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How instruments go together

Orchestral strings is good for backup. So is a piano or organ. They are not so much for the melody, trumpets and horns would rather play most of the melody. Brass instruments lead the orchestra and are backed up by strings, woodwinds, and percussion. 

Conical-bore and double-reed instruments (such as saxophones and bassoons) make better bass, clarinets (which have single-reed and cylindrical bore) make better alto, and flutes and recorders make better soprano and sopranino. So a quartet of a bassoon, two clarinets, and a piccolo, or a quintet of a bassoon, two clarinets, and two flutes (one doubling piccolo) would be good.

Saxophones make better for a wide range of pitches than clarinets do. Clarinets make more for treble pitches. To be more precise, saxophones with multiple parts (alto, tenor, and baritone) close in pitch, and clarinets with two parts (treble and bass) far apart, double reeds with two or three parts (oboes, bassoons, and maybe contrabassoons) again far apart. Another thing to be more clear, oboes and clarinets are equally important for treble pitch, while conical-bore and double-reed instruments are more important than clarinets in bass and contrabass pitch. Don’t have contrabassoons without a bass clarinets, or bass clarinets without contrabassoons, the latter at least not in orchestras. Probably not have both clarinets and oboes without bassoons.

For low brass, have a saxhorn (such as tuba or baritone) or trombone rather than bass trumpet. For alto brass instrument, have a French horn rather than an alto horn or mellophone. Have tuba and/or bass or contrabass trombone, rather than cimbasso.

A thumb valve is more important for a French horn than the F-trigger is for a tenor trombone. Rotary trigger valves are also more important for bass and contrabass trombones than for tenor trombones. Tenor trombones have only one rotary trigger valve, if any, and bass and contrabass trombones have one or two rotary trigger valves, no more, no less.

Basso continuo is something harmonic and maybe bass (such as a piano, organ, harp, or guitar) that fills an orchestra. Makes an orchestra sound more full. Piano, hit drums, and guitar are hard, bowed strings are soft. Hard (such as percussion and plucked or struck strings) complements soft (such as bowed strings) well, but an organ which is soft (as opposed to hard) nevertheless could fill. Brass and wind also complement the strings.

Piano combines well with a trumpet, cello, and violins, all four go together. Piano is a poor mix with a guitar, unless maybe the guitar is solid-body or semi-hollow-body electric. Piano doesn’t go too poorly with electric bass, especially if other instruments are involved. Guitar also goes well with trumpet and violins. Piano combines well with an orchestra and melds with string basses. Overdriven guitar makes an orchestral hit more grand, powerful, and dramatic.

In a wind instrument or bars (such as xylophone, vibraphone, marimba, or glockenspiel), polymer and wood is better for vibrating thing (such as the reed of a wind instrument or the bars of a xylophone), and metal is better for the resonator. In other words, polymer vibrator and metal resonator is better than metal vibrator and polymer resonator. However, it’s kind of the opposite for string instruments.

If you want subcontrabass, there’s a subcontrabass tuba. Don’t care for an octocontrabass or subcontrabass clarinet, much less a hyperbass or subcontrabass flute. Certainly not an octosubcontrabass or sub-subcontrabass  recorder. They don’t sound good, a subcontrabass flute or recorder wouldn’t be heard well due to few harmonics, and the subcontrabass clarinet would sound weird due to the dominance of odd-numbered harmonics, whereas a subcontrabass sax and subcontrabass tuba would sound great due to their rich harmonics. A subcontrabassoon would sound awesome, but it’s not built as far as I know. A contrabassoon can play about as low as a subcontrabass sax.

In an organ, reed pipes make better bass, flue pipes (especially open diapasons and tapered hybrids) make better treble. Edit: Of all flue pipes, stopped wooden cuboidal flutes make a great foundation, especially if they have rectangular cross section but are not good on their own. Chimney flutes make good bass as well, not so much if they have cylindrical chimneys which leads to inharmonic partials, but if they have conical/funnel chimneys as in Gemsrohrflote and Cone Lieblich Gedackt which would be great on their own and with chorus.

For keyboard instrument, have a piano or clavichord rather than harpsichord. For plucked strings, have a harp or guitar rather than a harpsichord. For struck strings, have a piano or clavichord rather than a dulcimer.

