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Hauptwerk - sounds of a pipe organ

An organist can prepare his concert on a church organ at home by studying it on the Hauptwerk organ. In the living room, Hauptwerk shows the sounds of the church organ in the acoustics of the church. The full tone of each pipe has been stored in memory as a sample from the beginning with the articulation and then the fluctuating tone build-up to full strength.

A digital copy of the acoustics of the church is made with the most modern technology and stored in the Hauptwerk organ. The sounds from the samples are reproduced in the living room through these acoustics. If three conditions are met, the organ in the living room sounds similar to the church organ.

1. A microphone must make the recording at a very close distance from the pipe. It is a DRY sample in which the characteristics of the tone without the reverb are recorded.

2. The loud tones of the church must sound with a lower volume in the living room. As a result, the ratio between highs and lows shifts and voicing is needed to make them sound like in the church. Then I hear the same sounds as my from house pipe organ. In my books I describe the method of voicing. In practice, it has been shown that organists were able to carry it out successfully.

3. The acoustics are recorded with Impulse-Response technique and stored in the memory of the Hauptwerk organ. The acoustics are an exact copy of the church acoustics and make the use of the inferior WET samples superfluous.

Tones of pipes

An organ case has the function of bundling the sounds of all pipes to bring them out as one sound. There, two microphones record the sounds in stereo and store them as DRY samples in the memory. With two channels, the church organ has been completely transferred to the Hauptwerk organ in the living room.

When an organist presses a key, the pipe immediately speaks with an accent on the beginning of the note. It is the articulation of the tone with which the organist makes music through his play of rhythm and phrasing. The pipe notes are heard immediately and at a short distance by the organist, followed by reflections against walls, columns and other objects that are increasingly distant, causing the reverberation to fade and fade away in the distance.

A direct speak is a necessary condition for an organist to play. The development of the tones in the acoustics of the church increases the intensity to sounds that fill the large space. Hauptwerk 5 can copy the acoustics with the new Impulse Response, which gives the living room cathedral dimensions! This is the situation that corresponds completely to playing the organ in the church. Sounds that the organist hears immediately and a reverberation that begins near the organist and dies far from him. Only under these conditions does playing a Hauptwerk organ in the living room correspond the playing in the church.

Channels with WET samples
WET samples are recordings of microphones placed at a great distance from the organ. At that distance, the response of the pipes cannot be heard and the character of the tones is also vague. There is reverberation, but without the effects that pipe tones experience in acoustics. WET
samples do not contain usable organ tones.

Surround
Surround is a collection of WET samples that have been recorded at different distances from the organ and are reproduced through speakers to the back of the room. That sounds absurd, because in the church an organist never hears sounds from behind the church. Surround is a confused reproduction of vague sounds from various directions with the big disadvantage that the tones sound with a delay. See: Hauptwerk

At the GdO (Gesellschaft der Orgelfreunde) with 6000 members in all countries of Europe, it has been trying for years to recognize Hauptwerk as a serious replacement for a house pipe organ. In a good configuration, the sounds are similar to a church organ and the acoustics correspond to the church. The recognition would convince more organists that it makes sense to study on a Hauptwerk organ. However, the committee was confronted with surround organs and then decided that the hobbyists who played them could not be organists, but only listeners at the loudspeakers.
                                        Surround gives Hauptwerk a bad name

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Characteristic sounds

The most important part of a pipe tone is the beginning, the moment when the pipe starts to form its tone. It is the articulation that the organist needs for his musical expression, as is the case with any musical instrument. When the wind from the languid gap reaches the upper labium, there is an underpressure that draws the wind in. This results in an overpressure in the pipe that pushes the wind out again. see Prestant

This swirling wind gives a clear asccent to the tone. The accents differ according to the nature of the register, a Principal starts differently than a Stopped Diapason. The microphones must be a short distance from the pipes to capture the character in the DRY sample or the important part of the sound will not be heard. Sometimes it is not possible to get the microphones in the ideal place and it becomes a semi DRY sample, but with the wide possibilities that Hauptwerk offers to adjust the sounds, the articulation can still be heard.

In normal playing, the articulation and the first moment of tone formation is the only thing that is heard from the organ sound. It is therefore important that this is properly recorded. I have played a lot in churches in southern Germany and in Switzerland with a huge reverberation and then the acoustics of the empty church are were annoying. Then I am happy that the church fills up and dampens the acoustics.

I made the convolution reverberation of my Hauptwerk organ adjustable with the left pedal, so that it can always be adjusted to the music.