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  • #16
    Man, you guys have put up with stuff that would have driven me nuts. I'm still a believer that things CAN be done correctly if there is enough planning and forethought. Obviously, when we play for a church where the organ is already installed and it's not going to get changed, we have to deal with what it is.

    But any time I have a chance to give input, I'm quick to point out the "the organist MUST hear the organ better than anyone else in the room, and as far as possible should hear the same thing the people in the pews are hearing." That is rule #1 in this business, and installers or builders who don't follow that rule should be ashamed of themselves.

    Along the same lines, I feel sorry for musicians who have to play any instrument while wearing an in-ear monitor. After all, how can you possibly have a real sense of what is happening in the service if all you are hearing is a "mix" packaged up just for your ears? I have seen these contraptions even in some very small churches, and I suppose some crack-pot came along and sold the church on the idea because "the pianist and organist can't hear each other" or some such baloney.

    How about moving the instruments closer together? Oh, I see, then the players' legs won't be hidden down in the matching pair of pits (40' apart) that old deacon Fritz built back in 1936 just to hold the organ console and piano and keep them out of sight.

    The rules are simple. To play an instrument well, you have to be able to hear what you are playing. To play with other people or to accompany singing, you need to hear the other people in real life, in real time, in real space.

    Y'all carry on now and do your best while I fume over this a while.
    John
    ----------
    *** Please post your questions about technical service or repair matters ON THE FORUM. Do not send your questions to me or another member by private message. Information shared is for the benefit of the entire organ community, but other folks will not be helped by information we exchange in private messages!

    https://www.facebook.com/pages/Birds...97551893588434

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    • #17
      So I'm jumping back in here. Our big Episcopal cathedral here in Denver recently installed a gallery organ that is also playable from the console in the chancel. (It only took 80 years to install that long-anticipated addition to the organ.) It is the cover story in the July issue of The American Organist.

      https://www.agohq.org/july-2017-tao-...ature-article/

      The main organ speaks directly into the chancel, not out into the nave. Having visited many large American cathedrals, this is not an unusual installation, in fact it is fairly typical. As Michael noted, organists who play in these types of situations have to train themselves to focus on the score and their hands, not waiting for their ears to process the audible feedback before hitting the next note. It takes discipline and training to do so.

      When the main organ and the antiphonal/gallery organs are vastly different in their distance from the console you have to be prepared to deal with the changes in latency as you switch keyboards.

      That's why only professional organists with experience in such acoustic environments are allowed to play at Wanamaker, Atlantic City and other large concert venues where there can be a considerable distance between the pipes and the console. People who are not experienced with that latency play haltingly as they keep waiting for aural feedback. Some organists can never adapt and avoid such venues.
      Larry is my name; Allen is an organ brand. Allen RMWTHEA.3 with RMI Electra-Piano; Allen 423-C+Gyro; Britson Opus OEM38; Saville Series IV Opus 209; Steinway AR Duo-Art, Mills Violano Virtuoso with MIDI; Hammond 9812H with roll player; Gulbransen Rialto; Roland E-200; Mason&Hamlin AR Ampico piano, Allen ADC-5300-D with MIDI.

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      • #18
        "People who are not experienced with that latency play haltingly as they keep waiting for aural feedback. Some organists can never adapt and avoid such venues."

        LOL! That would be me for sure, Larry! As I said somewhere way up this thread, it takes a lot of skill and concentration to play an instrument that suffers from this kind of delay, and I'm just not the guy who can handle it. I totally depend on the audible feedback to know that I'm playing the right notes and in the right tempo.

        I know I'm beating a dead horse, but my driving force throughout my career as an organ installer was to keep people from doing dumb stuff. I got a lot of good advice from the good people at Allen organ back then, who truly understood good organ installations. I remember a booklet on installations we had to study that showed an illustration entitled something like "the worst possible situation and one to be avoided at all costs" -- and it showed the console at one end of the church and the chambers at the other end.

