About Us

This organization was the inspiration of Albert M. Petrak and Michael DeSavoy, in late 1997. Its purpose is simple: to preserve the unique performances of the "golden age" pianists, set down on perforated music rolls between 1905 and 1930. As these reproducing piano rolls are in all cases - at least- aged 60 years or more, action must be taken if they are not simply to deteriorate. Our premise is that the only method of preservation is electronic, transferring the perforations to digits, thus insuring their survival into the far future. What we envision is the establishment of an archive in cyberspace, which will be available to all, for whatever purpose, without charge. Toward that goal, this organization takes its first step: to make available to the world pianistic community, detail of what was recorded by the various companies, here and abroad during those years.

The "Lingua Franca" of this site is located in catalogs that we are making available at no cost to our visitors. These "assets," while not as detailed as the few remaining commercial publications currently available, enable one to identify a classical rolls composer / performer / title and issuing number. The catalogued material is contained in PDF (Portable Document Format). They may be perused in your browser or downloaded for viewing and printing if so desired. In either case you will need the Acrobat Reader in order to do so. This software is free and may be downloaded from the Adobe website along with instructions on setting it up for your particular computer platform. In addition to the various catalogs a further distillation of the recordings resides on the site as "Rollographies"complete detail of the work of a given performer. These may be browsed by clicking on the artists name which is hypertext-linked to their respective recordings. The catalogs themselves are located on the resources page.

Goals/Procedures

Purpose: To create a database for the reproducing piano roll (Classical) to be maintained for future use. Each reproducing roll shall be transferred by optical scanner, and the information stored on digital media.
Methods: Solicitation shall continue, via the Internet, to locate and obtain selected rolls. RPRF maintains complete files on desirable roll performances for known classical recordings, including the following labels: Ampico, Art-Echo, Artrio-Angelus, Duca; Duo Art, Empeco, Pleyela, Apollo, Recordo,Triphonola, Virtuola, Welte and Welte-Mignon (Licensee).

Procedures: Rolls shall be requested for transfer. Rolls are unwound from feed spool to take up spool, as the transfer of analog to digital is accomplished. No pressure, pneumatic or otherwise is part of the copying
process, and the roll is subjected to no stress in copying. When completed, the roll will be returned to its owner. Although request is made for copying on a voluntary basis, it is conceivable that funds may be obtained in the future to pay individual owners for the privilege of transferring extremely rare rolls. All possible safeguards shall be in place, including careful packaging to and from, reimbursement for transportation, if requested, and insurance for all transactions.

Goals: As the RPRF has been created to insure that these irreplaceable documents do not simply vanish or deteriorate to useless form, it is important to state the impetus for this program. Click here for a brief
account of the origin and development over a period of 35 years of the founder's intent.

Acknowledgments

Acknowledgment is hereby made for use of catalog detail from the complete listings of Charles Davis Smith (DUO-ART); of Elaine Obenchain (AMPICO) and of Smith and Richard Howe (WELTE). Thanks also to Larry Sitsky, of the Canberra School of Music, Australia for detail garnered from his complete publication. (1990, by Greenwood Press, CT.) We take full responsibility for omissions, believing that the material of most interest to posterity has in all cases been preserved.

The Reproducing Piano Roll Foundation
4800 Country Lane
Warrensville Hts, Ohio 44128-6101

The Reproducing Piano Roll Foundation is a nonprofit organization, and is licensed to grant tax deductions for contributions. The material furnished is available to all, at no charge, as has been indicated. Should you wish to make a donation to the foundation, or comment on how we might make it more useful to the roll community please contact us.
©1997-2009 The Reproducing Piano Roll Foundation