• EssGee57 over 2 years ago

    Pianos rolls are paper “scrolls” with holes punched in them at irrregular intervals and played on player pianos. The master rolls are created by a performer who methodically records the performance on a reproducing piano. The master roll is then edited, corrected, and sometimes “sweetened” with extra notes or musical effects. The roll is then mass copied, packaged, and sold commercially. They were a popular musical recording format between 1890 and 1940, and again in the 1970 and ‘80s.

    Discogs does not seem to have the labels and formats defined for piano rolls. The argument has been made in this forum that because piano rolls do not have an audio (waveform) track, they are not appropriate for inclusion in the database. This is an odd bit of logic because there are many storage formats that contain audio tracks, such as mpg4 and video files that contain tracks, but are not intended as commercial music playback products.

    I’d like to ask that Discogs reconsider Piano Rolls as an appropriate musical medium for the database. Piano rolls share most major features as records, tapes, or CDs. They are
    - Physical music products contained in decorative boxes;
    - Still being manufactured, complete with labels and catalog numbers;
    - Bought, sold and traded in stores and on-line by collectors;
    - Have a common and interchangeable, industry-recognized format;
    - Protected by copyright like any other musical work or recorded performance;
    - Played on machines which use content readers to determine the musical notes, phrasing and expression features such as key pressure, tempo, and sustain;
    - Do not require user intervention once playing begins;
    - Convertable to other formats, including analog and digital.

    Moreover, piano rolls contain performances by many famous composers and artists such as George Gershwin, Paderewski, Scott Joplin, Lee S. Roberts, Felix Arendt, Liberace, Peter Nero, Ferrante & Teicher, George Shearing, Roger Williams, and Eubie Blake. Some of the piano roll performances are the only known recordings of their performers, and especially in the case of “reproducing piano rolls,” recognized as being legitimate recordings. Piano roll manufacturers once boasted about how their rolls were so realistic that it was like bringing the composer into your living room.

    Before the 1920s, piano rolls were far more popular than wax and shellac records as a music format. The rolls were less expensive than the records, and the quality of the music was considered to be superior.

    Piano rolls often contain lyrics to accompany the song being played, and occasionally novelty elements such as pictures of dancers or performers.

    Piano rolls players have volume controls and speed controls, just as any record player, and they rewind rolls like a tape player rewinds tapes.

    Currently collectors by and sell rolls on Ebay. If piano rolls are cataloged on this platform, Discogs stands to earn a seller’s fee off of each roll sold instead of the competition. While the market for rolls is considerably smaller than for LPs and CDs, the markets for cylinders and 78 RPM discs is also very small, but this has not been a barrier to allowing them to be catalogued.

    So, what do you say? Why not let Piano Rolls in!
  • rdimucci over 2 years ago

    I for one agree with the arguments presented that piano rolls should be cataloged. Discogs should be a database that is independent of the music storage medium. There was a time when computer programs and data were stored on punched cards or rolls of punched paper tape. (I've used both.) Usually, these were produced by individuals and were for the personal storage and use of individuals. I don't know if any programs were commercially sold in that manner. But if they were, and if you were maintaining a database of publicly available software, would you deny that these were programs worthy of cataloging? Here. the piano rolls are certainly being produced and sold commercially. They are not equivalent to someone burning a personal CD. I'd like to hear further arguments as to why they should be excluded.
  • narcisco over 2 years ago

    Piano rolls are excluded because these are no recordings.
    The contain mechanical instructions for the piano what to play, though they don't contain any recorded sound.
    Very interesting, for example the Welte Mignon Reproducing Pianos.
    When these pianos playing the rolls are recorded on any recordable media, these recordings are eligible. The rolls are not.
  • AndyEvans2 over 2 years ago

    narcisco
    The contain mechanical instructions for the piano what to play, though they don't contain any recorded sound.


    I'm not that interested in piano rolls or not. But how does that description differ from some digital music? Some electronic music on here has never been anything but a series of digital instructions from start to finish (as opposed to the digital rendering of analogue sounds).
  • rdimucci over 2 years ago

    narcisco
    Piano rolls are excluded because these are no recordings.
    The contain mechanical instructions for the piano what to play, though they don't contain any recorded sound.


    It seems that you are using a very restrictive definition of the word "recording". I can write a novel with a pencil, pen, typewriter, or electrons. Which should be excluded from a database of novels?

    Piano rolls are instructions for a playback machine (a player piano) to produce musical sounds. CDs are instructions for a playback machine (CD player) to do the same. If piano rolls are not "recordings", how is it that you can have rolls that reflect the exact playing styles of Joplin or Blake? So, if Joplin plays his piano into an acoustic horn and those vibrations are captured on a wax cylinder that is a "recording" , but if his keystrokes are captured on a roll of paper, that is not a "recording'? I don't understand the difference.
  • narcisco over 2 years ago

    Delayed double post.
  • rdimucci over 2 years ago

    rdimucci edited over 2 years ago
    narcisco
    When these pianos playing the rolls are recorded on any recordable media, these recordings are eligible. The rolls are not.


    The piano roll is a recording medium. Your example is like saying that if a cassette is recorded to a CD, the CD is eligible but the cassette is not. Converting the recording from one storage medium to another should not affect its eligibility.

    Scott Joplin is long dead. How can a new recording of Joplin actually playing the piano appear today on CD if it was not already previously recorded on some other recording medium (i.e, the piano roll)?
  • loukash over 2 years ago

    AndyEvans2
    But how does that description differ from some digital music?

    Piano rolls are the analog equivalent of MIDI files.
    We don't catalog MIDI files.

    rdimucci
    The piano roll is a recording medium.

    A piano roll is sort of a programming language.
    Think https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Punched_card

    rdimucci
    I don't understand the difference.

    Fair enough:

    1) A piano roll captures coded instructions to operate a physical music instrument.

