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Bringing Old Performances Back to Life

Boot Camp feature for Monday, June 27, 2005

Bringing old performances back to life. Bloomberg Boot Camp, a report on today's technology. They are old recordings of piano performances…that are being brought back with software…from Zenph Studios and computer controlled pianos built by Yamaha. John Walker is the president an founder of Zenph Studios….

"What we do is we provide a service to the record labels who have these vast catalogs of materials from the '20s, the '30s, the '40s, the '50s. And what we do is we go through the recordings and look for the individual notes. Every single note, determine exactly how it was played, and then have it played back again via a robotic piano."

The software transformed this 1926 recording….. (sound) … into this… (sound) Once the software has done its work, the robotic piano can recreate live performances by great artists…complete with all of the nuances. So where will the technology go from here?

"Where we're starting is we're doing negotiation with some of the most famous artists. In fact, I'll tell you we're actually starting with an Art Tatum album. And we'll look at the estates of the great pianists of the 20th century and kind of work forward from there."

And the technology may be used to recreate other instrumental performances, in addition to the piano, in the future. Bloomberg Boot Camp, I'm Fred Fishkin.