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suggestions for piston setup

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suggestions for piston setup

Postby fermata » Thu Sep 15, 2016 9:28 pm

I am new to organ playing, which makes it hard for me to know how I will want to set up my pistons. How do people here generally use them? I'm especially curious to know what people, who have multiple keyboards, each sporting 20 pistons, put on them all.
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Re: suggestions for piston setup

Postby engrssc » Thu Sep 15, 2016 9:57 pm

You might want to invest in a book like this to find out first what stops might "go together", this one esp for church music, but other similar ones have been written for other types of music.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/An-Introduction-to-Organ-Registration-Church-Music-Pamphlet-Series-/272378101167?hash=item3f6afffdaf:g:RnoAAOSw8gVX20T9

When you find what's pleasing to your taste, save that (combination) to a piston. It's a good idea to keep track of "what's where" .I keep a pad of 8.5 X 11 lined tablet paper nearby and use my own type of shorthand to ID the stops. It's too hard to remember otherwise unless you have a photographic memory like Cameron Carpenter..

Not asking for it or even suggesting it, but I've often thought it would be nice to let the computer "remember" which stops are on an individual piston in some sort of an on screen display. Hold a read piston button and then the particular piston you are interested in. Maybe there is somewhere something like that, but I've never seen it. Of course it would also be nice to win the lottery. :o

As far as having lots of pistons, not sure. You'd have to ask someone who has such. My inclination is for 6 - 7 divisional pistons per manual and maybe a dozen or so generals. That's usually enough for most of my playing. Of course then you can use a sequencer (with memory levels) for more.

Rgds,
Ed
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Re: suggestions for piston setup

Postby oliver_mayes » Fri Sep 16, 2016 12:12 am

I have three manuals set up to be able to use a 4 manual organ and record both MIDI and Audio. Each manual has 20 pistons. I use all my spare pistons as General Pistons, but you could just as easily assign them to divisions.
Here is a picture:
http://omayes.com/ScreenShots/Page1a01.jpg

Ollie Mayes
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Re: suggestions for piston setup

Postby mdyde » Fri Sep 16, 2016 5:04 am

[Topic moved here.]

engrssc wrote:Not asking for it or even suggesting it, but I've often thought it would be nice to let the computer "remember" which stops are on an individual piston in some sort of an on screen display. Hold a read piston button and then the particular piston you are interested in. Maybe there is somewhere something like that, but I've never seen it. Of course it would also be nice to win the lottery. :o


Hello Ed,

The 'Registration | Export/view current combinations as text listing' menu function is provided for that purpose.
Best regards,
Martin.

[Please use email or the Contact page if you need to contact us privately, rather than private forum messages.]

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Re: suggestions for piston setup

Postby engrssc » Fri Sep 16, 2016 8:40 am

Thanks. Martin. I wasn't aware of that feature. Guess I never thought much about it or bothered to look for it.
That is a neat feature. 8) Wonder how many have used it?

Rgds,
Ed
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Re: suggestions for piston setup

Postby OrganoPleno » Fri Sep 16, 2016 12:35 pm

fermata wrote:I am new to organ playing, which makes it hard for me to know how I will want to set up my pistons. How do people here generally use them? I'm especially curious to know what people, who have multiple keyboards, each sporting 20 pistons, put on them all.


Here's my own Piston Set-up, for three manuals each with 20 pistons.

Left-most Piston is a special function:
top = stop recording or MIDI playback.
middle = reset registration stepper to zero.
lower = SET

Next group of five gives general combinations (fifteen in total).

Next one couples that manual to the Pedal.

Next group of five gives divisionals (five for each of three manuals)

Next pair is special functions.
top = registration stepper down one and up one.
middle = start recording MIDI and Audio.
lower = general presets for Pianissimo and Fortissimo.

Next five...
Top = divisionals if the Sample Set has a fourth manual;
otherwise, special features like deep Pedal Reed on/off, Tremulant on/off, Toy Stops on/off, Reeds Reversible.
Middle = coupler for lower manual (choir or positif) to middle manual (great organ).
coupler for upper manual (swell or oberwerk) to middle manual (great organ).
and three to control floating divisions... to swap lower two manuals, and to allow
an alternate division (eg Solo or Recit) for the upper manual.
Lower = divisionals for Pedal.

Right-most Piston is a special function:
Top = Registration Home (restores a registration that was set by hand, after using a general combination).
Middle = Reeds Off (programmed with Scope, like a divisional but covering all divisions).
Lower = General Cancel.

