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#1468906 - 07/05/10 10:00 PM Choosing to focus on either piano or organ, is it necessary?
mannshands Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/26/10
Posts: 11
Loc: Andalucia, Spain
Hi organists,
I'm just getting started really, but I play well enough to be in demand at the local rock/blues jams. I never thought about the difference between piano and organ. I simply play midi keyboards and use organ sounds for songs that require it(ex. Dear Mr.Fantasy-Traffic). Here in a forum I read the keyboards are different. I never knew that, yea, organs have a bunch of extra knobs, but the keys are different?
There are times I want to sound organ-bluesy but more often I need to be rockin' out on grand piano. Are there big differences a student should consider between piano and organ besides the sustain organs have? To be honest, on a midi kbd, organ seems easier and slower than piano.
Am I, as a rookie, missing a lot by relying on synth sounds for organ, are there other considerations? Can a sound module really do B3 and other classic tones. Are Leslie simulators any good? I see many guys using 2 or more kbds of various types. Why?
Basically I'm familiar with the gear, but ignorant of technique.Perhaps with this info someone can figure me out and point me in the right direction.
'Luego
mannshands


Edited by mannshands (07/05/10 10:02 PM)
_________________________
Another aging guitarist making the switch to piano. Current rig is a Casio CTK-700 with a small Laney amp.

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#1471932 - 07/10/10 06:58 PM Re: Choosing to focus on either piano or organ, is it necessary? [Re: mannshands]
RayE Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/19/10
Posts: 163
Loc: Rochester, NY, USA
I've played both piano and organ for many years, the biggest difference between piano and organ (besides the pedals) is playing legato on the organ, without the assistance of the damper pedal. You sometimes will have to get creative with fingering on the organ so that you can hold the note over into the next one to get a legato sound. There is no reason why you need to pick one or the other I know many people that play both quite successfully.
_________________________
Retired Army reserve Bandsman who now plays for the Joy of Music!!

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#1472487 - 07/11/10 06:31 PM Re: Choosing to focus on either piano or organ, is it necessary? [Re: RayE]
TimR Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 3250
Loc: Virginia, USA
If your only interest is rock organ in a band, maybe there isn't much difference.

Playing church or theatre organs, whether pipe or electronic, adds a couple of considerations.

One, as mentioned, is sustain without the pedal.

Another is use of the foot pedals.

But the biggest (and most intimidating) one for me is registration. Our organist explained it with an analogy to coloring with crayons. You can get by with the set of 8 colors in the small box, and if you're talented enough can create some pretty decent art. But Crayola makes the 64 color box for a reason, and the expert uses them all. And you can get much bigger sets if you need them. That's what all those extra knobs are for, getting different colors (timbres) out of the organ sound.
_________________________
gotta go practice

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#1472957 - 07/12/10 01:49 PM Re: Choosing to focus on either piano or organ, is it necessary? [Re: TimR]
Mark Fontana Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/19/04
Posts: 158
Loc: Minneapolis, MN
I agree- registration is the hardest part. I'm getting started with theatre organ after about 30 years of playing only piano, and the planning ahead and memorization aspects of setting registrations have been kind of daunting. I'm also finding it difficult to reverse-engineer other organists' registrations by ear beyond the really obvious, general categories of timbre.

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#1473669 - 07/13/10 05:52 PM Re: Choosing to focus on either piano or organ, is it necessary? [Re: Mark Fontana]
mannshands Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/26/10
Posts: 11
Loc: Andalucia, Spain
Thanks. In the environments in which I play, with bands in bars and barns, these subtle registration differences will go unnoticed by most of the audience. All I seem to need is a few classic tones, Hammond/Rhodes/etc, and the rest, as they say, is rock'n'roll. Sustain I can probably fake using my amplifier's reverb control.
Still curious regarding the quality of midi organ sounds, and if certain midi keyboards controllers are better adapted to electronic organ applications?
_________________________
Another aging guitarist making the switch to piano. Current rig is a Casio CTK-700 with a small Laney amp.

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#1474138 - 07/14/10 11:57 AM Re: Choosing to focus on either piano or organ, is it necessary? [Re: mannshands]
TimR Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 3250
Loc: Virginia, USA
Originally Posted By: mannshands
Still curious regarding the quality of midi organ sounds, and if certain midi keyboards controllers are better adapted to electronic organ applications?


If you're talking about General Midi organ as your sound card probably produces, it's pretty awful. In my opinion of course.

But if you're using a MIDI keyboard to produce organ sounds through another mechanism, like a hardware organ module or a software program, it's as good as the speakers you can afford.

In software, you can run MIDI into an organ emulation program like Hauptwerk. It mimics any number of actual historical organs including the stop lists. It sounds as real as you can get out of speakers. Or run Miditizer, if you like the Wurlitzer 216 theatre organ. I've played with that more because Hauptwerk needs a fast PC with lots of RAM, Miditizer is a little more forgiving.

