DIYAPASON-L Digest #203 - Sunday, December 10, 2000
 
organ roll players
  by <Jadams4122@aol.com>
Re: organ roll players
  by "Larry Chace" <RLC1@etnainstruments.com>
player piano rolls for pipe organ
  by "Caroline Kehne" <ckehne@accglobal.net>
MIDI and iMacs
  by "Jon" <sparky@chesco.com>
Re: [Residence Organs]  player piano rolls for pipe organ
  by "Noel Jones, A.A.G.O." <gedeckt@usit.net>
 

(back) Subject: organ roll players From: <Jadams4122@aol.com> Date: Sun, 10 Dec 2000 10:17:29 EST   To Robert Pelletier - My winter project is to build a roll reader using phototransisters, fibre optics, IC drivers such as are used by most solid state relays and a tracker bar/gear drive from another player. I have the =   rolls, Kimball Soloist, just not the player. I would be glad to swap information with you or anyone else involved in a similar project. My preliminary work looks promising and as the person who wanted to live = forever said, "So far so good".   To Doug who said he had a MIDI player, I would REALLY like to know more = about that. My ultimate objective is to convert all of my Kimball rolls to a = MIDI format and save on a floppy. Not too sure yet how to go about it though. First I have to be able to read the rolls though.   John Adams  
(back) Subject: Re: organ roll players From: "Larry Chace" <RLC1@etnainstruments.com> Date: Sun, 10 Dec 2000 11:51:38 -0500   While not having actually dealt with roll players per se, I've done a lot of work related to MIDI-fication of pipe organs, including the use of MIDI sequencers for performance recording and playback. Tom Dimock (a fellow programmer at Cornell University) and I demonstrated our first unit in 1989, using "ConcertWare" on a Macintosh to play a 3-rank unit organ set = up in a lecture hall.   For the past several years, I've been developing and building MIDI add-on facilities for the "Z-tronics" brand of organ relay. About 45 of these = are in use, many of them with the Yamaha MDF-2 or MDF-3, the little MIDI diskette processor. Most recently (for the holidays), I've rigged up a 1-rank unit organ here at home using the MDF-2 to play holiday tunes. = (And various kids really enjoy recording and playing back their "performances", sometimes making me wish I had installed a Dulciana rather than a Clarabella as the one rank.) These are microcontroller-based systems, using 8051-family processors (but others also can be used for this sort of project).   Anyway, once you can convert the punched holes into electrical on/off signals, further conversion of those signals to MIDI is not terribly difficult, nor is it "new territory". Several companies sell "key contact to MIDI" converters and of course you can also roll your own (so to = speak). The simplest scheme would be to treat the 88-hole piano roll as an = extented keyboard and just let the organist/operator control the stops. More complex schemes are also possible, including ones that decode volume control information (present in some paper rolls) and perhaps using that information to operate the swell shades.   The matter of note repetition is also interesting. I've downloaded some = of the MIDI arrangements that folks have posted on the Web and have had mixed success playing them on my simple instrument. (For purposes of getting something to work, I've arranged to "couple" MIDI channels 1-8, using the result to play the organ's Great manual and letting the stops be changed = by hand.) I've noticed in many arrangements that repetitive notes do *not* repeat on the organ. The problem is not in the chest, nor is it in my MIDI-to-magnets conversion. Rather, the problem is that the MIDI file performer didn't leave a small silent gap between the notes. I'd guess that the performance might have been intended for a piano or other instrument in which the notes decay naturally, and in such a case the repeated note *is* heard as such. You may find that some piano rolls will therefore have *sustained* notes rather than the repeats that you'd = expect.   That is of course the opposite problem to the one discussed earlier, where an overly-sensitive roll decoder might interpret "chain" holes as individual notes rather than a held note. If you use a pneumatic decoding system, then perhaps this problem will solve itself, just as it does on a real player piano.   