Phyto

Pipe organ console : conception

43 posts in this topic

P.S. I would suggest you download the Miditzer Style 150 theatre organ and study it. This is a 5 rank theatre organ so it is just a little bit bigger than what your are planning. It has these pipes:

Trumpet 8' 61 pipes

Tibia Clausa 8' 85 pipes

Salicional 8' 73 pipes

Flute 16' 97 pipes

Vox Humana 8' 61 pipes

Note that it is heavily unified but the stops on each manual are not identical. If you were to replace the Tibia with a Diapason and drop the Vox, you might have a good start on a 4 rank classical organ.

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This forum is really great!

Jim, all pipes have to be acquired and probably not at once. Used for some and home made for the others especially the biggest wood ones. As for the rest you are entirely right in your thought.

The project is simply a kind of “unit†organ. I didn’t use the term…since we are on a MIDI forum.

Of course my number of 400 pipes was round off but it’s not so far from reality and it constitutes a good upper limit.

My ranks are extended to 100 pipes, maybe you will laugh when I will tell you why: it is to allow real transposition, especially in the low pitch. So you can have A=440, A=415, A=392 and A=466 what requires at least 97 + 2 = 99 pipes since one can consider there is no pipe problem for higher pitch.

The rank composition should be very simple:

Bourdon 16’ to 2’

Flute 8’ to 1’

Principal 8’ to 1’

Reed 16’ to 2’

Don’t jump to the ceiling; I know I don’t need complete ranks and all pipes for the last octave of higher pitch. And so for the reed that is no more a reed at so higher pitch.

So there will probably be 2x12=24 pipes less from flute and principal and something like (99x4) – (12x2) = 372 pipes. Maybe there will be little less, but only little since these high pitch pipes are very useful to compose different mutations and mixtures. That’s for the ideal project.

I don’t know anything about theatre organs except what one can find on the Internet. The use of ‘cheats’ (extensions) should be the same, but the sound quite different. But I digress from the original subject!

For me, a unit Bourdon in MIDI will be great enough to begin with and for perfect comprehension of the system.

I now try to use jOrgan but unfortunately it is still not running on my single PC. I have to work a little for this, but it seems to be the very appropriate tool.

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Making your own pipes is a considerable undertaking. Getting the quality of wood you need in the sizes you need to make the bass pipes is likely to be impossible for a home builder. And you are unlikely to find an odd two used pipes to extend a rank below the lowest 16' C because now you are talking about pipes from a 32' foot rank and those are quite rare. Also quite big. People usually have trouble enough fitting a stopped 16' C in a home.

If doing things like having transposition beyond the normal ranges of pipes is important to you, then you should seriously consider a virtual organ. They can sound quite good these days and they allow you to have things you could never manage at home with real pipes.

If having real pipes is important, then you should stick to the tried and true as it will make it easier to find your parts.

As to your choice of ranks, I'm surprised to see both a Flute and a Bourdon. In the theatre organ world those are just different ranges of the same pipes. With so few ranks wouldn't you want something with a more distinct tone color? Perhaps some sort of string pipe?

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Yes it's really a nice project. I don't know how it is at your place but it is possible to build DIY woodpipes. Especially for the big ones since they are very cheap and easier to voice, so a very supple solution. For the wood you need to know sawmills in your area, that's the best plan to have exactly what you want in terms of choice and quality.

To begin with, the only bourdon is perfect. As for the rest, you are totally true in your reflexion about my choice of ranks. But you probably know how the resulting sound can change under a generic name. It depends on the instrument's period and builder. My "flute" shouldn't be a tiny flute but something louder with some harmonics, intermediate between principal and string. A sort of salicional, but the baroque type and not the very thin one like romantic gambas if you see what I mean. A sort of quiet diapason. It can be considered as a string tone, even it is not really true to type. But I think you're right in definitive, it's above all a problem of vocabulary for me.

