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MMD > Archives > May 1999 > 1999.05.20 > 12Prev  Next

Comparison of Artecho and Ampico Systems
By Dave Saul

Conversion of Artecho performances to Ampico, as suggested by Michael
Swanson in the May 19 digest, is an interesting topic deserving serious
consideration.  While the discussion that follows is certainly not
complete or rigorous,  certain key factors are pointed out that need
to be taken into account by anyone attempting a conversion from one of
these systems to the other.

Coding similarities of Artecho to Ampico "A" rolls become readily
apparent to anyone who studies those systems.  Information on tracker
scales for Artecho and Ampico can be found in  the Reblitz-Bowers book,
"Treasures of Mechanical Music", in Larry Givens' "Rebuilding the
Player Piano", as well as in other publications.

The Ampico and Artecho each play the same 83 notes.  I seem to recall
that the pneumatic stack division point is the same in both systems,
although I can find nothing in print or in my notes at this time to
verify that.

Intensity coding is nearly identical in the respective systems, with
the exception that the coding is situated in different tracks for the
two respective roll types.

Both systems also use a crescendo system in connection with intensity
steps.  At this point, however, differences in coding tend to compli-
cate conversion attempts.  Whereas the Ampico crescendo operates in
the manner of a ramp function, increasing or decreasing at either of
two rates (fast or slow crescendo or decrescendo), the Artecho cresc-
endo can be coded to assume a fixed level and remain there for any
convenient length of time.  Moreover, the Artecho does not utilize
independently coded tracks for "fast" and "slow" crescendo as does
the Ampico.

Another conversion problem needing to be addressed is the hammer rail
lift.  The Artecho uses a split hammer rail lift that operates inde-
pendently in bass and treble sections above and below the pneumatic
stack division point.  In any converted performance, expression coding
would be impacted whenever bass and treble notes of an Artecho per-
formance are played with hammer rail up on one side and down on the

The Artecho system also has a "pianissimo" capability which is func-
tionally similar to the "sub intensity" of the Ampico "B".  However,
the bulk of Artecho coding would lend itself much more readily to the
Ampico "A" format because (in part) of the independent bass and treble
crescendo operation common to the Artecho and the Ampico "A".

While none of the Artecho to Ampico conversion problems are insurmount-
able, they are more formidable than first impressions would suggest. An
accurate conversion would require a considerable of detailed editing.
Success would depend on the skill and musical understanding of the
person doing the work. Such being the case, conversion from one system
to the other would have a far greater chance of success if undertaken
by someone having musical expertise and prior experience in music roll

Dave Saul
Precision Music Rolls

(Message sent Thu 20 May 1999, 17:08:37 GMT, from time zone GMT-0500.)

Key Words in Subject:  Ampico, Artecho, Comparison, Systems

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