        Such a situation breaks the #1 rule that the organist MUST hear the organ better than anyone else in the room, as the organist will likely hear the organ not only delayed, but reduced in volume from what most people in the church are going to hear. For me, that would mean playing not only haltingly, but too loud as well!

        Obviously, many wonderful pipe organs, such as the one in your Episcopal cathedral, have been equipped with remote consoles located where the organist is not going to hear the organ very well. I understand why people want to do that, but I still wouldn't want to have to play one like that!
        John
        ----------
        *** Please post your questions about technical service or repair matters ON THE FORUM. Do not send your questions to me or another member by private message. Information shared is for the benefit of the entire organ community, but other folks will not be helped by information we exchange in private messages!

        https://www.facebook.com/pages/Birds...97551893588434

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        • #19
          You made me laugh jbird :)
          Viscount C400 3-manual
          8 channels + 2 reverb channels (w/ Lexicon MX200)
          Klipsch RSX-3 speakers and Klipsch Ultra 5.1 subwoofers

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          • #20
            The organist hearing the best is ideal for a good performance, but it's not practical as they play for the audience more than for themselves, so the audience needs to hear the best quality. Huge pipe organs are pretty much guaranteed delay. Reduce it by sacrificing quality by having the console close, or by using a Mic and ear buds
            Allen 530A

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            • #21
              Originally posted by Nutball View Post
              ...Reduce it by sacrificing quality by having the console close, or by using a Mic and ear buds
              Or ... just adapt to the delay ;)
              Viscount C400 3-manual
              8 channels + 2 reverb channels (w/ Lexicon MX200)
              Klipsch RSX-3 speakers and Klipsch Ultra 5.1 subwoofers

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              • #22
                For anybody interested in training/trying that at home: GrandOrgue allows to configure even large tracker delay at organ/windchest/rank/pipe level.

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                • #23
                  Latency can have an impact on congregational singing as well. In situations where the organist does not "lead" then the tempo is likely to go slower and slower as the organist listens to both the organ and the congregation, while the congregation listens to the organ (perhaps) and tend to slow the tempo in any case. The result can turn the most inspiring hymn into a dirge. In less formal services a song leader may attempt to conduct the singing but that is problematic as well. Latency becomes more than a technical curiosity in these cases.
                  http://www.kinkennon.com

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                  • #24
                    I wish I could find the video now, but there was a performance of some big choral work with organ accompaniment that I saw linked here. The organist was pretty young and very talented, and he was up in a forward loft with an assistant around his age, and the assistant was watching the director who was down on the gallery floor with the choir, and the pipes were clearly far in the back of the Sanctuary and the delay between the pipes and console was seconds. It was really quite something to see the assistant anticipating the delay and saying, now! and the kid starts playing and seconds later comes the sound and very much in sync with the choir singing up front. Whew. I was for a time the organist of a large Episcopal Church in NYC. Each Sunday the choir processed in from the back of the church where the pipes were. It was the strangest thing, the fact that the pipes were a full second behind my fingers was never an issue when I played for my audition or when practicing. I LOVED practicing (G. Donald Harrison A-S) but when I had to accompany the choir processing they would holler at me for playing so slowly. It is as hard for me as it would be for Jbird to divorce myself completely from what I am hearing. But that is how its done. You just set a tempo and maintain it, unwavering, and they sing with you or they don't. The choirs in such places will be trained to deal with this, but this is why it seems like the fantastically credentialed and fantastically paid top tier organists that play for the very large national cathedrals seem so metronomic and unmusical. They have to be.

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                    • #25
                      Originally posted by jbird604 View Post
                      "People who are not experienced with that latency play haltingly as they keep waiting for aural feedback. Some organists can never adapt and avoid such venues." ...That would be me for sure, Larry!
                      C-3 with O-M, 145, 122RV, 2 PR-40's, PSR-36
                      CV with HR-40, 2 B-40's

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                      • #26
                        Somebody out there can probably play the organ with gardening gloves on, with a cast on one leg, while blindfolded and wearing earbuds playing rock music. But I say why do that if you don't have to! That's why my career has been devoted to talking churches out of installing organs in a manner that will be a pain in the rear to every organist who ever touches it and will be notorious among area organists as a very bad place to play.

