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octave_dolce

Electronic Practice Organ

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I wonder if these builders, having lived in a world of electronic organs for so long, without so much regular exposure to real pipe organs, have started to loose touch with what a real pipe organ sounds like as their ears have acclimatised to the sounds from speakers?

 

What an exceedingly interesting point you make. I am sure that they compare each other regularly, but I wonder how often they actually listen to a real organ - even a single rank drawn and played up the keyboard from the bottom to the top; what an exciting and interesting journey that can be on a 19th century village organ somewhere in the wilds!

I must now shut down my computer!

Best wishes

Richard

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There's something rather wasteful about using touchscreens in situations where they are chiefly not touched and barely looked at for most of the time. A touch screen for the music would be more efficient

I've been coveting the Apple iPad for exactly that - something where I can load up a PDF of some music, put it on the stand, and just touch it to flick to the next page. My usual pageturners for voluntaries are both in the choir, which means I can't really nab them for that twelve-page anthem we're learning with the turns in the most awkward places...

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Bringing the subject back to pipe organs again, but mindful of the earlier discussions on Hauptwerk, I am pondering three questions that maybe someone involved in organ design and building might comment on.

 

 

 

2. Is there a role for taking a "sampled organ" and hearing it in another venue, for a better understanding of how voicing and acoustics interrelate? Could one imagine a pipe organ builder with a variety of sampled ranks of different scales setting up a Hauptwerk-style installation in a church during the design stage of the instrument, in order to demonstrate how it would sound, and to help select the most appropriate scales and specification before the first pipe had been made?

 

 

Contrbombarde

 

Hi

 

The big problem with this - and any attempt to "recreate" an organ digitally is the limitations of current loudspeaker systems, and the different interaction that they have with room acoustics compared to pipes. Then there's the issue of the Haupwerk (other systems are available!) sampling - if it includes any ambience from the original building, this will be superimposed on whatever room the samples are replayed in. Then there's the problem of getting clean pipe samples in anechoic to get rid of room ambience (neither pipe organs nor anechoic chambers are particularly portable.

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

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I've been coveting the Apple iPad for exactly that - something where I can load up a PDF of some music, put it on the stand, and just touch it to flick to the next page. My usual pageturners for voluntaries are both in the choir, which means I can't really nab them for that twelve-page anthem we're learning with the turns in the most awkward places...

Absolutely, Richard. Copyright considerations aside, to have all the music you ever wanted in one easily portable device. A friend thinks one iPad might be too small for reading music, and that two side-by-side might be the answer. Call me a geek, and I think this ties in with something Nigel mentioned recently, I actually enjoy entering music into Sibelius whether rearranging or simply to improve legibility or page turns. Can't be long before Sibelius produces an iApp.

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Guest Patrick Coleman
Can't be long before Sibelius produces an iApp.

 

 

This gives rise to the scenario where Sibelius also plays the instrument vis MIDI and no further human input is required... :)

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Absolutely, Richard. Copyright considerations aside, to have all the music you ever wanted in one easily portable device. A friend thinks one iPad might be too small for reading music, and that two side-by-side might be the answer. Call me a geek, and I think this ties in with something Nigel mentioned recently, I actually enjoy entering music into Sibelius whether rearranging or simply to improve legibility or page turns. Can't be long before Sibelius produces an iApp.

 

Yes, nice to hear some fellow Mac fans appear! However, there is already a device for this (or there was). In my D of M role at school, I can remember being bombarded with material about an 'electronic' music stand device, that meant no paper. I haven't bought one, but the marketing has gone very quiet. Does anyone know if its still going?

 

I also use Sib for the occasional rewrite/arrangement/diff page turn (v proud of my Vierne 5 slow mov't recopy without all the double sharps/flats!!), and an app might be useful for the iPhone/iPad. However, the biggest challenge will surely be the refelctive qualities of the screen and the dubious lighting we often find ourselves having to us in the organ loft. I know the e-readers get round this with a slightly opaque surface, but you can altern those all the time as you are holding them. Does anyone have any experience of an e-reader?

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... , I can remember being bombarded with material about an 'electronic' music stand device, that meant no paper. I haven't bought one, but the marketing has gone very quiet. Does anyone know if its still going?

I went to an orchestral gig about 3 years back, and they were all using similar devices. A quick touch on the screen seemed to turn the page.

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That's interesting - you'd have thought they'd have supplied something foot-operated for orchestral players to turn the page.

 

I'd be in favour of digital printed music, but I wouldn't want a touchscreen for page turns. I'd want it wired into the console somehow and available on a piston!

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A large number of the commoner parts of the repertoire are available digitally, as PDFs and from time to time people sell collections on Ebay. I brought a digital collection with me to Africa and mount my laptop on the busic desk when playing.

 

The downsides are, 1, small screen size, and 2, twice the number of page turns as you have to "turn" the page after each page, not each second page.

