Piano Rolls: an explanation
At Kunst der Fuge you can now listen to real performances derived from old recordings made through mechanical pianolas (therefore on piano rolls). Recordings were realised by pianists amongst the best in musical history. Performances by great names, such as Rachmaninov, Godowsky, Rubinstein, Paderewsky, Volavy, Horowitz, Cortot, Ornstein, Wittgenstein, Levitski, Hofmann, Moiseiwitsch, Backhaus, Joplin, Roll-Morton are now available at kunstderfuge.com/piano-rolls.htm).
The transfer into MIDI support has been made possible thanks to the similarity of both supports, piano rolls and MIDI protocoll, and made with the help of scannings, using handcrafted and original equipment thanks to a few passionate engineers in various parts of the world (our reference: Terry Smith, Canada).
The transfer of piano rolls onto MIDI files allows for a true process of conservation of some of the most remarkable and most interesting recordings in all of music history.
In this sense the MIDI files herein are not sequences, or elaborations on MIDI support, but true recordings that were realized on rolls (therefore with the aid of real acoustic pianos) rather than on the traditional supports that, in the years 1910 to 1920, did not only exist as they now do, but above all, did not succeed in reproducing a good listening quality. For the same reason, the producers of the time (see also Paramount, Columbia, Ampico) preferred to advertise and to trade mechanical pianos and piano rolls rather than lighter supports such as records.
Nowadays, with a modern mechanical pianola (see the actual Disklavier of the Yamaha house which recently bought its rights, but also some faithful piano samplings, such as The Grand by Steinberg or some digital pianos produced by important houses such as Roland, Kaway, and again Yamaha, and Korg, Casio, Viscount, GEM, Hardman, Bontempi/Farfisa, StudioLogic) it is possible to reproduce more or less faithfully these MIDI files and listen to authentic performances and sonorous effects as though they were actual recordings made on digital support.
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