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I need some education. I have recently played an organ that has stops saying "Midi on Pedal" . "Midi on Great" etc.

I did inadvertently draw one in a verse, but nothing discernible happened as far as I could tell. I notice on the new Choir organ in Worcester Cathedral that it has:

Electric stop and combination actions with sequencer and MIDI.

I am up to the sequencer bit, but not the last. When is this to be used? What does it do at Worcester?

As an organ adviser I am feeling decidedly out of it.

Thanks.

best wishes,

Nigel

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I need some education. I have recently played an organ that has stops saying "Midi on Pedal" . "Midi on Great" etc.

I did inadvertently draw one in a verse, but nothing discernible happened as far as I could tell. I notice on the new Choir organ in Worcester Cathedral that it has:

Electric stop and combination actions with sequencer and MIDI.

I am up to the sequencer bit, but not the last. When is this to be used? What does it do at Worcester?

As an organ adviser I am feeling decidedly out of it.

Thanks.

best wishes,

Nigel

 

 

I'm not particularly knowledgeable about anything hi-tec, but so far as I know, MIDI (when operating) sends signals to anything that can either store musical files i.e. record and then play back your music (and any other MIDI files supplied from elsewhere) or play other instruments that also have MIDI.

MIDI stands for 'Musical Instrument Digital Interface'. It would be possible, for instance, for a MIDI link on a pipe organ to enable the player to use digital voices from an expander module. I have a friend in North Devon who does the opposite. He has a fairly standard 2-Manual Allen house organ and by use of the MIDI channels he can play two real pipe ranks along with the electronics,. His ranks are a Diapason and Trumpet (from 16' C) and they dramatically increase the effectiveness of the instrument.

 

One novel thing about having MIDI fitted, apart from the fact that a machine will be able to play your hymns if you have to be somewhere else, or the church can't get an organist at all is that you could record your recital, a boffin at a lap-top could correct unwanted cuffs on a screen and then the organ could replay everything (including moving the swell pedals if they're fitted with appropriate devices) while the organ is subsequently recorded. I wonder if this is why Mr.Briggs had MIDI equipment put into the Cathedral organ at the latest rebuild at Gloucester.

 

I know what you're thinking 'doesn't sound much like making music' - no, my opinion too, though it can come in handy. I am currently working on an instrument this week and next that was deficient in decent pipework but has a fully operational MIDI system. So that both the organist and I could sample the effect of our revised Great chorus anywhere in the building, he only had to find a pre-recorded MIDI file. Drawing stops in this case seemed to over-ride any stops already selected in the memory.

 

:rolleyes: If I've got this wrong, chaps and chapesses, please correct me.

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:rolleyes: If I've got this wrong, chaps and chapesses, please correct me.

Cynic's comments seem pretty accurate to me, although I'm no expert either. Most MIDI-enabled equipment has two MIDI sockets, MIDI-IN and MIDI-OUT; there is also sometimes a MIDI-THRU, if you want to "daisy-chain" several devices together. Some experts talk about MIDI-delay; this may be exacerbated if there are many MIDI-messages to transmit in a short space of time; technically, I think MIDI has difficulty "playing" two or more notes at exactly the same time. Don't shoot me if this isn't true! MIDI can control notes on and off, "patch changes" (a bit like stop changes), MIDI volume, expression, reverb, and many other types of data, using hexadecimal code. There are 16 channels in the basic MIDI spec, but this can be expanded.

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Cynic's comments seem pretty accurate to me, although I'm no expert either. Most MIDI-enabled equipment has two MIDI sockets, MIDI-IN and MIDI-OUT; there is also sometimes a MIDI-THRU, if you want to "daisy-chain" several devices together. Some experts talk about MIDI-delay; this may be exacerbated if there are many MIDI-messages to transmit in a short space of time; technically, I think MIDI has difficulty "playing" two or more notes at exactly the same time. Don't shoot me if this isn't true! MIDI can control notes on and off, "patch changes" (a bit like stop changes), MIDI volume, expression, reverb, and many other types of data, using hexadecimal code. There are 16 channels in the basic MIDI spec, but this can be expanded.

 

 

 

Midi will not play notes at exactly the same time - there's a very small delay between individual notes ( we're talking in milliseconds here, but I can't remember the exact figure without checking the midi specification ). So in a chord of five notes, let's say, each note is sent one after the other, as an individual event.