Also, clavichord should definitely be electric with magnetic pickup. That solves the problem of limited volume, so that it’s not limited to intimate performance. Also, clavichord is cutting edge so is great in electric form.

Electronics make better bass, acoustics make better treble, but it would be desired to have at least some synth in treble and have a few acoustics (such as string basses, tubas, and bassoons) in bass. Electronics should be more penetrating than acoustics. So replacing saxophones with sawtooth wave is more desired than replacing clarinets with square wave or certainly flutes with sine waves. Saxophone or contrabass trombone wouldn’t due well compare to electronics.

Plucked strings (e.g. guitar) are better electric, bowed strings are better acoustic. So have electric guitar and acoustic bowed strings, not electric bowed strings and acoustic guitar. Bowed strings could however use StringAmp, namely the concertmaster, principal second violin, and principal cello. Piano also makes better acoustic, so better to have electric guitar and acoustic piano rather than have electric piano and acoustic guitar.

In electronic or combined electronic+acoustic music, either have an acoustic or electroacoustic or semi-acoustic piano or have an electronic piano built into keyboard synth workstation rather than have a separate digital piano. Electric tines or reeds piano could work though.

Don’t have electric guitar and drum machine without synthesizer. More important to add synth to rock band than to replace drum kit with drum machine. So have an electric guitar and synthesizer with either drum kit or drum machine. Solution: have an electronic drum kit (combining the rhythmic expression of drum kit with the versatility – imitation of many drum kits – of a drum machine), electric guitar, and synth. Maybe the hi-hat and cymbals still be acoustic, because variability in tone is not as important for these. Also, maybe the kickdrum be done by the drum machine, because steady beat is more important for the kickdrum, and rhythmic expression is more important for the snares and tom-toms, and steady beat is less important for tom-toms, hi-hats, and cymbals. Maybe the snares done by both drum machine and drum kit, because both rhythmic expression and steady beat are important for snare.

Positive chamber organ idea, Rev. 2

25-key concave-radiating pedalboard written range C2-C4, plus two manuals each range C2-F6.

At least one manual division, maybe two. The lower manual with 8′ gedackt, 4′ open flute, 2′ diapason, and a small mixture. 8’ regal like Vox Humana be enclosed in its own swell box and operated by the same manual or alternatively by a second manual.

Pedals would control the C diatonic series on the left and C# diatonic series on the right. Pedals with 8′ valvular-reed diaphonic diapason with square pallets, neither felted nor leathered, and wooden inverted-pyramid resonator, plus 16’ Subbass Bourdon.

Pedals connected by tubular-pneumatic action, the manuals connected by tracker action. Direct-electric stop action for all.

Balanced swell pedal or two.

Also have embedded zimbelstern like https://www.ottoheuss.de/en/organ-parts/carillons-cymbel-stars/15/cymbalstar-with-8-bronze-casted-bowl-shaped-bells-tuned, with wind wheel, embedded in main organ case. Also have embedded 4’ celesta with rectangular metal bar-plates on a single hollow resonating chamber.

Also pressure-blown free reeds, ideally fixed in groups of 54 to a common plate, in which case have three 8’ and two 4’ stops and maybe have electrostatic pickups, or alternatively the reeds feed into hollow resonating chamber(s) or qualifying tube(s)[1][2]. Either case for manuals, the latter maybe also for pedals.

Also electronic stops, namely 16’ and 32’ on pedals and 16’ and maybe 8′ on manuals. Transistorized oscillators and frequency dividers. Vacuum tube triodes would be good for amplifiers.

Electronic combination action with programmable combinations and both pistons and toe studs.

Disaggregated components

Second manual controlling an antiphonal division situated away from the organ, maybe up on a wall, and connected by electric action rather than tracker action. Then it would be called the Echo division. Vox humana still be on main case, enclosed in its own box. Then there’d be two Swell pedals one for Vox Humana and one for the Echo division.

Separate tubular bell chimes A3 to F5 connected by direct-electric action. The chimes should be made of brass-plated steel.

Pedals would control two separate modules.

