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    Pipe organ with touch screens

    I have just discovered that the company Orgelbau Klais Bonn had recently completed a new choir organ along with a new six manual organ console with touch screens for a church in Malmo Sweden. This is not the first organ I have heard of that uses touch screens but it is still unique to see on a actual pipe organ.

    I have been aware of this project for quite some time but one thing that I didn't know was that the design of the choir organ is also rather unusual as it does contain things that you would not expect to find in a classical organ.

    https://www.klais.de/m.php?sid=481

    #2
    Thanks so much for sharing this, F Kalbrenner. The case is stunning. It is really striking to see the sleek modern case design in such an old building.

    Also with stops for rain, thunder, drums and chimes it is well equipped to provide sound effects for the pastor's homilies.
    Bill

    My home organ: Content M5800

    Comment


      #3
      Interesting to see a modern approach to organ building. I'm sure the "purists" will have a field day criticizing everything from the modern casework to the use of touch screens, but perhaps a more modern approach will open new possibities and help rekindle the interest in pipe organs.
      -Admin

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

      Comment


        #4
        That is a cool organ. The flexible design to make programmable mixtures, cornets, and effects possible is amazing. From the page, it sounds like the mutation ranks (which are used for the mixtures and cornets) were particularly difficult to tune and voice.
        Sam
        Home: Allen ADC-4500 Church: Allen MDS-5
        Files: Allen Tone Card (TC) Database, TC Info, TC Converter, TC Mixer, ADC TC SF2, and MOS TC SF2, ADC TC Cad/Rvt, MOS TC Cad/Rvt, Organ Database, Music Library, etc. PM for unlinked files.

        Comment


          #5
          I'm not a fan of touch screens, but a firm believer in highly customizable and programmable computer controlled pipes. Maybe they could do without the organist and send, start, and stop music via WiFi and an iPad.
          Allen 530A

          Comment


            #6
            I decided to wait to comment until I had time to read the entire post on the Klais site. Many thoughts flood through my head at this point. First was, "Oh boy, organ design by a large committee and there was enough money in the budget for everyone to get what they wanted!"

            The second thought was that Cameron Carpenter had a hand in this. The two swell shoes off to the far right seem awkward enough for his eclectic foot techniques. I did not see his name on the credits. But that console sure looks like something he would dream about.

            It is wonderful that there are so many good photos of this project in one place. The new organ facade certainly is a landmark in modern design. I actually like it, even though I am a traditionalist in many ways. The polished pipes are certainly beautiful.

            The console. Well, radical comes to mind. My first thought upon seeing it was to hope that they remove or turn off the touch screens during a performance - they would be terribly distracting for me if I were witnessing a live concert, especially if they had live video from cameras pointing at the keyboards. Not sure why you would need the built-in bar stools for console assistants since I'm sure the whole thing can be automated with a sequencer.

            Time will tell whether all of these tonal adjustment and combination features will just be an expensive gimmick to satisfy the one or two people capable of manipulating them or an actual sonic breakthrough in organ tone development. I look forward to hearing a recording.
            Larry is my name; Allen is an organ brand name.

            Main: Allen RMWTHEA.3 with Rocky Mount Electra-Piano, Allen 423-C + Gyro cabinet, Britson Opus OEM38, Saville Series IV Opus 209, Steinway AR Duo-Art, Mills Violano Virtuoso with MIDI
            Lower Level: Hammond 9812H with roll player, Gulbransen Rialto, Roland E-200, Vintage Moog
            Shop: Mason&Hamlin AR Ampico piano, Allen ADC-5300-D with 18 speakers and MIDI, 4 Allen theater organ tone cabinets (including 3 Gyros, but don't call me Gyro Gearloose!).

            Comment


              #7
              Yes it can be a bit controversial having a modern case design in a Gothic church but I personally like the design of this organ and I think it blends in quite well with the surroundings.