Edited by Phyto

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It seems you are no stranger to the pipe part of this. For most people what you propose would be difficult to complete. But it seems you have thought it through. Best of luck with that considerable undertaking.

Coming back to your original question about the Midibox electronics. When I wrongly assumed that you wanted a console for a virtual organ project, I assumed that the relay functions--turning stops on and off, handling couplers, etc.--would be done by the virtual organ in a computer. That probably won't be the case with a pipe organ project. Somewhere an electrically driven pipe organ needs logic which is called the relay, to combine the keypresses and the stops and produce the signals to drive the pipes. There are many ways a relay can be implemented.

John's YAPPI boards, if I understand them correctly, distribute the relay function to the pipe chests. I think they all receive a MIDI data stream from a console, recognize the stops and maybe the couplers that apply to their pipes, and then translate the keypresses into signals to turn pipes on and off.

Whatever you select as your relay to connect your console to your pipes, make sure it is something you understand thoroughly. Things get confusing quickly in organ electrical systems. If you are not fully comfortable with your system, it will quickly turn into a nightmare.

As for things like a player/recorder and a scoring system, you are probably best off if you set up your system to use fairly standard MIDI out of your console to connect to the balance of the organ. You can use Midibox MIDIIO128 to create the MIDI in the console. From there you can do things with a computer for record/playback and scoring (sequencing). You can do your console first and use it to play a virtual organ until the pipes are ready.

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John's YAPPI boards, if I understand them correctly, distribute the relay function to the pipe chests. I think they all receive a MIDI data stream from a console, recognize the stops and maybe the couplers that apply to their pipes, and then translate the keypresses into signals to turn pipes on and off.

Craig Williams designed those boards. I believe Pete Knobloch has built boards using the same concept. The web page is a bit dated. The boards now repond to MIDI CC 80/81 (just like Miditzer and several other organ systems). And yes it does push the 'relay' to the chest. Each board listens to all the MIDI traffic and keeps track of which notes are being played on which channels. This is necessary to handle the case where a chord is being held and a stop change is made. The board responsible for that stop has to know if any notes are currently on and turn on the corresponding pipes. It can get pretty complicated!

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John, I dare ask you some more information about such a YAPPI system since you probably control it well. I would like to know whether this system can manage borrowing holes.

In my data researchs I found a patent solving this problem: http://www.freepatentsonline.com/y2008/0022838.html

But this begins to be very complicated to me. If such boards are not available or clearly published, I will follow Jim's advice and solve the problem of the MIDI transmission in a simple and classic way I can find. The only thing I really wish is coupling possibility, so if you know what particular hard- and software it requires, many thanks.

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John, I dare ask you some more information about such a YAPPI system since you probably control it well. I would like to know whether this system can manage borrowing holes.

In my data researchs I found a patent solving this problem: http://www.freepatentsonline.com/y2008/0022838.html

But this begins to be very complicated to me. If such boards are not available or clearly published, I will follow Jim's advice and solve the problem of the MIDI transmission in a simple and classic way I can find. The only thing I really wish is coupling possibility, so if you know what particular hard- and software it requires, many thanks.

Thanks for the reference to the patent application. I read it on google here unfortuantely the pdf download is not available. I'll have to check with Craig on the current status of the coupling operation. I don't think borrowing is implemented at present if you mean synthetic stops created by combining two separate ranks of pipes. I'll ask Craig about that as well.

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For the pdf of this patent, see here http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20080022838.pdf

For "borrowing holes" I have to precise what I mean : it is the use of the same pipe by to simultaneous commands. For example if you are playing on two keyboards, it may be possible that each hand requires the same pipe since transposition i hear exploited to the maximum. So when two musical voices meet eachother, what happen ? Normally the pipe note is repeated, of course, but if the pipe is already speaking...

