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DISCUSSION: Churches who do not allow sampling

A discussion forum for anything even marginally Hauptwerk-related.

Re: DISCUSSION: Churches who do not allow sampling

Postby dhm » Sun Oct 22, 2017 3:10 pm

Responding to hackjo's point about Worcester Cathedral, I think it's important to note that this was at least 10 years ago. Back then, far fewer people knew about Hauptwerk or understood what it could do.
Nowadays many cathedral organists use HW themselves, and some Diocesan Organ Advisors not only know about it, but actually recommend it.
The response to hackjo now might be very different from what it was 10 years ago.
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Re: DISCUSSION: Churches who do not allow sampling

Postby Antoni Scott » Mon Oct 23, 2017 12:06 am

To sjkartchner:
Your response (i.e.not many compelling reasons for a church to have its organ sampled) is sort of what I have been saying all along is the problem. I was thinking more along the lines of a church just wanting to share the sounds of their organ with others, i.e the Christian concept of sharing and generosity with no strings attached.

Rolling the clock back to 2007, Hauptwerk was relatively new when I got my first sample set the Milan Metz. and Metz extended). It has given me a decade of playing pleasure and I am sure hundreds of others, too.

Possibly the answer is to ask certain churches that have allowed their organ to be sampled what was their reason. On the other side, perhaps we should ask the reason why others did not allow their organ to be sampled.
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Re: DISCUSSION: Churches who do not allow sampling

Postby John_Abson » Tue Oct 24, 2017 10:39 am

If you see the issue from the viewpoint of someone wanting to enjoy a facsimile of a fine organ at home then indeed, or a means of conserving the sound of a unique instrument, then again 'what's not to like'?

The issue goes beyond that, however. The owners of organs worth sampling will probably have raised/spent a great deal of money and effort in getting their instrument to that worthy state, in much the same way that a professional musician will have perfected their technique - this article puts it well http://www.mi-pro.co.uk/news/read/musicians-union-why-should-musicians-be-expected-to-work-for-free/020328
They may justifiably feel entitled to a cut of the profit if someone is going to benefit commercially from it.

If the sample set is going to be marketed as a complete instrument the owner(s) may not feel the instrument is in the state ready to be launched.

It may simply be that they don't have confidence in the organisation doing the sampling and marketing the product.

These are some of the 'good' reasons. 'Bad' reasons - as mentioned - might be 'it's my toy, you can't play with it'; 'we don't want to understand about this, so we'll ignore it', etc.

Long story short, I think the issue is more complex than some of the posts above suggest. I write as the owner of a (willingly paid for) virtual organ and installer/curator of a well-known pipe organ. In the latter role, although I see many positives from sampling an organ (no pun intended), it's not something I would jump into unquestioningly.
Last edited by John_Abson on Tue Oct 24, 2017 10:51 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: DISCUSSION: Churches who do not allow sampling

Postby RichardW » Tue Oct 24, 2017 10:47 am

John_Abson wrote:... it's not something I would jump into unquestioningly.

Please tell us what questions would you ask of a potential sampler.

Thanks,
Richard
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Re: DISCUSSION: Churches who do not allow sampling

Postby John_Abson » Tue Oct 24, 2017 10:56 am

I'd ask them what their proposal would be, Richard. It's they who need to sell the idea.
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Re: DISCUSSION: Churches who do not allow sampling

Postby josq » Tue Oct 24, 2017 11:31 am

Let's consider 2 scenario's:
Scenario 1)
* Established, renowned sample set producer
* Wants to have access for 4 consecutive days/nights
* Plans to record in 6-channel format, including tremulants
* Will protect the samples
* Wants to sell the sample set for EUR 500
* Does not show intentions to give a share of the sales

Scenario 2)
* Individual with relevant recording and software experience but with limited track record on sample set recording for Hauptwerk
* Wants to have access for a single full day&evening
* Plans to record in stereo format including all standard quality features such as multiple releases etc, but no extra features like recorded tremulants
* Will not protect the samples and considers to include a few virtual extensions that the original organ does not have (e.g. a 32' pedal reed not present on the real organ)
* Will make the sample set available for free
* Will give 20% of voluntary donations for maintainance/restoration of the organ

Do these 2 scenario's contain any dealbreakers?
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Re: DISCUSSION: Churches who do not allow sampling

Postby dhm » Tue Oct 24, 2017 12:21 pm

If I were in John Abson's position I would insist on Josq's "Scenario 1" with one important difference:
A guaranteed minimum donation for access and permission to sample under agreed conditions, AND a percentage of all sales. I don't think that would be unreasonable.
The known and respected sample-set producers would almost certainly agree to that, and the amateurs looking to make a quick buck would be shown the door fairly briskly. :D
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Re: DISCUSSION: Churches who do not allow sampling

Postby dcaton » Tue Oct 24, 2017 12:58 pm

dhm wrote:The known and respected sample-set producers would almost certainly agree to that, and the amateurs looking to make a quick buck would be shown the door fairly briskly. :D

I could understand an organ's owners wanting to sign off on the quality of the sample set before it's released to the public, especially in the case of particularly historic or noteworthy organs.