Any MIDI keyboard with 61 keys to match an organ manual will probably work as well as any other, even the cheapest.
_________________________
gotta go practice

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#1474599 - 07/15/10 02:19 AM Re: Choosing to focus on either piano or organ, is it necessary? [Re: TimR]
mannshands Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/26/10
Posts: 11
Loc: Andalucia, Spain
A note to any other rookies following this topic...

For my purposes, until I require 2 keyboards simultaneously, I can use the cheapest midi kbd with weighted, touch sensitive keys as I will be using it for piano also, where these features are important. Ability to use it in "split kbd mode" is a nice feature for those of us who find ourselves pulling double duty covering for no-show bass players (Ray Manzarek of the Doors and John Paul Jones come to mind)

TIM: Are weighting and touch sensitivity not relevent to organ kbds? Thanks for tips on organ modules! I am using the sounds loaded in my Casio CTK-700. Played directly thru an amp a few of the preset sounds are suprisingly good, though most will go unused. As soon as I get a midi to usb cable I will start experimenting with pro sound modules that I have downloaded.
Thanks.

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#1475848 - 07/16/10 11:14 PM Re: Choosing to focus on either piano or organ, is it necessary? [Re: mannshands]
TimR Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 3250
Loc: Virginia, USA
Originally Posted By: mannshands

TIM: Are weighting and touch sensitivity not relevent to organ kbds? Thanks for tips on organ modules! I am using the sounds loaded in my Casio CTK-700. Played directly thru an amp a few of the preset sounds are suprisingly good, though most will go unused. As soon as I get a midi to usb cable I will start experimenting with pro sound modules that I have downloaded.
Thanks.


Understand that I claim no expertise here. I have been a church organist - but not a good one! <grin>

So this is just my experience and could be wrong. But, the real organs I have played, whether pipe or electronic, have had keyboards (called manuals) that were neither weighted nor touch sensitive. And they only have 61 keys.
_________________________
gotta go practice

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#1485241 - 07/31/10 01:36 PM Re: Choosing to focus on either piano or organ, is it necessary? [Re: TimR]
Vectistim Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/17/10
Posts: 317
Loc: Reading, UK
Originally Posted By: TimR
So this is just my experience and could be wrong. But, the real organs I have played, whether pipe or electronic, have had keyboards (called manuals) that were neither weighted nor touch sensitive. And they only have 61 keys.


The weight of action with an organ can vary immensely, depending on the mechanics going on underneath, when you combine one manual with another that can increase the weight needed to depress any key, and some can become really stiff.

I had to play the Widor for a wedding on a small organ where the two manuals needed to be coupled together and it became very heavy, so I was able to manage the first half a dozen bars at speed but then it started getting slower as it was like trying to wade through treacle.

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#1486519 - 08/02/10 11:13 AM Re: Choosing to focus on either piano or organ, is it necessary? [Re: Vectistim]
Brandon_W_T Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/18/10
Posts: 1940
Loc: Omaha, Nebraska
Its called tracker touch when the keys have the weight to them.

When you press down the key slowly there is nothing, then a catch, then a click down, which is pulling all the linkages to the pipes.

Now try doing all this with a full organ, using 3-4 manuals! Its hard to do! The keys are very hard to pull down.
_________________________
______
Home -
1905 Story and Clark Art Case smile

--NEW!--- 1964ish Conn 640 vacuum tube theatre organ! (with leslie!) smile

Grandmas- New Hyundai petite baby grand

Church (the organ I practice on)-
1998 Bedient (Built about 45 minutes from me!) 2m/pedal 24 rank Cavaille-Coll style pipe organ

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#1491030 - 08/08/10 05:08 PM Re: Choosing to focus on either piano or organ, is it necessary? [Re: Brandon_W_T]
Elssa Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/15/05
Posts: 1593
Loc: NY
Quote:
Its called tracker touch when the keys have the weight to them.

And the delay in sound can really throw you for a loop. eek

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#1491921 - 08/09/10 06:39 PM Re: Choosing to focus on either piano or organ, is it necessary? [Re: Elssa]
Brandon_W_T Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/18/10
Posts: 1940
Loc: Omaha, Nebraska
Ahah yes. The old massive organs had very long connections so there would be a delay.


Gets you to use your ear more! laugh
_________________________
______
Home -
1905 Story and Clark Art Case smile

--NEW!--- 1964ish Conn 640 vacuum tube theatre organ! (with leslie!) smile

Grandmas- New Hyundai petite baby grand

Church (the organ I practice on)-
1998 Bedient (Built about 45 minutes from me!) 2m/pedal 24 rank Cavaille-Coll style pipe organ

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