Music for my Virtual Pipe Organ

Discussion in 'Music' started by VictorBravo, Jun 30, 2010.

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  1. VictorBravo

    VictorBravo Administrator Staff Member

    A while back I posted about my project to rebuild and convert an old Baldwin Cinema II organ to a MIDI instrument.

    That project is pretty much complete and I have spent my preciously alotted 40-60 minutes most evenings practicing and learning a Franck Choral and Buxtehude's Prelude, Fugue, and Chaconne. Those are not ready to be imposed upon anyone.

    But in my other spare time I've written some short tunes that please me. If nothing else, they give an example of what goes on in the back of my head while I'm doing my daily chores.

    Jig for Organ


    Fantasy on Melita (Eternal Father Strong to Save)

    The last one is an updated edit of something I posted last year.
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2010
  2. LawrenceU

    LawrenceU Puritan Board Doctor

    Cool. Thanks for sharing your work.
  3. littlepeople

    littlepeople Puritan Board Freshman

    Do you mean converting the physical organ into a midi controller, or building a virtual instrument from the sampled sounds?? Or Both?? Either way. Very cool. I would like to hear the end result.
  4. Mushroom

    Mushroom Puritan Board Doctor

  5. VictorBravo

    VictorBravo Administrator Staff Member

    Both. The thread Brad linked does help explain it.

    There were two projects:

    First, I rewired the old Baldwin so that eacy key, pedal, stop tab, and piston had its own wire to transmit on/off signals to a MIDI encoder that I built from plans found on the internet and mail-ordered components. The encoder is based upon the PIC general purpose processor. I needed to make two of them to accommodate signals from the 122 keys, 32 pedals, 55 stop tabs, and 12 pistons. Then the encoder needed to be loaded with an operating system that smarter hobbyists than I developed. Finally, it had to be programed so that each different input had its own MIDI signal.

    Then there was the task of converting MIDI signals into organ music. You can spend a lot of money on a program called Hauptwerk, and it is very good. But, being a DIY cheapskate, I downloaded three different free programs, Miditzer, jOrgan, and Jeux d'Orgue (formerly "MyOrgan").

    Each program has its own niche. Miditzer is based on a Wurlitzer 216 theatre organ and comes pretty much ready to play--you do have to do some configuration to customize it for your circumstances, but it is easy to use. Sounds are sound fonts developed by a group of enthusiasts who started with actual recordings of stops from the Wurlitzer and then modified them for various reasons.

    jOrgan is a Java-based program that is complicated to set up but is very versatile. It can trigger sound fonts, other instruments, draw from wave files, etc. It is fully customizable and I barely understand it. My current version of jOrgan was configured by another guy who set it up to sound like a classic Cavaille-Coll organ from the French Romantic period.

    Jeux d'Orgue is another interesting endeavor that is similar to the Hauptwerk program you can purchase. It uses MIDI signals to trigger actual wave files. One organ version I have for that is based upon a small baroque organ in Germany. I am actually in the process of making my own set of files for a stop based upon my recording of a baritone horn. It is a lot of work, though: each note takes more than 5 minutes to edit, not including recording time. I figure that little project would take around 100 hours for me, which is time I don't have right now.

    Each program has its limitations, too, which I won't go into except to say that when you get into the realm of full organ, the computer can get overwhelmed by all the processing required.

    End result of each of these programs is that sound is sent to your sound card which is then sent to either headphones or amplifiers. Amplifier adjustment is a whole 'nother story.

    The three pieces I linked above were played on separate programs. Jig is played on the Jeux d'Orgue set up and has a basic baroque foundation registration. Driven is played on the Theatre Organ (Miditzer) and is registrated with vibrato and octave doubling (play one note and the octave above plays too). And Melita piece is played straight on jOrgan with foundations, a few strings, and a soft reed.
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