However, nobody starts out as "known and respected", you get there by experience and learning from your mistakes. If every church took your position, there wouldn't be any sample sets at all as everyone would be an inexperienced amateur.

I have no idea how big the VPO market is, but I'm skeptical that anyone is making a living selling sample sets. There's probably a million easier ways to make a quick buck than selling poor quality sample sets to unsuspecting VPO owners.
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Re: DISCUSSION: Churches who do not allow sampling

Postby dhm » Tue Oct 24, 2017 1:05 pm

A fair point. Agreed, everybody has to start somewhere.
So find a less famous organ on which to start learning how to do it.
The quality of the results will establish one’s reputation (or not, as the case may be).
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Re: DISCUSSION: Churches who do not allow sampling

Postby sjkartchner » Tue Oct 24, 2017 7:09 pm

It seems that quality of the sample set would be of utmost importance to any reputable establishment whose instrument is the target of a sampling request. And that narrows the field of qualified sample set producers considerably.

The reality is that there are very few, and perhaps only a handful of, companies capable of producing a top-tier product. And those companies are not going to be interested in a particular project unless the expected economics justify the tremendous expenditure of time and resources needed to produce that top-tier product.

Granted, there are top-quality producers whose primary mission values such considerations as historical preservation, academic enlightenment, or philanthropic efforts over financial concerns. Those producers, however, tend to focus their efforts on geographically or historically significant instruments, and rarely if ever undertake the sampling of large, well-known, and financially-stable instruments, and especially not in North America.

So, while it may be fun to think about sampling a desirable instrument as a hobbyist or diy type of endeavor, I don’t think it is at all realistic to expect that to happen on any sort of grand or even modest scale.
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Re: DISCUSSION: Churches who do not allow sampling

Postby schantzplayer » Wed Nov 01, 2017 10:33 am

I find Antoni's comment on sampling the Wanamaker organ fascinating. I think memory requirements are not the main issue. The sound system to replicate would have to be enormous but fun to contemplate in my easy chair. I have often thought such an instrument would need many processors segmented to support several iterations of the operating system as well a multiple iterations of the Hauptwerk software. I would imagine a Haupwerk license for each division. Wouldn't it be fun??
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Re: DISCUSSION: Churches who do not allow sampling

Postby 1961TC4ME » Wed Nov 01, 2017 12:13 pm

dhm wrote:If I were in John Abson's position I would insist on Josq's "Scenario 1" with one important difference:
A guaranteed minimum donation for access and permission to sample under agreed conditions, AND a percentage of all sales. I don't think that would be unreasonable.
The known and respected sample-set producers would almost certainly agree to that, and the amateurs looking to make a quick buck would be shown the door fairly briskly. :D


I've been kind of following along here and I guess I'd side with Douglas on this one. If a percentage of the sales were not offered to the church (and I find it hard to believe anyone wouldn't be smart enough and maybe even reasonable enough to include this in the deal), I guess I just can't see how any church would even consider it, especially if it comes to a very important and desirable instrument. The folks that have them aren't stupid and they know what they've got, so there has to be some skin in the game.

Case in point: I've attempted over the past few years to approach a few local churches here. One in particular is our local Cathedral of St. Paul, MN who now can boast probably one of the most impressive Skinner organs and in an awesome acoustic anywhere in the upper midwest part of the U.S. and probably then some.

Here's what I ran into. First just to get the time for anyone to even talk to me was a job. The next issue is getting them to understand exactly what Hauptwerk even is and unless you can get them to demo it for themselves first, have the organist come and play along with the decision makers being present so they can understand exactly what Hauptwerk is and how it works, I think you're gonna have an uphill battle on your hands.

Now, assuming you can get that far and everyone likes what they see there's another hurdle, and that's getting access to the instrument for the needed time. I've heard a lot of "we don't know when we'd be able to let you in to sample it" objections. There's security concerns, the idea of someone being there in the middle of the night for who knows how many nights didn't sit well with them, who from the church would be willing to be there at 3 AM to assure things weren't abused, stolen or the wrong people were showing up, it was all too big of a coordinating and security issue with them.

The Cathedral spent over 3 million rebuilding this instrument a few years back so you can see their concerns, other churches with this type of instrument and investment will surely be the same. In all of this, the first steps as far as I'm concerned before anything else happens would be to first convince them that it would be important that they have a virtual copy of the instrument for reference in the case there was ever some kind of catastrophic event that took place requiring a record of how the instrument sounded. And secondly, I'd certainly be offering them early on a substantial cut of the profits, especially when they just dropped 3.5 mil on the instrument. Every church is always looking for donations for certain things and donations to help offset costs of an organ rebuild or for maintenance of the instrument or for other needs and the idea that a flow of revenue would come as a result should certainly be an idea that is pitched early on. Problem is, we can't make any promises, but only guessing here at the number of folks who have now been introduced to Hauptwerk and if it's a good and desirable set, sure nobody's gonna make a million dollars, but I'd think the donation to the church over time would certainly be respectable.

Yes, the person who does the sampling should be compensated, but as pointed out elsewhere here, making a living doing it is maybe not the easiest, but if you can make a living doing it great, because that means the church should do quite well too. But perhaps this part should be more secondary for the producer and doing it more for the love of it should be first.

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