To most, the delay involved won't be perceptible, but this is a frequently debated topic in some circles!

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I can't say what the future purpose at Worcester but the staff there check here frequently and will doubtless comment. At the moment, it is quite useful to be able to play the Rogers as a nave organ for big nave services, and occasionally use the Rogers 32' for rumbles.

 

Midi is at its most useful when teaching, I think. Virtually all electrifications in recent years will have contained the ability to add a control panel for a few pounds and access functions which are already there. Rather like the old debate about Scope piston systems, where everybody said how much they hated them - frankly, the technology's already there, and the only question is whether the button is visible at the console, hidden round the back or requires a USB hookup to a laptop.

 

My crematorium-playing career came to an abrupt end because of midi. My exploration of the Allen midi expander unit's list of such sounds as birdsong, helicopters passing overhead and guns being fired was cut short by a briefer-than-usual address. In hindsight, it would have been beneficial to make sure it was in fact switched off again before gently serenading the coffin through the curtains.

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....if you want to "daisy-chain"

 

MIDI can control notes on and off, "patch changes" (a bit like stop changes), MIDI volume, expression, reverb, and many other types of data, using hexadecimal code.

 

There are 16 channels in the basic MIDI spec, but this can be expanded.

 

.....enable the player to use digital voices from an expander module.

 

.....he only had to find a pre-recorded MIDI file. Drawing stops in this case seemed to over-ride any stops already selected in the memory.

 

I am trying to understand - but I think until I see this all in operation I actually don't have much of a clue. But - does this mean that if you recorded something using this stop it would play it back in Sibelius or another music programme and then you can print it out from there?

 

Thanks for your help and patience, as everyone is far more competent than I.

 

Best wishes,

Nigel

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If you connected a computer, you could either play compositions into Sibelius or have Sibelius play the organ to you. But, like recording and playback, that's a simple note output matter and akin to making a digital pianola roll - when you press the key, the punch goes off whether you like it or not, regardless of whether there's a pianola roll loaded into the machine.

 

Where there are controls marked Midi on Pedal or Midi on Great it is exactly like locating a floating division on a particular keyboard - replace the word Midi with Nave and suddenly there are many instances in cathedrals (Chichester, St Davids, Norwich, Winchester, all of which have something like Nave on Great/Nave on Choir) where exactly this technology is used in a more obviously defined role.

 

The confusion arises because Midi is a concept with many functions, rather than a fixed thing like a nave division - you could theoretically plug in anything digital - a digital organ, a drum kit, the church's lighting and sound desk (pulpit microphones? please?) or a battery of fireworks primed to go off with every key-press (thought of that one, Worcester?) Oh, the limitless joys which abound. Using a simple bit of code to detect crotchet pulse, you could control the giant botafumeiro at Compostela in time with the music, or the wooden conductor's hand at Ripon.

 

Personally, I'm very happy to be limited to organs full of adjustable twigs and pivots where such things are totally alien. I've yet to be bored by the best of 'em, and remain to be convinced that there is anything other than eventual redundancy to be gained by all this. Barrel organs were very popular once, and I'm not sure that encouraging the ability to near-instantly download hymns, anthems, voluntaries and even entire concerts is actually addressing anything useful about the number and standard of musicians in churches.

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I need some education. I have recently played an organ that has stops saying "Midi on Pedal" . "Midi on Great" etc.

I did inadvertently draw one in a verse, but nothing discernible happened as far as I could tell. I notice on the new Choir organ in Worcester Cathedral that it has:

Electric stop and combination actions with sequencer and MIDI.

I am up to the sequencer bit, but not the last. When is this to be used? What does it do at Worcester?

As an organ adviser I am feeling decidedly out of it.

Thanks.

best wishes,

Nigel

 

Posts above have covered this topic very adequately, but one way of undertsanding how MIDI works is to recall the thickness of the cable needed to connect the average organ to its console in the earlier days of electric actions (eg the original mobile 2-manual console at Liverpool). In 'analogue' systems a strand of cable would be required for every note of every stop, whereas in modern 'multiplex' transmissions a stream of serial data can be sent down a single wire! MIDI works in a similar way, in that keying and other control data is processed and sent out so quickly that delays are minimal (and usually inaudible). It also allows for the console to be easily plugged in at different locations within a building, without needing a permanently fixed 'umbilical cable'.

