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#2286802 - 06/06/14 11:37 PM Thread on Tuner-Tech forum u might find 'interesting'... :-)
Mark_C Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19871
Loc: New York

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#2286808 - 06/06/14 11:53 PM Re: Thread on Tuner-Tech forum u might find 'interesting'... :-) [Re: Mark_C]
Parks Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/05/14
Posts: 441
Loc: Northern CA
Yes, I read that - was amusing.
_________________________
Michael

"Genius is nothing more than an extraordinary capacity for patience."
Leonardo da Vinci

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#2286895 - 06/07/14 07:06 AM Re: Thread on Tuner-Tech forum u might find 'interesting'... :-) [Re: Mark_C]
rxd Online   happy
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/11/09
Posts: 1802
Loc: London, England
So. Is there any valid reason, technique, etc that would cause a pianist to habitually break strings?
_________________________
Concert & Recording tuner-tech, London, England.
"in theory, practice and theory are the same thing. In practice, they're not." - Lawrence P. 'Yogi' Berra.

Eschew obfuscation.



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#2286956 - 06/07/14 12:09 PM Re: Thread on Tuner-Tech forum u might find 'interesting'... :-) [Re: Mark_C]
Parks Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/05/14
Posts: 441
Loc: Northern CA
This was good:

Originally Posted By: KawaiDon

Ah, the proverbial student working on his 'Black Belt' in music instead of learning to be a musician.

_________________________
Michael

"Genius is nothing more than an extraordinary capacity for patience."
Leonardo da Vinci

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#2286984 - 06/07/14 01:28 PM Re: Thread on Tuner-Tech forum u might find 'interesting'... :-) [Re: rxd]
phantomFive Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/11/14
Posts: 1770
Loc: California
Originally Posted By: rxd
So. Is there any valid reason, technique, etc that would cause a pianist to habitually break strings?

If you know any technique that would cause strings to break, because I spent a lot time for a few years as a teenager trying to develop that ability
_________________________
Poetry is rhythm.

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#2287062 - 06/07/14 05:06 PM Re: Thread on Tuner-Tech forum u might find 'interesting'... :-) [Re: Mark_C]
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7439
Loc: Rochester MN
The chuckles continue in the same thread.

Originally Posted By: The Na´ve
Excessive use of the sustain pedal, coupled with heavy playing, can be a string-breaker.

Scenario:

Your new concert grand was just delivered. You want to baptize it with one of the great romantic concertos. You suddenly experience string empathy and mf and senza pedale creeps into your mind.

Ain't gonna happen!
_________________________
Marty in Minnesota

It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.

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#2287068 - 06/07/14 05:54 PM Re: Thread on Tuner-Tech forum u might find 'interesting'... :-) [Re: phantomFive]
Polyphonist Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/03/13
Posts: 7776
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: phantomFive
Originally Posted By: rxd
So. Is there any valid reason, technique, etc that would cause a pianist to habitually break strings?

If you know any technique that would cause strings to break, because I spent a lot time for a few years as a teenager trying to develop that ability

I know exactly how to do it, but I don't see why one would want to drain money from their own pocket.
_________________________
Regards,

Polyphonist

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#2287070 - 06/07/14 05:57 PM Re: Thread on Tuner-Tech forum u might find 'interesting'... :-) [Re: Polyphonist]
phantomFive Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/11/14
Posts: 1770
Loc: California
Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
Originally Posted By: phantomFive
Originally Posted By: rxd
So. Is there any valid reason, technique, etc that would cause a pianist to habitually break strings?

If you know any technique that would cause strings to break, because I spent a lot time for a few years as a teenager trying to develop that ability

I know exactly how to do it, but I don't see why one would want to drain money from their own pocket.

vale la pena
_________________________
Poetry is rhythm.

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#2287222 - 06/08/14 05:02 AM Re: Thread on Tuner-Tech forum u might find 'interesting'... :-) [Re: Mark_C]
rxd Online   happy
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/11/09
Posts: 1802
Loc: London, England
It is known that all musical instruments reach a saturation point where no more sound is available. Of any quality.

This saturation point happens well below the point where there is a danger of split reeds or lips and broken drum heads or strings.

