The beautiful GrandOrgue + SaveVirtualOrgans

So I ran GrandOrgue and a program window appeared, looking like one of those things I get when I compile the “empty project” in one of my real programmer IDEs. Much like jOrgan. But GrandOrgue has help. And the help has a much more interesting screen in the “user interface” section. Doesn’t look anything like my screen!

Oh wait look here, in the help: “Getting Started”, “Sample Sets”, the third sentence says “you won’t be able to do anything at all with GrandOrgue without at least one sample set”. ... Now everything’s clear! No example sample set supplied, of course; that would be too simple....

Google-up!

But all you home organists would know now’s the time to saddle-up and google for “GrandOrgue sample set”. ... Oh I get it; they’re huge! Of course! That’s why there’s no demo! ... Well, really, only a gig or so. ... So I decided these SaveVirtualOrgans fellows seemed fairly plausible....

Ooops! ... Update ...

Well SaveVirtualOrgans was OK back in those ancient days a year ago or so; sadly everything’s dust and ashes now, and they only have Hauptwerk and jOrgan versions....

I used to chastise GrandOrgue as one of the be-working-any-year-now crowd, but then I got the Barton. And now I don’t; although my version still works more-or-less here but always with definite crochets. ... But if SaveVirtualOrgans thinks jOrgan is more likely ... well I’d suggest the Hauptwerk Paramount free thing; it’s bad-enough....

... Oh wait, speaking of googling, here’s GrandOrgue, again! And here! ... They’ve resurrected! And they’re German! ... In the old days there were exciting rumors about updates, and I guess they delivered: there seems to be a bunch of stuff over there, probably an exciting new improved version. ... Some of the voices at the VTPO forum recommended it recently; but they are often, like me, outdated, outmoded, living in the past — except they haven’t heard. They also recommended jOrgan....



The Magic and Mystery of the Virtual Organs ...

Ok, I took the music box apart and gazed upon a few little wheels and tines. Fortunately the metaphor goes no further ’cause I don’t have to put it back together again. ... I feel like the virtual secret police, feretting out obscure paths, hidden for unknown cause and by inept means, to produce this almost-certainly delusional timeline. ... With which my delving is probably done....

  1. In 1982, MIDI got going, and made a huge amount of money for the musical instrument business, and still does. (I cavorted in blissful ignorance as the innocent days pased at Burroughs/Redactron.)

  2. In 1996, SoundFont version 2.0 was brought into the world by E-mu Systems and Creative Labs, basically to support their Sound Blaster PC cards, which at that time were the reasonably-priced way to get nice music out of a PC. As a milestone, note that Windows 95 was astride the PC world around then. Soundfont version 2.0 is embodied in .SF2 files, which contain actual audio. The standard was promoted and the specs published so everyone could use it, although I assume it’s still entangled in the usual licensing swamp, but nobody cares ’cause the music biz wandered-off to the beeps and squawks of today’s dance music and DAWs, and the SF2 thing is basically designed to imitate boring musical instruments. It has some kind of facilities for re-using samples for different notes, so the thing can be relatively compact or huge, and still play complete scales. Or something like that.

  3. Hauptwerk began in 2002; it was acquired by Milan Digital Audio, the current organization, @ 2008. It appears to be another one of these pesky Java programs, or at least uses Java, although I never noticed until I looked in the directory....

  4. FluidSynth converts MIDI note data + soundfont files into audio — aka “music”. ... Oh I get it; as Wikipedia says in its short article, it does it “without need for a SoundFont-compatible soundcard”. And the dates at the sourcerforge site suggest 2007. ... It’s an innocent FOSS Linuxy command-line kind of thing; the “Fluidsynth” screens in Miditzer, which uses the technology to make beautiful music, are all Miditzer’s. As are those in jOrgan and presumably elsewhere....

  5. I thought for some reason the beloved Miditzer showed-up around 2006 or so but the earliest date on the download page is 12/3/07; but then again my “Miditzer Style 216” shows a likely suspect “Miditzer.dll” dated 9/23/05. ... And further extravagantly pointless theatre-sf forum trolling suggests 2003 or so....

  6. The estimable Bruce Miles, the creator of Miditzer’s beautiful virtual ranks, has notes for version 3.4 of jOrgan dated 12/08, where he mentions the inclusion of the FluidSynth jOrgan extension (before which, presumably, soundblaster cards were used). ... However, in a “Wed Sep 5, 2012” posting to the VTPO he wrote “I originally created the soundset ... used by Miditzer about 13 years ago”, which puts us back about 1999 I believe; a comfortable few years after SF2; and before jOrgan, whose “about” box says 2003-2011.

  7. The GrandOrgue “overview” page used to say it was “based on the MyOrgan project that was discontinued early in 2009. The original MyOrgan project name and copyright have been given to Milan Digial Audio (http://www.milandigitalaudio.com/).” And I did get a vague impression somewhere that GrandOrgue and Hauptwerk used to pal around in the old days....

The Glory that was Soundfont

After laboriously spelunking this stuff from the web with my bare hands and pitons, I found the (all-but-defunct) Virtual Organ/Sound Font yahoo forum where I could’ve read the whole thing, with notes from Jim Henry and Bruce Miles and even jOrgan’s Sven Meier, just for the looking. ... I probably have a better tolerance for such material than most, but I gave up @ 2006. ... But what a time they had!

— the virtual programmer
Saturday 11/29/14 6:28 pm