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MMD > Archives > August 2000 > 2000.08.26 > 09Prev  Next

Music Roll Acceleration and Compensation
By John A. Tuttle

Hi All,  Regarding Spencer Chase's question about accelerating
the tempo of MIDI files and BAR/ANN files to reflect the typical
'real-time' operation of a popular music roll being played on a
well-restored regular player piano, my opinion is that the MIDI
files and BAR/ANN files should be "error free".

I'm certain that there are hundreds, maybe thousands of examples
of machines, gauges, and other types of old instruments which were
non-linear to some degree.  Back then, 'digital technology' was
a paper roll running across a tracker bar.  Today we have digital
speedometers in our car instead of the old spring/friction wheel type
because they are far more accurate.  In this day and age it is not
necessary to 'live with' the inaccuracies of the past.  Therefore,
purposely 'adding in' an error for the sake of a replicating a poorly
performing instrument seems almost ludicrous.

Looking at it from another viewpoint, Ampico and Duo-Art (and perhaps
others) realized that something had to be done to compensate for the
natural increase in tempo back in the 1920's, and they did something
about it.  Is it reasonable to think that in the year 2000 we should
desire less quality?  I don't think so.

(I can see some poor technician in the mid-21st Century trying to
explain to a PowerRoll customer why the tempo of the music keeps
speeding up as the music plays: "Yes, Ma'am, they did it on purpose.
Why?  I haven't a clue.  I remember some old-timer saying they wanted
the music to sound more 'life-like' or something like that.  Course,
I never have been able to figure out whose 'life' they were talking
about!" ;-)

One opinion,

John A. Tuttle

If the listener is so intent on hearing undesirable tempo increases,
can't they change the tempo of the music themselves?

(Message sent Sat 26 Aug 2000, 17:04:57 GMT, from time zone GMT-0400.)

Key Words in Subject:  Acceleration, Compensation, Music, Roll

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