There are stories of breaking strings that beginners latch on to and begin to think breaking strings is some sort of accomplishment. Paganini did it on purpose in order to demonstrate how much he could do on the one remaining violin string.

Accomplished musicians know where the point of maximum projecting volume of quality tone is on their particular instrument. It is below the point of saturation. Which puts it way below the point of instrument damage, even on relatively precarious instruments.

There should be no reason for a musician to damage any instrument.
_________________________
Concert & Recording tuner-tech, London, England.
"in theory, practice and theory are the same thing. In practice, they're not." - Lawrence P. 'Yogi' Berra.

Eschew obfuscation.



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#2287238 - 06/08/14 07:02 AM Re: Thread on Tuner-Tech forum u might find 'interesting'... :-) [Re: rxd]
wr Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 8025
Originally Posted By: rxd


There should be no reason for a musician to damage any instrument.


I don't think breaking strings actually damages the piano, usually. And as to a good reason for it, it's simple - you get carried away by the music, which can be a good thing. Or not.

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#2287266 - 06/08/14 08:58 AM Re: Thread on Tuner-Tech forum u might find 'interesting'... :-) [Re: Mark_C]
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7439
Loc: Rochester MN
Keep in mind that in the Tuner/Tech forum they believe that a piano is not to be played. It merely exists for them to tune it twice a year and do a total voicing and action regulation every other year. However, they are very happy to accept the check for replacing a broken string from exceeding the mf limit or for replacing damper felts from "excessive use of the sustain pedal."

Mark C is totally correct that their logic is totally baffling.

I am thy tuner extraordinaire, and thou shalt not choose other tuners before me.
Thou shalt not build any model smaller than a 52" vertical.
Thou shalt not take the name of Cristofori in vain.
Remember the day your piano was delivered and keep it holy.
Honour thy Hannon and Czerny.
Thou shalt not break strings, nor use the pedals.
Thou shalt not play another's piano
Thou shalt not download copyright tuning manuals.
Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy tuner.
Thou shalt not covet your neighbor's concert grand, or the fact that he plays
fff con molto pedale.

Bless me Steinway for I have sinned - I have played my piano loudly and used the pedals.
_________________________
Marty in Minnesota

It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.

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#2287283 - 06/08/14 09:41 AM Re: Thread on Tuner-Tech forum u might find 'interesting'... :-) [Re: Minnesota Marty]
Mark_C Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19871
Loc: New York
Actually it's not at all that I think their logic was baffling. I think their humor was great, and that's why I posted there and here.

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#2287288 - 06/08/14 10:00 AM Re: Thread on Tuner-Tech forum u might find 'interesting'... :-) [Re: Mark_C]
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7439
Loc: Rochester MN
Yea, I guess logic was ill-chosen vocabulary. The problem is that I'm not sure that they see the humor involved!
_________________________
Marty in Minnesota

It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.

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#2287353 - 06/08/14 01:54 PM Re: Thread on Tuner-Tech forum u might find 'interesting'... :-) [Re: Mark_C]
hreichgott Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/11/13
Posts: 1266
Loc: western MA, USA
Is this even for real?
I've been playing for over 20 years, play on the forceful side if anything, and have had a string break exactly once. It was a work piano, too, not a regular practice instrument.
_________________________
Heather W. Reichgott, piano http://heatherwreichgott.blogspot.com
Working on: Schumann/Kinderszenen
Daily 16th notes: Chopin Op. 10 no. 2, Pischna
I love Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven and new music

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#2287357 - 06/08/14 02:13 PM Re: Thread on Tuner-Tech forum u might find 'interesting'... :-) [Re: wr]
rxd Online   happy
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/11/09
Posts: 1802
Loc: London, England
Originally Posted By: wr
Originally Posted By: rxd


There should be no reason for a musician to damage any instrument.


I don't think breaking strings actually damages the piano, usually. And as to a good reason for it, it's simple - you get carried away by the music, which can be a good thing. Or not.


If breaking strings is not actually doing any damage, then there is no damage to repair. Can I come and live in your world? (part of me already does).