    2) An audio recording captures sound waves, including those performed by a mechanical piano driven by a piano roll.

    We only catalog the latter at this time.
  • narcisco over 2 years ago

    rdimucci
    The piano roll is a recording medium. Your example is like saying that if a cassette is recorded to a CD, the CD is eligible but the cassette is not. Converting the recording from one storage medium to another should not affect its eligibility.


    Sorry, but that's a false analogy. A piano roll is not a recording medium
    Cassettes and records both contain recorded soundwaves. Piano rolls don't

    loukash
    1) A piano roll captures coded instructions to operate a physical music instrument.

    2) An audio recording captures sound waves, including those performed by a mechanical piano driven by a piano roll.

    We only catalog the latter at this time.
  • Marks_Music over 2 years ago

    IMO they should be included since they are a music "container", not unlike the various audio containers used in the digital realm. They do indeed contain musical content which requires a machine to process the content into audible music. The laser-burnt or pressed pits on a compact disc translate to digital ones and zeros and translating them by a machine able to construct or parse the pits into audible music is no different than the analog "pits" or cuts on a piano roll being constructed by the player piano. It's just mechanical (analog), not digital.
  • randomdestructn over 2 years ago

    I'm not familiar with the authoring technique of piano rolls. But regarding whether they are recordings the question comes to mind:

    Were any of these rolls captured 'live' by a real person playing in real time? If so, do they capture the dynamics and nuance of the performance?

    Or were they all authored out-of-time, like written music?

    If yes the former, then I argue they are a recording medium. If the latter, it becomes fuzzier.

    I agree that there is a comparison to be made to midi files. Perhaps they should be considered on the same merits if any were sold commercially.
  • rdimucci over 2 years ago

    loukash
    A piano roll is sort of a programming language.
    Think https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Punched_card


    I concur with Marks_Music.

    The first line of the Wikipedia article on piano rolls states: "A piano roll is a music storage medium used to operate a player piano, piano player or reproducing piano."
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piano_roll

    Similarly, the wikipedia article on CDs begins: "Compact disc (CD) is a digital optical disc data storage format ...originally developed to store and play only sound recordings".
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compact_disc

    Both piano rolls and CDs are storage media for music. They are only useful on their own types of players. If the punched holes on a piano roll are a programming language, then what are the ones and zeros (the pits and bumps) burned into the polycarbonate of a CD? On a piano roll, each hole represents a musical note. On a CD, a given series of pits/bumps represents a musical note.

    I'm still searching for the substantive difference. To say that "We only catalog the latter at this time" doesn't explain WHY that should remain the case.
  • hafler3o over 2 years ago

    loukash
    Piano rolls are the analog equivalent of MIDI files.
    We don't catalog MIDI files.


    Correct.
    -1 for rolls.
  • rdimucci over 2 years ago

    hafler3o
    loukashPiano rolls are the analog equivalent of MIDI files.
    We don't catalog MIDI files.

    Correct.
    -1 for rolls.


    Are midi files commercially packaged and sold with catalog numbers by identifiable labels as piano rolls are? Would your answer change if they were?
  • cheebacheebakid over 2 years ago

    rdimucci
    Are midi files commercially packaged and sold
    Yes

    rdimucci
    with catalog numbers by identifiable labels
    not a factor which is why we have RSG §4.4.1 and RSG §4.7.2

    rdimucci
    Would your answer change if they were?
    Nope.
  • rdimucci over 2 years ago

    randomdestructn
    Were any of these rolls captured 'live' by a real person playing in real time? If so, do they capture the dynamics and nuance of the performance?

    Or were they all authored out-of-time, like written music?


    Both types exist. Per the Wikipedia article on piano rolls:

    Metronomic or arranged rolls are rolls produced by positioning the music slots without real-time input. The music, when played back, is typically purely metronomical. Metronomically arranged music rolls are deliberately left metronomic so as to enable a player-pianist to create their own musical performance via the hand controls that are a feature of all player pianos.

    Hand played rolls are created by capturing in real time the hand-played performance of one or more pianists upon a piano connected to a recording machine. The production roll reproduced the real-time performance of the original recording when played back at a constant speed. It is industry convention for recordings of music intended to be used for dancing to be regularized into strict tempo despite the original performance having the slight tempo fluctuations of all human performances, as due to the recording and production process, any fluctuations would be magnified/exaggerated in the finished production copy and result in an uneven rhythm.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piano_roll
  • massenmedium over 2 years ago

    rdimucci
    I'm still searching for the substantive difference

    Representation / encoding of specific audio information vs. representation / encoding of absolutely no specific audio information whatsoever.
  • rdimucci over 2 years ago

    randomdestructn
    Were any of these rolls captured 'live' by a real person playing in real time? If so, do they capture the dynamics and nuance of the performance?

    Or were they all authored out-of-time, like written music?

    If yes the former, then I argue they are a recording medium. If the latter, it becomes fuzzier.


    I certainly think the "live performance capture" piano rolls should be cataloged. I agree that the others are is a more gray area. But we will soon face (if we haven't already) the case of someone programming a computer to produce a sonata, which is then released on a CD. What then?
  • rdimucci over 2 years ago

    massenmedium
    Representation / encoding of specific audio information vs. representation / encoding of absolutely no specific audio information whatsoever.


    "No specific audio information"? When a piano roll captures a specific piano performance by the actual Scott Joplin, which exists in no other medium, you think that is "no specific audio information"?
  • massenmedium over 2 years ago

    rdimucci
    "No specific audio information"? When a piano roll captures a specific piano performance by the actual Scott Joplin, which exists in no other medium, you think that is "no specific audio information"?

    Yes, no audio information whatsoever is captured. You could argue that an incredibly low resolution *representation* exists in some way (density of events etc.) but it is certainly not specific and can not be reproduced with any specificity whatsoever from the information captured.

    You could play it back on the same piano in the same room and get close, but then the specific result derives in large part from those conditions and so cannot be said to have been captured or represented in the piano roll.

