PA MIDI files – Q and A
1. I’ve heard MIDI files of piano rolls but was not impressed.
It depends on how the rolls were converted to MIDI files. A simple method that has been used extensively is by adding a MIDI recording system to a player piano, and relying on the performance of the player. The PA erolls are from Ampico reproducing piano rolls that were “read” as MIDI files by a purpose-built electro-pneumatic “roll reader”. Download About the erolls for more information. Note that Bösendorfer now uses these MIDI files for promotional purposes of their CEUS range of player instruments.
2. Why a roll reader and not an optical scanner?
Optical scans are done by passing a piano roll over a scanning element, usually from an A3 computer desktop scanner. The resulting photocopy is processed after recording, so monitoring during recording is not possible. If a roll has fuzzy perforations, it can be difficult to tell between bridges and repeating notes, or when a note should start and stop. Optical “noise” is also generated, resulting in extra notes, or original notes being deleted. Because it’s more difficult to build an electro-pneumatic scanner, we thoroughly researched optical scanning as an option before deciding to “read” the rolls with air.
3. What is meant by “optimised for mechanical pianos”?
The internet offers a lot of free MIDI music (including scans of piano rolls) that can often only be played on a MIDI sound generator or computer. Playing this music on a Disklavier or PianoDisc can mean excessive volume, lost notes, poor repetition, missed phrasing and bad pedalling. The PA erolls were developed from the outset for use on a mechanical piano. Each file was monitored during recording on a mechanical piano and the volume range is set to suit a typical Disklavier or PianoDisc. They sound fine when played “electronically”, but are at their best on a real piano. See downloads page for sample files to try on your piano.
4. Piano rolls! Surely this is old fashioned music?
The classical works are timeless as are many of the popular songs. As well, pianists of the time “interpreted” music, giving a refreshing look at well known pieces. Download About the music for more information.
5. I only want a few files. Can this be arranged?
Please email us. We can usually make some arrangements to suit you.
6. What support do you offer?
We’ve been selling eroll files since 1980. We guarantee our products, we’re committed to answering all emails daily, and have a history of providing full support for our products.
7. What plans are there for more MIDI files
A sophisticated new roll reader to replace the original reader is now nearing completion. It is planned to produce more Ampico erolls, as well as Duo-Art, and Welte erolls. Stay tuned...