Use cases

In a chamber performance, act as the continuo, alongside a tangent piano, for a chamber orchestra with at least three first and three second violins and least two cellos, plus at least two oboes and several pedal timpani. Tangent piano would ideally be modernized with cast iron frame and double escapement.

The other case would be to install it in a living room of a luxury mansion.

Also accompany trumpet or horn.

References

[1]Modeling the sound production of a novel organ pipe construction with free reed – http://www.hit.bme.hu/~rucz/students/Nagy_Nora_-_Novel_organ_pipe_TDK_2016.pdf

[2]The Vocalion Organ, https://www.slideserve.com/kamal-becker/the-vocalion-organ-powerpoint-ppt-presentation

Recommended instruments and why I recommend them

Clavichord

Cost-effective. Costs much less than a piano or harpsichord. Also portable, especially if fretted. It has a cutting edge sound compared to the soft sound of the piano. It can do a vibrato which neither the piano nor harpsichord can do. If electric with steel strings magnetic pickup, it’s even more portable and also very cutting edge in sound. Sounds great with the wah-wah effects. I recommend an electric fretted clavichord.

Chest or box organ

Small pipe organ with only several stops like an 8 Gedackt, 4’ rohrflote, and 2’ open diapason. Great for continuo, has sustain that a piano lacks. P.S. Some thing the piano is boring and enjoy the positive chamber organ more.

Nord Electro

A DSP-driven combo organ. Better than the Vox Continental.

Novation Summit

A hybrid of wavetable and FM synthesis.

As a side note: graintable synthesis is a hybrid of granular and wavetable. Hybrid of graintable and FM synthesis would be best. But none of the Novation synthesizers have either granular or graintable synthesis. But wavetable may be better than pure granular.

Any that I missed are below

Wessex helicons. Also see https://www.pinterest.com/pin/308637380691843770/ and related pictures. These would be better in F, and also better if they had thumb triggers in addition to the four finger-operated rotary valve keys. Either way, they project better than tubas and don’t have the ”blat” of sousaphones.

Why did Xigmatek songs disappear from Spotify and the iTunes Store?

The artist that goes by “Xigmatek” used FL Studio. Nothing new since 2013, and I don’t remember when his songs disappeared from Spotify and the iTunes Store but I’m pretty sure it was sometime from 2014-2016. Before that, Xigmatek songs disappeared from YouTube. Some of the songs can still be found at https://soundcloud.com/xigmatek but unfortunately, not all of them.

The real reason might be legal trouble between Xigmatek Global and the FL Studio musician “Xigmatek” due to the latter using the name of the former. The two may not be affiliated.

Some songs disappear from Spotify and the iTunes Store without any announcement of removal.

And they disappear from all streaming services on the same day. Connection or common catalogue?

Music remix ideas

Electro-industrial or aggrotech remix of Alan Parson Project’s Sirus. In the style of Schallfaktor or Tactical Sekt.

Eurodance or Euro-trance remix of William Tell Overture Finale.

Eurodance or happy hardcore remix of Let it Go from Frozen.

Eurodance or happy hardcore remix of Hosanna (Praise is rising)

Electronic remix of Toccata and Fugue. In the case of fugue, use techno style synth like in the VNV Nation song Standing.

Futurepop (synthpop/trance/EBM hybrid) remix of ”Oh come oh come Emmanuel.” In the style of Decoded Feedback, VNV Nation, Interface, or Icon of Coil.

Electro-industrial or aggrotech remix of ”Let it Rock” by Kevin Rudolf and Lil Wayne,

Electro-industrial or aggrotech remix of Poker Face by Lady Gaga.

Heavy metal and hardcore punk remixes of Elvis Oresley and the Rolling Stones.

I will add more if I missed anything.

Write suggestions in the comments.

Why was the background music removed from Homepage DD1US

https://dd1us.de/

The background music has been missing since like 2006. I don’t know who remembers it. But I do. I was just a child when the music was on the site.

I contacted Matthias Bopp, and it turns out he removed it because he was afraid that if he kept the music on the site, he would get in trouble due to missing rights. He wasn’t sure whether or not the MIDI files were free of GEMA music rights. He didn’t want to apply for such rights, and heard that many sites were getting sued for using music without sufficient rights. To avoid also getting sued, Matthias removed the background music.

