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Developments towards the Improved Performance of Pipeless Church Organs

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What beautiful sounds?

Music played with a fluted organ can produce a sound so definitive in quality and tone that synthesised organs cannot replicate the sound with any degree of closeness. An investigation into sound and vibration hopes to bring the sounds produced by synthesised instruments closer to the real thing.

Industrial Technologies

It is no surprise that organs are so closely related to the celebration of the divine. The purity of sound they produce, so astounded the great composers of Europe, that many of them simply could not resist composing music for them. Struggle as one might, pipe-less organ music just can't compare to these great organs though they themselves produce beautiful music. The shortcomings of sound however, are crystalline clear. A current project headed under the BRITE EURAM 3 programme aims at developments geared to the improvement of sound performance of pipe-less organ music. For example, by studying the complexity of waveforms that a classical organ emits, it hopes to be able to identify these patterns in such a manner that a pipe-less organ could emulate. The project however is broader than just the study of waveform analysis. In fact there are three areas of focus being explored. The first is sound quality, in particular to sounds produced by sound synthesised mechanisms. The second is related to sound output and distribution, with emphasis on the poor acoustical properties buildings might impart. The third area of interest deals with sound control and specification. Since most such organs are based on synthesis technology, the test performed in this scope are designed to quantify the effects of variables, focusing on the principal problems facing designers, installers and voicers. While the end result of the project will benefit synthesised organ music in general, it will have a spill over effect to other digital technologies, including the simulation of music generated by other musical instruments as well.

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