              Also if you are interested I've added a link below to another organ I am aware of that utilizes touch screens.

              https://www.waldkircher-orgelbau.de/...armoutier.html

              Comment


                #8
                Looks like an R&D center, it makes sense to be computerized even to the point of touch screens as a more efficient means of relabeling and adding draw knobs
                Allen 530A

                Comment


                  #9
                  The Pipe organs we have today were once considered radical, and different. I think it is ok for modern minds to adapt the pipe organ for the future. A 1915 automobile is fun to look at in a museum, but many of us would struggle with how to operate, and drive the thing. That is why our cars have progressed to the state they are today. They accommodate the modern driver. Should a modern pipe organ not accommodate a modern musician?
                  Until The Next Dimension,
                  Admiral Coluch.

                  -1929 Wangerin Pipe Organ Historian
                  -Owner 1982 Rogers Specification 990

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by Darth-Car View Post
                    The Pipe organs we have today were once considered radical, and different. I think it is ok for modern minds to adapt the pipe organ for the future. A 1915 automobile is fun to look at in a museum, but many of us would struggle with how to operate, and drive the thing. That is why our cars have progressed to the state they are today. They accommodate the modern driver. Should a modern pipe organ not accommodate a modern musician?
                    I guess I have to ask what is it that a modern musician needs that is so different from what a 20th century musician needed? Most of us still have ten fingers and two feet. The organ has keys and stops. Add on a layer of control with a combination action and you have what American pipe organs have had for over 100 years. Piston sequencers became easy to implement once microprocessor based electronics replaced mechanical memories. I can't think of anything else that has changed the way we play music on the organ today. Once the relative console dimensions were standardized by the AGO, it became much easier to move from one instrument to another.

                    As far as the music itself, if we move beyond what most people are playing on the organ today and go into the John Cage school of experimental sound to take advantage of programmable stops, how big of an audience are we talking about? And since this organ is in a church, what about the parishioners and the services? Obviously I'm being a devil's advocate here but bear with me.

                    This topic and the subsequent comments have caused me to think about obsolescence and repairability a lot. When you have a console and organ control system as complicated and unique as this one appears to be, I have to ask what will happen 10 years from now when some of the electronic parts no longer work? Will anyone be around who knows how to repair it or will it all be scrapped? Will hackers get into the operating system for fun?

                    The Notre Dame Paris pipe organ has gone through many renovations and console iterations in the past few decades, including a very ill-fated round of having a console control system made by IBM, of all companies. It never worked right and was scrapped, like several other attempts to modernize that organ.

                    I do worry about buying a new car some day for many tens of thousands of dollars with all of the new safety features helping to keep me alive but adding immense electronic and sensor complexity. So in 10 years when it becomes prohibitively expensive (or impossible, due to the lack of replacement parts) to repair it I have to scrap a drive train that may be mechanically sound and have less than 100,000 miles on it because the gadgets that say its OK to accelerate or brake when I push on the pedals no longer work.

                    That is what I see happening with the long-term operation of electronic relay systems on pipe organs. Some day they will fail and as long as people are prepared for that eventual expense they are usually worth the cost. At least you don't have to tear out the pipe chambers to put in a replacement relay.

                    I should add that this viewpoint is coming from someone who spent his entire professional career working on the application of real-time computers and microprocessors to monitor and control systems and equipment. I am not a techno-phobe by any means, just a "selective Luddite" when it comes to whether the move to increasing technical sophistication and complexity is really appropriate for a given situation.
                    Last edited by AllenAnalog; 05-15-2019, 04:30 PM.
                    Larry is my name; Allen is an organ brand name.

                    Main: Allen RMWTHEA.3 with Rocky Mount Electra-Piano, Allen 423-C + Gyro cabinet, Britson Opus OEM38, Saville Series IV Opus 209, Steinway AR Duo-Art, Mills Violano Virtuoso with MIDI
                    Lower Level: Hammond 9812H with roll player, Gulbransen Rialto, Roland E-200, Vintage Moog
                    Shop: Mason&Hamlin AR Ampico piano, Allen ADC-5300-D with 18 speakers and MIDI, 4 Allen theater organ tone cabinets (including 3 Gyros, but don't call me Gyro Gearloose!).