                        As Allen Organ Co used to tell us (paraphrasing the installation guide): "If there are problems with the way the church is designed so that a proper organ installation can't be done, try to have the problems corrected before you install. If the installation is going to be a musical disaster, you might be better off to pass on the deal."

                        Why let your name be associated with an organ that is the laughingstock of the community? Again, this is not the fault of the churches, but it is the builders of such monstrosities who ought to be ashamed of themselves.
                        John
                        ----------
                        *** Please post your questions about technical service or repair matters ON THE FORUM. Do not send your questions to me or another member by private message. Information shared is for the benefit of the entire organ community, but other folks will not be helped by information we exchange in private messages!

                        https://www.facebook.com/pages/Birds...97551893588434

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                        • #27
                          Originally posted by jbird604 View Post
                          Somebody out there can probably play the organ with gardening gloves on, with a cast on one leg, while blindfolded and wearing earbuds playing rock music.
                          There's an anecdote I heard regarding the Wannamaker Organ. Apparently a well-known French organist, whose name escapes me, was visiting the store and had a go at the console. After a few moments he threw up his hands in frustration saying it was impossible to play due to the latency and acoustics. The late Dr. Keith Chapman, who was the Grand Court Organist at the time, sat down at the console, set a copy of the morning newspaper on the music stand and proceeded to play a complex piece (Bach's Em Prelude and Fugue ("The Wedge")?, again not sure) while reading stories in the newspaper out loud, much to the chagrin of the Frenchman.
                          -Admin

                          Allen 965
                          Zuma Group Midi Keyboard Encoder
                          Zuma Group DM Midi Stop Controller
                          Hauptwerk 4.2

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                          • #28
                            Everyone prolly knows this, but I'll mention that due to the careful rebuilding work and especially the Opus 2 system that powers the Wanamaker organ, the latency's gone. I too remember the "bad old days" (worked at the store in the mid-1970's and used to hang out with Keith, Nelson, and Mac) and it's shocking to be there now and realize the former lag is GONE! :-)

                            R, Bill

                            Originally posted by Admin View Post
                            There's an anecdote I heard regarding the Wannamaker Organ. Apparently a well-known French organist, whose name escapes me, was visiting the store and had a go at the console. After a few moments he threw up his hands in frustration saying it was impossible to play due to the latency and acoustics. The late Dr. Keith Chapman, who was the Grand Court Organist at the time, sat down at the console, set a copy of the morning newspaper on the music stand and proceeded to play a complex piece (Bach's Em Prelude and Fugue ("The Wedge")?, again not sure) while reading stories in the newspaper out loud, much to the chagrin of the Frenchman.

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                            • #29
                              I'm not an organist.l Dad was,grandson is.
                              I always believed that organs were built to sing to the congregation to help them raise their voices. BUT using actual pipes there is bound to be latency with the sheer number of pipes that must be physically apart. Latency is dealt with by an organists training. I think its one of the reasons why organs have such unique characters (as are organists- but we stick them on a bench out of the way). We have latency in choirs, it gives them character as it does with an organ. Non organist but definitely love a well played instrument.

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                              • #30
                                Originally posted by datki01 View Post
                                We have latency in choirs, it gives them character as it does with an organ.
                                You may be thinking of the chorus effect, which is caused not by latency, but by the effect of slight variations in pitch of notes among singers or ranks of an organ.

                                Latency between an organ(ist) and a choir causes confusion, if not a cacophony.

                                Chorus effect is desirable; latency is not.
                                -------

                                Hammond M-102 #21000.
                                Leslie 147 #F7453.
                                Hammond S-6 #72421

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