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MMD > Archives > July 1999 > 1999.07.26 > 15Prev  Next

High-Resolution Optical Music Roll Reader
By John McClelland

Hi All,  I have been doing a little research now for several years
regarding an efficient and portable way of reading piano rolls.  I have
located a firm that presently has a CCD optical reader that is used in
various applications.  I spoke with the president and chief engineer
about adapting his present design to reading rolls.  He became in-
trigued and was willing to discuss the matter further with me.  He
also indicated that this is his livelihood, so he has to make a profit.

I thought I  would see if there is enough interest among MMD members
that might justify his making 3 or 4 of these machines.  Economy of
scale figures in at that quantity, so the units would probably cost
around $6,000 each.  For that you would get a fully functional unit
that would be synchronous, stepping rate would be variable (based on
the type of roll being read), software would be done to the point of
being able to save the data on your hard drive or floppy in MIDI

The unit reads at 200 dots per inch (which may not be sufficient
resolution for some) and has a maximum scan speed of 13 inches per
second (which would be slowed waaayy down for those delicate rolls).
Other specifications could be defined by the consortium of buyers,
based on your particular application.

I think that such a device would be very useful, not only for 11-1/4"
wide 9-to-the-inch rolls, but perhaps other formats, both American
and European.

Yes, it's a lot of money, but I have had little success in doing much on
my own.  Other hobbyists seem to be very protective about their designs
and devices.  My great interest is in saving Welte Mignon rolls; I have
located about 3500 unique titles, but have no way to collect the data.
Perhaps there are other enthusiasts in MMD, who are willing to make the
investment to save their particular interest before they turn to
crumbly bits of paper.

If you're interested, contact me via email and I'll provide more

John McClelland

 [ That sounds interesting, John.  I'll help write a system Acceptance
 [ Test Procedure (ATP) which you can discuss with the vendor.  What
 [ hardware and software must the user provide to make a complete roll
 [ transcriber?  -- Robbie

(Message sent Sun 25 Jul 1999, 19:01:48 GMT, from time zone GMT-0700.)

Key Words in Subject:  High-Resolution, Music, Optical, Reader, Roll

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