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HUGE new organ, Infrabass 64 & about 200 stops
Old 10th November 2009
  #1
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Talking HUGE new organ, Infrabass 64 & about 200 stops

A challenging recording project for the lucky ones in Sweden: Piteå concert house organ under construction: Orgel Acusticum

I just could not resist as there are several organ lovers here...
Old 10th November 2009
  #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Petrus View Post
A challenging recording project for the lucky ones in Sweden: Piteå concert house organ under construction: Orgel Acusticum

I just could not resist as there are several organ lovers here...
So many jokes, so little time....
Old 10th November 2009
  #3
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Would pipe organ lovers sound even worse?
Old 11th November 2009
  #4
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JonesH's Avatar
I'm very glad since I'm studying/working there and doing recordings in the very nice hall almost every week. I'm also a bit sad because I'll be finished way before the organ is completed in 2012

It's going to be a nice project though, built by mr Gerhard Woehl from Germany and supervised by prof. Hans-Ola Ericsson.

Now, my issue is what flying mik system to look into for the concert hall. Most probably Hyfax.

Everyone welcome to the prémiere concert 12th of april 2012!
Old 11th November 2009
  #5
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It's looks very interesting. I hope they keep lots of photos of the fabrication and construction. I'll follow on Facebook.
Old 11th November 2009
  #6
Petrus,

Do you know where I can find more info regarding "Infrabass 64"? I Googled it and this was the first site to come up, followed by lots about some band I think.

Cheers.
Old 11th November 2009
  #7
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JonesH's Avatar
It's a 64 foot stop, but I understand that it's not really 64 foot. From what I gather it's a covered/bent construction (I don't know the term) that gives a corresponding frequency response - 32′ combined with a 21 1/3. Hey, anything that has a fundamental of sub 20 Hz, I'm all for it.
There are, to my knowledge, two 64' organs, one in Atlantic City and one in Sydney.

I'm thinking some automotive pistons or gigantic actuators would be as efficient; we could simply shake the floor directly with machines insted of air.
Old 11th November 2009
  #8
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Janne_L's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by NorseHorse View Post
Petrus,

Do you know where I can find more info regarding "Infrabass 64"? I Googled it and this was the first site to come up, followed by lots about some band I think.

Cheers.
Infra Bass 64 is an acoustic combination of two 32 foot pipes as follows: CH: Untersatz 32 + Grand Bourdon 32 + 21 1 / 3 from Untersatz 32; c0-g1: Untersatz 32 spacious C
Old 11th November 2009
  #9
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Usually (always?) 64 foot flue stops are acoustic, a combination of 32 and 21 1/3 foot ranks which give an interference tone an octave lower. Cheating! The same effect can be produced by the organist by double pedaling a 32 foot flue stop like subbass or even principal. Why not make a real sub-untersatz, a closed 64 foot 8 Hz producing pipe would be only 9 meters tall, but quite thick, naturally, like 1 m square for the lowest pipes. The problem is the huge amount of air this construction would need (separate blower).

Some (maybe 2 or 3 in the world) organs do have a 64 foot reed stop. It really does not give much of fundamental tone, and the working principal is a round lid, "beater", at the end of a spring, which flaps against an opening at the foot of the pipe. It is more a curiosity and a joke than a serious organ stop.
Old 14th November 2009
  #10
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Dubious

Quote:
Originally Posted by Petrus View Post
A challenging recording project for the lucky ones in Sweden: Piteå concert house organ under construction: Orgel Acusticum

I just could not resist as there are several organ lovers here...
What do the GOArt people in Gothenburg say about this dubious project? Not that they're the perfect spokespeople for contemporary culture....
Old 14th November 2009
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Petrus View Post
A challenging recording project for the lucky ones in Sweden: Piteå concert house organ under construction: Orgel Acusticum

I just could not resist as there are several organ lovers here...
Who is sponsoring this monstrum, and why?
The room does not look like it can even support a 32' or even 64' like an organ in a big cathedral can.

What is the volume of the room?

