MIDI-Enabled Pipe Organ Rocks Edinburgh

One of the wonderful things about control data is that there’s no saying you only have to interface with software and digital worlds: you can connect directly to the real world, too. Digitally-sequenced music can use acoustically-generated sound. 20th Century technology, meet 19th Century technology. CDM reader Gareth Edwards writes to let us know about his current project: Just wanted to let you know about a wee toy we’ve just finished building here in Edinburgh. We are a group that is part of the dorkbot movement (http://dorkbot.org/) and have just finished hacking a robotic MIDI retrofit onto a 1890s Gray …

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How-to Videos: Digital Wall Harp, Pipe Organ Chair

MyHome 2.0 is a promotional site for Verizon FIOS that’s enlisted some very talented DIYers. They’ve got a couple of pretty impressive interactive music projects — this is not the sort of stuff most people would take on. The Pipe Organ Chair isn’t a digital project per se, but we all love sound here, and who’s to say you couldn’t integrate bellows into your next digital instrument? The basic idea is to force air through pipes using butt-powered bellows, requiring, of course, a fair bit of assembly. How 2.0: Pipe Organ Chair from My Home 2.0 DIY on Vimeo. Pipe …

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NAMM: Double Your Fun with the Nord C1 Combo Organ

The Clavia booth showcased the new Nord C1 combo organ (the product says C3, but they’re changing it to C1), featuring two sets of digital drawbars for the keys and a third one for bass pedals—in this case a Roland PK-7A connected via MIDI. Emulations include the B3, Vox Continental, and Farfisa, which are based on the most intimate mechanical details. (Nice playing, dude—and the wheel crosstalk and coil energy robbing in your sound was hot!) There are built-in rotating speaker effects, as well as a real 11-pin Leslie output. The C1’s Half Moon Switch (at the far left of …

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Creamware Unveils Hammond Organ Hardware with Drawbars

They put Minimoog and Prophet synth emulations into hardware boxes under a grand. Now Creamware has added an emulation of the most legendary organ of all time to its “Authentic Sound Box” (ASB) line, and it’s a lot easier to lift than the original. Could these guys replace your laptop and software synths? -Ed. Creamware continues its efforts to reinvent classic analog hardware with the introduction of the B4000 ASB, a clone of the Hammond B-3 electromechanical organ. Like the other ASB’s this one eschews keys in favor of a space-saving tabletop design but it does have the real drawbars …

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Native Instruments B4 II Organ Soft Synth

Native Instruments’ beloved B4 organ soft synth now has a sequel, available now. The B4 II is a major overhaul of emulated organ, with a new “more authentic” sound and features. Building on Native’s success emulating amps and effects in Guitar Rig, B4 II has a new emulated tube amp, spring reverb, and studio reverb. If you want to go under the hood and tweak your organ to your liking (okay, that sounded wrong), new effects and tonewheel sets can recreate various vintage organs or produce wild, experimental organ sounds. There’s a bass-pedal legato mode and second rotating speaker for …

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Peterson Beer Bottle Organ: MIDI + Keyboard Control

CDM’s round-the-clock beer bottle organ coverage continues! Yes, in addition to the Gulbransen Beer Bottle Organ, there’s yet another MIDI-controlled organ. This one comes out of Chicago: Peterson Tuners Beer Bottle Organ (Thanks, Charles; great find!) Best of all, there are sound samples of the Peterson, demonstrating that this more or less sounds like a calliope. (I think there might be some unique timbral qualities to the beer bottle organ, and I’m absolutely positive you’ll hear additional timbral differences if you were helping drink the beer bottles for the organ.) Like the Gulbransen, it features MIDI control, but it has …

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MIDI-Controlled Beer Bottle Organ

There are times when I can say something wittier than the manufacturer’s ad copy. This is NOT one of those times: The Bottle Organ is a real showstopper! It plays by blowing across the tops of real beer bottles, which are permanently tuned. And the music is so lovable! Driven by contemporary MIDI technology, the Bottle Organ is ideal for pubs and restaurants with a reputation for fun, where the past is respected, and where patrons appreciate the rare and unusual. Custom fabrication assures quality of the highest standard. Sing along everybody: Take one down, pass it around, and there’s …

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More on Mocean: Pipe Organ Controlled by Water Tank

I looked at Mocean last month, but Liubo Borissov, one of its creators, alerted me to an updated site with better documentation and video: Mocean @ Organic Interfaces Here’s where it gets really cool: the Mocean creators hooked up the water tank to a pipe organ (video included). The impact of the water interface on the harmonic content of the organ is simply sublime. I could go on, but go check it out for yourself! (Setup: MIDI organ + Jitter software.) Liubo tells us Mocean 3 will be “bigger and badder” and “almost a bathtub.” Can’t wait. If you can …

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Mocean: Water as Musical Instrument

Mocean is an interactive installation that uses a tank of water as an interface for sound. Dip your hands in the tank, and the installation whistles and hums. The water doesn't create the sound directly; instead, an array of antique organ pipes resonate above the tank, triggered by a video camera that analyzes pictures of the water. (Complex but interesting solution!) Mocean was created by Maia Marinelli, Jared Lamenzo, and Liubo Borissov (in NYU's Interactive Telecommunications Program or ITP); I found out about it as I'm in a residency now with Liubo at Dance Theater Workshop here in New York. …

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Musikmesse: Doepfer’s DIY Controllers, Analog Synths, and Future Organs

Why we wish we were in Frankfurt right now? One word: Doepfer. This company is simply amazing. They manufacture keyboards, modular software-based digital organ systems (!), DIY kits for building your own MIDI controllers, and their own modular analog synthesizer. Buy pre-built stuff, or create your own perfect gear out of individual components. How many manufacturers post DIY pages explaining how the circuitry works? At Musikmesse, Doepfer showed off a monster prototype system for analog synthesis with as many modules as they could muster packed together and connected with a tangle of wires. But organists (you know who you are) …

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