The Estey player system mentioned early uses some holes to operate a special combination action (12 "pistons", if I recall correctly). These pistons were wired on each instrument to best match the standard specification that was used when the rolls were arranged. Aeolian's Duo-Art organ rolls used a similar scheme, except that they encoded individual stops (about 2 dozen), which were then custom-wired on each particular instrument. Other companies used other schemes. It would be interesting to hear about Wurlitzer's approach to the control of stops. (Hint!)   For those of us who are not organists (at least not when someone else is within hearing range), it is very satisfying to be able to press a button and hear the organ play! On the other hand, getting really satisfactory performances could require some amount of editing of the MIDI files, and = to do that properly would probably require a good musical sense (and = training).   Larry Chace      
(back) Subject: player piano rolls for pipe organ From: "Caroline Kehne" <ckehne@accglobal.net> Date: Sun, 10 Dec 2000 12:03:41 -0500   Greetings,   A few days ago, I posted a message regarding the feasibility of using an 88-note player piano mechanism to operate a pipe organ. Apparently, the Wicks Organ Co. had made such a unit for their 'mortuary' organs, so it can be done! A friend of mine also told me that a back issue of the Amica bulletin deals with this unit and how to allocate the holes to operate 2 61-note manuals and a 32-note pedal. So, if any of you out there are contemplating going down this path, a friend with the pertinent back issue can be of assistance (sorry; I haven't seen the issue yet).   One problem which did surface, however, is the 'choppy' sound which some piano rolls produce when played on pipe organ. Apparently, some rolls (like Themodist, with sustained notes) are better than others. But even then, finding pipe organ literature on piano rolls is not too easy. One gentleman who responded did have a few rolls for sale which were cut to operate pipe organ on 88-note tracker bar; selections include Boelmanns's 'Suite Gothique', Gigout's 'Toccata' and Bach's Prelude and Fugue in D Major, to name a few. They are in the $8 to $14 range. He also has some rolls which, if there is enough interest, he is willing to have recut. These are Widor's 'Toccata from Symphony #5', = Bach's 'Jig' Fugue and the Fugue in g minor, and Daquin's 'Noel X'. If any list members are interested in these titles, they should contact Michael Walter at mikew_14086@yahoo.com   I haven't decided yet if I'll go the player piano route for the organ. Whatever happens, I'll keep the list posted (if this isn't too off-topic) on how I succeed (or fail)...     cheers, Robert Pelletier  
(back) Subject: MIDI and iMacs From: "Jon" <sparky@chesco.com> Date: Sun, 10 Dec 2000 14:18:24 -0500   Well with the right equipment which we have in our High School music lab, editing MIDI files is easy and fun!   There are 7 stations each equipped with an iMac and a Rolls Keyboard and all the 'standard' accessories. We use OMS link software/hardware. FreeMIDI is also in use in the lab. Overture is the composition program = (i think). I have composed over 20 pieces since the beginning of the year.   In fact, if you key in a piece, the software can not only correct your timing mistakes to any accuracy you specify, but it can reharmonize, harmonize, or do anything which traditionally was painstaking writing.   jon   PS no, that isn't a sales add for Rolls or Apple computer :-)   >While not having actually dealt with roll players per se, I've done a lot >of work related to MIDI-fication of pipe organs, including the use of = MIDI >sequencers for performance recording and playback. Tom Dimock (a fellow >programmer at Cornell University) and I demonstrated our first unit in >1989, using "ConcertWare" on a Macintosh to play a 3-rank unit organ set = up >in a lecture hall. > >For the past several years, I've been developing and building MIDI add-on >facilities for the "Z-tronics" brand of organ relay. About 45 of these = are >in use, many of them with the Yamaha MDF-2 or MDF-3, the little MIDI >diskette processor. Most recently (for the holidays), I've rigged up a >1-rank unit organ here at home using the MDF-2 to play holiday tunes. = (And >various kids really enjoy recording and playing back their = "performances", >sometimes making me wish I had installed a Dulciana rather than a >Clarabella as the one rank.) These are microcontroller-based systems, >using 8051-family processors (but others also can be used for this sort = of >project). > >Anyway, once you can convert the punched holes into electrical on/off >signals, further conversion of those signals to MIDI is not terribly >difficult, nor is it "new territory". Several