1. Introduction to Theatre Organs

Find out what all those theatre organ console button do
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Jim Henry
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Post by Jim Henry » Sat Feb 25, 2006 5:04 pm

Wes Trigger is writing a series of articles that will give those who are new to theatre pipe organs the information needed to better understand the Miditzer.  Experienced user will also find useful information in these articles.

The articles will be available in the Miditzer User's Guide area of www.VirtualOrgan.com in both an on-line version and as downloadable PDF files. 

These articles will also be posted here in the Forum so you can ask questions and make comments about them.
Jim Henry2007-10-11 23:11:02

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Post by Jim Henry » Sat Feb 25, 2006 5:16 pm

Learning about the Theatre Pipe Organ (TPO) and How the MIDITZER simulates a TPO


By Wes Trigger


Before we can discuss the Miditzer you must have at least a basic
understanding of the components of a TPO and how they relate to one
another. If you have never seen or played a TPO your first encounter
with all of the tabs, buttons and keys will be somewhat intimidating
and overwhelming. Though it may seem confusing at first things are
actually arranged quite logically.

The objective of the first part of this document is to familiarize you
with the elements of a TPO and their relationship to one another. If
you have played an electronic or a classical organ some of these
elements will already be familiar to you. However, there are
differences. The experienced player can review the portions of this
section that are of interest. The novice should read the entire
document. Once you understand TPO elements and the relationship between
them, you will have an understanding of the terminology used to
describe Miditzer.

There are a number of elements that makeup a TPO that are implemented
in Miditzer and these must be understood before Miditzer functions will
make a great deal of sense. Here is an inventory of components to be
discussed:

Keyboards    
Pedalboard
Stops   
Non-Speaking stop
Pipes   
Chambers
Swell Pedals   
Swell Shutters
Unification    
Combination Action


The Keyboards and Pedalboard

Almost all organs have more then one keyboard. One of these keyboards,
with the keys arranged similarly to the piano style keyboards, is a
large keyboard played with the feet and is called the pedalboard. The
piano like keyboards played with the hands, are referred to as manuals.




The above Organ is the one used as a prototype for the Miditzer. It has
two manuals of 61 keys each. Their range is from two octaves below
middle C to three octaves above middle C. The blue arrow points to
middle C. When a key is depressed a tone will sound if one or more
stops are engaged. The keyboards or manuals in two manual organs are
named:


Solo – The upper manual, the red arrow

Accompaniment – The lower manual, the orange arrow



The Solo manual is sometimes referred to as the Upper manual. The
Accompaniment manual is sometime referred to as the Lower manual.



 
The screenshot above shows the Miditzer’s virtual console and indicates
the manuals that correspond to the TPO’s manuals. The designation for
the Accompaniment Manual is abbreviated ACCOMP on the organ and in
MIDITZER.

The Pedalboard is situated below the organ manuals and are played with
the feet. Green arrow in the Miditzer screen shot. The pedalboard in
not visible in the above picture of the TPO. The following picture
shows a pedalboard.




The pedalboard on a TPO and Miditzer is 32 keys long beginning two
octaves below middle C. The pedal boards on electronic organs may be
shorter consisting of either 25 or on smaller organs 13 pedals.

Once the Miditzer is installed, the manuals are played in any of three different ways.



The Computer Mouse - Left click one or more stops for the manual to be
played to turn them on. The stops will change color, become brighter,
when they are turned on. Point at a key with the mouse and left click.
The note will sound as long as the left mouse button is held down.



The PC Keyboard – The PC keyboard may be used to play the upper manual
only. More then one note can be played at a time but the maximum number
varies with different keyboards. Nothing fancy but sounds of different
stop combinations can be heard. The keys on the screen will “light up”
to show which notes are being played. The tones available are C to E
for a range of one octave and a third. The keys of the PC keyboard that
correspond to keyboard notes are:


The white keys – Middle C through E one octave above – the entire Z row.

The black keys – On the ASDF row - C# = S, D# = D, F# = G, G# =H, A# = J, C#2 =L, D#2 = ;

The pitch range – On the numeric keypad 1-5 control the pitch range of the computer keys. 3 will place the Z key at middle C.



One or more MIDI keyboards – These may be individual keyboards or an
organ with MIDI capability. The number of keyboards available
determines how many of the Miditzer’s manuals can be played.





Jim Henry38773.7231828704

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Post by RoyR » Fri Mar 03, 2006 9:40 am

Hi, everybody,
   Well, that makes interesting reading to a complete novice like me, thanks!
     Can I try to confuse the issue by posting part of a letter I just sent to a 'pen-pal'? 
   "Back to serious matters (Serious??? ME???) I've moved my Miditzer setup back to the internal, on board soundcard, which seems to work better than the external one. (Mind you, it was a real cheapo!) I've had to build 60:1 dividers on each channel to get the volume and background noise down to sensible levels for the SX-EA5 inputs, but apart from that it works OK. Version 6 installed and ran with no hassle. Like the new 'accomp to pedal' coupler... always felt that my setup could do with a bit more 'Oomph' in the pedal department!
 
   I'm still trying to work out what the 3 'swell pedal' sliders do. It soon became clear that the one marked 'solo' can affect both manuals, as can 'main'??? So far as I can make out, it all has to do with the little circles above each tab. If you look at the tremolo controls, 'main' has an empty ring above it, the others have a ring with a dot inside it. The 'main' slide affects all tabs with a ring, 'solo' affects all with a dot, regardless of which manual they are on. Dunno what 'cresc' does though... that seems to play a little tune of its own even if all tabs are cancelled! Never having played a real theatre organ, none of this makes much sense to me. No doubt the 'proper' organists out there understand it!  ."
 
     Have fun,
        Roy.

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Post by Jim Henry » Fri Mar 03, 2006 11:32 am

There are many more parts to Wes' articles.  I'll let you wait and
see if Wes answers those questions.  The answers are also buried
somewhere here inthe Forum.  Not trying to send you on an Easter
egg hunt.  I really don't remember where this was discussed. 
The Forum has a Search feature that might help.

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Post by greenfox » Wed Oct 04, 2006 6:56 am

An interesting site with general information on TPO's with a degree of focus on the Wurlitzer 260.  Also includes some basic registration examples.
 
http://theatreorgans.com/southerncross/ ... TO%201.htm

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Post by Not Anton » Thu Oct 11, 2007 10:00 pm

Er... maybe I missed it but the link to the User's Guide seems not to be working.  Is there somewhere else I can find a user's guide or something similar?  Let's assume (as it is true) that I know nothing about theater organs except that I love the sound, and that I am rather far from being offered a post as cathedral orgainist in Leipzig.Thank you.

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Post by Jim Henry » Thu Oct 11, 2007 10:11 pm

I've updated the link.

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Post by Not Anton » Thu Oct 11, 2007 10:19 pm

thank you. that was quick!sgc

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Post by RoyR » Fri Oct 12, 2007 5:36 am

Hi, Rick,
 
           Indeed a very interesting site, and just what I needed.
 
      Thanks for the link.
 
  Have fun,
 
       Roy.

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