Curtis MacDonald has made a piece with samples of Conlon Nancarrow’s player pianos, which don’t sound like normal pianos. On one of them Conlon covered the hammers with steel straps, on the other he put leather straps capped with a metal tack. Like Lou Harrison’s tack piano, they sound harsh and kind of honky-tonk, almost like harpsichords, and Conlon clearly came to rely on the extra clarity they gave his thick polyphony; I once heard Study No. 48 on a regular big Disklavier grand, and it sounded like mush. MacDonald’s piece makes me realize that someone needs to go to Basel and sample the original Nancarrow player pianos, as Mikel Rouse did for the prepared piano of Cage’s Sonatas and Interludes: partly so we can make our own true realizations of Nancarrow’s pieces, and partly to compose with those wonderfully wacky tones ourselves.