This organ in plenum will sound horrible in that room I imagine.
Old 15th November 2009
  #12
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JonesH's Avatar
It's financed by the Kempe foundation, the Luleå University of Technology and Piteå county, I believe.

The maximum volume for the venue is around 8000 m3 when the roof is at full height. When we lower the roof to the lowest, it's around 4700 m3. The reverberation mean time is around 2,6 s at the highest roof height and 1,6 s at the lowest.
Old 15th November 2009
  #13
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Very interesting, do you have more information about the construction? It is planned to adjust the roof height according to desired RT60 for each concert? Can the roof even be adjusted with audience in the hall (safety regulations)?

even 8,000 m3 is tiny. Big concert halls are in the 15,000 - 25,000 m3 range.
An organ that massive in such a small room is a strange idea IMO.
The sonic impression if you can not achieve the aesthetically pleasing level of diffusion for the lower frequencies will probably be problematic.
When is the organ finished and we can hear it?

Big churches like St. Marien in Lübeck are 100,000 m3 and more.
Old 16th November 2009
  #14
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JonesH's Avatar
Yes, it's a relatively small hall. It sounds very nice for orchestral and chamber music though, and works well for amplified music as well. The roof is adjustable in five sections from 10 to 15 meters height using 50 synhronized winches. The construction weighs 94 metric tons and audience can not stay inside during the adjustment. We are holding a sound design/sound art concert in the spring where we will install contact mics and ambience mics to a surround rig in the foyer so people can experience it, though!

Upon height adjustment, the entire reverbation time curve is adjusted - the character of the reverberation is not altered. The lateral reflections are decreased when the height is lowered. Measures have been taken to minimize the influence of audience vs empty hall, and has been fairly successful - between 250 and 500 ms which is certainly audible but not drastic compared to similar venues.

My C essay will most probably relate to preferred RT60 values for certain kinds of music in the hall.

The entire construction is made of wood, and was awarded a prize upon it's inauguration. It's a shoebox design with slightly angled walls. Regarding size; a sidenote which i sourced from our acoustics dept at the university in Luleå is that it's easier to design for good acoustics in smaller
concert halls since the distribution of energy is more even and the acoustic output of the musicians is limited, leading to a better distribution of sound for a smaller audience.
I do agree that the organ seems a bit oversized - but I also think that it's important to keep in mind that the people designing the organ have lots of experience doing these kind of installations. Hopefully the end result will be beautiful, and hopefully the construction of the organ will not eat too much valuable reverberation time...

Edit: Also; just because there are 200 stops, it doesn't mean you have to use them all - the aim, I believe, is to create an instrument suited for a wide variety of music where you can choose the necessary stops and not feel limited by the instrument to a certain reperoire.

The organ will be inaugurated april 12th, 2012 - see you there (here!).
Old 17th November 2009
  #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JonesH View Post
...

Edit: Also; just because there are 200 stops, it doesn't mean you have to use them all - the aim, I believe, is to create an instrument suited for a wide variety of music where you can choose the necessary stops and not feel limited by the instrument to a certain reperoire.

The organ will be inaugurated april 12th, 2012 - see you there (here!).
However it turns out, it certainly is an organ builders dream come true.
Looking forward to the inauguration.
Old 25th November 2009
  #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by audio ergo sum View Post
However it turns out, it certainly is an organ builders dream come true.
.
Most organ builders would consider such a project as a nightmare, not a dream they would hope comes true. And a tremendous waste of resources. Once organs, especially large ones, get installed, they tend to hang around for a long time for political and economic reasons. Neither organ builders nor organists would want to be stuck with this thing.
Old 25th November 2009
  #17
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JonesH's Avatar
Respectfully, I think the professor overseeing the construction would disagree with you.
Old 26th November 2009
  #18
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NetworkAudio's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by JonesH View Post
Yes, it's a relatively small hall. It sounds very nice for orchestral and chamber music though, and works well for amplified music as well.
I would disagree, the hall is problematic for small symphonic orchestras to say the least. I have only performed tchaik 3 there and we were greatly reduced to fit the stage and the sound was quite hard in my recollection (I keep confusing the halls up north). There are a lot of theories about hall building floating around in swedish academic circles . They do not come from the real world. There has not been a good hall built in sweden by a swedish acoustician in ages.
A hall of 8000m3 cannot handle the sound of a full orchestra. As said a small symphonic hall is 22-25000m3 and we are talking 1200-1600 seats.

