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MMD > Archives > May 1999 > 1999.05.15 > 05Prev  Next

Remastering 88-Note Rolls
By Craig Brougher

Remastering an 88-note master roll for "A" roll coin piano use requires
musical knowledge and lots of re-editing (much less than doing so for
the G roll).

You can retube the 88-note reader to a 65-hole perforator but you have
to know first what key you're in, what notes to eliminate, what notes
to octave couple or transpose in general as a starting point with the
tubing.  Then as an editor, which to transpose into  octaves, or which
to 10ths, 3rds, 5ths, 7ths, etc. and where to simply add the chord or
break that cannot be copied off.

For example, many of the characteristic pianistic effects are going to
be played back and forth across the breaks between the scales.  Many
more catchy rhythmic devices are going to be lost altogether in the
bass.  You can't just copy the notes that are included and forget the
ones out of scale which justify them.

The problem comes in when you try to remaster a full piano arrangement
that takes advantage of all notes on a regular keyboard, into a
compressed arrangement that still sounds full and rich and rhythmic,
without "holes. "

Another problem will be held notes.  Coin pianos (both A and G) don't
sound good with held over notes-- notes sustained very long on the
keyboard.  Reasons for this include the fact that some "A" pianos like
Cremona G or Seeburg E used pipes, and sustained countermelody notes in
the solo section drained the reservoir too fast and didn't sound right.
They also don't have that perky sound customers liked, since a sus-
tained mandolin rail is likewise inactive for too long.

On the other hand, quick staccato notes, that the piano can get away
with by itself, do not work well with a pipe playing coin piano either,
when the pipes are switched in.  Those notes have to be lengthened to
discern the melody from the incidental notes.  So those arrangements
still had to be greatly modified if done right, such that the musical
limitations of all "A" and "G" roll instruments are acknowledged.

Another trick sometimes employed was a bass tremolo.  When added to G
roll arrangements, it made the instrument sound as though it had some
heavy, deep pipes in it, when played along with the pipe section.  Very
clever.  Just like a pedal stop.

The point made here is that any time you remaster an 88-note roll for
coin piano duty, you basically re-arrange it too -- if you are doing a
good job.  Very few if any 88-note rolls will make good masters without
a tremendous amount of rearranging, which is still very time-consuming.
You can easily spend 2-3 days per tune, after it's arranged, keyed
right, and ready to scale out.  I realize that it's easy to over-
simplify the work required to do it right, until you've done it.

Craig Brougher

(Message sent Sat 15 May 1999, 15:15:46 GMT, from time zone GMT-0500.)

Key Words in Subject:  88-Note, Remastering, Rolls

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