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2011-12-19
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Soni qui animum adsergunt.

I have been dreaming about building or renovating a classical pipe organ for many years. When I was a teenager, my father and I would think of ways to obtain, store and rebuild a small instrument for the pleasure, to learn, and eventually to play. Back then (that was over 25 years ago), I went as far a building a single wooden pipe (a 2 foot " bourdon"). The sound was rough and crude, but it did play! And loud! My wind source was based on an old vacuum cleaner. I quickly realized that it would be pretty much impossible for me to build a complete instrument, even a small one, from scratch.

Our discussions would usually end on the space required to achieve such a project and of course on the money required to carry it out.

This dream was thus always pushed away in the "probably not achievable" part of our minds. Probably not achievable until recently...

A friend of the family introduced us to the Hauptwerk software.

A quick demonstration and many hours reading about this software convinced me that my project was now feasible. It wouldn't be the tons of wood and tin machine I always thought about, but may just be the next best thing.

I decided to find an old pipe organ console, renovate it, convert it to have a MIDI interface and to complete a virtual pipe organ using the Hauptwerk software.

This web site is therefore the documentation of this project, in the hope that the information may help others which might have the similar crazy idea of playing a pipe organ at home, and will hopefully help promote the great musical instrument that a pipe organ is.

There are many references already on Hauptwerk on the web (your favorite search engine will yield many results), but there are few on the details of setting up the console. This is where I intend to do most documentation.

Although the project is fairly complete, I find there is always another little thing to improve. If you start such a project of your own, take your time, do it in little manageable steps. It is great fun, it is not really complicated, but it is a long project. I also have a regular demanding job. But I was able to acheive a very pleasant and very playable instrument in about 2 years, working a couple hours here and there. It is hard to estimate the amount of time in total. I redid most of the wood work and rebuilt the entire electronics. You now know why my web page logo is a fermata.

Un petit mot aux lecteurs francophones. Vous comprendrez que j'ai écrit ces pages en anglais pour rejoindre un maximum de lecteurs, mais je serai heureux de répondre à vos questions en français.


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