The three halls up north are all to small for a good symphonic sound and have unfortunately relied on local designers instead of the international professional cicuit i.e. Kirkegaard, Artec, Nagata, Arup and alike.
Old 27th November 2009
  #19
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JonesH's Avatar
Hej Kjetil,
As I've stated, I agree that it's a small hall and that poses some problems for some ensembles. I do not find the sound hard in the audience seating though, might it be possible that you're thinking of the concert hall in Luleå?
I do recall that for your performance it was a very tight fit. A full symphonic orchestra is probably not the best match for this hall. Smaller orchestras and ensembles sound quite nice, I think.

It probably wouldn't be very wise to build a 20 000 m3 hall in the north of sweden, since the demographic base for the audience is a bit limited. Competing with the larger halls was probably not the aim for any of the three halls that was built in the north of Sweden during the first years of this century. Would be interesting to hear and see what international acousticians would have done with similar conditions!
Old 27th November 2009
  #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JonesH View Post
...
It probably wouldn't be very wise to build a 20 000 m3 hall in the north of sweden, since the demographic base for the audience is a bit limited. ...
ANd building that monster organ in a chamber music hall is probably not very wise either. Since an Organ can't have any meaningful sound without an appropriate room I do not know what the deciders were thinking there. Think Cello strings on a Violin body.

Why not build 2-3 organs instead, distributed over halls and churches in the area, each with a unique character?

Like one Bach/Silbermann inspired organ and one Cavalier-Colle/French inspired organ.
Possibly a third German romantic inspired organ.
Old 27th November 2009
  #21
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NetworkAudio's Avatar
There is one very very good organ in a small hall in Houston and it is amazing sounding.
The Edythe Bates Old Recital Hall and Grand Organ
It is also amazing for baroque ensembles etc.

The hard hall I was talking about has faceted concrete sidewalls.
Old 27th November 2009
  #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by klaukholm View Post
There is one very very good organ in a small hall in Houston and it is amazing sounding.
The Edythe Bates Old Recital Hall and Grand Organ
It is also amazing for baroque ensembles etc.

The hard hall I was talking about has faceted concrete sidewalls.
Beautiful french inspired organ. But "only" 75 stops with two 32' compared to over 200 with one 64' and four 32' in Northern Sweden. And by judging from the pictures a very "wet" sounding hall also probably not smaller than 8,000 m3 (very high ceiling) and RT60 probably two to three times that in Piteå. So I would say more proportionate than the Piteå project. Anyway, maybe the new Piteå monster organ will be put to good use for repertoire not yet conceived and an audience not yet eartrained to such a sound.

These days I can't think of anybody who would like to hear or even record organ repertoire from baroque to late romantic in such a relatively dry acoustic.
Old 27th November 2009
  #23
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Small hall and an organ with huge bass. Does it not sound like a combination for the younger (male) generation driving around with the bass thumping across the whole block... New music is needed for this one.
Old 27th November 2009
  #24
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In my armchair organ builder opinion if they wanted to do something really revolutionary in the room they have, they should have built an electronic organ with all possibilities, Wave field synthesis all around the hall, virtual acoustics possible from any real or imagined room, sample libraries of landmark organs of the world. Beaming Chartres cathedral and other great organs in great acoustics to Piteå acoustically.

