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MMD > Archives > August 2019 > 2019.08.24 > 03Prev  Next

Welte-Mignon (Licensee) Recording Process
By Bob Taylor

Analysis of the possible existence of a dynamic recorder for the Welte
system continues.  There has never been any doubt that there existed
some method of recording the notes.  Also, there has never been any
question that Welte rolls can sound outstanding.  But the dynamic, or
"seismic" recordings have never been proved.  ("Seismic" is normally
used in earthquakes, but has been used in this thread.)

I am more than willing to believe the existence of a Welte dynamic
recorder if some valid proof is made available.  What has made me
skeptical are efforts to prove the existence of a dynamic recorder
by using obviously bogus evidence.

This thread was started by referencing the Music Trade Review (MTR)
article from January 17, 1925.  In that first post, only the oval
picture from the MTR article was seen (provided as a link to the image).
But going directly to the archived source and reading the entire
article, more "trickery" can be found.

During the course of the national sales meeting reported in that MTR
article, one attendee is spontaneously asked to play a tune on the
recording piano.  About an hour later, a finished roll of that playing
is heard, astonishing all.  This is one of the oldest tricks in the

Consider that the person playing the piano is in on the trick.  In
advance of the meeting he made the recording and the editors completed
the coding and a roll was made.  Then at the meeting he merely plays the
tune live as if he where making a recording.  Thus the illusion that the
roll was made in one hour's time.

Since the Welte dynamic coding for each note is dependent on the
expression system status from playing the previous note, and since
there is a variable finite time to change the expression status, coding
becomes complex.  Pop rolls, more so than classical music rolls, require
numerous "resets" by using the Sforzando Off code to achieve accented
melody intermixed with accompaniment.

Even using today's high speed computers, the task of sorting out Welte
code is ominous.  Absent computers, in 1925 no editor could finish
coding a descent roll in one hour.  Keep in mind, the actual perforation
time, spooling, and other tasks would consume a large portion of that
one hour.  Claiming that the roll was made, start to finish, in one hour
is so absolutely ridiculous I'm surprised they got anyone to believe it.

Those of us who love magic shows know there are no real magicians, they
are really just Illusionists.

Within this one MTR article we see two examples of the Auto-Pneumatic
Co. promoting the existence of a recording system by bogus means.  Why?

Where is the real proof?

Bob Taylor

(Message sent Sat 24 Aug 2019, 20:11:59 GMT, from time zone GMT-0700.)

Key Words in Subject:  Licensee, Process, Recording, Welte-Mignon

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