The ipad organ

How to produce a playable 2 manual organ with a big sound on a limited budget for weddings in a church with no mains power? This was the problem that confronted Chris Hinkins when he was asked to play for weddings at St Bendedict’s Church Scrivelsby, in association with the amazing Scrivelsby Walled Garden venue.

Chris, who is organist at St. Mary’s Horncastle, used his experience of working with MIDI technology to come up with a solution which he hopes might help other small churches with a similar problem. ‘The spirit of Heath Robinson lives on’, he writes, ‘I started with devices I already owned and worked from there’. At the heart of the system is an Ipad, running the St Just in Roseland Organ and Pipe Organ apps, developed by Omenie Limited. These are faithful, ultra high quality reproduction of pipe organs, fully playable from one or two MIDI controller keyboards. They make a superb sound, quite up to playing decent versions of works such as the Widor Toccata (with a little ingenuity on the part of the player). In particular, the auto pedal feature, which plays the lowest note of each chord as if it were played on the pedals helps to give a really big organ sound with good reed stops.

Any keyboards are suitable, provided they have MIDI out sockets around the back and the ability to output to any channel; there are various ways to input to the ipad and the system can be connected to any sound system. In addition, pre-recorded tracks can be played through the ipad of course, which is essential for most weddings these days. There are no licensing restrictions as long as the track has been legitimately downloaded.

Chris is quite happy to supply more information on putting together a similar system. An organist with over 50 years experience (‘I started very young’, he says), he is also happy to take occasional bookings for weddings and funerals within roughly a 25 mile radius of Horncastle or to hire out the instrument. Send a query via the contact form on the home page for more details.

Here are some sound clips recorded from the ipad organ:

Prince of Denmark’s March (Jeremiah Clarke) played on the ipad organ
Bach 1 played on the ipad organ
Bach 2 played in the ipad organ
Bach 3 played on the ipad organ

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