DIYAPASON-L Digest #212 - Saturday, December 23, 2000
Organ Player STANDARDS
  by "Tim Rickman" <>
brass tubing vs. lead.
  by "Brian  Graham" <>

(back) Subject: Organ Player STANDARDS From: "Tim Rickman" <> Date: Sat, 23 Dec 2000 02:15:24 -0800   Hello   RE: Roll player/ organ player standards of compatibility   Hello again list. Seems that I made an error -- I thought I was replying to Louis Huivenaar's question regarding a relay/player system privately! I was quite surprised to see my private reply to him in today's digest. It is NOT my intention of conduction business on this list, so please forgive the error. I'll have to be more careful and double check the reply address next time. Also, I would appreciate it if anyone DOES send information or messages to me or anyone ELSE on this list regarding business matters that they do so PRIVATELY!!! as a separate NEW email, and to be sure the return reply does not get sent to this list!   Well, that out of the way, Rdoer 3071 asks the following:   Subject: Re: [Residence Organs] Re: Wurlitzer Roll Players = andIntroduction From: <> Date: Fri, 22 Dec 2000 13:34:53 EST   I am building a pipe organ, lets say about 10 ranks. I am using = Devtronics boards. My question is this. Even though I have about 100 Wur R165 rolls and 105 = Wur concert organ rolls. I made the molds and flages for the Concert rolls.   Some of us should get together and come up with sort of a standard layout = for a midi system. For instance, if you or others furnish music for pipe = organs, changes to fit ones organ should be minimized by having a good place to = start.   How about that Tim, Larry , Craig and others?   My Answer is this:   Back in 1985 If memory serves me correctly, a group of organ relay = manufacturers, myself included, held a meeting at the Anaheim NAMM show. In attendance = at this meeting was myself, and representatives from Allen Organs, Rodgers Organs, = Peterson, InterMidi, SSL, Troudale Organ Co. and Artisan Organs, Artizan Classic = Organs (Canada) a few more that I can't remember.   In all, there were about 13 participants in this group meeting to discuss = this very subject.......Standardization of Organ STOP lists and keying data as it = related to PIPE ORGAN record / play systems.   The meeting was a comlete waste of time and money. It simply turned into = a Pissing Contest. Everyone at the meeting believed THEIR approach or THEIR Master list should be the STANDARD. Round table open discussions alwys tended to focus on WHY one manufactures way of doing this was better than the other guys, and with all of these INDIVIDUAL company "standards" in place, and products manufactured around those internal standards, NO one was willing to yield to the other's design. It was hopeless, and now with = just about everyone tossing their hat into the ring with Midi play record = systems: Devtronix, Z-tronics, Peterson, Rodgers, Allen, Octet Systems, Keyboard Systems, PAVO (or PARVO) systems, PAIA electronics, J L COOPER electronics, Emutek Systems, Matters Systems, Artisan Electronics, (Seattle WA), Syndyne Relay Systems, Klann Relay Systems, Artisan Classic Organ Systems (Canada) etc., the problem has grown even worse. I knew = back in 1985 after the Namm discussion meeting that ANY kind of standardization = would and COULD never happen and would be hopeless because NO one has the same specifications, the same console layout, the same wiring, or the same relay system. ALL of these different variables make standardization = IMPOSSIBLE.   Our approach to the problem and it's solution is very simple. Our relay system is capable of instantly loading different organ "personalities". = HUH? This takes all the compatability and specification issues out of the = picture.   ANYone who has our relay system wired to their UNIFIED organ can exchange recording files between instruments or IMPORT things like roll recordings = to play on their organ without difficulty at all, regardless of the size of the organ = or the size of the organ CONSOLE.   There is one exception and that is the totally STRAIGHT, non unified = RECEIVING organ, those can cause translation difficulties from UNIT recordings to = STRAIGHT Playbacks due to the the nature of STRAIGHT wind CHEST design, and available ranks per division compatability issues.   Without going into elaborate detail, In our relay systems, the organs = "personality" is simply a data base file called a Definition File. That definition file = contains the wiring addresses of the hardware interface boards and the system functions that serve as the system relay. Instead of hard coded or hard wired = circuits, we SIMULATE all of the hardware with computer software and use the Definition file to tell the computer where to look for INPUT signals, and where to SEND output signals. Nothing is cast in stone, and changes to the data base file can be made that completely alter the organ's = personality. You may add additional couplers but building simple LOGIC blocks. You can add transposers by simply defining a function for a transposer and = telling the system what interface board input controls the transposer. You can = simply add stop reverser buttons or manual reverse buttons that allow manuals to swap position, and you can define "phantom" manuals and stops that do not physically exist on the "real" console for increased flexibility when = creating things like a roll player jack box relay. To the real world, nothing is = really there, but because the software simulates it, it EXISTS. Sort of like the Holo-deck on the star ship Enterprise. It's simulated reality, but it = WORKS and allows you to be completely creative and build things and try things = that you would normally have to physically construct out of circuit boards, = chips and wires on normal "conventional" relay system.   So in our systems, there are no coupler boards, combiner boards, = combination action memory boards, transposer boards, record play interfaces, midi = player/recorders, JUST SOFTWARE connected through a computer to simple INPUT and OUTPUT interface boards that are wired to the console switches and console and chamber magnets. EVERYTHING else is SIMULATED.   