Organ component ideals 

In tracker organs, replace Brustwerk with Swell or Schwellwerk, and Oberwerk with Solo. 

Action

Where tracker action used, have no more than six divisions connected by tracker action. Prefer pneumatic or electro-pneumatic action for pedals. Have pneumatic lever, such as the Willis Floating Lever or Kowalyshyn servopneumatic lever, for tracker departments that would otherwise give a heavy touch. Another idea, to avoid the spongy touch of the Floating/Servopneumatic lever, is the solution by Kenneth Jones Inc. and Trevor Crowe. Source: David_Forde’s post at https://mander-organs-forum.invisionzone.com/topic/496-21st-century-barker-lever-replacement/.

For an organ with suspended tracker action, prefer tubular-pneumatic for pedals. Have pneumatic-assist lever for Great. The pneumatic-assist lever should be inside windchest and with exhaust system.

In the case of electric action, prefer Fleming individual-valve electro-pneumatic chests over Hope-Jones unit chest and Skinner pitman chest. But duplex windchests like Skinner’s are good too. Unit chests may be used for rank extensions.

Electric and electronic action with solid-state relays, preferably MOS-controlled thyristors with two MOSFETs of opposite conductivity types the PMOS to turn on and the NMOS to turn off. Switches only for unified stops and couplers.

Prefer combination action like that of Austin Combination Organ Stop Action.

Registration

In the case of electro-pneumatic swell, prefer individual-shade with from most to least preferred, Kimball individual-shade pneumatics, Hope-Jones individual-shade electro-pneumatic swell, or Möller’s design. For a better idea, see https://www.arndtorgansupply.com/PDFs/addedproducts.pdf.

Flue pipes either straight-walled or tapered, not inverted-conical. Full-length reed pipes either with conical or single-bell resonators of metal or inverted-pyramid resonators of wood, while regals be either dulcians or double-bells.

Desire thick brass reeds beating on wooden shallots, especially on pedals, including 16’ and 32’. Overall prefer wooden shallots over metal shallots, especially for pipes with wooden inverted-pyramid resonators.

Prefer a slight majority of flutes be stopped, especially the bass ones. Stopped flutes preferably made of wood. Prefer most diapasons to be made of metal and most of them be open. Strongly prefer strings to be made of metal, and avoid stopped strings. Overall have more wooden flue voices on pedals and more metal ones on manuals.

Swell-enclosed divisions should have more string and tapered hybrid stops, while unenclosed divisions should have more diapasons. On Swell division, prefer Tibia Clausa over Bourdon. Swell division should have a more diverse set of voices than the Great.

A good registration for Swell would be 16’/8’ Tibia Clausa, 8’ Vox Angelica, 4’ Harmonic Flute, 8’ Oboe, 4’ Gemshorn, and 8’ Echo gamba under single expression, 8’ Flute Celeste, 8’ Flauto Dolce, Mixture IV, 4’ Clarion, 8’ Cornopean, and 16’ contra-Fagotto under double expression (https://schoenstein.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/double-expression-image.jpg), and 8’ Vox Humana under Triple Expression.

If there are two 32’ stops on pedal, one should be an extension of a 16’ Subbass Bourdon and the other should be a 32’ extension of a 16’ diaphone. The Diaphone should have wooden inverted-pyramid resonators, and its 32’ octave should have trapdoors so that there’d be six pipes instead of 12 for the lowest octave.

Electronics

Electronic stops at 32’ and 16’ on pedals and 16’ and maybe 8’ on manuals. Transistorized oscillators and frequency division desired. Vacuum tube triodes would be acceptable for amplification.

Symphonic hymn orchestration 

Desired pipe organ registration

Great: 8’ stopped flute with 16’ extension, 8’ diapason, 4’ Octave, 2’ fifteenth, 2’2/3 mutation, up to two mixtures one high and one low, 8’ open flute, and 8’ chorus reed. The chorus reed could be Trumpet, Cornopean, Posaune, or Bombarde.

