Pipe Organs vs. Electronic Organs
Put a real pipe organ and an electronic organ in the same room, play them
separately, and you will hear the difference---a dramatic difference!
This is because pipe organs and electronic organs make sounds
in different ways.
Electronic organs are mass-produced in factories to generate generic sounds. In
contrast, every pipe organ is a unique, custom-designed instrument made to order
for a particular sanctuary or other listening space.
How do electronic organs make music?
Electronic organs typically use a few loudspeakers to produce sound waves that
simulate those made by windblown pipes. In some models, digital recordings of a
few real pipes are used as a basis for electrically producing the waveforms.
When notes are played one at a time, some modern electronic organs copy the
sounds of individual pipes with remarkable realism. However, when many notes
are played simultaneously, the organ's speakers produce sounds that are the
electrically combined mixture of multiple notes. The listeners hear something
significantly different than they would hear if each note originated from its
own organ pipe, or even its own loudspeaker. The electronic organ's electrical
mixing of tones creates a sound that can be perceived even by those lacking a
trained ear as somehow unnatural and lacking the fullness and beauty of
individual, separate sounds blended in the ear.
How Do Pipe Organs Make Music?
A pipe organ consists of a vast array of real pipes which each make their own
sound from their unique position in the room. Your ear hears a chorus of sounds
originating from as many different locations as there are pipes playing. The
chorus is further enriched by the reflected sounds that are unique to each
pipe's physical location in the room. In fact, a pipe organ is usually custom
designed, and each of its pipes "voiced", to maximize its performance within the
acoustical environment of the room where it is located. Even untrained, casual
listeners will be uplifted by the complexity of sounds from a real pipe organ
just as one would prefer a live concert to a recording.
The difference between electronic organs and pipe organs is analagous to the
difference of monophonic sounds compared to stereophonic sounds multiplied many,
many times over.
See the difference too!
Of course, the visual difference between electronic organs and pipe organs makes
an impact too. Electronic organs have little to offer aesthetically. In many
churches, the physical majesty of the pipe organ is the cornerstone of sanctuary
(Also see Directory of
Recently Rebuilt Pipe Organs in North America and more information
to help you answer the question ---
"Should We Save Our Church Pipe Organ?")
Also see Why is the Sound of a Pipe Organ Better?
And The Sound of Music: Electronics vs. Pipes
Questions, Comments, Concerns
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