Edited by Phyto

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For the pdf of this patent, see here http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20080022838.pdf

For "borrowing holes" I have to precise what I mean : it is the use of the same pipe by to simultaneous commands. For example if you are playing on two keyboards, it may be possible that each hand requires the same pipe since transposition i hear exploited to the maximum. So when two musical voices meet eachother, what happen ? Normally the pipe note is repeated, of course, but if the pipe is already speaking...

This type of 'borrowing' happens all the time in a unit rank. It's not clear to me how you could retrigger the pipe in real-time without some fore knowlege that the note was about to be played again. I suppose you could just turn off the note, wait a short time, and then turn it back on but then the attack would be delayed with respect to other notes unless you delayed everthing...

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The cited patent does disclose turning off conflicting notes for a short time. The patent says 40 - 70 mSec is a the preferred range for the off time.

In theatre organs, no attempt is made to do anything about the missing attack due to note collisions. The repeat on the colliding pipes just disappears. That is probably one reason some classical organists so despise theatre organs. However, theatre organists expect that behavior and other results of unification and they have to adapt to the lack of unification on classical organs.

When you go to MIDI to control theatre organs there is a problem at the off end. MIDI is stateless, nothing depends on the state of the controlled MIDI instrument. If a MIDI instrument receives a MIDI Note Off, it just turns that note off. In a unified organ, if a note has been turned on by two Note On messages because the note is being used twice, then the note should not be turned off until you get a second Note Off message. So a unified MIDI organ has to be stateful and remember how many times a note has been turned on. John, does the YAPPI board manage the multiple note on issue?

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In a unified organ, if a note has been turned on by two Note On messages because the note is being used twice, then the note should not be turned off until you get a second Note Off message. So a unified MIDI organ has to be stateful and remember how many times a note has been turned on. John, does the YAPPI board manage the multiple note on issue?

Yes, the YAPPI board accounts for this. What the YAPPI board doesn't handle is borrowing where pipes from different physical ranks are combined to make a new rank. In the organs in which YAPPI has been used so far there hasn't been a need for that.

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Yes, the YAPPI board accounts for this. What the YAPPI board doesn't handle is borrowing where pipes from different physical ranks are combined to make a new rank. In the organs in which YAPPI has been used so far there hasn't been a need for that.

Is there a solution for this, like using an extra YAPPI-type board for all the new ranks resulting from combination of different physical ranks? For a (very) small organ I think it has some interest.

Thanks Jim for the explanation about repeating notes in theatre organs (I've never seen one, very very rare by us!). I'm not an extremist so I consider this as a minor disagreement as much as good registration can help a little. But if it can be solved...

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Is there a solution for this, like using an extra YAPPI-type board for all the new ranks resulting from combination of different physical ranks? For a (very) small organ I think it has some interest.

I suppose it would be of some use, shared treble pipes for instance, but generally the character of ranks in a very small organ are different enough that re-using them in a combined rank wouldn't work too well. I think you could probably devote an extra YAPPI board to the combined rank although you might need to include diodes to prevent back-feeding the other boards. Might work.

Edited by johnh

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Is there a limit of pipes that can be controlled for a single yappi board? Otherway, one may consider several physical ranks as a single 'set' of pipes: like a normal rank with different borrowings. Of course it would need a lot of wiring on this single board... but for a very small organ...may it be giant board, but very practical ?

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Is there a limit of pipes that can be controlled for a single yappi board? Otherway, one may consider several physical ranks as a single 'set' of pipes: like a normal rank with different borrowings. Of course it would need a lot of wiring on this single board... but for a very small organ...may it be giant board, but very practical ?

YAPPI boards handle 73 notes (outputs) per board. There is a mode to combine two boards into 'one' if you have a rank with more than 73 pipes.

You might also want to look at the Artisan micro MIDI boards [Website Here] for an off-the-shelf solution that isn't too expensive. Of course you could implement all these ideas yourself with the MIDIbox which is the whole purpose here anyway! :smile:

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Thanks, I know all these for a while and saved some more as historical pipescales too. :smile:

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