 

MIDI is a standard feature of all modern pipeless organs, allowing recording/playback via PC or stand-alone sequencers, as well as interfacing with external sound-generators etc for those who wish to add other instrumental effects.

 

 

CP

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I have been to a number of recitals which probably sounded wonderful in the organ loft, but were a disaster where the audience sat because lack of articulation and strong resonance reduced the music to a shapeless blur. If only the organist had heard his playing as we did! Sometimes in the audience, sometimes as page turner, I knew just how different the sounds were.

 

An organ with MIDI facilities can allow a player to "record" everything and then to have it replayed exactly as he played it, so with the opportunity to hear the music as everyone else will hear it.

 

As another correspondent wrote, MIDI is almost universal on electronic instruments. It is not uncommon on pipe organs with electric actions, including Notre Dame in Paris.

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I have been to a number of recitals which probably sounded wonderful in the organ loft, but were a disaster where the audience sat because lack of articulation and strong resonance reduced the music to a shapeless blur. If only the organist had heard his playing as we did! Sometimes in the audience, sometimes as page turner, I knew just how different the sounds were.

 

An organ with MIDI facilities can allow a player to "record" everything and then to have it replayed exactly as he played it, so with the opportunity to hear the music as everyone else will hear it.

 

As another correspondent wrote, MIDI is almost universal on electronic instruments. It is not uncommon on pipe organs with electric actions, including Notre Dame in Paris.

 

Wonderful to read.

I cannot even contemplate how a recitalist doesn't spend twice the length of the concert (at least) hearing and registering an instrument from where it will be heard. What's the point of learning the notes if you don't allow the punters to hear how you wish to 'orchestrate' and articulate? What you need (after thinking hard about all this midi stuff), is a good player as an assistant and a walkie talkie - failing that, a loud voice.

I heard once (but can't believe such nonsense) that the organ in Paris Notre Dame can be hitched up to a computer in the suburbs. If so - un jour triste pour François-Henri. But, some live in modern age. Alas (sic) , I don't.

N

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I heard once (but can't believe such nonsense) that the organ in Paris Notre Dame can be hitched up to a computer in the suburbs.

As I understand it, the Notre Dame console is hooked up electronically with the telecommunications giant Synaptel SA. All individual players' pistons settings are stored at Synaptel and can be retrieved via a telephone call. Similarly, all performances given on the organ can also be stored there and played back on demand.

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As I understand it, the Notre Dame console is hooked up electronically with the telecommunications giant Synaptel SA. All individual players' pistons settings are stored at Synaptel and can be retrieved via a telephone call. Similarly, all performances given on the organ can also be stored there and played back on demand.

 

Jeepers. So if the telephone lines are down, one is jiggered.

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I don't know. It could be that the link between the console and Synaptel is actually by cable and the phone is only used for verbal communication. I'm sure someone else here will know more. But I guess as with any computer communications, it is subject to occasional "downtime".

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I don't know. It could be that the link between the console and Synaptel is actually by cable and the phone is only used for verbal communication. I'm sure someone else here will know more. But I guess as with any computer communications, it is subject to occasional "downtime".

 

I thought that the direct Synaptel downlink was only in charge when they had their computer crisis at NDdP, shortly after inauguration.

As the technology involved is far from beeing extraordinary today, I think everything is working on location now.

 

The "Arpeggio" effect was mentioned above - i. e. that MIDI will always give a serial transmission of a synchronous chord. the thing ist, that in hand-played music you will never fire the contacts (whatever type they may be) of a touched chord simultaneously, so the messages will be transmitted in the order of the fingers as they depressed the keys.

Worrying about a "processing delay" when, say, pressing a cluster with arms etc., it has to be noted that it depends on scanning frequency (how often per second all keys of a keyboard are scanned for their current position), and even if scanned VERY often (for the organ of the Teneriffa Auditorium 120 times per second where announced), bad transmission media may slow it down like a slow internet connection. The discussions of these problems have their origins in (much)' older equipment of the pop music branch, where audible delay could occur, certainly with drum and percussion tracks. But the faster the gear is working today, the lesser any delay remains noticeable.

Personally, I would try to avoid wireless systems. I do not know about their transmission performance, but having the risk that a mobile phone close to the console or a laptop or any other radiating device could produce unwanted tones or registration changes, would not be a comfortable feeling.

