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Odd Gadgets On Organs


DaveHarries
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On the St Anne's, Moseley organ (which comes free with HW) the blower starts automatically when the organ is 100% loaded (you hear the clunk of the motor starting up, and then the rushing mighty wind).

 

I may have missed something somewhere along the line but is the above organ something significant or there just as an example of a 'style' etc.

 

AJJ

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I may have missed something somewhere along the line but is the above organ something significant or there just as an example of a 'style' etc.

It's the author's local church, where he did the first samples to get Hauptwerk going - that's all.

 

Paul

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I was trying to kill two birds with one stone. And failing, it would appear.

 

:)

 

Michael

 

I'm jesting, of course. It's just that invariably your (and DHM's) responses have indicated a fundamental avoidance of the point, and answered the question with another question (and, of course, details of the next sales pitch!). I know how good the product is, and don't understand why you think these fripperies make it better. I've received a good few private emails in the last day or two which clearly indicate I'm not alone in believing they don't and that their presence leaves the product with less integrity than it had before, in a world where having the actual sound of the pipes is the USP, the only important thing and the only truly replicable part of the experience.

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I'm jesting, of course. It's just that invariably your (and DHM's) responses have indicated a fundamental avoidance of the point, and answered the question with another question (and, of course, details of the next sales pitch!). I know how good the product is, and don't understand why you think these fripperies make it better. I've received a good few private emails in the last day or two which clearly indicate I'm not alone in believing they don't and that their presence leaves the product with less integrity than it had before, in a world where having the actual sound of the pipes is the USP, the only important thing and the only truly replicable part of the experience.

Just to clarify, I have no connection with the HW product. In fact I have never seen or used Hauptwerk; I've been arguing about principle here. It strikes me that the HW project, in computer terms, is in the "emulator" category and the "calcant" provision is completely understandable in those terms in addition to its, possibly subjective, musical worth.

 

And in case you are unaware, the "I've had loads of private emails that support me" claim is not generally respected in cyberspace.

 

Michael

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Just to clarify, I have no connection with the HW product. In fact I have never seen or used Hauptwerk; I've been arguing about principle here. It strikes me that the HW project, in computer terms, is in the "emulator" category and the "calcant" provision is completely understandable in those terms in addition to its, possibly subjective, musical worth.

 

 

Michael

 

I too must confess that I have no experience with HW, although it certainly interests me. But I assume that one is once again at the mercy of loudspeaker sytems, often the weakest part of such sampled set-ups anyway. And then: these organs are no sounding into "wrong" acoustical surroundings - please don't tell me that these have been sampled too - and, more importantly, are being played from on-off keys, are they not? Which particularly in the case of an organ like a Silbermann could really make a huge difference, since the touch is so responsive. A calcant bell doesn't reduce that problem to irrelevancy, I'm afraid.

 

B

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loudspeaker sytems, often the weakest part of such sampled set-ups anyway.
But hugely improved if one has separate loudspeakers for different divisions or groups of stops, which Haupwerk supports fully.
And then: these organs are no sounding into "wrong" acoustical surroundings - please don't tell me that these have been sampled too
You can select organs sampled with the full acoustic, and listen on headphones, or you can select organs sampled with minimal acoustic, designed to be played back in a real space, such as a church (or at home using a reverberation device). And, yes, you can sample acoustics, though imperfectly, of course - the application of a sampled acoustic will be built in to a later version of Hauptwerk.
- and, more importantly, are being played from on-off keys, are they not? Which particularly in the case of an organ like a Silbermann could really make a huge difference, since the touch is so responsive.
Several of the organs I play in Hauptwerk are responsive to the velocity signals from my keyboard.

 

Paul

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And in case you are unaware, the "I've had loads of private emails that support me" claim is not generally respected in cyberspace.

 

Michael

 

This corner of cyberspace certainly respects David's words. Indeed, I greatly value his open and forthright contributions. I hope, Michael, you are not implying that he is not being honest in this claim?

 

I had resolved to stay out of this discussion as I don't want to appear opposed in principle to Hauptwerk, indeed I think it produces excellent results. But, in my previous contributions on this subject I have tried to imply, without being too direct, that I feel the "sales pitch" is inappropriate for our host's site. This is no longer software for the amateur computer user, it is a professional product that must stand on its own merits. As for the bells and whistles - they are certainly nothing to do with music.

 

JC

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...the application of a sampled acoustic will be built in to a later version of Hauptwerk.

 

Several of the organs I play in Hauptwerk are responsive to the velocity signals from my keyboard.

 

This is just completely ludicrous. Quite evidently, aesthetic values count for absolutely nothing at all.

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It strikes me that the HW project, in computer terms, is in the "emulator" category

I suspect that's the heart of this discussion.

 

You can certainly treat Hauptwerk as an "emulator", and all of these curious little foibles go to make it more authentic.

 

But it can also be used as a performance instrument, just like any other digital organ. At this point, the simulated imperfections are not necessary and may very well be a distraction. The "noises on" and "noises off" fall into this category: they would seem rather naff on an instrument installed in a church, but could be quite a fun little touch for a home instrument.