Since we SIMULATE the operation of relay HARDWARE, we can DEFINE the organ to do just about anything we want it to do, incuding play an organ = definition and organ RECORDING file that was designed or written for some OTHER = organ.   Now, this works BEST on UNIT organs, and is the LEAST flexible with = straight organs, but you can pretty much get around most problems of cross defining organ = specifications.   So, with that in mind, if you have recordings of several different roll player libraries, like the Wurlitzer Concert Rolls, the Skinner Organ = Rolls, the Esty Organ Rolls, the Duo Art organ rolls, they can ALL play the same organ without having to create a huge inflexible MASTER stop specification by simply having different organ, console or roll player SIMULATION definition files. Simple solution to a complex problem.   With ALL the differences in the way these different companies used to = record and decode their rolls, in addition to all the different specifications = for the organs these rolls played on, YES, in a normal organ RELAY Hardware based relay systemt here is a big problem of player compatability, not to mention how = do you play these rolls designed to play on a 4 manual 30 rank organ if your = residence organ only has 2 manuals and 8 ranks?   With our relay system, this is simple. You simply LOAD the definition = file format for the type roll or type or recording you want to play. EACH of the roll = formats would have a different type of organ definition associated with the roll = format. So on your computer, you would have a user directory for Estey that would hold the organ Personality definition, and another user directory for = Wurlitzer concert organ rolls and the associated organ "Personality". and a = separate user directory for the normal or GENERAL organ console and pipe chamber "personality" that would be used for LIVE organ playing, recording and = combination action AS originally specified. A specification "Personality" change on = our system to completely flush the old personality and load a completely NEW = personality definition AND combination action personality takes about 300 Miliseconds, and you can do it on the fly while the organ is still running. The console = goes dead for about 1/3 of a second while the new personality loads and then your = back on line.   Because the computer is simply using a kind of DATA BASE of input and = outputs, this makes adapting recordings made on other organs, or rolls requiring = different operating characteristics very easy to implement and control on just about = any organ that uses our control system. Want something different or want to = add couplers or transposers, or melody couplers, mutation pitches, etc? Just switch the = definition files, and it's just as quick and easy as changing channels on your TV. You = simply press a button to load what ever organ files you want to play, and the organ takes = on that characteristic or "personality".   This also solves the problem of have a roll player set up for 3manuals and = 15 ranks to play on a 2 manual 7 rank instrument. To do this, you load the Player = personality of the RECORDING organ and re define that definition to the resources of = the the organ it going to be PLAYED on. Since the recordings were PREVIOUSLY recorded on a 3 manual instrument in some other location, the PLAYBACK = UNIFIED organ system does not NEED to look at the console that is attached to the = PLAYBACK organ SO, the recordings PLAY only the chamber magnets of the organ and = completely ignore the playback console. Again, this is easiest and most effective = when working with UNIFIED organs as this provides the MOST flexibility. Recordings made = on larger instruments with Larger consoles playing back on smaller 2 manual = instruments provide a sound that could NEVER be created on a 2 manual organ. = Customers can't believe it is the same organ playing.   Because the organ definition allows you to custom program or define the = organ that the definition is played on, you can set the definition file up, or = double define the ranks of your 7 ranks to conform as close as possible to the 15 ranks = of the original player organ. If that original player organ had Two Tibia's, a = Concert Flute and a Quintadena, and all your organ had was a Bourdon, you would assign the rank wiring addresses from YOUR bourdon TO the roll player = output format of the Tibia's, the Con. Flute and the Quint. Same with the = STRINGS. If the player definition had 4 strings and you had only 2, you would = simply double define the output addresses your two strings to the 4 strings of the roll = player definition.   It may not be EXACTLY what the roll designer or artist had in mind, (and = I don't want to get into a discussion of what the artist's musical intent was) but it = allows you to play a much broader range of music because you have the ability to custom = define your organs personality. Of the tests we have done with our system; taking = larger organ recording files and playing them back on smaller instruments, with smaller = consoles and smaller chamber resources, the results are quite pleasing. Sure the con = flute may be playing all the time, because the original organ had 4 different "flute" = resources, but on the smaller organ, this does not sound bad at all. The only exception = would be the Style D Wurlitzer with a single Style D trumpet trying to make up for = reed stops of a larger instrument. This can get teedious after a while, expecially = if you are trying to have th Style D trumpet take the place of a Tuba, Tuba Mirabilis, = Trumpet, Post Horn, Oboe horn, etc, BUT at least you do not have passages of DEAD silence if = your organ does NOT have the proper rank.   Now, WIth a midi system installed on the organ NOT using our relay, you = can STILL have some control over stop control. Depending on HOW the roll or = recording file was set up, generally you would have division keying information on = separate Midi CHANNELS.   