Welcome back to the Viscount Organs blog! Today, we’re going to break down a major aspect of the pipe organs we create. If you’re familiar with us here at Viscount Organs, there’s no doubt that you’ve heard us talk about our Physis® technology that we use to voice the incredible digital and hybrid pipe organs our company is known for.
In this blog, you’ll learn some basic and advanced information about our Physis® technology!
Keep reading to get started.
What Is Physis®?
In summary, our Physis® technology is a digital physical modeling of pipe organ soundwaves. This means that each pipe’s variety of diverse sounds is recorded and digitally modeled. These physical models not only sound like the respective pipes that they’re modeled after, but they are also integrated into an algorithm that interacts and adjusts to the organist in real time to replicate the ways in which wind-blown pipe organ pipes produce sound and interact with the artist as they are played!
This all works to create a hybrid or fully-digital pipe organ that creates music that’s indiscernible from a wholly wind-blown pipe organ.
We’ve created our Physis® technology for a few reasons. For one, we love the pipe organ as an instrument. Its importance to musical history, the majesty of its sound and presence, and the amazing catalogue of music made for the pipe organ all contributed in inspiring us to create the next incarnation of pipe organ history.
We are, by no means, trying to create a technology that replaces the original wind-blown pipe organ — we hope classic pipe organs are always around and available. Instead, we’re trying to provide a solution that can effectively complete an existing pipe organ that lacks desired ranks or make a pipe organ a possibility for a space that can’t support a conventional pipe organ.
What’s more, our Physis® technology has enabled us to create our incredible Legend Series of organs that replicate the classic sound of tonewheel organs, as well as our other incredible stand-alone organs.
What Is Physical Modeling?
As we mentioned above, our Physis® technology physically models the sound of pipe organ pipes — but what does that mean? Consider visual art for a moment. If you can, picture a 2D drawing of a building of any sort. Sure, this provides a great idea of how this building looks, but from only one angle. While you can understand the building’s face, you can’t understand the substance or the depth of the building. You don’t know the nuance of its inside, or even the rest of its exterior, for that matter.
Now consider a 3D rendering — for the sake of this example imagine that same building, but instead of a 2D drawing, imagine if it were built out in a video game. Now, you can see that same view created in a 2D drawing, but even this view is more detailed and nuanced. You can see different gradients of the shadows falling over the front of the building, you can see discoloration on the building’s siding, you can even see scratches on the window — and that’s only the front view.
From there, you can walk around the building and get the same level of detail on all four walls of this building. You can even enter the building and experience its interior! All around, you get a more intimate and deep understanding of the building.
Now, let’s apply that to pipe organs. Consider a musical sample. If you don’t know what this is, here’s a quick explanation — a musical sample, for example, is a recording of an audio file from a song or instrument. A musical sample like this is equivalent to the initial 2D drawing we discussed. Sure, it’s a valid representation of the instrument’s sound — but only in one specific context. You don’t get the nuance of how that one pipe interacts when played with other pipes, and there is no dynamic range available to add artistic variance to the sample.
With our Physis® technology, we are effectively creating a 3D audio rendering of the sound a pipe produces — insane, right? So instead of a singular representation of that pipe’s sound, you get a multi-faceted, in-depth understanding of what sounds the pipe makes, and the sounds it makes in different contexts. The result? An incredibly rich digital pipe organ that sounds just like one that’s powered by wind!
And that’s just one pipe. With our Physis® technology, we simultaneously access the 3D renderings of thousands of pipes at the same time. It’s truly a technological feat that we’re proud to share with the world!
For a more in-depth view on this concept, check out our page that introduces our Physis® technology.
Using Physis® To Obtain The Organ Of Your Dreams
Now that we have a general understanding of what our Physis® does to create the sounds of wind-blown pipe organ pipes, let’s look in some things you can do with our proprietary technology to create an organ that sounds and operates how you want it to.
