The Organ Console will be custom built and will include the following elements:
- Console table with space for 2 touchdown screens, keyboard and mouse.
- 4 manual Cherry-Wood manuals with 61 keys each with variable note rest.
- Manual key cheeks to the right and left of the manuals.
- 5 Swell Shoes for various volume and expression control.
- 16 Toe Studs for stop and instrument combination control.
- A pedal board with 2 .5 octaves from C1 to G3
- Additional MIDI control buttons.
The console will be built according to AGO (American Guild of Organists) specifications. That means that all dimensions are selected to allow the organist to play the instrument ergonomically optimized, the same as he would sit on a console of a big church organ with 4 manuals and pedal. All parts have to be constructed in a way that the organ console can be easily assembled at the Music LAB of the school. Prime color will be cherry red-brown with some local variation of brightness and gloss.
The organ will come with 4 Stacked Manuals (keyboards). Each Manual has 61 keys (5 octaves) and is made by FATAR in Italy. They are tracker type and have an optional velocity sensitivity. “Tracker” means that they simulate the tracker keyboards of a mechanical linked pipe organ, similarly as weighted keys on a piano keyboard. Velocity sensitivity is not used when playing organ samples but it can be well utilized when routing orchestra instruments or choir samples to one of the manuals.
Each manual has a Key-Slip with 20 thumb pistons (buttons) under the keys. Those can be used to control organ stop combinations or expression properties for orchestral instruments. They can be MIDI-mapped for various control functionality.
A Pedalboard (also called a pedal keyboard, pedal clavier, or, with electronic instruments, a bass pedalboard) is a keyboard played with the feet that is usually used to produce the low-pitched bass line of a piece of music. Training in pedal technique is part of standard organ pedagogy in church music and art music. Our pedalboard comprises 32 keys (2.5 octaves) and is a massive wood construction with a MIDI output.
Since many of the bygone church organs are not using the full pedal board compass, some of the upper keys can be used (mapped) as key switches of an symphonic instrument.
Swell Shoes are at the organist’s disposal to control the dynamics of a determined manual ort pedal. They are mounted on the front end of the pedal board and are moved up or down with the right or left foot. Since organ pipes have no self-contained dynamic range, organ builder invented the so called “Swell Box”. “Swell” refers to the division whose pipes are enclosed in a huge box with shutters . When open, these shutters allow the pipes’ sounds to travel freely from the box to the room and are loud. When closed, most of the sound is contained in the box and is soft.
Our organ will have 5 swell shoes that allow to control the dynamic of an organ section, symphonic instrument or choir group. One of the swell shoe also can be programmed as an organ crescendo that adds stop after stop when pushed down, hence the sound will be fuller and louder.
Toe Studs control buttons behind the pedal board. They are controlled with the right or left foot and have a similar function as the thumb pistons under each manual. They can be freely programmed to activate or cancel a Pipe Section of the organ, select an instrument of the Symphonic Library or to change a syllable sequence of the Dominus Choir.
Our organ will have 16 Toe Studs mounted to the left and right side of the swell pedals. Since they all work with the MIDI protocol they can be routed at will for any requested functionality. They are usually used while playing which means the organist can be very busy with his feet controlling the Pedal Board, Swell Shoes and Toe Studs either one at the time or simultaneously.
Touch Screens are used to replace the stop control pistons of an organ. They offer more flexibility and are an integral part of Hauptwerk. This means that not only one sample set can be activated and controlled. It allows to handle various organs, one at the time, that are available from the hard disk of the computer. Beside organ sample sets also Harpsichord sample sets with a realistic sound will be available.
Moreover, for expanded controllability a huge Flat Screen will be mounted above the organ console. That will allow additional management for the Symphonic Library and the Dominus Choir.
Summarizing it can be said that the organ console is a complex piece of “furniture” that incorporates a lot of keys, buttons and shoes. Compared to playing a piano the symphonic organ requires activity of the whole body which demands an increased presence of mind and coordination.