companies sell "key = contact >to MIDI" converters and of course you can also roll your own (so to = speak). >The simplest scheme would be to treat the 88-hole piano roll as an = extented >keyboard and just let the organist/operator control the stops. More >complex schemes are also possible, including ones that decode volume >control information (present in some paper rolls) and perhaps using that >information to operate the swell shades. > >The matter of note repetition is also interesting. I've downloaded some = of >the MIDI arrangements that folks have posted on the Web and have had = mixed >success playing them on my simple instrument. (For purposes of getting >something to work, I've arranged to "couple" MIDI channels 1-8, using the >result to play the organ's Great manual and letting the stops be changed = by >hand.) I've noticed in many arrangements that repetitive notes do *not* >repeat on the organ. The problem is not in the chest, nor is it in my >MIDI-to-magnets conversion. Rather, the problem is that the MIDI file >performer didn't leave a small silent gap between the notes. I'd guess >that the performance might have been intended for a piano or other >instrument in which the notes decay naturally, and in such a case the >repeated note *is* heard as such. You may find that some piano rolls = will >therefore have *sustained* notes rather than the repeats that you'd = expect. > >That is of course the opposite problem to the one discussed earlier, = where >an overly-sensitive roll decoder might interpret "chain" holes as >individual notes rather than a held note. If you use a pneumatic = decoding >system, then perhaps this problem will solve itself, just as it does on a >real player piano. > >The Estey player system mentioned early uses some holes to operate a >special combination action (12 "pistons", if I recall correctly). These >pistons were wired on each instrument to best match the standard >specification that was used when the rolls were arranged. Aeolian's >Duo-Art organ rolls used a similar scheme, except that they encoded >individual stops (about 2 dozen), which were then custom-wired on each >particular instrument. Other companies used other schemes. It would be >interesting to hear about Wurlitzer's approach to the control of stops. >(Hint!) > >For those of us who are not organists (at least not when someone else is >within hearing range), it is very satisfying to be able to press a button >and hear the organ play! On the other hand, getting really satisfactory >performances could require some amount of editing of the MIDI files, and = to >do that properly would probably require a good musical sense (and = training). > >Larry Chace > > > >DIYAPASON-L: a Discussion list for owners and builders of their own >Residence Pipe Organs. >HOMEPAGE : http://www.diyapason.pipechat.org >List: mailto:DIYAPASON-L@pipechat.org >Administration: mailto:owner-DIYAPASON@pipechat.org        
(back) Subject: Re: [Residence Organs] player piano rolls for pipe organ From: "Noel Jones, A.A.G.O." <gedeckt@usit.net> Date: Sun, 10 Dec 2000 14:11:06 -0500   I recently has to deal with a situation with a modern digital based piano playing mechanism in which the customer stated that the sustain pedal would not function.   Upon visiting the home we found that the jazz pianist disk that he was playing was fine, when played at regular volume, but he customer wanted it played very softly while dining...and the pearl like running scale work of the pianist sounded like a piano with a bad sustain pedal...but in reality was due to the fact that the string wasn't energized sufficiently to make it ring like it did at normal playing volume.   This should not be a problem with pipes, but came to mind when thinking about playing piano rolls on the organ.   Also, Stark's Funeral home in Salem, Ohio used to have a small-self-contained pipe organ with player mechanism all housed in a two manual and pedal console. The last I heard, on speaking with them a number of years back, was that they had put it in storage.   It was right across the street from the Catholic church where I played a Robert Morton II -4 rk with photoplayer missing. It has since become a much loved restored residence organ.   As long as I am going here, I know of a Wicks II self-contained organ that is ready to find a new home, good residence organ. I'll pass along the info to anyone who is interested.   Noel Jones, AAGO ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Moderator, rodgersorgan@egroups.com www.frogmusic.com/rodgersorgan.html