 

Exactly how you turn has been a challenge. The page up and page down buttons on the laptop are hardly easy to hit in a hurry, so I opted to rig up a mouse to control page turns. But I have found that I hit it at different speeds or strengths depending on where I am in the piece, and getting a consistent "click" after every page is not easy. Thus i night not click hard enough to turn the page, so click again, and then sometimes that causes me to advance two pages forward. Certainly digital music desks take getting used to!

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A large number of the commoner parts of the repertoire are available digitally, as PDFs and from time to time people sell collections on Ebay. I brought a digital collection with me to Africa and mount my laptop on the busic desk when playing.

 

The downsides are, 1, small screen size, and 2, twice the number of page turns as you have to "turn" the page after each page, not each second page.

This is a motive for reengraving expressly for the new medium. As many virtual pages use no more natural resources than one it's possible to have page breaks at more user-friendly moments.

Exactly how you turn has been a challenge. The page up and page down buttons on the laptop are hardly easy to hit in a hurry, so I opted to rig up a mouse to control page turns. But I have found that I hit it at different speeds or strengths depending on where I am in the piece, and getting a consistent "click" after every page is not easy. Thus i night not click hard enough to turn the page, so click again, and then sometimes that causes me to advance two pages forward. Certainly digital music desks take getting used to!

Assuming the iPad uses the same "swipe" technique as the iPhone I can imagine getting reliably good at "turning".

 

Alternatively a piston, connected wirelessly, that moved the music up one system might be better. There's nothing better for improving my sight-reading than being able to see what's over the page!

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I notice increasingly that some players play from copies where an entire piece seems to be crammed, with very small font, on to a large sheet of paper or card. Provided one's eyesight can cope and one has learnt the music thoroughly (of course) I can see many advantages to this. I assume it is done by photocopying orginals at a reduced size and then sticking them on a backing sheet. I should be interested to know the legality of this practice and whether any Board members have experience of using it. (I think someone told me a while ago of a Board member who has used it at recitals he has given in Brighton.) Some of the You-Tube clips we have been linked to recently show this system being used. Particularly JSB pieces.

 

One of the (few) disadvantages of not having a church job is that I no lnoger have personal access to a parish office and photocopier!

 

Malcolm

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The only time I've ever been close enough to see this practice, was Gillian Weir at Symphony Hall. For her, I would guess that she probably knows the music from memory, and that the card is simply an aide-memoire. With the slightly reidiculous detached console they have in the middle of the floor, I suppose it does mean there are no page turner/stop puller 'will she/he won't she/he/ moments and discussion about how well/badly dressed they are compared to the player. In other words, no distractions!

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I use either an A3 sketchbook, with A4 pages and prittstick, or an IKEA photo frame, which'll take 6 A4 pages. I can get most of the trio sonata movements into one frame. (each mvt = 1 frame).

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This is a motive for reengraving expressly for the new medium. As many virtual pages use no more natural resources than one it's possible to have page breaks at more user-friendly moments.

 

Assuming the iPad uses the same "swipe" technique as the iPhone I can imagine getting reliably good at "turning".

 

Alternatively a piston, connected wirelessly, that moved the music up one system might be better. There's nothing better for improving my sight-reading than being able to see what's over the page!

Have a look at :

 

http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=3069...p;id=1033620954

 

To Colin - I agree about CH. I have one at church, and hate it with a vengeance. Partly because the speaker placement is dreadful (swell and choir speak to the top of the elderly choir's head, which they hate), but mostly because there is no stop on it that stands on its own. Colour is reed or mixture, any they sound dreadful anyway, everything is nondescript and non-organ sounding. The great flute is pathetic - I can whisper over it, and the Gt OD is more like an 80's Casiokeys rendition of a "violin". No blend, no chorus, no beauty, nothing. Absolutely not one stop that has any merit. I have no doubt that Ernest could come down and spend some time improving matters, but the fact remains that the organ still went in like that. (Or was allowed to be voiced like that) Worrying.

 

I have been playing the Hauptwerk Salisbury organ trial today for the first time. Not the same as the real thing, of course, but still quite satisfying. Like listening to a recording of a concert that you might have played there. Certainly more satisfying than any electronic substitute toaster contraption I've ever played. For those of us who rarely get more than 3 hours a week to themselves (the wonders of being a house parent), this is fantastic. Stick the headphones on, play away and actually enjoy the sound you're making.

 

Some organists I know are content to practice on anything they can get their hands on. I'm not one of those; I have to enjoy the sound the instrument is making; that is the only reason to play, and one of the (and oh, there are so many others) reasons why I'm always on the hunt for a new church in the Southampton/Lymington/Bournemouth area. This is true whether organ/piano or harpsichord. I've had poor pianos, digital pianos, a fairly dire harpsichord, and a dreadful home toaster. All have gone in the bin - I just don't play them, because it's not satisfying. Hauptwerk has, for me, addressed that. The mechanics of stop changes and stuff might be clunky, but, frankly, I don't care; I can make noises that I enjoy, and not annoy everyone else, for a reasonable cost. Plus I can actually carry the console up to the top floor of the Queen Anne mansion I have a squalid little flat in, albeit in 3 trips.

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