Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Why are lovely and amazing used organs suddenly going begging for takers?

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

    Originally posted by tbeck View Post
    Speak for yourself, John. I'll choose software over a screwdriver any day.

    Software setup and voicing is only preferable if the manufacturer will release the software, passwords, and documentation to the owner. I have spent decades working in field service (not organs), and those items were never released to the purchasers. Therefore, any changes you want require an expensive service visit.
    Another problem with software control of organs is the instrument's long service life. For years, I had to carry around an old laptop just to run the service programs that were never updated for new computers.
    I will agree with John, and unless the voicing software is resident in the organ, and available to the user, I will prefer analog adjustments.
    Ed Kennedy
    Current Organ - Conn 645 Theater

    Comment


      Originally posted by edkennedy View Post
      Software setup and voicing is only preferable if the manufacturer will release the software, passwords, and documentation to the owner. I have spent decades working in field service (not organs), and those items were never released to the purchasers. Therefore, any changes you want require an expensive service visit.
      Another problem with software control of organs is the instrument's long service life. For years, I had to carry around an old laptop just to run the service programs that were never updated for new computers.
      I will agree with John, and unless the voicing software is resident in the organ, and available to the user, I will prefer analog adjustments.
      I guess it wasn't clear that I was mainly speaking tongue-in-cheek. I use a VPO, so all my voicing is going to be via software. Having said that, many of the posters here have helped me with some physical repairs, that I would otherwise not have been able to do. I used to be an application developer so dealing with the GrandOrgue ODF (or adjustments via the app) is not a problem for me. On the other hand, I'm not handy with tools or hardware, so I still view repairs to the console with some trepidation.

      Comment


        Very true. You hear contradictory stories as to whether or not Allen will sell a copy of DOVE to an organ owner. Strangely enough, new Allens today are each shipped with a CD containing DOVE, along with a passel of alternate samples, and folders full of databases for current and past Renaissance organs. And many dealers never remove the CD from inside the console. I've opened up consoles and seen them there myself, still in the sealed packet.

        My guess is that some dealers are just lax on removing the CD from the console, possibly because they've never used DOVE in the first place. I think many just accept the factory voicing, or else they adjust the amplifier pots, or tweak a few stop levels in the CC window, or for really big installs they call in factory personnel to voice it.

        Of course, just having the CD doesn't really get you ready to use DOVE. You have to know how to install DOVE (and it's got its own weird preferences on how that is done) and you need a computer with an archaic 9-pin serial port, along with a special "null modem" cable to connect that port to the matching port on the organ.

        And you have to know how to use the program. Even if you get it installed and connected to the organ you will probably spend hours scratching your head over this odd interface designed in the 90's for Windows 95 (or possibly 3.1), which uses obscure terms for organ stuff, which doesn't let you hear changes you make in real time for the most part. So you gotta figure out how to use the program and then how to save any changes you make to your organ. And how to restore the organ to its previous condition if you make a real mess of it!

        There may not be a huge flood of Renaissance organs on the used market, as we've seen with ADC and MOS, and to some extent MDS. Fewer of them were built of course, and Allen now has the "Re-certification" program that encourages dealers to buy them back from owners.

        Even yet, many folks will eventually get one, and may be disappointed with the sound, if they care, especially if they get one that was extensively revoiced for a unique environment or to suit the tastes of an eccentric organist or church. And it's too bad there isn't a "reset" procedure built into the organ to wipe away any post-factory tinkering.

        Or maybe this forum will have to delve into the topic of DOVE, with folks who know how to use it posting screenshots and detailed instructions and advice on designing tuning scales and loudness curves and such.
        John
        ----------
        Church: Allen MDS-45 with Allen MIDI-DIVISION-II expander
        Home: Allen Renaissance R-230 with expanded four-channel audio and MIDI-DIVISION-II
        Shop: Bunch of organs in varying conditions, some good, some not...
        Half of an incredible two-man organ service team -- servicing all the major digitals in Arkansas churches
        https://www.facebook.com/pages/Birds...97551893588434

        Comment


          Originally posted by Admin View Post
          The younger generation doesn't care about church as previous generations, period.

