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MMD > Archives > May 1999 > 1999.05.20 > 13Prev  Next

Art-Echo Rolls Aren't Similar to Ampico
By Dean Randall

In MMD 990519 Michael Swanson asks if the Art-Echo and Ampico systems
are really very similar, with regard to making simple transfers of
rolls from one format to another.  The answer, unfortunately, is that
they are not.  Yes, there are many similarities, both systems having
been manufactured by Amphion, but there are significant differences
which would make roll transfers far from simple.

The Art-Echo has a sub-intensity (called "pianissimo by Art-Echo);
the Ampico A has not.  It is used differently from the Ampico B sub-

The crescendoes are "pulsed" up and down in the Art-Echo for infinitely
variable speed.  In the Ampico they are not, so it is possible to have
a set of crescendo perfs in an Art-Echo roll a foot long that may raise
the level only to mf if that was the editor's intention.

The hammer-rail is divided bass & treble in the Art-Echo and is often
used independently.  The Ampico hammer-rail is not divided.  The
hammer-rail signals are lock & cancel, not a long perforation as with

Probably most difficult to deal with is that, whereas in the Ampico
system having the 1 and 2 intensity holes simultaneously open is equal
to having the 3rd intensity hole alone open (1+2=3), in the Art-Echo
this isn't quite true.  If the "normal" (zero) setting is 5 1/2",
the 1st intensity produces 6 1/2" alone, the 2nd produces 8" alone,
and the 3rd produces 12 1/2" of water lift when on alone.

As in the Ampico, the intensities are superimposed upon the

All the holes in the Art-Echo tracker bar are the same size, (except
the sustain) as in the Welte, so for some functions, the paper perfora-
tions need to begin at different places on the roll relative to the
notes they affect.

I think, but may not remember accurately, that the bass/treble division
in the stack is in a different place as well.

In short, while any transcription between any of the systems can
certainly be done by a talented person who understands the systems
well, it really isn't any simpler to go from Art-Echo to Ampico than
from Duo-Art or Welte to Ampico.  It's not just a question of the
functions having different tracker bar port locations.

While I have absolutely no doubt that some have tubed up an Art-Echo to
play Ampico rolls, the musical result would not be very close to what
the Ampico roll intends.

As a matter of interest, much of the classical music for the Art-Echo
was transcribed from Welte masters.  (Read Bowers' "Encyclopedia of 
Automatic Musical Instruments" for the details of this.)

Dean Randall  ~ on potentially hot and sunny Puget Sound*
  * (according to the notorious weather forecasters)

(Message sent Thu 20 May 1999, 05:55:40 GMT, from time zone GMT-0700.)

Key Words in Subject:  Ampico, Aren't, Art-Echo, Rolls, Similar

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