 

(I note that one of the most prominent Hauptwerk sample producers expressly forbids his samples from being used in performance, suggesting that he sees the product purely as an emulator. But other users clearly take a different view.)

 

As long as the Hauptwerk "sound effects" are there, I'll treat them as something akin to the scrunching-up-paper noise when I empty the wastebasket on my Mac: superfluous and a bit tacky, but if others gain pleasure from it I can't really object, and hey, it's easy to turn them off.

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I would like to apologise to any list members who may have been offended by my recent posts about Hauptwerk - which some have seen as a "sales pitch" - and to our hosts if they feel I have over-stepped the mark and taken unfair advantage of their hospitality.

 

My postings over the last few days have been intended to provide factual information, to correct misapprehensions, and to invite one and all to see, hear and play it before making judgements.

 

For clarification: I have no financial, and currently no commercial, interest in Hauptwerk, other than as a very enthusiastic customer and user of the product (though I will confess that I hope to be able to sell it in the near future), and as the UK representative of a German organ builder who makes consoles to be used with it. HW was created by Martin Dyde and is marketed by Crumhorn Labs Ltd.

 

Douglas Henn-Macrae.

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Oh, what the heck.

 

just think what several kinds of hell would be around the corner if there were a different disc for each service - Aix en Provence one week (just for the All-age workship you understand), and Skinner for Matins, and maybe Father Willis for Evensong - the service when just a few faithful souls are rattling around the church..........................................................................

...............

I hate to say it, but the average congregation probably wouldn't be any the wiser - and those who do notice would probably love the variety (judging by the congregation at our local Methodist church, who go into raptures every time the organist uses the chimes on their dreadful, antiquated Allen).

 

I absolutely agree with the rest of your post. Nail on head and all that.

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With a toaster the companies are seeking to convince you that 'pipeless' is best - a replacement for a pipe organ.

I must say that that was not my experience. I think the reputable UK manufacturers, and their sales staff, will readily admit that there is no substitute for a good pipe organ. They will, of course, try to persuade you that their product is better than their competitors, but thats only to be expected.

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I must say that that was not my experience. I think the reputable UK manufacturers, and their sales staff, will readily admit that there is no substitute for a good pipe organ.

 

This is what I found too. In my situation there was only one option yet there was always the fact present that pipes should come first whenever possible.

 

AJJ

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I must say that that was not my experience. I think the reputable UK manufacturers, and their sales staff, will readily admit that there is no substitute for a good pipe organ. They will, of course, try to persuade you that their product is better than their competitors, but thats only to be expected.

 

Hi

 

I have once had an electronic organ salesman say that his product was better than a pipe organ (no names- but the UK side of an overseas manufacturer). All of the others have agreed that pipes sound best, given the room and budget. But there are situations where there's either no budget or no space for the real thing.

 

Interestingly, one of our local Methodist churches has just replaced a c.15-year old Bradford digital with a new one by another maker - and chatting briefly to the organist last night, he was wondering just what use he would make of the various alternate stops and voicings, etc. - and how to keep track of what the various stop tabs actually did if you changed the sound from what was on the label. It does rather appear to be technology gone mad - he reckons that, with all the variants avialable, there's something 400 different "stops" on the thing. (A relatively modest - by digital standards - 2 manual)

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

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Hi

 

I have once had an electronic organ salesman say that his product was better than a pipe organ (no names- but the UK side of an overseas manufacturer). All of the others have agreed that pipes sound best, given the room and budget. But there are situations where there's either no budget or no space for the real thing.

 

Interestingly, one of our local Methodist churches has just replaced a c.15-year old Bradford digital with a new one by another maker - and chatting briefly to the organist last night, he was wondering just what use he would make of the various alternate stops and voicings, etc. - and how to keep track of what the various stop tabs actually did if you changed the sound from what was on the label. It does rather appear to be technology gone mad - he reckons that, with all the variants avialable, there's something 400 different "stops" on the thing. (A relatively modest - by digital standards - 2 manual)

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

 

My experience is that the better the digital organ they sell, the more likely they are to

agree that pipe organs are better! Maybe this is because the best simulators are made by people who understand pipe organs, and therefore understand the limitations of the simulator.

 

As I've posted before, I am convinced that the key limitation is the loudspeakers - show me one that doesn't signifcantly distort the sound, especially when several "pipes" are channelled through it (as they are in all economically viable digital organs).

 

I think the best policy where a digital organ is needed in a church (valid reasons being lack of money and/or space), is to specify a digital equivalent to the size of pipe organ that would best fit the building, and spend any surplus money on improving the speakers/channelling. Multiple specifications can be excellent for practice instruments, but probably rather confusing on a church instrument.

 

JJK

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Guest Barry Williams
My experience is that the better the digital organ they sell, the more likely they are to

agree that pipe organs are better! Maybe this is because the best simulators are made by people who understand pipe organs, and therefore understand the limitations of the simulator.