The PEDAL keys could be on Channel 1, the Lower manual could be on Channel TWO, the middle manual on Channel THREE and so on.   Stops, hoever controlled, (Larry Chace and I have been discussiing this = privately) can be set up to turn on output latches that can simply be wired to the stops of your console from different midi output channels dedicated to stop control, = trems, and expression. Some MIDI system output boards are known as OPEN COLLECTOR outputs and allow TWO or more midi channel OUTPUT boards to be wired = together to share stop control outputs from other Midi Channel output boards, so = for Roll players and other types of external control, you could have a stop or group of = stops controlled from SEVERAL different output board channels, BUT this has to be = carefully considered.   The SOULTION we are working on is to put our RELAY system out in MIDI or = Midi "machine control" format so that it can be used by ANY midi system that = may be installed in your instrument. This software would run on a laptop = computer or regular IBM PC. The OUTPUT of your console MIDI boards would come INTO the relay = PC via a standard MIDI cable to privide console INPUT to the relay system and and = the Output of the relay PC would connect to the INPUT of your OUTPUT midi = latch boards in the console to give you relay OUTPUT control. Those OUTPUT boards = would be connected to the KEY and STOP contacts of the CONSOLE. This would = allow you to use the power and flexibility of our simulation software to play ANY = type of roll or recording format into what ever specification you have (within certain = limits determined by the type of RELAY attached to the pipe organ) on your console. It = would also give you a very flexible normal record play system, and with the addition of more = MIDI input output boards in the console, a very powerful and flexible unlimited = memory Combination action with complete range-ing capabilities.   As you all NOW know from my not so private reply to Louis Huivenaar, the = cost of our normal relay system system for the small organ would normally cost around = $10K and up, but the MIDI version of our sofware including custom Relay simulation = functionality, Combination action and record play would sell for around $1,800.00 (software ONLY) = designed to work with your EXISTING midi hardware and a fast PC or Laptop running Windows = 98 or ME Operating Systems along with a standard or USB midi interface.   This system is under test NOW, and is NOT available at the present time = until we have done further speed testing. As you know, the bottle neci of MIDI is the = 32KB data transfer "midi cable" data rate. Normally Midi can process about 1000 events per = second, but when you start using MIDI for machine control or musical applications, this = rate can get bogged down, and the last thing we want to put out is a system that is too slow = or that hangs up, so testing continues.   The tests we are conducting have been using the Devtronix MIDI system, and = input tests have been working just fine, but we have yet to test output and = output with combination action. So far, so good. Sometime after the first of the year, we will = try and have some information and a demo system available for download from our web site: =   Again, this is NOT a solicitation for your business, just information and = news about what we are doing and working on to try and provide sensible solutions to the = organ enthusiasts.   Now, Since you ( already HAVE the Devtronix Midi system installed on your organ, and have the Concert Rolls and I assume a Spool frame (and pouch switch stack) I'd be willing to work with you and provide = you with our Midi Relay software at no charge if you would be willing to do = some tests. Please contact me PRIVATELY after the Christmas Holidaze and we can disuss what you have and what you will need.   Thanks for the questions and opportunity to reply on this list.   Tim Rickman I will be gone for the Christmas Holiday leaving Sat. Dec. 23 and = returning to L.V. on Dec. 27 or 28. So if any of you have further questions Keep that in = mind if you don't get an quick reply.   Hi Louis,   We don't have a "midi" system, but a rather complex IBM PC Based relay system that HAS Midi capabilities built into it. There are more cost effective midi interface solutions built by other providers for a 2m = 6 rank instrument such as yours. Our relay systems are designed to control much larger instruments 20 ranks or more and it would NOT be cost effective for the instrument you have. Our relay system would cost around $10,000.00 US, and I don't think you would want to spend that kind of money for your instrument. I hate to turn down business, = but as I said there are much more cost effective solutions to the smaller instruments.   Tim >>  
(back) Subject: brass tubing vs. lead. From: "Brian Graham" <> Date: Sat, 23 Dec 2000 13:54:05 -0000   Larry Chace wrote:   "It is difficult to imagine why Estey would have used brass tubing in this case, since lead tubing was the common material and is much easier to manipulate. Maybe they got a good deal on the brass tubing!"     This one I can answer. Quoting from the Estey book "Philosophy and Facts in Organ Building" (1931 ed.):   "While lead tubing makes a desirable wind conductor, its use is limited, especially where long lengths are required. The tubes are usually = gathered in bundles. Being soft, the constant pressure caused by the weight of the material soon compresses the under tubes, shutting off the wind supply. To = overcome this difficulty, a specially annealed seamless brass tubing is used. This = tubing is annealed just enough to permit a good, smooth bend without danger of collapsing the tube. The cost is much greater but its value is clear as the years = roll by."   The fact that Estey used brass rather than lead means (for one thing) that existing small tubular organs are likely to be in better shape than others of that era, and probably are not in need of electrocution.   My original question was why they passed over copper and used brass.   Happy Holidays!   -Brian Graham