          In 1976 only 7% of the population identified as being religiously unaffiliated, today that number is 25%. More telling is that in the 18 - 29 age group, 38% are unaffiliated. Roughly 62% of white evangelicals and Catholics and 59% of mainline Protestants are 50 or older.
          Viscount C400 3-manual
          8 channels + 2 reverb channels (w/ Lexicon MX200)
          Klipsch RSX-3 speakers and Klipsch Ultra 5.1 subwoofers

          Comment


            One of my theories is that neither faith nor historic worship is actually in decline. And that it only seems that way because we are awash in popular religion and entertainment-focused churches, and have been for decades if not centuries. "Contemporary" worship is only the latest manifestation of a long-standing parallel to historic worship.

            After all, "happy clappy" religion is not a new phenomenon. Some of us sorely dislike what we view as inferior music that serves mainly to stir up rowdy emotions in a crowd, such music being closely aligned with popular culture and demographic preferences. And a great many of today's most prominent "successful" and "growing" churches seem to be marked with that kind of music and that kind of atmosphere.

            But you can go all the back to the early 1800's and find large religious movements that in many ways are the precursors to today's mega-rock-and-roll churches. In lots of American frontier regions, the only big-time "entertainment" events that came through town were the tent revivals or "brush arbor" meetings. A whole genre of music sprang up to tickle the fancies of the crowds in these meetings. In today's hymnals we have some examples of the best of these revival tunes, and the real drivel and dross fell by the wayside after it ran through the crowds a few times. Publishing houses cranked out volumes and volumes of this "pulp" music that seemed like great fun and stirred up the crowds, but ultimately failed to endure.

            Sound familiar?

            And toward the end of the 1800's we had the Sunday School movement that needed its own musical genre to "teach" the children of the cities, coming out of poverty and ignorance. So a whole industry was born, writing moralizing Gospel Songs designed to tell people how sinful they are and remind them that their evil deeds were the reason Jesus had to suffer. (Not being sarcastic here, but only exaggerating a little.) This style of music also generated volumes and volumes of mostly drivel, songs that seemed like great fun to sing and like great theology to the writers of it, but which has largely been forgotten. A few writers of this era created some meaningful and memorable songs, and we have examples of it in modern hymnals.

            Another example -- the era of the Great Depression. Out of that decade of dark despair arose what we call in the South the "Stamps-Baxter" musical genre. This style of music focuses very greatly on heaven, and minimizes concerns about the present or about any personal responsibility toward the world. This was "comfort music" for the folks whose lives were living hell every day. This musical movement, like earlier ones, produced tons of dross, badly written hackneyed verses and tunes that people would sing with giddy delight until the next "volume" came out and the old ones were packed up and stored.

            Today's Southern Gospel music is a branch that sprouted from Stamps-Baxter, influenced by country music and bluegrass and such. Most of this stuff is, IMHO, pseudo-Christian commercial nonsense. A lot of dollars are still being made for the creators of this music, primarily used and promoted by a flavor of down-home Christianity that appeals to a limited but very devoted demographic.

            And FINALLY -- the heyday of the American protestant free-church, the 1950's and 1960's. The era of "a million more in 54" (a slogan adopted by the Southern Baptist Convention in their push to supersize the denomination in 1954). The era of the building of large and often elegant "southern colonial" red brick churches all over the nation, especially in prosperous and booming small to midsize cities. These churches were equipped with a Steinway grand piano and the finest organ they could afford (whether a Hammond C-3 or a big unified Moller or Wicks). Their choir donned lovely satin robes each Sunday and sang gussied up "anthems" and led the congregation in singing from one of the rather good denominational hymnals produced during that period. Preachers were dignified and often scholarly, and churches tended to do rather well. Everybody who was anybody was a member of the First Baptist or the First Methodist Church in the county seat town.

            The one unifying characteristic of ALL these movements, from the tent revivals of the 1820's to the red brick churches of the 50's to the "coolest" 21st century mega-church, is a preference for free-style worship, with little or sometimes none of the historic features of ancient Christian worship. You might argue that some denominations, notably Episcopalians and Lutherans, and to some degree Methodists and Presbyterians, upheld traditional forms of worship, and some still do. But the largest and growing-est denominations -- Baptists and Pentecostals -- were loathe to use any of the ritual or structure they associated with the "apostate" churches.