You are not too sure yourself about loss of self control, (or not). I could agree with you except that I have had the fortune to work with some of the legends of the piano world when they were in their eighties, in one case, ninety- something. They have only the strength to get onto the stage yet they can project to their audience a colossal range of tonal volume, colour along with a large range of emotion. I have maintained the pianos in the homes and studios of such hi class pianists. They don't break strings.

We all heard in the Rubinstein competition links. A few pianists know how to create a wide range of tone colours even at high volume. Many more played with no attention to this aspect at all.
_________________________
Concert & Recording tuner-tech, London, England.
"in theory, practice and theory are the same thing. In practice, they're not." - Lawrence P. 'Yogi' Berra.

Eschew obfuscation.



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#2287361 - 06/08/14 02:26 PM Re: Thread on Tuner-Tech forum u might find 'interesting'... :-) [Re: Mark_C]
Louis Podesta Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/05/13
Posts: 780
In 53 years, I have had one string break, and I am playing on the exact same piano I did when I was nine. However, I didn't break it, but my tuner did.

He warned me ahead of time that because I had waited two years to have it tuned, and given the age of the instrument, that it would happen. It is a middle bass A string so I can live with it.

As far a pianist breaking strings while playing, I play with a very large sound, but I don't bang on it, which is what some people do. Alexander Toradze literally destroys pianos, and a lot of people think that is cool. I think it is royally stupid, and also most unmusical.

Earl Wild teaches in his book that if a pianist is playing in a big hall then they need to adjust their pedaling by not pedaling every beat, and just strike the piano a little harder. For instance, in the "A Tempo" section of the intro. to the Rach 2nd, he doesn't change pedal on the second beat, but instead strikes the G natural just a tad harder to bring it out.

Finally, 1) if you break enough strings then no amount of voicing is going to smooth it out and you will have to pay very large money to have it restrung, and 2) if a pianist is consistently breaking strings, then they are beating up more than just their piano. They are beating up their hands, wrists, and also possibly developing a later propensity for osteoarthritis.

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#2287364 - 06/08/14 02:31 PM Re: Thread on Tuner-Tech forum u might find 'interesting'... :-) [Re: rxd]
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7439
Loc: Rochester MN
Originally Posted By: rxd
Originally Posted By: wr
Originally Posted By: rxd

There should be no reason for a musician to damage any instrument.

I don't think breaking strings actually damages the piano, usually. And as to a good reason for it, it's simple - you get carried away by the music, which can be a good thing. Or not.

If breaking strings is not actually doing any damage, then there is no damage to repair.

Usually, breaking a string doesn't damage a piano. It damages the string.

As I said, tuner/techs believe that a piano shouldn't be played. We should only pay to have it serviced. Isn't every note struck causing "damage to the hammer?" If not, there would be no need for shaping or voicing. Don't use the action, whatever you do. You'll "damage" the bushings and all sorts of parts which should remain unused.

Wear and tear is damage.
_________________________
Marty in Minnesota

It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.

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#2287383 - 06/08/14 03:05 PM Re: Thread on Tuner-Tech forum u might find 'interesting'... :-) [Re: Louis Podesta]
phantomFive Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/11/14
Posts: 1770
Loc: California
Originally Posted By: Louis Podesta
However, I didn't break it, but my tuner did.

It is almost certain that tuners break more strings than pianists do. Sometimes on accident, sometimes not. I remember BDB saying he stresses the strings a bit (or something) when tuning so if they are going to break, they will break right then instead of during the performance.

Originally Posted By: Louis Podesta
He warned me ahead of time that because I had waited two years to have it tuned, and given the age of the instrument, that it would happen. It is a middle bass A string so I can live with it.

If you get yourself a tuning hammer, you can adjust it here every week or so, getting it close enough to in tune. Then it's not very expensive to have a string replaced.
_________________________
Poetry is rhythm.

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#2287390 - 06/08/14 03:32 PM Re: Thread on Tuner-Tech forum u might find 'interesting'... :-) [Re: Minnesota Marty]
Louis Podesta Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/05/13
Posts: 780
Originally Posted By: Minnesota Marty
Originally Posted By: rxd
Originally Posted By: wr
Originally Posted By: rxd

There should be no reason for a musician to damage any instrument.

