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 For over seventeen years the most stable and extensive resource on the Internet for pipe and electronic organs 




The hub of this site is the Complete Articles page which gives you instant access to many detailed articles dealing with numerous technical aspects of both pipe and electronic organs.  Use the Google search box below to quickly identify areas of interest.  While browsing, why not also listen to over 4Ĺ hours of music played on the three manual organ below and the Prog Organ virtual pipe organ here?   




  Google has yet to fully index this mirror site, so it is recommended you do searches on the original one which is fully indexed


WWW http://colinpykett.org.uk



One cannot help wondering whether Saint-SaŽns had in mind the tragic deaths of his two infant sons within a few weeks of each other when he wrote this tender piece for a friend's new baby.  Originally it was composed for the piano but Guilmant arranged it for organ shortly afterwards:




Played on a simulated Cavaillť-Coll organ using the Prog Organ virtual pipe organ (more about the simulated instrument)





  LATEST ARTICLE    How many audio channels do digital organs need? 


Digital organs are well known for their tendency to fatigue the ear when played loudly with many stops drawn. This commonly happens even in instruments which sound well with quieter combinations. The phenomenon is partly due to intermodulation distortion arising mainly in the loudspeakers which causes very large numbers of spurious sum and difference tones to be added to the sound. It is quite possible for there to be hundreds of thousands of distortion products, and although each is of low amplitude their sheer number causes an audible background of acoustic mush to arise in the radiated sound. As a result the sound loses transparency and it becomes wearisome and identifiably electronic. Pipe organs do not suffer from this defect at all.

One way to eliminate the problem is to use one or more banks of twelve independent audio channels, each handling only one note and its octaves. There is then no opportunity for intermodulation to occur. However the number of amplifiers and loudspeakers required can become excessive, especially when several such banks are required, and this article shows how it can be reduced up to threefold using banks of no more than four channels. This simplification is possible because it is unnecessary to use separate channels for the notes comprising dissonant intervals. Their subjective coarseness in effect masks the distortion products which they generate.  This approach cannot be applied to the purer-sounding consonant intervals however, which must therefore retain separate channels for their respective notes. This is essential if all the major and minor triads are also to be radiated without intermodulation distortion, because each triad is built from consonant intervals. As triads form the foundation of all harmony, it is important to handle them properly in a low-distortion channel assignment scheme.

The article shows how to assign notes to banks of six and four audio channels to enable these principles to be applied. Both configurations represent a considerable saving in terms of hardware and cost over that of a twelve-channel system.






The picture above is of a test rig used for experiments on pipe organ valves, such as those described in the articles entitled Calculating Pallet Size Touch Relief in Mechanical Actions and Response Speed of Electric ActionsThese can also be accessed from the Complete Articles page where summaries are also available.





Pictured above  is an experimental digital organ which simulates many different pipe organs (Prog Organ).  Also see the  article entitled Re-creating Vanished Organs.




This electronic organ is a dual purpose instrument containing both "straight" and "theatre" voices, designed and made by the author.  It is tuned to the author's Dorset Temperament with the addition of some impure octaves as described in Keyboard Temperaments with Impure Octaves.  A full specification can be downloaded here (PDF file, 717 kB).



The things they say:


"Just like a town hall organ"


"If I didn't know better, I would say this was an Edwardian instrument with its choir organ spoiled by turning it into a baroque-type positive forty years later - much like many British pipe organs in other words.  I love it"


"The finest electronic organ I have ever played, simply because it has a genuine warm Romantic sound rather than spit and chiff just  for the sake of it"


"pretty impressive - but lacking the proper starting and ending transients"


"You draw a stop and it sounds just like you expect it to"


"Very nice Colin.  I'm so jealous"


"I'm an engineer and I know how you do it, but not how you do it so well"


"Amazing how the great diapason chorus can stand on the Claribel alone"


"The reeds are lovely"


"Would you take a picture?  I'm writing an article for an organ magazine and I want to be seen at this splendid console"

Hear it:

These recordings span some years and they were made in various rooms and auditoria.  The older tracks were made using analogue equipment and some were recorded acoustically using microphones, hence the occasional noises due to piston thuds and page turns, etc.  Other tracks were captured electrically.  All are of real players performing in real time - no synthetic MIDI 'performances' here.  I have not got round yet to normalising the volume settings of all the tracks so they are compatible with each other, therefore you might wish to adjust the volume between tracks depending on which ones you select.  Do not be alarmed if some tracks appear to start with an excessive noise level - this simply means they were recorded at a higher level than others.  Just turn the volume down to suit.  In any case, it is a wise precaution to always begin playing each track at a low level to protect your audio equipment and your ears from unexpectedly high signal levels when the music begins.  Although the instrument has 13 ranks of theatre organ voices in addition to its 'straight' sounds (see specification), copyright considerations preclude the inclusion of much theatre-style music here.  Playing time 1 hour 35 mins approx.


  Canzona in D minor. BWV 588. (J S Bach) - 5.51 MB/6m 1s 

  Vom Himmel kam der Engel Schaar. BWV 607. (J S Bach) - 1.5 MB/1m 38s

  In dulci jubilo. BWV 608. (J S Bach) - 1.2 MB/1m 19s

  Minuet in D (John Stanley) - 1.70 MB/1m 51s

  Choral Song (S S Wesley) - 3.00 MB/3m 16s

  Holsworthy Church Bells (S S Wesley) - 3.54 MB/3m 52s (also available here played on a simulated Wurlitzer theatre organ)

  Andantino in G minor (Franck) - 5.59 MB/6m 6s (also available here played on a simulated Cavaillť-Coll organ)

  Cantabile (Franck) - 4.72 MB/5m 9s

  Fantaisie in E flat (1st part) (Saint-SaŽns) - 1.85 MB/2m 1s

  Pastorale from Sonata no. 1 in D minor (Guilmant) - 5.3 MB/5m 47s (borrows the Vox Humana from the theatre organ!)

  Monologue I in C (Rheinberger) - 2.02 MB/2m 12s

  Monologue III in E (Rheinberger) - 3.01 MB/3m 17s  

  Fughetta no. 8 in A (Rheinberger) - 2.55 MB/2m 47s 

  Chorale Prelude on "Eventide" (Abide with me) C H H Parry - 3.92 MB/4m 16s

  Fantasia on "Abridge" (Be thou my guardian and my guide) Thomas Adams - 2.85 MB/3m 6s 

  In Tune with Heaven (Alan Gray) - 2.75 MB/3m 0s

  Chanson de Nuit (Elgar) - 3.28 MB/3m 35s

  Cantique (Elgar) - 3.86 MB/4m 13s 

  Starlight (Edward MacDowell) - 2.56 MB/2m 48s 

  To A Wild Rose (Edward MacDowell) - 1.72 MB/1m 53s **  

  To be sung of a summer night on the water (Delius) - 1.98 MB/2m 10s

  Andante in D (Alfred Hollins) - 7 MB/7m 39s 

  Solemn Melody (Walford Davies) - 3.69 MB/4m 2s

  Berceuse (Louis Vierne) - 3.37 MB/3m 41s

  Freu' dich sehr, O meine Seele (Karg-Elert) 1.79 MB/1m 57s

  O Gott, du frommer Gott (Karg-Elert) - 2.19 MB/2m 23s

  Adagio in E (Frank Bridge) - 5.06 MB/5m 31s

  Lento (Frank Bridge) - 2.34 MB/2m 31s 


** Played on the theatre organ


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