                    Comment


                    • Nutball
                      Nutball commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Good point. Computers change so frequently that long before you can consider one system reliable, 5 more have come out. Will the system slow down or corrupt over time? If they do give it internet capability like so many other things these days, it could likely be hacked. People do seem too quick to jump to the newest computer tech without considering the potential long term problems, and whether it is worth the risk. Perhaps old fashioned computer tech might be more reliable? Just throwing out a few questions and comments.

                    #11
                    I skimmed the specifications and website with interest. It looks like quite an innovative installation/re-build. That said, however, I do have some concerns.

                    Whenever I see an instrument which has been designed around one particular organist's interests and perceived needs, I have concerns. Should that organist pass on to another job, a new organist is much less likely to be able to use the innovations to their full extent. However, since this organ has had several musicians demonstrate the organ with at least one innovation featured by each organist, perhaps that's just me worrying.

                    The second concern is when an instrument has so many "bells and whistles," because they are more like "icing on the cake," by their very nature, they should be used sparingly (or at the very least, with forethought and intent). Generally, it will only be a short period of time when those innovations will become passé, and no longer desirable or useful.

                    The discussion on mutations was quite enlightening. However, my concern is how many organists truly know the intricacies of the overtone series and their frequencies and amplitudes so they could use them effectively–especially in as little amount of time as most organists have to prepare on a particular instrument.

                    While innovative and interesting, I wonder about the longevity and usefulness of the instrument.

                    Michael
                    Way too many organs to list, but I do have 5 Allens:
                    • MOS-2 Model 505-B / ADC-4300-DK / ADC-5400 / ADC-6000 (Symphony) / ADC-8000DKC
                    • Lowrey Heritage (DSO-1)
                    • 9 Pump Organs, 1 Pipe Organ & 4 Pianos

                    Comment


                      #12
                      I’ve just been thinking that it might also be worth posting a link as well as a couple of videos demonstrating some of the organs at Orgelpark in Amsterdam.





                      https://www.orgelpark.nl/en

                      I’ve also found a couple of amateur videos taken at the Malmo International Organ Festival of the new choir organ which some of you may be interested in.




                      Comment


                        #13
                        While I was browsing the Orgelpark website I came across a user manual for the portable console seen in two of the videos above and I thought this may be of some interest as some of the features in this console will probably be the same as those in the six manual console.

                        https://www.orgelpark.nl/content/fin...e%20Manual.pdf

                        Comment


                          #14
                          I know that the 2015 Eule organ in St. Bonifatius in Gießen can store up to 10.000 stop combinations using a tablet PC (it's a 41 stop pipe organ). But you can still register by hand if you like.

                          Comment


                            #15
                            I have to admit to a personal feeling that in any given circumstance, the most modern piece of technology is the one the will fail you first, so I'm not that impressed by this, though it is a technological advance in its own way.

                            Looking at the photos, the touch screens would probably make the organ unapproachable to me.

                            It IS a neat idea that the registrants could manipulate the swell shoes while I'm performing without getting their toes caught between my legs.

                            The modern case is okay, but I found it too flat. I like a bit of 3-dimensional quality in a pipe facade.

                            We have to remember that there are various kinds of 'art' performed on a pipe organ:
                            -- the kind that is performed once only (maybe two or three times, but no more)
                            -- the kind that appears in recital by a number of the world's excellent concert organists.
                            -- the kind that is used by amateurs to entertain themselves and small communities (often church congregations), but doesn't place any extravagant demands on performer, listener, or organ.
                            ----- An organ like the one that started this post can accommodate all kinds of organ art music.

                            Questions that only the future will tell;
                            -- How often will people take advantage of all the gadgets?
                            -- How soon will people tire of the novelty?
                            -- How long with the technology be able to serve as it was intended to do?

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