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Instantaneous temperament adjustment of organs

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Instantaneous temperament adjustment of organs

PostSat Jul 21, 2012 11:57 am

This is just a report - I have no relationship whatsoever to any of the names or institutions mentioned.
Tuning of organ intervals is long known problem which has been tackled in many ways in the past. Despite the various existing tuning schemes existing today tuning problems in particular become obvious when wind instruments and the organ play together. Since 1988 there is a method called Hermode ( based upon an "elastic system of tuning gravity point" which his been improved several times. This system is of course computer controlled and reacts dynamically in realtime by analyzing MIDI signals from the organ, following the instantaneous harmonic structures of the chords being played and re-tune relevant notes. Details are extensively explained in the link.
Voigt Orgelbau in Brandenburg has set up a pilot project in cooperation with the University of Applied Sciences in Mittweida, Germany, to implement Hermode into a real pipe organ. The main targets are transforming the software generated control signals into devices for the mechanical movement and to find appropriate mechanical control elements for the instantaneous tuning of the organ - flues and reeds - including mutations and mixtures. Both have to be suitable for batch production. If the adjustment happens within 30 milliseconds it will not be perceptible. A small 6-stops organ is already in the making.
The picture here ( ... Tuning.jpg) shows tuning of some stopped flue pipes by pivoting the ears left and right of the labium. These ears have rectangularly bent horizontal sections to increase the tuning efficiency. The two solenoids (shiny red wrapping) generate the necessary mechanical power, controllable in fractions of a millimeter. Besides that a redirection mechanism is required to turn the vertical travel into a rotary movement with small scale increments..
It has been announced that there is a already a different solution existing to tune stopped pipes using a tube on the pipe top end that can be shifted noiselessly and without significant friction within the required setting time. The development team also hopes to develop a solution for (seemingly more complicated) tuning of reed pipes in connection with a new reed pipe construction which is not yet disclosed for patent reasons. The requirements in terms of control precision are said to be higher than in flue pipes.
On the software side there are already programs like Logic Pro and Capella as well as musical instruments (digital organs) either using the method already or having been announced to implement it in the future. Question is whether there might be a demand to offer this system for Hauptwerk (as an add-on?). This could probably extend its usability for ensemble performances.
It´s a virtue to be well-tempered.
German speaking readers are invited to visit for info about HW subjects.

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