    It's not really hard to see the difference, defining it so as to guard against specious arguments is a bit harder but not that hard ;-)
  • uzn007 over 2 years ago

    Piano rolls are a physical representation of a musical performance. Conceptually no different from a phonograph record or a CD. You put it in the playback device and music comes out. In fact, many of the copyright laws that currently apply to sound recordings were originally created for piano rolls (e.g. "mechanical publishing").
  • dolphyfan over 2 years ago

    Let me see if I understand the argument here. A piano roll is not eligible for submission because it has no "captured audio information" (even if it is a directly recorded roll), but an LP that records the playback of a piano roll onto vinyl is eligible because it has "captured audio information"?

    So, the original "recorded" source is not audio information but a recording of it is? Say that a few times and see if it still makes sense.
  • uzn007 over 2 years ago

    randomdestructn
    Were any of these rolls captured 'live' by a real person playing in real time? If so, do they capture the dynamics and nuance of the performance?

    Or were they all authored out-of-time, like written music?

    If yes the former, then I argue they are a recording medium. If the latter, it becomes fuzzier.


    There are plenty of recordings in the discogs database already that were authored out-of-time and not captured live.
  • Farjenk over 2 years ago

    Where is the slippery slope here?
    If we make an exception for piano rolls, how many other analog
    rdimucci
    instructions for a playback machine ... to produce musical sounds
    are there?

    Also, someone mentioned catalog numbers.... wasn't there a t-shirt somewhere that was allowed into the db because it had a catalog number... something to do with joy divison if I remenmber correctly? idk, not a big deal to me, but piano rolls feel like a perfect fit for Discogs, honestly.
  • rdimucci over 2 years ago

    Farjenk
    Also, someone mentioned catalog numbers.... wasn't there a t-shirt somewhere that was allowed into the db because it had a catalog number... something to do with joy divison if I remenmber correctly? idk, not a big deal to me, but piano rolls feel like a perfect fit for Discogs, honestly.


    Take a look at the first photo on the Wikipedia page for piano rolls. It shows a sample of packaged and labeled rolls with catalog numbers.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piano_roll
  • massenmedium over 2 years ago

    I think there is or soon will be a device that turns piano roll into MIDI.

    If you wanted to catalogue piano rolls you could render them as audio and release it digitally. If you're really into it you could offer it as a service.

    Just a thought.
  • 7jlong over 2 years ago

    massenmedium
    I think there is or soon will be a device that turns piano roll into MIDI.

    Hmm... well, there are long racks of MIDI switches that can be put over a piano keyboard to track key action. That would probably work pretty well for this... (and probably not a novel idea on my part in the slightest)

    rdimucci
    It shows a sample of packaged and labeled rolls with catalog numbers.

    As Farjenk was getting at, a catalog number does not necessarily make something eligible for submission. The computer I'm using right now has a catalog number. So does the keyboard I'm typing on.

    Otherwise, "Audio" is very widely defined as "acoustic sound", and should not be confused with musical content (i.e. sheet music, which also contains musical content but no audio content, and is also not eligible).

    -1 to piano rolls
  • massenmedium over 2 years ago

    7jlong
    Hmm... well, there are long racks of MIDI switches that can be put over a piano keyboard to track key action.

    I think it's actually a thing you feed the roll into and puts out MIDI. A good idea, surprising it's not been done before. I'll see if I can find the details.

    Could even be done with a phone app and camera.
  • dolphyfan over 2 years ago

    massenmedium
    render them as audio and release it digitally.

    An LP, 78, 45, CD, cassette, whatever, are a means of storage, and is only "audio" once it is made audible via some means of playback. How are electro-mechanical squiggles in vinyl, or zeros and ones(!) interred in plastic any different than "storing music" via holes cut in paper? None are audible music until playback via an intermediary device.

    Going back to my earlier question, why is the roll itself not eligible for submission and a recording of the roll is? I can see this argument being made for sheet music, but a "piano" roll is specifically made for playback!
  • massenmedium over 2 years ago

    dolphyfan
    An LP, 78, 45, CD, cassette, whatever, are a means of storage, and is only "audio" once it is made audible via some means of playback. How is electro-mechanical squiggles in vinyl, or zeros and ones (!) interred in plastic any different than "storing music" via holes cut in paper? None are audible music until playback via an intermediary device.

    When we say that a CD or a record contains audio, it's a shorthand way of saying they hold a representation / encoding of a specific audio waveform(s). Piano rolls and MIDI files do not. No specific audio information is captured or meaningfully represented.

    So I think it's OK to say CDs and records contain audio whereas piano roll doesn't. It's not an audio medium.
  • uzn007 over 2 years ago

    Where's the official Discogs guideline for determining whether something belongs in the database or not? It should be easy enough to determine whether or not piano rolls meet that criteria.
  • massenmedium over 2 years ago

    uzn007
    It should be easy enough to determine whether or not piano rolls meet that criteria.

    That depends on whether people can accept that CDs and records are audio media and that piano rolls are not ;-)
  • 7jlong over 2 years ago

    uzn007
    Where's the official Discogs guideline for determining whether something belongs in the database or not?

    RSG §1.1.3, which points to the Format List.
  • dolphyfan over 2 years ago

    massenmedium
    ... a CD or a record contains audio.. (because) ...they hold a rerpresentation / encoding of a specific audio waveform(s)

    If squiggles in vinyl can represent audio, and 0's and 1's can represent audio, and arrangements of magnetic particles on celluloid tape can represent audio, and this is proven by playing them on some device, how is that different from getting the same result playing back a roll of paper with holes punched in it on some device? And why in the world if the paper with holes is not eligible would a recording (onto some other media) of the sound that the playback of that paper made be eligible?