 

Imagine organ competitions on such instruments, where players hack the data of their competitors, adding some (wrong) extra notes... :D

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Personally, I would try to avoid wireless systems. I do not know about their transmission performance, but having the risk that a mobile phone close to the console or a laptop or any other radiating device could produce unwanted tones or registration changes, would not be a comfortable feeling.

 

Do I seem to remember in the 1970s/80s that the Droitwich radio masts played (sic) havoc at times with a newly installed action in Worcester cathedral - or am I dreaming this?

N

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The "Arpeggio" effect was mentioned above - i. e. that MIDI will always give a serial transmission of a synchronous chord. the thing is, that in hand-played music you will never fire the contacts (whatever type they may be) of a touched chord simultaneously, so the messages will be transmitted in the order of the fingers as they depressed the keys.

Worrying about a "processing delay" when, say, pressing a cluster with arms etc., it has to be noted that it depends on scanning frequency (how often per second all keys of a keyboard are scanned for their current position), and even if scanned VERY often (for the organ of the Teneriffa Auditorium 120 times per second where announced), bad transmission media may slow it down like a slow internet connection. The discussions of these problems have their origins in (much)' older equipment of the pop music branch, where audible delay could occur, certainly with drum and percussion tracks. But the faster the gear is working today, the lesser any delay remains noticeable.

Just one minor correction; the order in which messages are transmitted depends partly on the order in which the keys are depressed, but also in the order in which the scanning process identifies them. Even on a tracker system the pallets will not be opened quite simultaneously when a chord is played - the issue is whether the spread is audible.

 

The MIDI system is not a piece of hardware or a piece of software, but a standard written on paper. This should guarantee that any two pieces of equipment bult to the standard should be able to talk to each other, but it also means that any improvements in the performance will take it outside of the standard. That's not a problem with a closed system in which both transmitter and receiver go beyond the standard.

 

There are also the inherent limitations of electric actions. There are some useful articles on MIDI for organists, one covering what an organist might expect when playing large chords very quickly, and touch sensitivity of mechanical actions - which some organists would hope that electric actions might be able to emulate.

 

http://www.pykett.org.uk/midi_for_organists.htm

http://www.pykett.org.uk/response_speed_of...ric_actions.htm

http://www.pykett.org.uk/touchsens.htm

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Since Worcester has been mentioned a few times in this thread, I thought it might be useful to put down how MIDI has been implemented here. The Tickell console has a Musicom software-based transmission system with two separate MIDI output sockets and one MIDI input. One of the outputs transmits information relating to everything at the console, keys, pedals, stops and swell pedals all the time. The other only transmits key/pedal information, and only then when one of the "MIDI ON ..." stops is drawn. The input will take whatever you put into it and can control every aspect of the instrument - keys, pedals, stops and swell pedals. How you choose to use all of this (or any of it!) is only limited by your inclination, external software and hardware, musical needs etc!

 

At the moment we use it in the following ways:

 

1) Using an external MIDI sequencer or laptop to 'record' what is being played for immediate replaying (to check balance or whatever) or for audio recording at a later date. This uses the full MIDI out and input sockets.

 

2) Linking the Tickell to the Rodgers nave organ for services when both need to be used simultaneously, such as Christmas services when the cathedral is full. This works in either direction. At the moment I have a laptop set up to mediate between the organs so that stops on the Tickell can be controlled while using the Rodgers console. When used in the other direction (playing on the Tickell console) the Rodgers at present needs a second person to control stops and boxes. We don't really need to use it like that often enough to spend the hour or so setting up the laptop! This also uses the full MIDI out and input sockets.

 

3) Using the secondary MIDI coupler output socket to borrow sounds from the Rodgers (although conceivably you could use any external MIDI sound generator you wish) such as the soft 32' flue. The relevant sound then only operates when the MIDI ON ... stop is drawn on that manual/pedal. These can be set on pistons, and operate as any other speaking stop.

 

You can plug a laptop running sibelius into the Tickell and 'record' improvisations, but you run into quantising and metre problems, so without a huge degree of 'tidying-up' the score is pretty-much unreadable.

 

It's worth mentioning that we've not noticed any delay when using the MIDI in whatever configuration. Indeed, both the MIDI and organ's action seem capable of responding rather quicker than any of us can play or repeat notes...