            Growing up Baptist, I can't remember ever saying The Lord's Prayer in church. Not ever. And communion (ahem, "The Lord's Supper") was only done quarterly, if that often. I never experienced a time of confession and absolution in a service, never recited a creed, never knelt, never read a prayer from a book or bulletin. The only reading of scripture in a service would be the preacher's cursory reading of whatever text or fragment he had picked as a launch pad for his lengthy extemporaneous sermon.

            The Sunday meeting was defined by its two parts -- the "song" service and the "preaching." That was it. The two parts might or might not be related in content or purpose. Neither followed any set design or order. They just happened. This was in no shape or fashion "traditional worship," even if we called it that. It was just another version of what non-liturgical churches had been doing for a couple hundred years or more, and was totally married to the time and culture in which it existed.

            BOTTOM LINE OF THIS VERY LONG RAMBLE -- There may well be just as many churches and just as many people engaging in purposeful historic worship today as at any time in history. We just tend to think historic worship has lost out because of all the noise being made by the purveyors of popular worship.

            CONSEQUENTLY -- the "boom" in American organ-buying that started in the 50's and continued in high gear up through the 90's was not really related to historic worship. American churches were just going through a phase of prosperity and doing what people seemed to expect of a prosperous church, getting an organ. Now that organs are falling out of favor with the entertainment-seeking crowd, sales are plummeting and the market has been flooded with used organs. But in reality nothing has changed all that much.

            I might also point out that even though 50 years ago "most" churches had an organ of some kind, in many if not most of those churches, the organ was not being played very well, often simply serving as background noise for the heavy-handed piano player. Rarely if ever presenting really high-end classic organ music. So there may well be just as much, if not MORE good organ music being heard in church today than there was 50 years ago.

            Anyway, just some food for thought, if anybody actually got to the bottom of this!
            John
            ----------
            Church: Allen MDS-45 with Allen MIDI-DIVISION-II expander
            Home: Allen Renaissance R-230 with expanded four-channel audio and MIDI-DIVISION-II
            Shop: Bunch of organs in varying conditions, some good, some not...
            Half of an incredible two-man organ service team -- servicing all the major digitals in Arkansas churches
            https://www.facebook.com/pages/Birds...97551893588434

            Comment


              And just a one-line addendum to John's beautifully written and very appropriate post:

              "What goes around, comes around".

              Sooner or later. It never fails. Believe it.

              Tony
              Home: Johannus Opus 370

              Comment


                Well said/written, Jbird!

                As a recovering Baptist, practicing Episcopalian, I concur with your history lesson.

                I believe the demise of the church organ has much more to with them being played poorly over the years and the unwillingness of many churches to pay a trained organist for their services.

                Comment


                  Originally posted by jbird604 View Post
                  Rarely if ever presenting really high-end classic organ music.
                  And...

                  Originally posted by moller3x View Post
                  I believe the demise of the church organ has much more to with them being played poorly over the years and the unwillingness of many churches to pay a trained organist for their services.
                  Viscount C400 3-manual
                  8 channels + 2 reverb channels (w/ Lexicon MX200)
                  Klipsch RSX-3 speakers and Klipsch Ultra 5.1 subwoofers

                  Comment


                    Thank God for the fine folks who take their organ responsibilities seriously, even if they aren't paid! Before my present church gig (going on seven years now), I was a volunteer unpaid church musician for 20 years or so. I led my choir and played the organ because I wanted to do it, all the years that my wife and I were raising kids, building careers, making a living. And we did it gladly and took it all seriously, most of the time.

                    My somewhat pessimistic assessment of the music (organ and otherwise) back in my growing up years (the 50's up through the 70's) stems not so much from a lack of commitment by the musicians. In fact, MANY of the church music volunteers that I knew during that time were very earnest and often took great pride in their playing and singing. And spent a lot of time, unpaid, at church and in practice and preparation.