By pairing our Physis® technology with our expertly-crafted pipe organs, we’re able to create an performance experience indiscernible from a pipe organ performance done on a conventional organ. Here are some of the incredible features you can use with our Physis® technology.
The Tracker Toucher
As any organist knows, as you manipulate stops, the touch of an organ’s keys changes. The more stops that are pulled, the more resistance you experience when pressing the keys. With Viscount Organs that are equipped with Physis® technology, you can have accurate tracker touching for your keys. We include this to appease those classical organists — even with a fully-digital pipe organ, you can experience the tactile joy you know and love from the pipe organ.
That being said, we also support electric-action or even the touch associated with a classic digital church organ. Again, we’re the leaders in pipe organ technology. We know what organists want and need, and have worked tirelessly to develop technologies that can adapt to the needs and expectations of the organist.
Variable Windchest Configuration And Air Pressure
Any pipe organist has an intimate understanding of the instrument. Thus, they’ll know that a pipe organ plays differently depending on the wind chest system it’s operating off of. If the pipe organ has one wind chest, it’s going to respond to inputs differently than a pipe organ with three wind chests.
With Physis® technology and Viscount Organs, you’re able to change the amount of wind chests used as you play, and the intensity of the blowers and air pressure changes. This results in a sound that sounds exactly like the organ of your dreams.
Ensemble Effect Replication
Another nuanced feature of wind-powered pipe organs that any pipe organ enthusiast expects to hear is the ensemble effect — those minute tuning shifts that are inherent in the anatomy of a pipe organ. Even when a pipe organ isn’t wanting for air pressure, you’ll still hear those small shifts in the tuning of the sound.
Integrated into our Physis® technology is an algorithm that calculates and executes the sound of a pipe organ in real time, as you’ve engineered it. Included in this algorithm is a code to create this ensemble effect that organ lovers know and expect in their music. Again, we’ve included the most nuanced and integral aspects of the pipe organ’s sound and function into our pipe organ technology.
In regard to organ function, this is the last feature we’re showing off today! As you know, if you were to repeatedly play the same note on your pipe organ, over and over, each time the note would have a nuanced alteration to the attack.
If you’re familiar with sampled-sound digital organs, you’re also probably familiar with the fact that these samples do not represent the organic way a wind-powered pipe organ changes in attack with each press of a note. That’s because with the conventional digital pipe organ, each key-press just pulls a different sample.
With our Physis® technology, we don’t simply loop random samples to effectively reproduce the sound of variable attack. Instead, we’ve integrated sophisticated codes into our technology’s algorithm that allows it to accurately recreate the sound of variable attack, making for an authentic experience.
Since we’ve discussed the elements of our instruments and technology that allow our instruments to sound the same as a wind-powered pipe organ, we have to talk about another incredible feature we’ve integrated into our Physis® technology.
We’ve integrated room modeling into our Physis® technology. This isn’t the “Church Reverb” or “Concert Hall Reverb” you’re used to seeing on a digital pipe organ. Instead, this is a sophisticated system that allows you to create a specific acoustic space within your organ’s set up.
Within Physis®, you’ll first choose the material of the acoustic space you’re creating. We offer settings for stone, wood, brick, and plaster, as each of these building materials have a different effect on the acoustics of a space. However, we don’t stop there! After deciding your acoustic space’s material, you then choose the humidity level of the space from a selection of low, medium, or high.
This all creates a feature that allows you, once again, to tailor your pipe organ’s sound to your desires, needs, and the space you’re performing in.
Hopefully, this blog has helped explain, in detail, the intricacies of our Physis® technology. We’re so ecstatic to have such an incredible musical tool at our disposal, and have worked tirelessly to make it available to organists like you.
If you’re interested in obtaining an organ with Physis® technology, or you’d like to upgrade your current organ to integrate our innovative technology, please contact us today! We’ll be happy to get you started with our pipe organs and pipe organ technology.