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Synthesizing a continuo Organ

Dear colleagues,

I recently posted a request for information about synthesized organ
options. For the continuo in a Mozart mass I needed an instrument that
we could take to a venue that didn't have an organ. The sources of real
organs from whom we had rented in the past were now charging $500 for
the week.

I promised those who responded a summary of the findings.

First, there were no modestly-priced, easily portable keyboards that had
appropriate organ voices. Only some extremely expensive or very heavy
instruments were possibilities.

I was certain that there must be organ samples available, but didn't
know how to find them. A number of you suggested sources that led me to
Crumhorn Labs. They have a program called Hauptwerk Virtual Pipe Organ
for which people all over the world have made compatible organ samples
-- from the smallest portative to monster Wurlitzer theater organs. I
purchased the small version of the program for £50. It comes with
samples of two organs, one that was perfect for the Mozart (8,4,2,1 &
1-1/3 quinte), and another more robust instrument with 30 stops.

Required to run the program are a PC with 1 gig of RAM minimum, a fast
sound card and a midi interface. We used a Sony Vaio laptop for which
we purchased a good sound card for $99 and a MIDI to USB adapter for
$129. Any keyboard with MIDI can be used, and the output can be played
through any amplifier and speaker. It was exactly what we needed, and
now we have a facility for using any organ we need, and it's completely

The web site for Crumhorn Labs is

Richard Grant
Artistic Director
The Pacific Mozart Ensemble
Berkeley, CA