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Networked Church Organs

Play famous church organs remotely
  (+11, -2)(+11, -2)
(+11, -2)
  [vote for,

This system would allow the home organist to play famous church and cathedral organs from home. Many such organs are now fitted with MIDI interfaces, and the premises are wired for sound for commercial recording purposes.

The organist first downloads a `skin' for the organ. This presents a GUI for all the organ stops, and maps the MIDI channels, program numbers and bank selects implemented by the organ. He then books play time on the organ (Visa & Mastercard accepted).

As he plays away on his MIDI keyboard, the client software maps the MIDI according to the selected stops, and transmits them to the organ.

The reverse channel is a real audio feed from the cathedral mics to the users hi-fi. The performance would also be recorded at higher quality MP3 for the organist to download later.

The enthusiastic organist would probably need to invest in additional keyboards, and a pedal board, as most organs have several manuals and pedals, but for a start, the client software could be used to split a single keyboard in various ways.

Proficient home organists could be invited to do performances for services, where no local organist was available.

Mickey the Fish, Jul 13 2000

Virtually Baroque http://www.virtuallybaroque.com/
Nearly 1000 MP3 tracks using sampled pipe organs. [jocr, Dec 14 2004]


       Like it, but it's a bit technical. And it seems that it would consume an awful lot of electricity on the part of the church, as well as potentially wearing out their parts. We know how parsimonious various churches can be, so I think we'd have to consider which churches might participate. I'm a Methodist, and we consider candles to be wasted unless they're busy roasting budgies on forks, never mind churning out orgasmic renditions of 'Inna Gadda . . . ' Which candles don't do of course - but I lost my track.   

       Anyway, I like it. Perhaps you could post an envelope full of stamps to church in question - they seem to like that sort of thing.   

       (As well as closing on Sundays where I live)
eehen, Jul 16 2000

       eehen: This could be a good revenue raiser for churches. The booking fee (per hour playing time) would cover the cost of electricity and administration, with a margin for the priest (or vicar, or minister).   

       In my experience (of booking churches for choral performances) the major energy expense is for heating the church, which is clearly unnecessary in this case.
Mickey the Fish, Jul 17 2000

       I love the idea! If only for the obvious connection to the "spirit in the machine" concept. It can be seen as both good and bad: (a) The instrument is imbued with a divine, holy spirit. (b) Pipe organs are the devil's instrument. Demonic possession. I wonder if this concept would influence/help the process of converting primitive folks to christianity? :-)
mar, Jul 19 2000

       Good Lord! I hope not.
Mickey the Fish, Jul 19 2000

       //In my experience (of booking churches for choral performances) the major energy expense is for heating the church, which is clearly unnecessary in this case.//   

       What do you mean? Pipe organs must be at the same temperature as they were last tuned or else they will be off-pitch. If the organ is used for leading the congregation in singing and any other instrument can tune itself to the organ, the entire organ is at the same temperature, and either there aren't any reed stops or they were tuned at the current temperature, then it won't matter if the organ is slightly off-pitch since it will be relatively uniform. Often, however, organs are tuned immediately before concerts (especially the reed stops) unless the building's climate-control system can do a good job of maintaining constant temperature (and to a usually-slightly-lesser extent, humidity).   

       Also, there isn't any real benefit to having a "live" link with the real organ since even on a good internet connection there will be a delay of >100ms. This may not be objectionable in a "telephone" application, but would drive any organist bonkers.   

       An idea related to yours which would be easier for churches to implement and in many ways better would be for them to accept MIDI files and send back MP3's. This would allow a church to make many recordings just after the organ was tuned, thereby giving users of the service the benefit of the recent tuning while at the same time giving the churches flexibility in scheduling.   

       Of course, this wouldn't change the fact that the real joy in playing a particular organ comes from the combination of the "feel" of the keys and the spacial location of the sound; this is especially true on small tracker organs. I don't think that ambience would come through electronically transmitted music even if there weren't any transmission delays involved.
supercat, Jul 19 2000

       //never mind churning out orgasmic renditions of 'Inna Gadda . . . '//   

       Are you thinking of 'Bart sells his soul'? I wonder if any famous pipe organs have been used in recording that piece?
supercat, Jul 19 2000

       2 things 1]As a kid, Little Richard got dragged out by the ear by the preacher at church when [thinking no one was around] he knocked out some raunch. 2] A couple of friends of mine do major restoration work on ancient huge pipe organs. That said, Big Berthas ain't cheap to fix and dem Baptist folk don' lik' dat' debil musin' roun' th' pipes..The Fundamentalists don't sell or rent nadanuthinobody-[refer to the Parable of Jesus kicking tables over in the Temple]. Too bad, though. I'd do it in a second.
thumbwax, Sep 21 2000

       Perhaps the serious God botherers could have a filter on the incoming MIDI stream, which would detect alternating major/minor thirds, augmented fourths, and other indicators that the debil was at work on their pipes.
Mickey the Fish, Sep 25 2000

       And don't forget them 7ths, God Forbid!
thumbwax, Sep 29 2000

       It's just a really bad idea. One could buy (If so inclined) a used/excellent 10-rank [tracker] organ for less than the cost of a good piano or a higher-end electric organ. Also, loudspeakers and MIDI ruin those particular tonal characters that makes the organ what it is. Though this system would work, the preformance would lack life and expression; sounding more like a Calliope or monkey-organ than the true instument.
Mr_Thundercleese, Mar 09 2002

       I have to wonder if it wouldn't be easier to simulate the sound on a decent keyboard or computer.
phoenix, Mar 09 2002

       MIDI would have no effect at all on the tonal characteristics. The remote performer plays his keyboard; his keystrokes are converted to MIDI mesages; those messages are relayed to the distant church; a decoder converts the MIDI to keypresses. No audio has entered the chain yet. The organ pipes cannot tell whether their keys were pressed by a MIDI-instructed solenoid, Nicholas Kynaston, or an Armenian bricklayer.
angel, Mar 11 2002

       The Yamaha S90 actually has support for this thing known as MLAN. I have little idea of how it works, but seeing as it uses a CAT5 ethernet cable, i assume its used for networking, so we're actually coming pretty close to this idea.
Seafris, Mar 18 2003

       Of course it would not equal the experience of being there to play the organ-but it would still be fun!
infinitist, Jan 20 2004

       //The organ pipes cannot tell whether their keys were pressed by a MIDI-instructed solenoid, Nicholas Kynaston, or an Armenian bricklayer.//   

       On an electropneumatic or direct electric, or even a relay-pneumatic instrument that would be true. But on a tracker, the rate at which keys are pressed will affect the rate at which the valves open.
supercat, Jan 20 2004

       Alas, doomed to disappointment, when the title leads you to expect orgiastic religious ceremonies.
normzone, Dec 14 2004

       supercat: //But on a tracker, the rate at which keys are pressed will affect the rate at which the valves open.//   

       Indeed. But MIDI 'Note On' events are not simple on/off messages. They have 8 bits of 'velocity' data, which reflects how fast the key was depressed. This data is normally used (by MIDI pianos, etc) to determine the loudness of the sound, but could just as well map to the speed of opening the pipe valves.
Mickey the Fish, Feb 08 2010

       Command Line:   

       ssh www.jsbachcat.org -ltom C#,G,Bþ,A,A,A#
zen_tom, Feb 08 2010

       //Bþ// is a special ancient Viking note used only in Skaldic recitations
pocmloc, Feb 08 2010

       //Bþ// pronounced "Bee <phbbbbt>"
FlyingToaster, Feb 08 2010


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