 

As I've posted before, I am convinced that the key limitation is the loudspeakers - show me one that doesn't signifcantly distort the sound, especially when several "pipes" are channelled through it (as they are in all economically viable digital organs).

 

I think the best policy where a digital organ is needed in a church (valid reasons being lack of money and/or space), is to specify a digital equivalent to the size of pipe organ that would best fit the building, and spend any surplus money on improving the speakers/channelling. Multiple specifications can be excellent for practice instruments, but probably rather confusing on a church instrument.

 

JJK

 

 

It is extremely difficult to find any electronic instruments of a small size, equivalent to a pipe organ, for small and medium size churches. The suppliers are very reluctant to add audio channels or engage in proper tonal fininshing to pipe organ standards. All the instruments I have heard suffer from a massive 'de-tuning' which results in an effect that would be totally unacceptable on a pipe organ. The 'chorus effect' is not reproduced by de-tuning. The electronic industry, by and large, is not making the most of its technology.

 

Barry Williams

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  • 2 months later...
The original cocktail cabinet was I think Rieger's in Ratzeburg Cathedral. There it's called "Rauschwerk" - to have a "Rausch" means to be raving drunk, but of course you international types all knew that already.

 

Somewhere here, but I am afraid that I have forgotten where, there is a stop labelled "Noli me tangere", but if you do, a dusty old foxtail swipes you in the face. And if you draw the "Vox strigis" on the organ of the catholic cathedral across the road here, a wooden owl appears from the side of the Rückpositif case and says "Hooo" rather plaintively.

 

Cheers

B

 

I heard about the 'Noli me tangere' stop, but what I heard was that if you pulled it out, the whole stop knob came out with the fox tail and you would have to get an organ builder to come and put it back in.

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As well as the drinks cabinet at Ratzeburg Cathedral, I seem to recall that the organist there was also a part time fireman and he had an emergency light fitted in case he was needed on the fire engine. It's over 25 years since I was last there but I understand it activated in the middle of a service once and he disappeared much to the surprise of those in the congregation expecting an introduction to a hymn.

At Ratzeburg, the drinks cabinet had to be filled by the VISITING organist! The fire engine story is definitely true, as Dr. Neithard Bethke was the chief of the local fire department. And the congregation was used to see him disappear during services occasionally. Only for concerts he called for a substitute at the fire department. The garage port of his beautiful house at the lakeside was labeled "Feuerwehrausfahrt! Unbedingt freihalten!"

He has just retired (or - as he would describe it, was asked to do so...) and will be succeeded by Christian Skobovsky, currently DoM at Freiberg Cathedral in Saxony. There were 60 applicants for the post...!

 

The Neuenfelde Schnitger organ has a "Noli me tangere" stop, too, but it is locked and nothing happens. But somewhere on a village organ in the region here there is stop called "Nashorn" - the German word for Rhinozeros. Don't know, what sound the stop has, but it is a real one...

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At Ratzeburg, the drinks cabinet had to be filled by the VISITING organist! The fire engine story is definitely true, as Dr. Neithard Bethke was the chief of the local fire department. And the congregation was used to see him disappear during services occasionally. Only for concerts he called for a substitute at the fire department. The garage port of his beautiful house at the lakeside was labeled "Feuerwehrausfahrt! Unbedingt freihalten!"

He has just retired (or - as he would describe it, was asked to do so...) and will be succeeded by Christian Skobovsky, currently DoM at Freiberg Cathedral in Saxony. There were 60 applicants for the post...!

 

The Neuenfelde Schnitger organ has a "Noli me tangere" stop, too, but it is locked and nothing happens. But somewhere on a village organ in the region here there is stop called "Nashorn" - the German word for Rhinozeros. Don't know, what sound the stop has, but it is a real one...

 

The Nashorn 2 2/3Fuß is to be found on the early 18c organ at Dornum on the East Friesland coast.

 

I also had the pleasure of meeting KMD Bethke many years ago and was much impressed by his infectious enthusiasm, generosity and musicianship. After the Sunday morning service he kindly gave us the freedom of the console in a locked cathedral for two hours while he went off to lunch.

 

The Feuerwehr stories are indeed true. There is also the story of the fire brigade being 'called up' unexpectedly one morning to demolish the post-war concrete gallery to make way for the new Rieger instrument at the west end. I also recall the lovely choir organ in the crossing with quite the most aetherially beautiful Gemshorn 8 I've ever heard. The second manual, with just a Regal 8, was detachable and often used for outdoor concerts, including 'Water Music' festivities on the nearby lakes.

 

JS

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Yesterday I played an instrument which has a stop called Silentium 1' in the pedal. It is the first drawknob, clearly marked as #1, and if you pull this stop, there sounds nothing. :)

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Yesterday I played an instrument which has a stop called Silentium 1' in the pedal. It is the first drawknob, clearly marked as #1, and if you pull this stop, there sounds nothing. :)

 

We found a couple of organs boasting a "Tacet" stop in the course of the Dutch organ tour the other week. It is thought they were provided to maintain symmetry.

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