I don't think breaking strings actually damages the piano, usually. And as to a good reason for it, it's simple - you get carried away by the music, which can be a good thing. Or not.

If breaking strings is not actually doing any damage, then there is no damage to repair.

Usually, breaking a string doesn't damage a piano. It damages the string.

As I said, tuner/techs believe that a piano shouldn't be played. We should only pay to have it serviced. Isn't every note struck causing "damage to the hammer?" If not, there would be no need for shaping or voicing. Don't use the action, whatever you do. You'll "damage" the bushings and all sorts of parts which should remain unused.

Wear and tear is damage.

Speaking from very personal experience, I have the best Baldwin Baby Grand in San Antonio. It is a 1949 Model M, and it has had excellent care taken of it. Even if you don't like my video, you have to admit that the sound it emits is fairly remarkable for a 65 year old instrument.

It has had one new set of hammers, and one new set of key tops. I currently have the thermostat set at 73 degrees, and it goes up to 74 at night.

Every six months or so, I pull the action and do some minor voicing. And, I play 2 hours in the morning and the same in the afternoon.

If the average automobile was built like the pianos of old, it would last a hundred years. And, in regards piano strings, why do you think some people use piano wire to strangle someone to death. They do so because it has one of highest tensile strengths known to man.

Regularly breaking strings is not a normal part of owning a fine piano!

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#2287392 - 06/08/14 03:37 PM Re: Thread on Tuner-Tech forum u might find 'interesting'... :-) [Re: Louis Podesta]
Polyphonist Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/03/13
Posts: 7776
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: Louis Podesta
In 53 years, I have had one string break, and I am playing on the exact same piano I did when I was nine. However, I didn't break it, but my tuner did.

I've broken two or three strings in my life, but none of them were on my piano.
_________________________
Regards,

Polyphonist

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#2287406 - 06/08/14 04:18 PM Re: Thread on Tuner-Tech forum u might find 'interesting'... :-) [Re: Polyphonist]
pv88 Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/31/10
Posts: 2716
In 55 years - have had more than 5 strings break on different pianos:

I might add here that I previously broke no less than 3 bass strings on a Baldwin Hamilton upright that my parents had bought for me (when I was very young and both of them are now gone) as I was a rather heavy-handed player.

The strings had snapped as I was playing on three separate occasions (during practice of some Rachmaninoff and/or Liszt pieces) and my parents weren't so happy to find out that they had a demolition son as a pianist!

In later years I paid the price for my powerhouse approach as my hands and wrists suffered injury as a result. As for now I only own digital pianos and don't ever need to worry about broken strings or tuning.

Extra note:

Here is Horowitz breaking a string in a live performance:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kaLkpDrdifc

It can happen on a concert grand!

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#2287457 - 06/08/14 07:00 PM Re: Thread on Tuner-Tech forum u might find 'interesting'... :-) [Re: pv88]
Louis Podesta Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/05/13
Posts: 780
Originally Posted By: pv88
In 55 years - have had more than 5 strings break on different pianos:

I might add here that I previously broke no less than 3 bass strings on a Baldwin Hamilton upright that my parents had bought for me (when I was very young and both of them are now gone) as I was a rather heavy-handed player.

The strings had snapped as I was playing on three separate occasions (during practice of some Rachmaninoff and/or Liszt pieces) and my parents weren't so happy to find out that they had a demolition son as a pianist!

In later years I paid the price for my powerhouse approach as my hands and wrists suffered injury as a result. As for now I only own digital pianos and don't ever need to worry about broken strings or tuning.

Extra note:

Here is Horowitz breaking a string in a live performance:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kaLkpDrdifc

It can happen on a concert grand!

Thanks for sharing your experience of injuring your hands. It is a personal part of your life which could not be pleasant to share with others.

The unique aspect of your story relates to the Hamilton/Baldwin upright that you broke stings on. And, I say that for the following history:

Carey and I matriculated at the North Texas State University in the early 1970's. At that time, they had 1,500 music majors, 300 of which were graduate students.

Did they have practice rooms? Oh, yes they did, and all of them (100%) had Hamilton uprights.

During that time, I was friends (and followed him around to most of his tunings) with Robert Spears, who was the tuner technician to the music school. He taught me the concept of "stretching an octave."