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You can plug a laptop running sibelius into the Tickell and 'record' improvisations, but you run into quantising and metre problems, so without a huge degree of 'tidying-up' the score is pretty-much unreadable.

I have had limited success converting "live" MIDI files into conventional notation but there are probably software music sequencers (NB don't confuse a MIDI Sequencer with a stepper-like registration system on an organ) which can make this easier. Sequencers (or their more upmarket siblings that can process audio too, including Logic, Performer and ProTools) have a function where "beats" (and, I imagine, sub-divisions of beats) can be plotted onto tracks played "wild" (ie not in time with a click-track). Additionally, the midi-import function in Sibelius can be tweaked to produce less garbage. If the midi input can be split into separate "tracks" eg for each manual and pedal, then the process can be more straightforward, I suppose.

 

I'm wondering if MainStage (a live MIDI controller application which is, I think, part of Logic) could be useful in controlling MIDI-enabled organs remotely.

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Worth mentioning that if you record into MIDI (or for that matter a conventional playback device) to your satisfaction, you can then "replay" it to microphones in the middle of the night, ensuring that you don't stay up all night making multiple takes and getting very tired whilst trying to avoid introducing traffic noises into your CD!

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I have had limited success converting "live" MIDI files into conventional notation but there are probably software music sequencers (NB don't confuse a MIDI Sequencer with a stepper-like registration system on an organ) which can make this easier. Sequencers (or their more upmarket siblings that can process audio too, including Logic, Performer and ProTools) have a function where "beats" (and, I imagine, sub-divisions of beats) can be plotted onto tracks played "wild" (ie not in time with a click-track). Additionally, the midi-import function in Sibelius can be tweaked to produce less garbage. If the midi input can be split into separate "tracks" eg for each manual and pedal, then the process can be more straightforward, I suppose.

 

I'm wondering if MainStage (a live MIDI controller application which is, I think, part of Logic) could be useful in controlling MIDI-enabled organs remotely.

 

Hi

 

Live MIDI performances will need a liberal helping of the "Quanise" function to start to become readable. This moves the notes played to the nearest beat or sub-division of the beat, and it's usually selectable somewhere in the settings (It's a long time since I've needed to use notation software!). Select the shortest note that you need to display as the quantise setting, and then manually move those which are too far out following that.

 

This quantisation is why many MIDI performances - especially if entered note by note - sound rigid and artificial, as the natural small "bends" of timing which give music some of its expression are removed.

 

I actually find it easier to enter one note at a time (from a MIDI keyboard) with the software in step mode. For me - and for the fairly straightforward songs I was setting - that was quicker than playing it in and then trying to sort out the resulting tangle!

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

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Hi

 

Live MIDI performances will need a liberal helping of the "Quanise" function to start to become readable. This moves the notes played to the nearest beat or sub-division of the beat, and it's usually selectable somewhere in the settings (It's a long time since I've needed to use notation software!). Select the shortest note that you need to display as the quantise setting, and then manually move those which are too far out following that.

 

This quantisation is why many MIDI performances - especially if entered note by note - sound rigid and artificial, as the natural small "bends" of timing which give music some of its expression are removed.

What I was talking about is different; rather than moving the notes to a rhythmic grid, which is what quantising does (and it is possible to quantise both the start and the end of all or selected notes), some MIDI software allows you to move the grid to the notes, in effect making a tempo "map" of the recorded performance.

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Midi will not play notes at exactly the same time - there's a very small delay between individual notes (we're talking in milliseconds here, but I can't remember the exact figure without checking the midi specification). So in a chord of five notes, let's say, each note is sent one after the other, as an individual event. To most, the delay involved won't be perceptible, but this is a frequently debated topic in some circles!

This depends on your audio/MIDI interface and your PC's available memory and processing power.

Users of a certain "virtual organ" software which we shouldn't mention here will know that instantaneous polyphony measured in thousands is possible.

Personally, I would try to avoid wireless systems. I do not know about their transmission performance, but having the risk that a mobile phone close to the console or a laptop or any other radiating device could produce unwanted tones or registration changes, would not be a comfortable feeling.

A wireless MIDI system is available which will operate at up to 500 feet distance, uses different frequencies not affected by mobile phones etc, and of which up to 30 pairs can be used simultaneously without interfering with each other.

 

Douglas.

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