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Volume control of a single stop

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Volume control of a single stop

Postby Antoni Scott » Wed Oct 25, 2017 7:41 am

After reading George Ashdown Audsley's book "The Art of Organ Building" I came away with the idea that Mr. Audsley was very passionate about multiple expression throughout the organ, even in the pedal. I had an opportunity to actually hear an example of Audsley's multiple expression concept ink an organ that he designed for a church in Hoboken, New Jersey. Although the scheme was elaborate, the concept was sound. The Trumpets at 16', 8' and 4' on the Great had their own expression chamber.

I was wondering if this idea of having a few stops within a chamber can have their volume control independently changed under an expression pedal without changing the volume level of the others ?

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Re: Volume control of a single stop

Postby mdyde » Wed Oct 25, 2017 7:53 am

Hello Antoni,

I'm not quite clear whether you're asking whether that can currently be done in Hauptwerk, but assuming that is indeed the question:

Swell boxes actually affect the sound in ways beyond just its amplitude (volume); for example, they also affect the timbre of the sound significantly (typically reducing the upper frequency content to some extent when closed).

It's possible for a sample set creator (or Custom Organ Design Module organ definition creator) to enclose any given virtual rank in a virtual swell box (or even two swell boxes), and a sample set can have any number of virtual swell boxes, but it isn't possible for the user to change which ranks are enclosed, or for the user to control the amplitude of individual ranks in real-time (except via the voicing sliders, but they can't be controlled from MIDI expression pedals).
Best regards,
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Re: Volume control of a single stop

Postby NickNelson » Wed Oct 25, 2017 9:42 am

Antoni Scott wrote:Mr. Audsley was very passionate about multiple expression throughout the organ, even in the pedal.


Indeed, though many commentators, then and since, have questioned some of his thoughts.

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Re: Volume control of a single stop

Postby Antoni Scott » Wed Oct 25, 2017 10:18 am

To Nick Nelson:
Audsley was a highly opinionated author. His writing could be considered arrogant by some standards, especially when a recent organ (1903) has been installed. He suggests in many cases that the particular installation represents no further advancement in "art" save size, etc.
The particular multiple-expression organ I was referring to that was installed in a church in Hoboken, New Jersey, was built under the strict supervision of Mr. Audsley himself, since he was so critical of everything and lived close by (Rutherford area). You would think, based on what you read and what he suggests, is that any organ that had his stamp of approval upon it would be the best thing ever built. My personal opinion, after hearing it and playing it (1974) was that it was an ordinary instrument offering nothing extraordinary save the ability to express the reed stops independently that were on the Great.
I read his book just for historical context. I needed to know the state of organ building mechanisms in the mid to late 1800's, the advent of the Barker Lever to the tubular-pneumatic and finally the electro-pneumatic.
His "ideals" about pipe construction, "artistic" voicing and lack of "this or that" leave much to be desired in my opinion.
I was amused by the fact that he created the specification for the giant organ built by the Los Angeles Art Organ Company which is now (fortunately) in the Wanamaker organ. Although, and he of all people should have known this, a specification on paper may look good, it translates to nothing when the actual organ is constructed (fortunately). Imagine how boring it would be if every Open Diapason sounded exactly the same.
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Re: Volume control of a single stop

Postby mkc1 » Fri Oct 27, 2017 11:23 am

The Harrison and Harrison organ of King's College, Cambridge has the great reeds in the solo swell box. Similar idea? http://www.kings.cam.ac.uk/sites/default/files/chapel/organ-specification.pdf

And Schoenstein are fond of putting boxes within boxes. http://www.schoenstein.com/double-expression.html
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Re: Volume control of a single stop

Postby sjkartchner » Fri Oct 27, 2017 7:06 pm

I heard a double-expression Schoenstein and the double expression seemed to add considerable flexibility to the organ.
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Re: Volume control of a single stop

Postby Antoni Scott » Tue Nov 07, 2017 10:56 am

My original post was to ask if it were possible to take a single stop in a division and independently increase or decrease its volume by the use of an expresssion pedal. Apparently it is not. Of course I can do it manually by selecting the "amplitude" adjustment in the drop down menu but its fixed until I change it again. It would certainly be a nice feature if someone could come up with it.
In a real pipe organ, opening the Swell box not only increases the perceived volume to the listener, but also changes the perceived harmonic content. Hauptwerk seems to do that quite well. A shrieking Mixture stop that would be only good for a loud combination coud also be used in a smaller specification but still add clarity and brilliance.
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Re: Volume control of a single stop

Postby organplayer » Wed Nov 08, 2017 1:05 pm

I totally agree with Scott. It should be possible to adjust the volume more individually. However, it would be enough for me if I could adjust the volume of a division via an expression pedal. I know that the sound is not the same as with a real swell, but that's not the point. With some sample sets the volume of the divisions is so disproportionate to each other that you can hardly play on two manuals at the same time.
I also know that this is not possible in a pipe organ and contradicts the traditional thinking of some organists. But what does tradition mean here? Swell and Tremulo didn't exist from the beginning. Today we don't want to do without it anymore. So let's also develop the organ a little bit more courageously. Hauptwerk is a wonderful tool for this.
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Re: Volume control of a single stop

Postby mdyde » Wed Nov 08, 2017 1:31 pm

Hello organplayer,

Although you can't currently control the amplitudes of individual ranks (or user-defined groups of ranks) from a MIDI expression pedal, you can of course adjust the amplitudes of any ranks (including whole divisions) via the sliders in the voicing screen (in the Advanced Edition). We do hope to allow MIDI expression pedals/sliders/etc. to be mapped to control the voicing screen in the longer-term future.