On point, in that entire time, I never heard of anyone breaking a string on a Hamilton upright. And remember, these pianos were played daily for the better part of 16 hours a day for nine months a year.

I am very sorry that some teacher taught you that in order to get a big sound, in regards a Romantic Period or Post-Romantic Period Composer, that you had to beat on a piano in order to get the desired result.

Parenthetically, what no one is talking about is voicing the hammers on a given piano and more importantly the key dip on any piano.

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#2287475 - 06/08/14 07:56 PM Re: Thread on Tuner-Tech forum u might find 'interesting'... :-) [Re: Louis Podesta]
pv88 Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/31/10
Posts: 2716
@Louis,

I am no longer the piano pounder I used to be although it was ironic that after the first string snapped (on the Baldwin Hamilton) then the other two followed very shortly, thereafter. Lots of pedal, resonance, and stiff fingers will do it.

Turns out that no one had "taught" me any method as I only had two teachers in my past and I played loud and hard just to get the attention of anyone who was listening (only my parents). It was this obsessive heavy handedness that resulted in chastisement by my father who had to come downstairs and literally drag me away from the piano since it was after 11:00 PM and he had to get to bed to go to work early in the morning. Those were the days!

It's better to have a digital where you can turn down the volume to acceptable levels or put on headphones although since I own my own house now this is no longer an issue. I just can't imagine someone owning a decent sized grand in an apartment situation.

When would anyone allow you to play it?

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#2287477 - 06/08/14 07:58 PM Re: Thread on Tuner-Tech forum u might find 'interesting'... :-) [Re: Mark_C]
JoelW Online   content
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/12
Posts: 4931
Loc: USA
I broke the high F on my '77 Yamaha. I suspect the strings are original.

Anyone wanna guess what I was playing when I broke it?

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#2287485 - 06/08/14 08:17 PM Re: Thread on Tuner-Tech forum u might find 'interesting'... :-) [Re: pv88]
jdw Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/04/11
Posts: 1037
Loc: Philadelphia, PA
Originally Posted By: pv88


It's better to have a digital where you can turn down the volume to acceptable levels or put on headphones although since I own my own house now this is no longer an issue. I just can't imagine someone owning a decent sized grand in an apartment situation.

When would anyone allow you to play it?


In well-built older apartment buildings it may be no problem. I have a voice teacher friend in a high-rise whose neighbors don't hear her Steinway M.
_________________________
1989 Baldwin R
Currently working on:
Grieg, Papillon
Mozart, K 330
Brahms, Op. 118 no. 2

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#2287495 - 06/08/14 08:48 PM Re: Thread on Tuner-Tech forum u might find 'interesting'... :-) [Re: JoelW]
wr Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 8025
Originally Posted By: JoelW
I broke the high F on my '77 Yamaha. I suspect the strings are original.

Anyone wanna guess what I was playing when I broke it?


Probably not one of those pieces by Ustvolskaya or Ligeti that are awash in forte marks, which almost seem to be asking for strings to break. Probably something much more domesticated, like Chopin's 2nd Scherzo.

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#2287496 - 06/08/14 08:52 PM Re: Thread on Tuner-Tech forum u might find 'interesting'... :-) [Re: wr]
Mark_C Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19871
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: wr
Chopin's 2nd Scherzo.

For once at least, WR and I agree. ha

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#2287515 - 06/08/14 09:39 PM Re: Thread on Tuner-Tech forum u might find 'interesting'... :-) [Re: Mark_C]
JoelW Online   content
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/12
Posts: 4931
Loc: USA
Yes, and I got a little carried away. (it broke on the final note cry)

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#2287520 - 06/08/14 09:46 PM Re: Thread on Tuner-Tech forum u might find 'interesting'... :-) [Re: Mark_C]
Polyphonist Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/03/13
Posts: 7776
Loc: New York City
The good thing is, when you break that string on the last note, it's not a problem because you're done. ha

(I seem to remember a story of someone breaking a string in the middle of the piano, then playing the entire Liszt sonata while avoiding that key.)

One of the strings I have broken was during the coda of the C# minor etude, opus 10/4.
_________________________
Regards,

Polyphonist

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