Hoping this is a helpful overview.
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Re: suggestions for piston setup

Postby IainStinson » Fri Sep 16, 2016 8:05 pm

The link below is an image of the piston layout for my three manual console.
http://iainstinson.com/images/hauptwerk/piston-layout.jpg

There are divisional pistons under each manual which control the stops associated with that manual. Under the choir (bottom manual) there is a second set of divisional pistons (1-6) which I use for the fourth manual division. The pistons A and B in the choir key slip are often used to control which manual is used for the fourth manual division.

The link below is the image for the toe piston layout.
http://iainstinson.com/images/hauptwerk/toe-piston-layout.jpg

These are implemented for each organ and use the native pistons provided by the sample set and where necessary the master, scoped and reversible registration pistons within HW itself. The stop sequencer (stepper) uses the HW sequencer.

The console can be found with this link http://iainstinson.com/images/hauptwerk/hw-2.jpg

I don't use the pistons for HW controls (such as recording and selecting combination sets) but instead make use of a Novation Launchpad for these types of functions.

Iain
Last edited by IainStinson on Sat Sep 17, 2016 4:46 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: suggestions for piston setup

Postby engrssc » Sat Sep 17, 2016 4:16 am

This is a question of sorts for Martin. When using a LaunchPad to control pistons is there a setup function (basically MIDI control) of the LaunchPad status light(s) so that the particular piston button's status light stays bright indicating which piston button has been pressed? This in a "radio" button fashion?

Rgds,
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Re: suggestions for piston setup

Postby fermata » Sat Sep 17, 2016 11:37 am

Gulp! I can see that pistons can get quite complicated, and I did not understand some of the things Ollie, OrganoPleno, and Iain were taking about (me being a newbie). But I got enough of a picture to understand that this can be quite individual, the way people choose to use them.

I, too, want to go with three manuals. I was wondering if one manual with pistons would be enough for me, and this discussion has helped a lot to give me perspective, so I thank you all!

The reason I want tabs and pistons is to minimize my need for a touch screen. Maybe I can eliminate the need for a touch screen, and rely on my laptop for setting up the stops I want, using 3M tape and colored dots to mark what the tabs and pistons are programmed for. Should I be moving this discussion to a different thread, like "laptop vs touchscreen"? I am wondering if there are people who do not use a touchscreen.
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Re: suggestions for piston setup

Postby OrganoPleno » Sat Sep 17, 2016 12:04 pm

fermata wrote:Gulp! I can see that pistons can get quite complicated, and I did not understand some of the things (they) were taking about (me being a newbie). But I got enough of a picture to understand that this can be quite individual, the way people choose to use them.


Exactly. About the only "standard" pistons would be "SET" at lower left. (This one should send one message when pressed, and then a different message when released, so as to work just like the SETTER on a real Organ. Every other piston just sends a momentary signal when pressed, and not when released.) And "GENERAL CANCEL" at lower right.

The key is a) to know how you will want to use your Sample Set, and b) to understand the Menu Features of the Hauptwerk Program. Everything is done with Auto Recognition. Hauptwerk has "large floating control panels" available through the View Menu, which provide buttons for many aspects of controlling Registration and the overall functioning of the Sample Set. By right-clicking on any one of these, then pressing your selected Piston, it can link that Piston to that Function in the Program. Then even when you put away all of those floating control panels, the features you wanted are still available, thanks to your programmed Pistons. For example, there are lots and lots of buttons for "General Combinations", and so forth. Each one could link to one Piston, as you may choose. Same with Couplers, if you use the "Master Couplers" found in those menus. Also under the Organ Settings Menu, most of the particular features of a given Sample Set can also be assigned to Pistons. And anything you see on the Screen for the Sample Set... stop knobs, couplers, and whatever else... can be right-clicked and linked to a Piston of your choice.

The Hauptwerk User Manual discusses all of this in wonderful detail. There are also "Mini Control Panels" under the View Menu, which can be linked onto the display screen for your Sample Set so that those features can also be easily viewed or accessed. I like to show Audio, CPU, and Polyphony so that I can see how the Computer is holding up as a given Sample Set is used.

fermata wrote:I, too, want to go with three manuals. I was wondering if one manual with pistons would be enough for me, and this discussion has helped a lot to give me perspective, so I thank you all!


I'd recommend having pistons on every manual, especially if you want to minimize clicking on the Screen. With more pistons, you can do much more of everything right there at the Console.

fermata wrote:The reason I want tabs and pistons is to minimize my need for a touch screen.


Right. When I have an Organ nicely set up with Pistons (lots of General Combinations, enough Divisional Combinations to suit, and a few special functions like Couplers, Reeds Off, and separate control of Tremulant and the deepest Pedal Reed... then I hardly have to use the screen at all while playing.

