PipeChat Digest #1316 - Tuesday, March 21, 2000
Fw: Pipes & Bytes
  by "Carl & Grace Snip" <cgscissors@followme.com>
Pipes, Bytes, Sense, Apologies, and etcetera (this will  probably be long
  by "Tim Bovard" <tmbovard@arkansas.net>
Re: Pipes, Bytes, Sense, Apologies, and etcetera (this will   probably be
  by "Bob Scarborough" <desertbob@rglobal.net>

(back) Subject: Fw: Pipes & Bytes From: "Carl & Grace Snip" <cgscissors@followme.com> Date: Mon, 20 Mar 2000 23:50:28 -0500   >At 01:29 PM 3/19/2000 EST, The Maitre'd wrote: > >>(I know the Baldwin Shnipettes won't mind!)<snip> > >That's "SCHPINETTES". Don't get Brewse all in a tizzy now! > >BWAAAAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHA! > >DeserTBoB     Very few are qualified to be called "Snipette"; one is my 15-year old = niece!   And I don't think Bruce tizzes that easily :o) .   regards, all!   Carl Snip      
(back) Subject: Pipes, Bytes, Sense, Apologies, and etcetera (this will probably be long) From: "Tim Bovard" <tmbovard@arkansas.net> Date: Tue, 21 Mar 2000 13:02:54 -0600   My dear fellow Pipechatters --=20   Oh, myyy...but what a little storm we have just endured. I guess this marks the end of the past couple weeks' relative inactivity on this= list...<G>!   At the (acknowledged) risk of 'rekindling the flame'...I nonetheless would appreciate the opportunity to clarify the record on several points, culled from various postings of various authors. Not at all every point which I *could* speak to -- just a few of the ones I feel are the most important. = =20   First, I quote Noel Stoutenburg: "We don't all have to agree; we do need to be civil."   Well said, Noel. Isn't this, after all, one of the primary reasons for the existence of this list -- for the opportunity for those of widely varying opinions and experience to come together to share and discuss our ideas, while also hopefully learning a little bit of something in the process? Along this way, it would seem inevitable that some 'feathers will be ruffled'. I think that I'm as guilty of being 'ruffled' in the recent exchanges as others might have been, which is almost a given whenever anything close to the old "pipes vs. electrons'' debate surfaces. I really had no intention whatsoever (with my own posting in reply to DesertBob) of bringing up that old, tired, and terminally unfinished debate. I *did* take great offense, however, in what I percieved to be a rather direct attack on the Pipe Organ Industry...as I am a proud member of said industry, I can't help but to want to defend it (and myself, by default). I still don't think that this is an unnatural response -- however, if I have inadvertently offended others (yes, Bob -- you too!) I offer my sincere apology. =20   Anyway...   Bruce Cornely writes, in reference to digitally-sampled organ 'voices', and old pipe organs:=20 >Rather than spend their money on a superbly crafted=20 >instrument within their price range where every stop is beautifully= finished=20 >to maximum use, cheaper substitutes are included to pacify those in "need".= =20 >They may not be able to tell the difference now (an unfortunate attitude in= =20 >our society that it is GOOD to be fooled in everything from pipe sounds to= =20 >butter), but later on when the pipes have improved with age and the= speakers=20 >have deteriorated and circuitry become obsolete, the difference will become= =20 >apparent. >It really doesn't matter where the "sounds" were sampled, that organ was= not=20 >voiced for the room the "sounds" will be playing in. When the "sounds"= are=20 >"regulated" to the new room, they are no longer the sampled "sounds". So= =20 >the purchaser is double fooled, or rather fooled and then duped! =20   I agree with you here, Bruce. You make two valid points -- one, that we seem to now be in a world where everyone seems to want the "biggest and best" (for less), even if it is as false as a $3 bill...and, two, that sampled sounds are inherently invalid due to the fact that they are sampled in a different environment from that in which they will be reproduced (and, I do allow that they could possibly end up initially sounding OK nonetheless, with proper treatment). Am I really so 'out-of-place' to percieve these phenomenae as disturbing?? I truly hope not. =20   Also, I *do* believe that electronic components deteriorate with age and usage, and that this decay is a slow and subtle process which is almost impossible to detect on a week-to-week basis (as per the normal Sunday service crowds), but which becomes readily apparent when longer lengths of time go by between hearings of any particular electronic instrument. (I DO have first hand experience to back my thoughts here, which I will not go into at this time -- this missive will be quite long enough without it.) As far as old pipe organs go...well...their sounds will also subtly change over long lengths of time -- but I think these changes are of another variety, which is (to me, at LEAST) not nearly as objectionable. I do not for a minute believe that all old pipe organs end up sounding like "moaning, groaning, cyphering, boxes-of-whistles". If this WAS the case, why would groups such as the OHS have such success with their yearly pilgrimages to visit large groups of just such old organs?? Of course, not EVERY old pipe organ is worthy, nor even pleasant for that matter, but I note that there exists *no* organization dedicated to visiting and preserving aged electric instruments...   Now, DBob wrote, in reference to me: >Perhaps you are someone with no electronics or engineering background.   