It is also technically possible for you to use the Custom Organ Design Module (CODM) to create organ definitions of your own with whatever specifications you like (e.g. with any ranks enclosed in any virtual swell boxes), and we do hope to extend that functionality in the longer-term future to make it easy to extend existing organs without needing to resort to coding any files (XML or otherwise).

I do appreciate your point that it would in theory be possible to make Hauptwerk do any things that real organs can't, although also there are plenty of synthesizers and generic samplers (Kontakt, etc.) for making instruments that behave in any desired non organ-like ways. We have very finite resources, and we try to focus the development time that is available primarily on things that benefit the largest numbers of Hauptwerk's users the most, and on Hauptwerk's core aim, which, ultimately, is to model real organs as realistically as possible, and to make them accessible to people. We can't do everything.
Best regards,
Martin.

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Re: Volume control of a single stop

Postby Antoni Scott » Wed Nov 08, 2017 2:05 pm

To Martin Dyde: We can't do everything.
I would comment that what you have accomplished with Hauptwerk is extraordinary. If it were at all possible in future versions of the operating system to single out an individual stop in a division and vary its volume compared to others in the same division it would make the sample set immensely flexible. At this time I do not think the CODM offers sample set realism as good as some of the other sample sets that are available, unless I have missed something. Also, unless I have missed something again, doesn't the CODM require an additional reverb because the samples are recorded dry.
Some third party sample set producers that offer their services to create custom sample sets buy combining stops from different organs, have gone a long way to create the Hauptwerk owners dream organ, truly a custom organ.
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Re: Volume control of a single stop

Postby mdyde » Wed Nov 08, 2017 2:27 pm

Thanks, Antoni.

Antoni Scott wrote:At this time I do not think the CODM offers sample set realism as good as some of the other sample sets that are available, unless I have missed something.


It is actually usually possible to create organs that are just as sonically realistic (once voiced) within the CODM (but some of the more esoteric historical and theatre organ functionality can't be implemented in it). Hence potentially it can be equally realistic (once voiced), but the CODM format isn't quite as (massively) flexible as the (correspondingly extremely complex) 'full' organ definition format.

However, the CODM does require some basic programming in XML currently, so it's a little technical in its nature at the moment.

Antoni Scott wrote:Also, unless I have missed something again, doesn't the CODM require an additional reverb because the samples are recorded dry.


No -- wet or dry samples can be used (as for any other type of sample set).
Best regards,
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Re: Volume control of a single stop

Postby organplayer » Wed Nov 08, 2017 3:59 pm

Hi Martin, please don't get me wrong. That was not meant as criticism. Of course, you can't fulfill every wish in software development. But - and this is a compliment! The better a software is, the more wishes come up. I remember when we developed the so-called Autopilot for DOS decades ago, that thousands of wishes came the better and more useful it became.
I think I can really judge it. I haven't seen any other software in the last few years that is as powerful, error-free and stable as the current version of Hauptwerk.

I would wish that the upcoming version is perhaps a bit more modular (object-oriented, you understand: -) Then there will automatically be more flexibility for individual customizations.

Of course, the main purpose of Hauptwerk is (and should be in de future, too) to reproduce real organs as naturally as possible. But for me, this refers primarily to the quality of the sound and not so much to the technical realization. I had my students (young organists) develop a concept for a future pipe organ - regardless of traditional organ building. One result was that there are no longer divisions, but a set of stops that can be freely combined. And they can be equipped with tremulo, swell etc. individually. You no longer need fixed couplings, etc.
However, I have little hope (at least in Germany) that there will be a church that wants to have such a thing, although it is much cheaper to build than the traditional organ building.

Anyway, you're allowed to have dreams, right?
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Re: Volume control of a single stop

Postby mdyde » Wed Nov 08, 2017 4:05 pm

Thanks, organplayer.

organplayer wrote:Anyway, you're allowed to have dreams, right?


Most certainly!
Best regards,
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Re: Volume control of a single stop

Postby magnaton » Wed Nov 08, 2017 9:23 pm

organplayer wrote: I had my students (young organists) develop a concept for a future pipe organ - regardless of traditional organ building. One result was that there are no longer divisions, but a set of stops that can be freely combined. And they can be equipped with tremulo, swell etc. individually.


Sounds like they were describing a well unified theatre organ. 8)

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