When I do use the screen, like for making a small alteration in the Registration... sometimes I touch the screen, and sometimes I just click with a mouse. If you wanted to just always click with a mouse, that would work too and then you wouldn't necessarily have to have a Touch Screen. (But they certainly are nice! I just use one, so all the controls are right there in one place.)
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Re: suggestions for piston setup

Postby OrganoPleno » Sat Sep 17, 2016 12:19 pm

fermata wrote:Maybe I can eliminate the need for a touch screen, and rely on my laptop for setting up the stops I want, using 3M tape and colored dots to mark what the tabs and pistons are programmed for.


You can also eliminate the need for 3M tape and colored dots, by arranging your settings in some logical order. For example, pistons on one row might go (left to right) from softer to louder, or by groups (strings, light flutes, full flutes, light principals, full principals). The second row might repeat this but using couplers between the keyboards (for richer, fuller sound especially on the Great Organ and the Pedals). The third row might repeat this again, but also adding Reeds as appropriate... soft reeds for the flutes, and full reeds for the principals.

This way, you don't need to memorize exact details (especially if using more than one sample set), but can always know what to expect from any given Piston.

Always remember... have fun with it! That is the whole point, after all.
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Re: suggestions for piston setup

Postby fermata » Sat Sep 17, 2016 2:47 pm

Golly, Organ Pleno, thank you so much for this! It has helped so much. Might I ask what size screen you use, and whether you think size is significant? You must be using a PC for your computer (right clicking); have had any issues with it? Im a Mac person, but it costs a lot more, and has the touch screen issue....
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Re: suggestions for piston setup

Postby OrganoPleno » Sat Sep 17, 2016 4:18 pm

fermata wrote:Might I ask what size screen you use, and whether you think size is significant?


Hello, Fermata. My touch screen is 21.5", which is big enough to read clearly while playing. It fits nicely on my console. I use the second one elsewhere for watching Movies on DVD (with the same Hauptwerk Sound System).

I've had no real issues with my PC. You can read about my 2010 installation here:
viewtopic.php?f=16&t=6541&p=45740#p45740

and the tweaks I've made to Windows 7 64bit Pro here:
viewtopic.php?f=16&t=8602&p=61908#p61908

I'm now running 24 Gb of RAM, with a Buffer Size of 256 for good performance and very low latency. I use several external 2 Tb Hard Drives for backup of all the Hauptwerk Data.

One other important component is a "Silent Subwoofer" to go along with our Headphones. You can read about "Feel the Bass" right here:
viewtopic.php?f=17&t=9656

My Recent Favorite Sample Sets include the Laurenskerk Hoofdorgel (Neo-Baroque), Rozay-en-Brie (French Baroque), Goerlitz (Symphonic) and Zutphen (Baroque).

These last two very large wet surround Sample Sets cannot be fully loaded on my 24 Gb system, so I have loaded the "diffuse" sounds only. Looking forward soon to upgrading to a new PC... this one to use an 8-core i-7 chip and 128 Gb of RAM. Maybe some of those new SSD drives too, so the loading time can be improved for these very large Sample Sets.

I like Windows 7 64bit Pro just fine, and see no need to change Operating Systems now. Through the end of October, you can still get this installed on a new System. I've already purchased a license for an OEM version of this, so I can install it myself once I get the new System (just as I did with the old one).

Hoping this is helpful! Enjoy planning and building your new System!

All the Best... -- OrganoPleno
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Re: suggestions for piston setup

Postby fermata » Sat Sep 17, 2016 8:26 pm

Thanks, OrganoPleno. I read your links, too, and was duly impressed, but also intimidated. I'm ever less inclined to go the PC route. But I'm happy that you and your wife have found your own organ heaven! Hopefully some day I'll reach mine! Right now, my mantra is "keep it simple." Hmmm, we'll see how possible this is.
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Re: suggestions for piston setup

Postby OrganoPleno » Sat Sep 17, 2016 9:30 pm

fermata wrote:Right now, my mantra is "keep it simple."


I think the difficult decisions DO have to be made... but you DON'T have to make them all yourself! Just hire the necessary expertise.

You mentioned elsewhere "I may decide for this once (first and only time) to go with a PC, one which has been optimized for Hauptwerk by MidiWorks."

This could be a very realistic approach. My experience with MidiWorks Canada has been entirely positive... purchasing and shipping all console components, and helping with some initial pedal-board glitches, and providing replacement parts when one manual started to wear out (years later) from over-use. They consult on their computers with Francois Ratte of Quebec (hauptwerkconsultant.com), who has a lot of experience and an excellent reputation. I would trust either of them entirely, except that my own stubborn streak just insists that I do everything myself, the hard way. But not everybody has to do that.

Francois can also help select the appropriate Sample Set(s), and can even configure everything for you... including all the Pistons if you would like. So there really is light at the end of the tunnel!
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