This is not true. I do not claim to be the know-all, end-all expert in all matters electronic, but I *DO* have a good deal of education and practical experience in such things, especially in terms of systems incorporated in pipe organs. Electrical technology has fascinated me since I was a child, and I have continued (and will continue to) broaden my experience and knowledge on a daily basis. I have first-hand experience working with all manner of electronic organ control systems, up to and including digital augmentation systems of the newest available technology. This fact is part of the reason why I hold the opinions I do (mentioned above) about the degradation of electronic components. I think, Bob, that even you admitted that such circuitry is readily perishable...and even if you didn't -- I have seen it for myself, so I know that such *is* the case. Bob goes on to say that "modern" technology has overcome the worst offender-components of the past 30 yrs or so...but I ask, where is the proof that the 'replacements' will really last any longer than the 'replacees'...? There are the "spec-sheets" from the manufacturers of the components, of course, but need I remind everyone that these specs are produced by the very same people who wish to sell said components -- and, that there is no possible physical proof of their longevity, since they are newly-contrived components with scant, if any, history to draw upon to base these "lifespan-estimates"?? =20   Of course, real organs are also replete with perishable component parts (leather, etc.), but I have not seen the evidence that Bob implies to condemn them all to the scrap heap of obsolescence for this reason. I (like Bud, I think) have just seen and heard far too many old pipe organs still playing fine on their original leathers from the early parts of the 20th C or before to be able to give credence to this argument. Even the little Kilgens and M=F6llers that were spoken of in such a disparaging fashion still often continue to this day to do what they did from day one -- good, bad, finished, unfinished, or whatever. Another point valid here: we *all* have a good idea of the realistic lifespan of traditional organbuilding materials, and (at least the better builders now, and in the past) make ample and obvious allowance for their renewal, when that time does eventually occur. I do not mean to suggest that a real pipe organ will last "forever"...only that it is not out of the ordinary to expect a real organ to outlive its builders, given reasonable maintenance and care. This same (hypothetical) organ is, to my mind and experience, more likely to give good service and produce consistent tonal results than a comparable e-org, over a period of more than, say, 30 yrs or so. =20   One more thing that disturbed me greatly during the recent fray. Bob= reported: >However, as one Allen engineer explained to me after I >complained about the Hammond-like tonality of the MOS, "We have to get >these in the field to see what they do wrong, and fix it. We also need >sales to fund further development, so we can learn more...   Considering that a large part of this WHOLE fracas was spurred by a question of 'ethics' within the organ industry...I ask -- how exactly should this statement be taken?? In fairness, I know of certain pipe organbuilders that have tried 'new things' to their ultimate failure, as well..., but it just seems to me that the basic technology underlying pipe-organbuilding is far too well-known and documented to be quite as susceptible to total failure than that of e-org technology. Also, in most cases that I am aware of, such 'experiments' in pipe organ construction have ultimately been rectified (usually by their producers), even occasionally to the demise of the said company (as happened more than once with the perflex fiasco). =20   A final thought -- Bruce quoted Bob with the following: >> Show me an organ builder that builds organs strictly for the love of it, >> and I'll show you an out-of-work and/or bankrupt organ builder. >NAH! There are a goodly number of independent organ builders (tracker,=20 >mainly!!) who build for the love of it and make a living. They may not be= =20 >up there with the Trumps and Perots, but they are working, producing AND = =20 >paying bills. =20   On this point I won't attempt to speak for anyone else but the firm for which I work. I *CAN* say, with no doubt whatsoever, that those of us at Nichols and Simpson do truly love the work we do, for the sake of it. We expend a great amount of effort in our continuing quest to insure that each and every organ leaving our shop is as absolutely perfect as we can possibly make it. If, for any reason, any aspect of an instrument 'under construction' should be called into question, we will see to it that the doubt is resolved, despite any added expense to us. This care extends also to instruments that have already been completed and installed. We believe that, first and foremost, the quality of our product is of paramount importance, and we are unwilling to compromise this quality. We have, and continue to gain, more prospects for future work (based largely upon our previous work), to the point where we must occasionally turn down a job or refer a prospective client to another firm that might be more suited to their needs, in order to maintain this level of quality for our current work. Most importantly -- our customers are universally pleased with the results of their investments with us -- they tell us so, and they tell others so. =20   Yes, I'm unabashedly happy and quite proud to be a part of a firm which takes such care with our product -- and I challenge ANYONE to tell me why I should not be. It's true that I could probably make a great deal more money for myself by stringing together microchips and loudspeakers...and the results might even be almost as satisfactory-sounding, in the short term. Pardon me, if you must, for my feeling that the "long-term" might be just a wee bit more important. Herein lies the crux of the matter -- the fact that the organs *I* help to create are not mere "merchandise"...but true musical *ART*.   Timothy M. Bovard Nichols and Simpson, Organbuilders Little Rock AR http://nicholsandsimpson.com =20   =20  
(back) Subject: Re: Pipes, Bytes, Sense, Apologies, and etcetera (this will probably be long) From: "Bob Scarborough" <desertbob@rglobal.net> Date: Tue, 21 Mar 2000 11:31:12   At 01:02 PM 3/21/2000 -0600, you wrote:   >At the (acknowledged) risk of 'rekindling the flame'...I nonetheless = would >appreciate the opportunity to clarify the record on several points, = culled >from various postings of various authors.<snip>   ....as IF I'm going to reply. Although I could speak volumes about some = of these "clarifications", I shant, as I have weeds to pull in the yard, and = a transmission needing a fluid and filter change. Ta ta!   DeserTBoB