Ampico Rolls Emulated for MIDI Velocity
by Paul Manganaro (000826 MMD)

I may have mentioned in past postings about the effort I have put into building roll readers in order to end up with MIDI files.  I have built two units, the first of which is being operated by my good friend, Frank Himpsl, who is a musical guru and a great modern ragtime composer as well.  This unit has basic capabilities and has been in use, trouble free, for about a year and a half.

I started construction of a second unit for my own use about a year ago, and it has been working with basic capabilities for a few months.  This second unit is going to be more sophisticated than the first.  Rather than go on about what I think it will be able to do in the future I want to announce today that I am pleased with the completed files of Ampico rolls create MIDI files with Ampico expression.

I have to say that the finished files fall just shy of a live Ampico piano but nevertheless they're pretty darn good!  They sound really good played through my Kurzweil keyboard sound card which is heard through my stereo.  I'd say it captures 95 to 98% of the expression including the sustain pedal and soft pedal.

I know there are a lot of factors in hearing MIDI files.  A lot is dependent upon the sound card in your computer.  Have a listen and let me know how it sounds to you.  If there is anyone out there who has a Yamaha Disklavier let me know if these files are compatible with the soft and sustain pedal commands.  I would also like to know if electronic players translate this information relatively too loud or too soft as I do not know how the velocity numbers translate into volume on electronic players.

I got involved in creating MIDI files because of my friendship with Frank Himpsl.  He wanted to MIDI-fy his collection and I have enjoyed meeting the challenge.  I really liked building these two units (I'm not building another).  Producing the dynamics of Ampico rolls is just a fun thing to do.  I have ordered a PowerRoll unit, as has Frank, and that will be the main use for the files.

Paul Manganaro
Date: Fri, 25 Aug 2000 23:46:21 EDT

MIDI files:

(16 kb) Ampico 2393 "L'amour-Toujours-L'amour"  (Love Everlasting) Cushing-Friml, Played by Adam Carroll 8-28
(44 kb) Ampico 66913 "Queen High Selections"   Played by Edgar Fairchild & Ralph Rainger 12-26
            1. Everything Will Happen For The Best;  2. Don't Forget;
            3. You Must Have Been a Beautiful Baby; 4. Cross Your Heart.


26 August 2000