[Dixielandjazz] How do you you do it?

Russ Guarino russg@redshift.com
Mon, 16 Sep 2002 07:24:33 -0700

Wow !!!    This would take a lifetime patience of an accountant, the precision
of an architectural engineer, the music skills of a virtuoso and the management
of a business executive.  How many people in the planet can do all this?

Russ Guarino

John Farrell wrote:

> Hi Art,
> In answer to your question, my business is producing jazz piano rolls - an
> industry which has come a long way since the days of people sitting at a
> bench punching holes in blank paper with a hammer and chisel.
> The MIDI files I make act as templates for my rolls, they are emailed to a
> factory (in Reno NV) where they activate roll cutting machinery which churns
> out mirror copies in sufficient quantity to meet demand.
> For many years I used the old "hammer and chisel" technique but when I got
> into computers I realised that I could do the same thing electronically. I
> use no specialised equipment, just my PC and my ears.
> My process employs three computer programs - Encore (a music notation
> program), Wind (which displays a piano roll image of the Encore file on the
> screen. This excellent program was written by Richard Brandle of Texas and
> is not commercially available) and Cakewalk Pro Audio (a music sequencing
> program where dynamics can be added to MIDI files).
> At first, using a MIDI keyboard I started by playing music directly into
> Encore. Encore converts everything you play into music notation, however a
> huge problem emerged with that method - the program generates an audible,
> relentless metronome beat which the keyboard player must obey precisely. The
> slightest variance from this beat causes Encore's notation to go haywire and
> I used to spend hours manually correcting the music on the screen.
> Consequently I decided to dispense with the keyboard altogether and write
> the notation by hand, less satisfying for me musically but because no
> correction was required this method proved to be a great time saver.
> Very briefly, I listen to jazz piano recordings and write the notes I hear
> on to Encore's music staff (it took me years to learn how to transcribe this
> stuff, there are no teachers or short cuts!!). When I have finished the
> piece I save it as a MIDI file (just one keystroke achieves that) which I
> then export to Wind.
> Wind displays the file on the screen as a virtual reality piano roll which I
> can edit as much as I like - make holes longer or shorter, add or remove
> notes etc. etc.
> When that is done I export the file once again, this time to Cakewalk where
> I can add all the light and shade required (this process is known as
> sequencing). I do not do much sequencing because it is impossible to
> transfer to a production piano roll.
> Finally I upload the finished MIDI file to my website for you all to enjoy
> and, hopefully, to tempt piano roll collectors into making purchases.
> The roll market is not huge but I seem to have captured most of the jazz
> section of it. A welcome spin-off has been my Cakewalk sheet music (which
> notates the MIDI files exactly) - I am glad to say that it sells like hot
> cakes.
> Sorry about the length of this post listmates, but Art did ask the question
> .  .   .   .
> John Farrell
> stridepiano@tesco.net
> http://homepages.tesco.net/~stridepiano/midifiles.htm
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: <Artwoo@aol.com>
> To: <stridepiano@tesco.net>
> Cc: <dixielandjazz@ml.islandnet.com>
> Sent: Monday, September 16, 2002 5:12 AM
> Subject: [Dixielandjazz] How do you you do it? Re: Virginia midi
> > Hi John:
> > I was wondering what equipment and software do you use to produce such
> > authentic and inspiring midi files?
> >
> > I agree with you that Fats Waller is at the top of the list for piano
> styling
> > from the 30's. While Art Tatum has more intricate technique and harmonic
> > surprises; Fats plays fluidly and with emotion.
> >
> > By the way, lately I've taken an interest in Willie the Lion Smith...he
> > seemed like a pleasant guy. A CD I own entitled "Pork and Beans" produced
> by
> > 1201 has Willie paying homage to some of his contemporaries: Luckey
> Roberts,
> > James P. Johnson, Eubie Blake, Fats Waller and Geo Gershwin. The
> selections
> > and Willie's commentary are very reverent. It seemed like Willie was
> > reminiscing and reflecting on the memories of his great friends.
> >
> > Thanks again for sharing your talents with us.
> > Sincerely,
> >
> > Art Wood
> > SF Bay Area
> _______________________________________________
> Dixielandjazz mailing list
> Dixielandjazz@ml.islandnet.com
> http://ml.islandnet.com/mailman/listinfo/dixielandjazz