Monday, December 22, 2014

Why do I play the Organ?

The organ gets no love. An organist gets even less. The organ is designed to fill large spaces with sound. As such, it is typically a large instrument. An organist travels to the instrument...not with the instrument. Organs are placed in an out of the way corner, and organists are hidden in the loft. I had this hair-brained idea that maybe I could change this.

I use a software program called "Hauptwerk" to run my large organ at home. It is digitally created by sampling pipe organs from around the world. In fact you can buy hundreds of different pipe organs for this software. The sound produced is much better than the electronic sounds that dominated the better part of the last century.

Earlier this year, I began designing what I termed a "portable" organ. Originally I wanted something that I could set up in 10 to 15 minutes and haul around in my 1973 Volkswagen Beetle. The first set up worked like this, but I was using a practice amp for sound and I hadn't added the pedals yet. By the time I add the pedals and a decent sound system, it takes more like 30 to 45 minutes to set up  and it requires a truck to haul the equipment.

And now my kids sharpen their sarcasm by saying, "Sure. It's a portable organ - as long as you have six kids to haul it!" So I am not sure how great of an idea this was. The sound is good, but the presentation and hassle leave something to be desired. And I am not sure that the piano recital audience was ready for the majesty of the king of instruments.

The technical aspects include a Hammond SK2 keyboard and a custom made 2 octave pedal board from ebay, Hauptwerk runs on my 4-year-old Macbook Pro (8 gigs of ram). 

At the piano recital, I played Guilain's Suite du 2nd Ton from his Pieces D'Orgue pour le Magnificat. It has seven short movements.

1. Prelude

2. Tierce en Taille

3. Trio de Flutes

4. Duo and 5. Basse de Trompette

6. Dialogue

7. Petit Plein Jeu

No comments:

Post a Comment