Swell: 8’ Tibia Clausa with 16’ extension, 8’ Vox Angelica, 4’ Harmonic Flute, 8’ Oboe, 4’ Gemshorn, 8’ Echo gamba, 8’ Flute Celeste, 8’ Flauto Dolce, Mixture IV, 4’ Clarion, 8’ Cornopean, and 16’ contra-Fagotto; and 8’ Vox Humana. Double Expression desirable. If no Echo Gamba or Flauto Dolce/Flute Celeste, have Gamba with Celeste. If no Tibia Clausa, use Bourdon.

Only use solo stops unique to the organ, not French Horn, Orchestral Oboe, or English Horn.

Antiphonal: full principal chorus and Horizontal Fanfare Trumpet.

Bombarde: chorus reeds at 4’, 8’, and 16’, plus a very large mixture.

Echo: a couple flute stops and a set of ethereal strings.

Pedal: principal chorus at 16’, 8’, 5’1/3, and 4’. Also a 16’ diaphone with 32’ extension. Trapdoors may be desired for 32’ extension. Also a 16’ Subbass Bourdon with 32’ extension, or better yet, a Cuboid, like Oberlinger’s Patent, extended to 32’.

Effet d’orage Thunder Pedal using diaphone pipes. Also Nightingale.

As for percussion, desire embedded electronic carillon much like Schulmerich vintage carillon with bar-rods for harp, quadra, and celesta bells, and Cymbel Star much like on https://www.ottoheuss.de/en/organparts/carillons-cymbel-stars, with wind wheel and potentiometer and at least an octave of dish-shaped bells.

For electronic carillon reference, see Schulmerich Harp, Celesta, and Quadra Bells – an Inside Look – YouTubeDemo – Vintage Schulmerich Bell Types – YouTube, and Vintage Schulmerich Carillon Overview – YouTube (If any video links are broken, say so in the comment).

Additional Carillon

Preferably four-octave mechanical carillon with wooden batons wired to clappers.

Desired orchestral instrumentation

12 First and 12 second violins, eight violas, ten cellos, and six string basses. Violins could be strohviolins or better yet, Romanian horn violins. Cellos could be strohcellos, there’s a YouTube video about it I will link later.

Six French horns, four trumpets, two trombones, one bass trombone, and one tuba. The tuba should be a five-valve, size 4/4 or larger, F tuba.

Four oboes, four bassoons, two English horns, three clarinets, three flutes, and one piccolo.

Quad-timpani included. Either electronic drum kit like Roland TD-17KVX, or separate snares, cymbals, and Tom-Tom’s. If organ doesn’t have embedded celesta, Glockenspiel, or Electronic carillon rods/bars, feature separate Glockenspiel.

Additional instruments

Electric guitar, preferably with neck humbucker, quad-rail bridge humbucker, and single-coil in the middle. Separate output for each humbucker. Single-coil could also be hexaphonic.

Choir

SATB, with Coloratura soprano solo, Heroic tenor solo, and Bass-baritone solo. Carrying rattles and/or bells.

Instrumentation ideals 

Wedding march: at least a pipe organ, trumpets, and timpani.

Hymnals: organ, choir, and carillon. The desired organ either pipe/electronic hybrid organ or a tracker organ. Desire both baroque and romantic features in the organ.

In both wedding marches and hymns, desire 16’ stopped flute, 8’ principal, 4’ octave, 2’ fifteenth, 2’2/3 mutation, 8’ flute, 8’ chorus reed, and two mixtures one high and one low on Great. For Swell, desire 16’/8’ Tibia Clausa, 8’ Vox Angelica, 4’ Harmonic Flute, 8’ Oboe, 4’ Gemshorn, 8’ Echo gamba, 8’ Flute Celeste, 8’ Flauto Dolce, Mixture IV, 4’ Clarion, 8’ Cornopean, 16’ contra-Fagotto, and 8’ Vox Humana. Double Expression would be desired. On pedal, desire 16’ Subbass Bourdon with 32’ extension, 16’ chorus reed, 8’ bass flute, 4’ choralbass, and 5’1/3 mutation. Desire 8’ gedackt, 4’ open flute, and 2’ open diapason on Positiv, and also maybe have color reed and a small mixture. For pedal, a better idea than Subbass Bourdon would be Cuboid like Oberlinger’s patent, with description in http://organstops.org/c/Cubus.html.