    Viewed from a certain angle, digital content on a CD is identical to the holes punched in the paper roll. The detail is more refined on the CD but they are both yes/no recitations of what's encoded.
  • massenmedium over 2 years ago

    dolphyfan
    Viewed from a certain angle, digital content on a CD is identical to the holes punched in the paper roll. The detail is more refined on the CD but they are both yes/no recitations of what's encoded.

    Viewed from a certain angle all information is identical. Aren't we interested in what it specifically represents?

    The data on a CD is digital but not really yes/no in effect - it's a series of 16bit values that encode *audio* waveforms.

    A piano roll is basically notation, it holds timing and quantised pitch instructions but no audio whatsoever. It's no different to sheet music except it can transcribe in real time.
  • uzn007 over 2 years ago

    massenmedium
    A piano roll is basically notation, it holds timing and quantised pitch instructions but no audio whatsoever


    What do you think the 16-bit samples on a CD represent if not "timing and quantised pitch instructions"?
  • massenmedium over 2 years ago

    dolphyfan
    If squiggles in vinyl can represent audio, and 0's and 1's can represent audio, and arrangements of magnetic particles on celluloid tape can represent audio, and this is proven by playing them on some device, how is that different from getting the same result playing back a roll of paper with holes punched in it on some device?

    The key word is "specific". You can say that piano roll represents audio, but only in the same way that sheet music does. No audio waveform is captured.

    It's not an audio medium. Really it's that simple.
  • massenmedium over 2 years ago

    uzn007
    What do you think the 16-bit samples on a CD represent if not "timing and quantised pitch instructions"?

    They represent a continuous waveform. A specific audio waveform. The D/A convertor translates the stream into a series of levels. The waveform may contain timing and pitch information (of course) but the convertors don't care about that. It's just a waveform. Audio.

    The piano roll - quantised pitch (keys) and timing. No audio waveform.
  • dolphyfan over 2 years ago

    Sheet music is not a recording of audio, at least not in the sense we understand an LP or 8-track to be, so it's as inapt an analog as say, a music box mechanism would be. Discogs catalogs recordings. So, what of the rolls that were "recorded" directly onto the paper? You seem to stress the wave-form aspect as a defining characteristic of what is eligible. Are not these wave-forms measured with an oscilloscope? Can you not get a similar measurement from a roll?
  • uzn007 over 2 years ago

    massenmedium
    They represent a continuous waveform.


    No they don't. They're quantized, just at a much finer level than a piano roll. And anyway, I don't see anything in the guidelines or format list about a "continuous waveform" being a requirement.
  • EssGee57 over 2 years ago

    Piano rolls do not record a waveform, but they do record an 88-note spectrum field that can be reconstructed into a waveform either mechanically or digitally. IMHO, it is a recording technology where the sine wave shape is undefined in the media, but replicated in the playler. It is a subtle point.
  • massenmedium over 2 years ago

    dolphyfan
    You seem to stress the wave-form aspect as a defining characteristic of what is eligible.

    Yes indeed. Audio is a wave. That is exactly the defining characteristic we need.

    dolphyfan
    Can you not get a similar measurement from a roll?

    There may have been an audio event that in some respects correlated with timing and quantised pitch information captured on a piano roll, but that audio itself was not in any way recorded. Only representations of events that may have correlated in some way with the lost audio.

    dolphyfan
    Sheet music is not a recording of audio, at least not in the sense we understand an LP or 8-track to be, so it's as inapt an analog as say, a music box mechanism would be. Discogs catalogs recordings.

    Discogs catalogues recordings of AUDIO.

    Piano roll contains no more specific audio information than sheet music. i.e. none ;-)
  • cheebacheebakid over 2 years ago

    cheebacheebakid edited over 2 years ago
    A MIDI file is no different than a piano roll, except digital. MIDI can capture keystrokes on a keyboard (same as capturing a performance on a piano roll) or can be "punched in" (same as on a piano roll. In fact MIDI editing is usually done on a a "piano roll" sequencer. The MIDI "piano roll" is fed into a synthesizer (software or hardware) and the synhesizer plays it back.

    Piano rolls and MIDI are instructions for an instrument to render the sound, not the captured sound of instruments playing. Discogs chose somewhere to draw the line and it seems to be capturing the sound of instruments.

    I'd be all for allowing piano rolls if we allow MIDI files since we allow both analogue and digital.
  • massenmedium over 2 years ago

    uzn007
    No they don't. They're quantized, just at a much finer level than a piano roll.

    What I said is they represent a continuous waveform and they do. It's very different. Piano roll does not record an audio waveform. No audio.

    Also, digital audio is innevitably quantised but the waveform captured (withing the bandwidth of half the sampling freq) and played back is continuous.
  • uzn007 over 2 years ago

    massenmedium
    Also, digital audio is innevitably quantised but the waveform captured (withing the bandwidth of half the sampling freq) and played back is continuous.


    And when a piano roll is played back, the waveform is continuous.
  • massenmedium over 2 years ago

    Discogs catalogs audio.

    If that's the rule then understand that piano roll captures/contains no audio waveform and you'll see why they are not eligible.
  • uzn007 over 2 years ago

    massenmedium
    Discogs catalogs audio.

    If that's the rule then understand that piano roll captures/contains no audio waveform and you'll see why they are not eligible.


    Where is that rule defined?
  • Marks_Music over 2 years ago

    massenmedium
    You can say that piano roll represents audio, but only in the same way that sheet music does.

    I've yet to hear a song when I try to play sheet music, yet I do when playing piano rolls. Especially the ones cut from an actual performance (Joplin, etc.).
  • dolphyfan over 2 years ago

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f2gVhBxwRqg
    Maybe I'm missing something, but this sound like audio and it seems pretty continuous. The continuity of waveform aspect seems somehow unimportant, if flat out irrelevant. If you slow down a Mozart sonata enough, there's plenty of silence in that continuity. I fail to see how this is any different.

