamic "level"
standpoint was to *make the piano play the test roll properly.* This
was the assumption on which Aeolian relied in making its rolls; i.e.,
that the pianos which played Duo-Art rolls would also play the test
roll properly. Thus I did not fiddle with the theme / accompaniment
level testing of the Duo-Art test roll 3A; I simply repeated each of
the tests 3 times.
I am aware that talented techs can extend the dynamic range of a
Duo-Art beyond the test roll, for reasons of personal preference, but
as Duo-Art rolls were recorded by Aeolian with the "idea" of playback
on a piano with certain parameters*, I question whether a "test" roll
should ever do this. On the other hand, someone could make a different
"test" roll which had certain, specific tendencies, but the manufactur-
er of such a roll would want to make sure the customer was aware of
this. ("This is a test roll for making your Duo-Art have a broader
dynamic range over the entire spectrum, etc.").
I'm sure this will spur a lively debate.
Sorry to have been late in responding; sadly, the "RJ" ("real job")
has recently been intruding upon my time to a greater extent than was
the case previously.
Meliora Music Rolls
* I make this statement with an awareness of the different design
changes of the Duo-Art during the 2+ decades of its manufacture.