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MMD > Archives > December 1999 > 1999.12.03 > 10Prev  Next

Kastner "Kastonome" Accenting Player System
By Craig Brougher

Having read about the Kastonome accenting system, with special
attention to keeping my jaw closed while doing so, I was struck by
the amazing complexity of such an instrument at such an early date.
I was also amazed that the pedals on the piano were apparently ignored
in deference to note accents, making the roll so laborious to play and
enjoy.  It is completely amazing to me that someone would invest money
building such a player -- but, there it is!

Now I am wondering how it works, of course.  For instance, how was it
possible to stack accent holes on top of each other in columns and yet
get the accent for a specific note on the sheet, without also accenting
all the other notes in the column, which might coincide with some notes
playing at the exact same time?

I can imagine that the designer would probably stack unlikely notes
together, but after that all you can say is, the piano would be limited
to music that didn't play unlikely notes together.

The next question is how the accents were achieved.  The player stack
was just an ordinary stack (Autopiano), or so it appears.  That means
that the "individual accent" is going to be expressed across the entire
stack at a time and then "bang-bang-bang-bang-bang" down the column of
unwanted holes as well, even though it was intended for a specific note
or chord (it would be interesting to hear what would happen during
rhythmic arpeggios and runs up and down the keys, too).

Possibly the stack was "split."  But the best you can get with a split
stack is still no more ideal than any other reproducer can manage, and
the true dynamics of the accents are impossible to achieve.

It is an amazing system, for sure.  This is a real collector's item,
and I congratulate Inigo for finding it.  I hope that he can get it
fully operational, once again, but I wouldn't want it for my first
player piano.

Craig Brougher

 [ I, too, was biting my tongue!  My impression is that it was designed
 [ by a music fan who understood little about the accents and rhythm of
 [ a piano performance.  All commercially successful accenting systems
 [ accept the small compromise wherein the accented theme notes are
 [ displaced slightly away from the softer accompaniment notes.
 [ -- Robbie

(Message sent Fri 3 Dec 1999, 13:36:59 GMT, from time zone GMT-0600.)

Key Words in Subject:  Accenting, Kastner, Kastonome, Player, System

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