    Notice in the notes the following: "Recorded with the Ampico Bösendorfer Grand in the possession of Juergen Hocker, which was restored under the supervision of Nancarrow."
  • EssGee57 over 2 years ago

    Sheet music is not analogous to piano rolls. Each roll captures a different performance. Anyone who listens can hear the difference. The closest analogy is MIDI, and rolls translate to midi quite easily.
  • massenmedium over 2 years ago

    uzn007
    And when a piano roll is played back, the waveform is continuous.

    When a dog farts it's a continuous waveform. All sound is. The point is that audio media record a representation of a waveform. That goes for digital as well as analogue.

    Piano roll doesn't.

    uzn007
    Where is that rule defined?

    Didn't someone just link it above?
  • massenmedium over 2 years ago

    dolphyfan
    The continuity of waveform aspect seems somehow unimportant, if flat out irrelevant

    It is. Because a waveform is always continuous.

    I made the point because someone was getting confused or being disingenuous about digital audio being "quantised" or "pitch and timing instructions."
  • 7jlong over 2 years ago

    EssGee57
    The closest analogy is MIDI, and rolls translate to midi quite easily.

    MIDI files are not eligible either, though.

    The "continuous audio waveform" thing should probably be dropped in this debate; it's muddling the issue. The bottom line is that Discogs catalogs releases on audio recording formats, and no matter how esoteric the argument, piano rolls do not record audio information. At all. Musical information? Sure. But that's not the only criteria for eligibility. If it were, Beck's Songbook and sheet music and NES carts and Casio data cartridges that play "happy birthday" on ancient toy keyboards would also be eligible.

    They are not.
  • massenmedium over 2 years ago

  • cheebacheebakid over 2 years ago

    dolphyfan
    Notice in the notes the following: "Recorded
    The term "recorded" stems from Latin and was around hundreds of years before it was also used for audio capture. My banking activity is recorded in my banking records.
  • uzn007 over 2 years ago

    massenmedium
    https://www.discogs.com/forum/thread/788636?page=1#7827030


    That link doesn't say anything about "continuous waveforms".
  • massenmedium over 2 years ago

    uzn007
    That link doesn't say anything about "continuous waveforms".

    You asked where the rule that Discogs catalogs audio is defined.

    Audio IS a continuous waveform.
  • massenmedium over 2 years ago

    Which is/was only relevent to make a distinction with -
    uzn007
    What do you think the 16-bit samples on a CD represent if not "timing and quantised pitch instructions"?
  • uzn007 over 2 years ago

    massenmedium
    You asked where the rule that Discogs catalogs audio is defined.


    That page also doesn't contain a definition of "audio". It says that "Any item on an audio format ... is potentially eligible for inclusion" but it does not specify what constitutes an "audio format".
  • massenmedium over 2 years ago

    uzn007
    That page also doesn't contain a definition of "audio". It says that "Any item on an audio format ... is potentially eligible for inclusion" but it does not specify what constitutes an "audio format".

    I think it's fair to assume it's something that encodes / holds a representation of a specific audio waveform.
  • uzn007 over 2 years ago

    massenmedium
    I think it's fair to assume it's something that encodes / holds a representation of a specific audio waveform.


    I think it's fair not to use your assumption as a basis for policy.
  • massenmedium over 2 years ago

    Audio is a waveform.

    An "audio format" holds a representation a SPECIFIC waveform.

    A piano roll does not hold or encode any SPECIFIC audio waveform af all. It is 'silent'. Like if I filmed an orchestra playing with no sound. It in some way represents and correlates with the performance but there is no audio.
  • AndyEvans2 over 2 years ago

    7jlong
    that play "happy birthday"


    Are musical birthday cards eligible?
  • massenmedium over 2 years ago

    uzn007
    I think it's fair not to use your assumption as a basis for policy.

    I was using understatement. It's really not much of an assumption to say that an audio format is a thing that holds audio.
  • 7jlong over 2 years ago

    OED definition of audio: "Sound, esp. when recorded, reproduced, or transmitted; electrical signals representing sound."

    OED definition of audio recording: "the action of making a sound recording; (also) a recording of sound; frequently attributive."

    Neither of those describe what is taking place when a piano roll is made. There is no recording of sound being made in any capacity.

    Ugh, and beyond that, I have nothing to say about musical birthday cards. Or the rest, at this point. This is another of those groundhog day threads (see: "NES ROM carts").
  • uzn007 over 2 years ago

    massenmedium
    I was using understatement. It's really not much of an assumption to say that an audio format is a thing that holds audio.


    Then why wouldn't an NES or Casio cartridge be eligible, to use your previous examples?

    Or, for that matter, what if I printed out the digital representation of a CD's contents? That represents a specific waveform. Would that be eligible?
  • narcisco over 2 years ago

    dolphyfan
    Going back to my earlier question, why is the roll itself not eligible for submission and a recording of the roll is? I can see this argument being made for sheet music, but a "piano" roll is specifically made for playback!


    Because piano roles only represent the captured mechanical movement of the piano keys that are made when playing a certain piece of music. You can use these "instructions" to play back these mechanical movements of the piano keys which in turn moves the hammer against the strings and voila, it plays back the piece. This is only a mechanical way of "recording something" and the play back is restricted to the instructions for this single intrument only.
    Yes, I do know street organs that use organ books that have a little percussion thrown in, but these organ books are not audio formats either.
    No soundwaves are captured.

    I find it somehow a bit strange why the difference between piano rolls and real recorded media is disputed by some.
    IMO it comes down to this:
    A piano roll only contains the instructions to play back a certain instrument only. Even when the instructions are captured in real time, which is highly interesting, they are not recordings.
    Any real recording media can potentially capture any sound that's produced, either acoustically/electronically or digitally because it records the real waveforms. This includes vocals, acoustic instruments, electronic instrument or any instrument you can imagine.

