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MMD > Archives > June 2001 > 2001.06.07 > 08Prev  Next

Accuracy of Recut Music Rolls
By Paul Murphy

I think there are a couple of different critters, both called "recuts."
My understanding, from visiting Keystone Music Rolls (Bethlehem, PA)
and seeing the operation there, is that some recuts are actually new,
_real_ instances of vintage rolls.  Not only are they cut on the
original equipment, they are cut from the original masters.

I believe there also are machines that copy rolls by playing them over
a tracker bar and feeding the pneumatic output into a cutting machine.
I imagine the results here are compromised by the quality of the
"fragile" old roll used in the process.  If it has soft margins,
wanders around on the tracker bar, and generally wouldn't play decently
on a well-regulated piano, it probably wouldn't cut a very accurate new
roll either.

And that brings up the topic which I sense Lee Brown and I agree on.
I would rather have a newly-minted instance of a great old roll than
actually have the deteriorating original itself. I love many "antiques,"
but I don't generally prize a mechanical antique that barely works or
doesn't work at all.  Give me a roll that really makes my piano do its

I do have a few remarkable old rolls that still play accurately and are
pretty close to unavailable.  I've thought of having someone recut them
for me, but the costs are high unless you can get other collectors to
join in.  Maybe I should advertise on MMD, describe the great old roll
and ask for collaborators in my preservation enterprise.  :-)

Paul Murphy

(Message sent Thu 7 Jun 2001, 10:58:43 GMT, from time zone GMT-0400.)

Key Words in Subject:  Accuracy, Music, Recut, Rolls

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