Paper rolls are falling apart and one has to do something to save the
music they contain. Many that I know of, organ player rolls, are badly
damaged where the tracker bar ears rubbed against the edges, they are
not playable without severe risk. Thus, the present project of
building two optical scanners to safely transport the rolls and
digitize them for immediate preservation.
The paper, like Duo-Art rolls, was a high acid content and if nothing
is done in the next decade, all this wonderful playing will be only
a sad memory. Thank heavens for Chuck Kegg's recutting program. An
optical digital recording medium like a CD-ROM lasts much longer than
any magnetic medium, like a floppy disk or tape, and they are dirt
No one says that the data has to be in MIDI format. Any digital file
format is usable, just as long as it can be translated into a MIDI
format for playback on the present players on the market. And that is
only because people seem to be reluctant to abandon MIDI and use a much
better way to transmit data. This piano digitizing of rolls is really,
more or less, a stand alone system, so why restrict it to only MIDI?
Use a much better format and work with that.
Digital data can be copied every 25 years without degradation.
Don't condemn the digital format, condemn the medium you are using.
The museum archival medium of choice, so I am told by several people
in the field, is optical digital disks.
My own organ roll project does not use MIDI as the file format; but
a much better one. The data then will be re-recorded on CD-ROM's in
suites of selected music for playback. Yes, there is a MIDI conversion
circuit used, so the recording can be played back on my Allen organ;
but MIDI is not the original recording format, only for this one
playback use. And, CD-ROM's hold tons of music, just look at Spencer
Chase's Duo-Art piano disks. Enough music to play for a couple of days
non stop. What else is needed?