    Bottom line:
    These releases that I submitted a while ago are eligible, the piano rolls that are recorded on these are not.
    Various - Welte-Mignon Piano (Hotel Waldhaus Sils-Maria)
    Various - Berühmte Komponisten Spielen Ihre Werke
  • 7jlong over 2 years ago

    uzn007
    why wouldn't an NES or Casio cartridge be eligible, to use your previous examples?

    massenmedium didn't say anything about NES or Casio carts, I did.
  • dolphyfan over 2 years ago

    This is all a bit technically fuzzy to me. What is a squiggle in a vinyl record other than a continuous series of instructions as to how much electrical force should be generated via a stylus and to be amplified in order to drive a speaker? The digital information on a CD, no matter how nuanced or however translated is still a series of non-continuous (one at a time, rapidly) on-off commands that do the same thing. I really don't see this as different from the holes in a paper roll. It's an interesting question.
  • dolphyfan over 2 years ago

    narcisco
    Any real* recording media can potentially capture any sound that's produced

    Is this what it boils down to?

    *empahsis mine
  • massenmedium over 2 years ago

    massenmedium edited over 2 years ago
    dolphyfan
    The digital information on a CD, no matter how nuanced or however translated is still a series of non-continuous (one at a time, rapidly) on-off commands that do the same thing. I

    This is a TOTAL side issue but no it is not. CD audio data is a stream of values (not on/off commands) that produce a continuous waveform.

    (I should say that yes digital means 0s and 1s but 16bit audio means 16 bits at a time are used to produced values 0-65535.)
  • massenmedium over 2 years ago

    "Recording" can be a bit of a red herring because I think it's fair to say that piano rolls may record pefomance information and some electronic music as pointed out may never have been "recorded" as sound in air.

    What matters is audio.
  • AndyEvans2 over 2 years ago

    massenmedium
    What matters is audio.


    I'm a complete technology know-nothing, but happy to learn.

    What is the difference between a series of digital data which have to go through a CD player to be heard and a series of physical data that have to go through a type of piano to be heard?

    I can't see it but, as I say, I understand neither technology.
  • dolphyfan over 2 years ago

    massenmedium
    not on/off commands

    What, exactly, do you think ones and zeroes are, if not on and off commands? That the binary choice of yes or no is computed at a blindingly rapid speed is besides the point. It seems that your argument isn't about the medium per se but about whether the initial source came through the air before capture. What then of electric keyboards, or electric guitars for that matter, recording directly-via wire rather than via microphone- to (whatever medium)? These examples were never "sound in air" until playback. It doesn't seem all that cut and dried to me.
  • cheebacheebakid over 2 years ago

    Discogs had to draw the line in the sand somewhere. This is where it was drawn 10 years ago
    https://www.discogs.com/forum/thread/182911#2309560
    nik
    Regarding piano rolls, music boxes etc - to me, these are instruments (specifically, sequenced instruments), rather than musical works. If someone records it, then it could be a musical work. To me, these are mechanical versions of modern digital sequencers.

    Reinforced 8 years ago
    https://www.discogs.com/forum/thread/214689#2663862
    nik
    Music box cylinders and piano rolls are sequence data, in the same way that a Cubase file or tracker file is.

    I have stated previously that sequence data is not eligible for the database, in whatever form. We should focus on cataloguing complete audio.

    Reinforced again 7 years ago.
    https://www.discogs.com/forum/thread/229858#2864757
    nik
    The decision wasn't arbitrary, but considered and debated on it's merits. The line is we don't catalog music sequences - be it tracker files, piano player rolls, MIDI files, sheet music etc at this time.

    Reinforced 5 years ago
    https://www.discogs.com/forum/thread/397135#3681421
    nik
    Anything that sequences the playback of one or more sounds (either acoustically or electronically) in order to recreate a musical or audio event is not eligible for Discogs. This includes MIDI files, Tracker files, musical boxes, piano rolls, and sheet music. Only items available on the audio carriers listed in the formats list are eligible at this time.

    Reinforced again 4 years ago
    https://www.discogs.com/forum/thread/404061#3745256
    nik
    The distinction is the playing back of a recorded and mixed continuous audio stream, vs the playing back of discrete notes, samples etc in order to assemble the music a note at a time.


    Those aren't the only threads in the last decade where mgmt has clarified repeatedly they are not eligible, they are just a sampling There are no new arguments being made here for including piano rolls that have not already been made in the past. It definitely is
    7jlong
    another of those groundhog day threads
  • 7jlong over 2 years ago

    Thank you for that post, cheebacheebakid.
  • massenmedium over 2 years ago

    dolphyfan
    It seems that your argument isn't about the medium per se but about whether the initial source came through the air before capture.

    Not at all. It's simply about what is represented. CD audio and vinyl grooves reprsent audio waveforms. Piano roll does not. It may represent performance information. Again, think of a silent film of an orchestra. Something about the performance is captured but is there audio? The same would apply for a silent cartoon or CGI film of a performance.
  • rdimucci over 2 years ago

    massenmedium
    Yes, no audio information whatsoever is captured. You could argue that an incredibly low resolution *representation* exists in some way (density of events etc.) but it is certainly not specific and can not be reproduced with any specificity whatsoever from the information captured.

    You could play it back on the same piano in the same room and get close, but then the specific result derives in large part from those conditions and so cannot be said to have been captured or represented in the piano roll.


    Well, the argument cannot be that the piano roll, when played, does not sufficiently produce the sound of a piano. Because it certainly does that better than playing a wax cylinder of a piano recording.

    Perhaps it is that the piano roll does not sufficiently capture the subtleties of the actual performance. But according to Wikipedia: " Reproducing pianos can also re-create the dynamics of a pianist's performance by means of specially encoded control perforations placed towards the edges of a music roll. Different companies had different ways of notating dynamics, some technically advanced, some secret, and some dependent entirely on a recording producer's handwritten notes, but in all cases these dynamic hieroglyphics had to be skillfully converted into the specialized perforated codes needed by the different types of instrument."