Contemporary Christian music

Bass guitar, ideally with two Jazz pickups one neck and one bridge with a Precision pickup between, plus semi-hollow-body electric melody guitar with two humbuckers, and an electroacoustic rhythm guitar with both microphone and piezoelectric pickup. Electronic drum kit like Roland TD-17KVX. Also piano, preferably either a real piano such as a Steinway or a hybrid piano such as the Kawai Novus. Also an electronic music keyboard such as a Korg Triton Extreme, Korg Kronos 2, Roland RD-2000, Nord Electro, Yamaha Tyros5, or Novation Summit.

Soundtrack, film score, opera, and symphony: classical or modern orchestra, electric guitar, and synthesizer. For the latter, desire a hybrid of FM synthesis and wavetable or maybe graintable synthesis. Overdriven electric guitar punch on orchestral hits, but also use higher-pitched electric guitar chords and melodies. No contrabass trombones. Desired instruments include from most to least desired cellos, violins first and second, violas, and string basses. Have at the very least German double horns for brass, and at the very least have flutes and oboes for woodwinds, and at the very least have timpani for percussion. Also have an electronic drum kit like a Roland TD-17KVX.

Sonata and concerto: Orchestral strings, timpani, and oboes, plus positive chamber organ and/or tangent piano for continuo. Positive chamber organ should have 8’ gedackt, 4’ open flute, and 2’ diapason, and maybe a small mixture and 4’ dulcian (a reed stop with resonator that’s conical in the lower and cylindrical in the upper part) or clarion. Have pedal pulldowns and a couple pedal stops at most. The tangent piano should have modern features of Steinway pianos such as cast iron frame and double escapement.

Big band jazz: Five trumpets, four trombones, two alto saxophones, two tenor saxophones, one baritone saxophone, bass guitar, piano, and drum kit. Bass guitar for the bass line, and piano for treble accompaniment.

About isomorphic keyboards

My favorites are the Wicki-Hayden layout and the Harmonic Table note layout, the former of which is a series of whole-tones offset by a perfect fifth and the latter of which is perfect fifths offset by minor and major thirds, and I also love the Gerhard layout (Shiverware Musix Pro) which is semitones offset by minor and major thirds.

The problem with the Wicki-Hayden note layout is that the distance between chromatic intervals is greater. The Harmonic Table note layout doesn’t have that same problem, but the distance between diatonic intervals is greater. I am not a fan Linnstroment’s layout, because the distance of some common chords is greater. The perfect fifth and the Octave are farther apart. Points: Gap in distance between the largest and smallest interval should be moderate. That means semitone offset by minor and major thirds or whole tone offset by perfect fourth and fifth, not semitone offset by perfect fourth or fifth. Minor and major thirds would ideally be equally emphasized, that the distance between minor third intervals would be more or less equal to distance between major third intervals, so they can be used equally.

Overall, Wicki-Hayden layout is better for melodies while the Harmonic Table is better for triads, and both are good for diads.

The answer is to have two keyboards one for each hand, each six rows wide and seven rows high for a total of 42 keys. And each keyboard should be dual-mode Harmonic Table and Wicki-Hayden. Wicki-Hayden would ascend by whole tones the same axis that the Harmonic Table ascends by perfect fifths. Therefore six whole ones wide by Wicki-Hayden and six perfect fifths wide by Harmonic Table.

Park layout (Joytone) is whole-tones offset by minor third and perfect fourth, that’s good too, but the major and minor thirds are not equal and either way it’s not a happy middle ground. That’s why I prefer Shiverware Musix Pro’s Gerhard layout over this. I also prefer Musix Pro’s Gerhard layout over the chromatic button keyboard which is semitones offset by whole tones and minor thirds. With the latter, the distance between octaves and ninths is greater. In Musix Pro, within an octave, no intervals are more than two keys apart if, by two keys apart, that’s two keys between them. But in Chromatic Button layout, there are three keys between octave intervals.

The Janko keyboard has largely redundant keys. That’s why I prefer the more modest Balanced Keyboard and Symmetrical Keyboard layouts which are similar but have two rows rather than six and don’t have redundant keys. All these three have semitones offset by whole-tones.