                    But the sticker is that they were working within a defective MODEL of worship -- the "song service" concept. And then, who am I to say that this was completely wrong, or that it's a less worthy way to worship? That may not be so, but the execution of it was very often quite haphazard and thus ineffective.

                    For example, as I alluded to above, there might be little or no correlation between the "song service" and the "preaching." And there might well be little or no thought given to the style or content of the songs being used, beyond trying to use properly mournful songs for the "invitation" at the end of the "preaching." So, the service might or might not start out with a joyous hymn of praise, and more likely would start with somebody's favorite old knee-slapper to get everybody's blood circulating. And it might go downhill from there.

                    There would not be a hymn specifically chosen to move the congregation into confession or prayer or to introduce the Bible text of the day. So it was all rather un-tethered and therefore not very effective in leading the people into the historic phases of worship. It was all just "warm-up" for the "main event" -- the "preaching."

                    Given this unhappy set of circumstances, how could an organist, even an earnest and devout one, hope to provide much spiritual food for the people? It was all about following the whims of the song leader and/or the preacher, and there was little time or need for serious organ music.

                    We would all like to hope that we now work in a better worship environment, that the days of the slapdash mishmash Sunday meeting are over, that we do what we do with at least some framework of spiritual purpose. And I hope that is the case. Whether we play lovely and moving classical organ pieces, or simple but refreshing arrangements of familiar hymns, we can hope that we are blessing the people who hear the music and helping usher them into the presence of God!
                    John
                    ----------
                    Church: Allen MDS-45 with Allen MIDI-DIVISION-II expander
                    Home: Allen Renaissance R-230 with expanded four-channel audio and MIDI-DIVISION-II
                    Shop: Bunch of organs in varying conditions, some good, some not...
                    Half of an incredible two-man organ service team -- servicing all the major digitals in Arkansas churches
                    https://www.facebook.com/pages/Birds...97551893588434

                    Comment


                      I'm an atheist, but I also play in a church. I don't do it for the religion, I don't do it to "praise god", I do it purely because I enjoy the music. I think the decline in mainstream religion has a lot to do with the "extra rules" that often come along with religion. People don't like told "don't do this" because some overarching power that you've never seen will be angry with you. To younger generations, that doesn't make sense. Church is often seen as old fashioned, and even modern rock and megachurches are seen as old people trying to be hip and relevant. And then there's the problem with demonising Atheists. I get **** from hardcore christian all the damn time about how I'm "the spawn of satan" and crap like that. I have had messages from people telling me that they would rather leave their child alone with a murderer and a rapist than me. And I'm sitting here thinking why the hell would I want to join a religion that tells me that I am worse than murderers and rapists? That's the bigger issue that I see. People really don't like being compared to rapists for not believing in the same things as you. And I know that most Christians don't do that, but there is a VERY vocal minority that do. I don't have an issue with religion, just don't try and force me to join it.

                      Comment


                        Originally posted by APipeOrganist View Post
                        I'm an atheist, but I also play in a church. I don't do it for the religion, I don't do it to "praise god", I do it purely because I enjoy the music. I think the decline in mainstream religion has a lot to do with the "extra rules" that often come along with religion. People don't like told "don't do this" because some overarching power that you've never seen will be angry with you. To younger generations, that doesn't make sense. Church is often seen as old fashioned, and even modern rock and megachurches are seen as old people trying to be hip and relevant. And then there's the problem with demonising Atheists. I get **** from hardcore christian all the damn time about how I'm "the spawn of satan" and crap like that. I have had messages from people telling me that they would rather leave their child alone with a murderer and a rapist than me. And I'm sitting here thinking why the hell would I want to join a religion that tells me that I am worse than murderers and rapists? That's the bigger issue that I see. People really don't like being compared to rapists for not believing in the same things as you. And I know that most Christians don't do that, but there is a VERY vocal minority that do. I don't have an issue with religion, just don't try and force me to join it.
                        Amen (even if it is not appropriate)! There is a lot wrong with organised religion and that is hurting the organ. All the rest is just miror issues, the largest problem is religion, not faith mind you, that is completely separate.

                        Comment

                        Working...
                        X