    Perhaps the problem is that the piano roll does not capture the room acoustics in which the piano was played. Are synthesizer recordings disqualified for the same reason?
  • massenmedium over 2 years ago

    dolphyfan
    What, exactly, do you think ones and zeroes are, if not on and off commands? That the binary choice of yes or no is computed at a blindingly rapid speed is besides the point

    I added a bit to my post above about CD audio.

    PCM audio data as in CD is stored as binary but it doesn't really function as on/off commands. For one thing 16bits produces a range of values (0-65535) but crucially what you get is a continuous waveform. The FULL waveform within the bandwidth of half the sampling frequency. In the case of CD that means up to 22.5Khz.
  • dolphyfan over 2 years ago

    cheebacheebakid
    threads in the last decade where mgmt has clarified repeatedly they are not eligible

    Sounds definitive to me.
  • massenmedium over 2 years ago

    rdimucci
    Perhaps the problem is that the piano roll does not capture the room acoustics in which the piano was played. Are synthesizer recordings disqualified for the same reason?

    No, the "problem" is it doesn't capture or otherwise hold any audio at all.
  • rdimucci over 2 years ago

    cheebacheebakid
    Reinforced again 4 years ago
    https://www.discogs.com/forum/thread/404061#3745256
    nik
    The distinction is the playing back of a recorded and mixed continuous audio stream, vs the playing back of discrete notes, samples etc in order to assemble the music a note at a time.


    Now we are really splitting hairs. What does digital recording do except rapidly sample a continuous waveform in order to reconstruct that waveform upon playback of the samples. So, single byte > one note > piano roll = playing back discrete notes. Multiple bytes > one note > CD = not playing back discrete notes.

    And what does a "mixed continuous audio stream" mean? What is mixed when a single instrument is involved?
  • uzn007 over 2 years ago

    cheebacheebakid
    Those aren't the only threads in the last decade where mgmt has clarified repeatedly they are not eligible


    As usual, management could save everyone a lot of trouble if they explicitly codified these decisions in the guidelines, instead of expecting users to dig through a decade's worth of forum posts.
  • cheebacheebakid over 2 years ago

    rdimucci
    Now we are really splitting hairs. What does digital recording do except rapidly sample a continuous waveform in order to reconstruct that waveform upon playback of the samples. So, single byte > one note > piano roll = playing back discrete notes. Multiple bytes > one note > CD = not playing back discrete notes.

    And what does a "mixed continuous audio stream" mean? What is mixed when a single instrument is involved?
    And this is where Discogs management split that hair, like it or not. nik is the only one who can address your questions what nik means by that.

    uzn007
    As usual, management could save everyone a lot of trouble if they explicitly codified these decisions in the guidelines, instead of expecting users to dig through a decade's worth of forum posts.
    It is codified by means of piano rolls not appearing in the audio format list per RSG §1.1.3.
  • massenmedium over 2 years ago

    rdimucci
    Well, the argument cannot be that the piano roll, when played, does not sufficiently produce the sound of a piano. Because it certainly does that better than playing a wax cylinder of a piano recording.

    I was trying to stretch definitions of "representing" or "encoding" audio for the sake of people who seem to think this is a quantitative distinction and not a qualitative one - can the piano roll be said to represent audio under ideal conditions of playing back on the same piano in the same room? You could get close to saying so but it still does not contain a representation of a *specific* audio waveform. Which is to say, any audio waveform at all.
  • massenmedium over 2 years ago

    rdimucci
    What does digital recording do except rapidly sample a continuous waveform in order to reconstruct that waveform upon playback of the samples.

    Digital audio encodes and reproduces a full continuous audio waveform. A piano roll encodes no audio waveform at all.

    I think that quote was from a discussion about game carts or tracker .mod files or something.
  • cheebacheebakid over 2 years ago

    massenmedium
    I think that quote was from a discussion about game carts or tracker .mod files or something.
    That particular quote comes from a discussion asking for organ punchcards to be added as a format, which are basically the same as piano rolls.
  • massenmedium over 2 years ago

    cheebacheebakid
    It is codified by means of piano rolls not appearing in the audio format list per RSG §1.1.3.

    Probably best to leave it at that.
  • EssGee57 over 2 years ago

    EssGee57 edited over 2 years ago
    rdimucci

    Metronomic or arranged rolls are rolls produced by positioning the music slots without real-time input. The music, when played back, is typically purely metronomical. Metronomically arranged music rolls are deliberately left metronomic so as to enable a player-pianist to create their own musical performance via the hand controls that are a feature of all player pianos.

    Hand played rolls are created by capturing in real time the hand-played performance of one or more pianists upon a piano connected to a recording machine. The production roll reproduced the real-time performance of the original recording when played back at a constant speed. It is industry convention for recordings of music intended to be used for dancing to be regularized into strict tempo despite the original performance having the slight tempo fluctuations of all human performances, as due to the recording and production process, any fluctuations would be magnified/exaggerated in the finished production copy and result in an uneven rhythm.


    I have both types. The former are older based on the model that the human “pianolist” would add expression as part of the performance. By 1920, these fell out of favor when pianos were electrified and became mere players. Because electric players play at a constant rate and pressure, Famous composers could perform their own works and publish them like wax cylinder and disk recording stars.
  • massenmedium over 2 years ago

    I like a bit of Nancarrow as much as the next dog with headphones on but there recordings that are perfectly eligible.
  • rdimucci over 2 years ago

    OK, so as I understand the argument, the main distinction seems to be that with a piano roll, the playback mechanism is the instrument itself, which, in the act of being played, creates the audio waveform. No other method of capturing "audio" needs the instrument itself for playback. They all use loudspeakers.

