Download (direct link):
Pipe organs are the world’s largest and most complex acoustic instruments. They are great monsters with many, many different-sized pipes. Each pipe has a unique sound. Several pipes played in combination can produce other, non-organ sounds — a trumpet, a flute, a violin, a pig squealing. Okay, so maybe not a pig squealing, but you can get a large variety of sounds.
Sound is created by blowing air through the various-size pipes. Unless your organist enlists the help of about a hundred hot-aired music enthusiasts, a giant air bag (called bellows) sits under the organ loft — hidden from public view and kids carrying sharp objects. The bellows push air through the pipes. The longer the pipe, the lower the sound.
Most pipe organs have several rows of keyboards. Any single key on a keyboard can trigger one to a hundred pipes. Which pipes a key triggers is controlled by little knobs called stops, located on a panel near the keys.
If you have the chance, put your hands on a pipe organ and — as they say in show business — pull out all the stops. Any (and I mean any) note you play will sound wonderful and terrifying all at once. But not as terrifying as the organist shouting, “Who did that? Show yourself!”
Part I: Warming Up to the Keyboard
Listen to Track 3 of the CD to hear the ominous sounds of a pipe organ, playing an excerpt from Bach’s terrifyingly magnificent “Toccata and Fugue in D minor.”
If you like the sounds of a pipe organ, listen to other classics written specifically for this complex and impressive instrument.
J1 Johann Sebastian Bach, Toccata and Fugue in D minor, E. Power Briggs (CBS); Passacaglia and Fugue in C minor, Virgil Fox (RCA)
. Camille Saint-Sa?ns, Symphony No. 3 (Organ), Peter Hurford with Charles Dutroit and the Montreal Symphony (London)
- Andrew Lloyd Webber, Phantom of the Opera - Broadway Cast Album (Polydor)
Other Wooden boxes With funny names
The centuries have seen the rise and fall of such ridiculously named instruments as the psaltery, the virginals, the spinet, the hurdy-gurdy, the ottavina, and the harmonium. Sounds like you’re reading from a Dr. Seuss book, doesn’t it? All of these acoustic keyboards were boxes of strings triggered in one way or another by a set of keys. Please send me an e-mail at bl a ken eel y@aol . com if you have one.
The Electric Ones
For considerably less money than you shell out for an acoustic keyboard — not to mention no delivery fees — you can own an electric keyboard that can sound like just about any other instrument on the planet (including an acoustic keyboard).
The nuts and bolts (and knobs and buttons)
Without taking a screwdriver or welding torch to the body of your electric keyboard, you can probably surmise that there are no vibrating strings inside like the strings you find in an acoustic keyboard (see “The Acoustic Ones” in this chapter for more information).
Instead, a little thing called an oscillator produces a sound source that gets amplified over a loudspeaker. I won’t get too technical, but the loudspeaker does vibrate, sending vibrations to your eardrum, causing you to hear the sound.
Chapter 1: Meeting the Keyboard Family
The electronic sound source is manipulated by a series of knobs, buttons, and sliders (more formally known as knobs, buttons, and sliders') which change the shape of the sound’s waveform. 1 won’t even begin to explain the scientific process of waveforms any further. Just trust me — you plug in your keyboard, hit a key, and it makes a sound.
Like bakers, dancers, and burglars, synthesizers derive their name from the work they perform — they synthesize sound. (Burglars burgle, by the way.) Synthesizers can imitate virtually any instrument or sound effect you can think of plus tons of generic hums and buzzes that sound cool. Heck, you can make your synthesizer sound like the entire Vienna Philharmonic is in your living room — and without bringing in coffee or extra chairs.
A synthesizer, commonly known in this hip music industry as a synth, has a bunch of buttons, knobs, switches, and sliders that subtly change the shape of the waveform produced by the oscillating ... oh, never mind. It has a bunch of doogies that change the sounds.
You want to hear some cool sounds? You got it. Track 4 features various bleeps, bloops, and blunders from various synthesizers. One of them even sounds like an orchestra.
If you create some really neat synthesizer sounds, you probably want others to hear them, right? That’s what these artists do.
S Wendy Carlos, Switched-On Bach, (CBS)
- Kraftwerk, Computer World, (Elektra)
S Jean-Michel Jarre, Oxygene, (Dreyfus)
S Maurice Jarre, Witness - Original Motion Picture Score (Varese Sarabande) S Vangelis, Chariots of Fire - Original Motion Picture Score (Polydor)
A major Mager contribution
Not too long after Thomas Edison discovered how to light up Times Square, others began putting electricity in musical instruments (careful with that oboe!).
In 1924, Jorg Mager made some attempts at synthesizing sounds. His creations were capable of imitating an infinite number of sounds