THAT would have been some new quality.
This way it will be just a very big organ in a much too small room.
Old 27th November 2009
  #25
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NetworkAudio's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by audio ergo sum View Post
Beautiful french inspired organ. But "only" 75 stops with two 32' compared to over 200 with one 64' and four 32' in Northern Sweden. And by judging from the pictures a very "wet" sounding hall also probably not smaller than 8,000 m3 (very high ceiling) and RT60 probably two to three times that in Piteå.
It is a rather reverberant acoustic, similar to that of a large stone church with electronically controlled dampening banners in appropriate places for shortening reverb time.
The hall is designed by Kirkegaard and has only served to confirm his reputation.
It is about as small a hall as I could care for for organ purposes.
Old 27th November 2009
  #26
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JonesH's Avatar
Interesting posts from all, I think!

I feel that I'm perhaps not the best suited for discussing details about either the hall or organ, since I'm neither an acoustician nor an organist. As I've said before, I would imagine, though, that the organ isn't supposed to be used with all stops at once but with configurations suitable for the music at hand whilst not feeling limited to a certain repertoire by the availability of a limited number of stops.

Anyway, nice discussion.
Old 19th November 2010
  #27
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JonesH's Avatar
The building is coming along...

Studio Acusticum Organ
Old 19th November 2010
  #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JonesH View Post
Respectfully, I think the professor overseeing the construction would disagree with you.
Respectfully, every organ builder I know of in Europe and US would think this is a silly, stupid idea, and the cost in resources and space will keep it around for a very long time, and the politics will be that it will be very difficult to put a real organ in its place.

The "professor" is utterly unknown in the organ building world in Europe or the US.

Who is the "professor" to say anything at all? More knowledgeable than those builders with training in everything from metallurgy to nuclear physicis who are intimately acquainted with organs dating as far back as the late 1400's, and using by choice materials from today when appropriate-and , and more importantly understand the repertoire-both new and old- of organs and the social context in which they function today and tomorrow?

It probably will work as a tourist destination. Tourists, after all, always like to see something that is the biggest, the smallest, the ugliest, and the most ridiculous.

Often historic organs that are narrowly confined (by today's standards) to one regional aesthetic are often the most persuasive instruments for *all* music- including that well outside the aesthetic school of the instrument.

There are two very fine international consortiums of experts on organ building, one located in Göteborg and the other mirror organization in Rochester, NY. In addition to the many exceptionally well informed individual shops in Europe and the US. They're not at all stuck in the past, with important instruments built to harmonize with architects such as Frank Gehry.
Old 19th November 2010
  #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JonesH View Post

Edit: Also; just because there are 200 stops, it doesn't mean you have to use them all - the aim, I believe, is to create an instrument suited for a wide variety of music where you can choose the necessary stops and not feel limited by the instrument to a certain reperoire.
.
This is complete folly. You can build an organ with a collection of stops from every era and region. They don't work. Because all of those different regions require different pipe scalings, for one, not to mention pipe construction, wind pressure and supply, and the list goes on. Every organ built in such a way is pretty much unsuccessful at playing anything! We have thousands of examples of this in America, and the junk is still being built. Fortunately, a lot of fine instruments are also being built.

On the other hand, a large Dutch instrument built entirely according to a relatively narrow Dutch tradition, aesthetics, and scale,by Flentrop (for example), can give persuasive performances from French organ music from the French Classic school to Durufle, Alain, and Messiaen-repertoire for organs with a decidedly different aesthetic and design, to say the least.
Old 19th November 2010
  #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Petrus View Post
The same effect can be produced by the organist by double pedaling a 32 foot flue stop like subbass or even principal.
No, this will not work as intended. To work as intended, the 10 2/3 must be tune a perfect fifth above the fundamental. And further, it may have to agree with a harmonic of that fundamental, when the 10 2/3 and its mate require it. This requires a very special acoustical "agreement." Playing two pedal notes is not the same, not to mention all the other stops that are on in addition to one stop in the pedal.

Or perhaps you envision to use this technique when there is only one solitary stop on in the pedal with no couplers?.......But then you'd still get only a messy rumble and not the real thing.

Those 10 2/3 are built very specifically to work with the acoustical properties of one specific pedal stop, though they will work when more 16's are on, of course; and will work less well with a single 16 ft than the "chosen one."
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