    So, the argument is that when a piano roll is played back, the audio waveform is being created for the first time upon playback. Even though an audio waveform was created when the piano roll was made, that specific audio waveform was not captured by the roll. Each playing of the piano roll creates a new and unique audio waveform which, like a live performance, is never heard again. Only if we record the piano while it is playing the roll do we capture any unique audio waveform that can subsequently be recreated again.

    Is that about it?
  • Farjenk over 2 years ago

    cheebacheebakid
    threads in the last decade


    dolphyfan
    Sounds definitive to me.


    If you hang out here long enough, there is a certain ground-hogs-day-esqueness to the forums...
  • massenmedium over 2 years ago

    rdimucci
    OK, so as I understand the argument, the main distinction seems to be that with a piano roll, the playback mechanism is the instrument itself, which, in the act of being played, creates the audio waveform. No other method of capturing "audio" needs the instrument itself for playback. They all use loudspeakers.

    I'd say what matter is the reason for that - it's because the piano roll is not an audio medium. It doesn't hold a representation of a specific audio waveform.

    rdimucci
    So, the argument is that when a piano roll is played back, the audio waveform is being created for the first time upon playback. Even though an audio waveform was created when the piano roll was made, that specific audio waveform was not captured by the roll. Each playing of the piano roll creates a new and unique audio waveform which, like a live performance, is never heard again. Only if we record the piano while it is playing the roll do we capture any unique audio waveform that can subsequently be recreated again.

    https://www.discogs.com/forum/thread/788636?page=1#7826964
  • massenmedium over 2 years ago

    I mean, yes, pretty much. All that is the case. But simply because it is not an audio medium.
  • rdimucci over 2 years ago

    OK, I'm convinced. The piano roll substitutes for the live piano player. Scott Joplin could have played the same piece 10 times, trying to make each performance sound exactly like the last. Even if he did that, unless one of those performances was recorded, they are gone forever. Now Joplin is gone. But the piano roll allows us to have Joplin play the piano today just as he did then, as many times as we'd like, and as close to one original performance as we'd like. But unless we capture (i.e., record) one of those performances, they also are gone forever. It would be the same thing if Joplin were alive. We could record one of his live performances, or we could record the mechanical reproduction of his live performance. But until we did, we would have no recorded performance.
  • DarreLP over 2 years ago

    I think the argument that a piano roll is a 'recorded' medium is fuzzy. There are arguments for it, but just as many against it. Some have mentioned the MIDI comparison and I agree. One could argue a MIDI file could be 'recorded' in live time, but in the end, playback is entirely dependent on the device, so it isn't a preservation of the original audio in any way. Just a preservation of the original notation.

    Perhaps a more concrete comparison would be sheet music. A piano roll, like sheet music, is a set of instructions that hsa to get interpreted by an instrument. And by swapping instruments, you can get a completely different playback than what was perhaps originally intended.

    As to whether or not discogs should include non-recorded music notation media, I don't know. But would agree that we do not currently allow it, and that piano rolls would fit into that category.
  • uzn007 over 2 years ago

    cheebacheebakid
    It is codified by means of piano rolls not appearing in the audio format list per RSG §1.1.3.


    If I'm not mistaken, it doesn't actually say anywhere that that list is exhaustive. As with much of the material in the Guidelines, the expression "(as given on the formats list page)" is ambiguous and subject to multiple interpretations. For example, one of the formats is "Mono", so you could argue that since piano rolls only contain a single channel, they fit that format.
  • cheebacheebakid over 2 years ago

    cheebacheebakid edited over 2 years ago
    uzn007
    it doesn't actually say anywhere that that list is exhaustive.
    It doesn't need to say it's exhaustive. It's clear: only audio formats on the list of Formats are eligible. If it ain't on there' it ain't eligible.

    uzn007
    the expression "(as given on the formats list page)" is ambiguous and subject to multiple interpretations. For example, one of the formats is "Mono", so you could argue that since piano rolls only contain a single channel, they fit that format.
    Not really. the guideline says audio formats (as given on the formats list page). There are two lists clearly titled "The Format Field" and "The Description Field" in bold at the top of each list. Mono is in the Description Field list not the Format Field list, a description is not a format it is a description of a format.
  • EssGee57 over 2 years ago

    rdimucci
    OK, so as I understand the argument, the main distinction seems to be that with a piano roll, the playback mechanism is the instrument itself, which, in the act of being played, creates the audio waveform. No other method of capturing "audio" needs the instrument itself for playback. They all use loudspeakers.

    So, the argument is that when a piano roll is played back, the audio waveform is being created for the first time upon playback. Even though an audio waveform was created when the piano roll was made, that specific audio waveform was not captured by the roll. Each playing of the piano roll creates a new and unique audio waveform which, like a live performance, is never heard again. Only if we record the piano while it is playing the roll do we capture any unique audio waveform that can subsequently be recreated again.

    Is that about it?


    Some years ago, Zenph, Inc. converted some mono records of Glenn Gould in the 1950s to MIDI format, then played the file on a modern Steinway reproducing piano to recreate Gould’s original performance waveform.

    Like MIDI, CD, mpg and other digital formats, piano rolls are just another storage medium for performances.

    Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” on a reproducing piano roll will sound slightly different on different pianos. But it will still sound nearly exactly like Gershwin played it. Which is what a good recording should do.

    Every audiophile knows how the quality of the equipment affects the sound of the record. For instance, I have a collection of Victrolas that play back my 78 rpm records differently. The reproducer and the horns and even the needle type will affect the sound (timbre, richness, crackle) of the same record.

    The medium of the mechanical roll has virtually all the same characteristics as acoustic, electric, or digital recordings. It seems a shame that this criteria of a stored waveform should prevent rolls from inclusion when they are really just another record format.
  • reapermadness over 2 years ago

    I understand the arguments both pro and con for piano rolls here, but one thing I haven't seen mentioned is that there really is no other site attempting to catalog them, as far as I can tell. Many of these things will eventually be lost to history unless someone steps up. If not us, who?

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