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A century ago, the great French composer Claude Debussy sat down at a contraption called a Welte-Mignon reproducing piano and recorded a series of performances for posterity. The machine was designed to encode the nuances of a pianist’s playing, including pedaling and dynamics, onto piano rolls for later reproduction, like the one above. Debussy recorded 14 pieces onto six rolls in Paris on or before November 1, 1913.
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