05 January 2009

The piano roll is dead -- Long live the piano roll!

The Buffalo News features a story about the end of the piano roll. Before mp3, before CDs, before MIDI, before vinyl records, even before radio. Player pianos and other automated music machines arguably represented the first "recorded music". While there may still be some manufacturers in other places around the world, it would seem intuitively obvious that the days of the piano roll are numbered.

However, unlike the headline of the article misleads, the music is alive and well. Partly thanks to the International Association of Mechanical Music Preservationists, who are making devices to allow the transfer of piano rolls into more modern technologies like midi files.

And the piano roll metaphor lives on in numerous music software applications as a way of visually representing midi data. Even Apple's "Garageband" found as an included music production software in Mac computers displays midi data in a piano roll style.

All I can say is, "The piano roll is dead -- Long live the piano roll!"

... mmmhhh, I wonder if one could remix one of these ...

0 comments - add your comment: