j ORGAN DISCOVERYjj
AN OUTSTANDING FREE VIRTUAL PIPE ORGAN OPTION
This is not an official jOrgan website. It is one I have created at my own initiative, in order to share the good things which jOrgan provides with more people than seems to be happening, and to make it easier for them to discover these good things for themselves.
Throughout this website, I shall be assuming the use of Windows (unless I actually mention Linux or Mac), and users of those other systems will need to make their own appropriate changes to what is being said. I am also assuming that you remain connected to the internet while using this website.
One further matter. Some people will find my instructions too wordy, and will get very impatient. But I am being as inclusive as possible. I know from bitter experience that lots of computer instructions assumed a greater knowledge than I had at the time. There have been countless occasions when I have encountered ambiguity or inadequate instructions, and it has been very frustrating. I am very serious about covering all bases.
What follows is a carefully-
jOrgan is a highly-
The Java Realtime Environment program needs to be installed on any computer intended to be used with jOrgan. One outcome is that this allows jOrgan to have a very attractive and flexible Graphical User Interface, making its visual presentation ideal for users and developers of VPO's alike.
WHAT DO I NEED TO START?
As a bare minimum, you need a computer capable of running the program. This normally means a Personal Computer, although I believe that some enthusiasts may have jOrgan running on various tablets and so on. It can be run successfully even on a Raspberry Pi. jOrgan can be used on Windows computers (probably better to use nothing older than XP), on most Linux computers, and on some Mac computers. Regarding Mac, I have some doubts about the suitability of some of the more recent Mac versions, at least until a jOrgan expert looks into this and is able to remedy it with changes to the jOrgan program, if that will make the difference.
Ideally, you also need a MIDI keyboard to enable you actually to play it for yourself. 61 keys is the desirable size, matching modern organ requirements. If the keyboard has only a MIDI OUT socket, you will need a MIDI-
jOrgan (and the other programs, I believe) have “virtual keyboards” which can be made to appear on the computer screen. You can use them to play one note at a time by clicking on the “keys” with a mouse, but although that is good for testing the program, you will soon tire of it. However, I believe that they all have inbuilt recorders on which you can play appropriate MIDI files, to hear the sound even if you lack the ability to play music for yourself.
You do, of course, need to have a basic knowledge of how to use your computer. If you think you are lacking in that department, swallow your pride and ask family members or friends to show you what you need to know. You also need to know how to download the appropriate files from the internet and install or use them in your computer.
There are two main on-
The jOrgan Wiki is another thing again. It is actually a repository for “everything that needs to be known about jOrgan”. It was written in the first instance by Sven Meier, the creator of jOrgan (a genius, in my estimation), who has retired from the project, after years of hard and very productive work, but leaving it in excellent shape. I am writing this Preamble at the beginning of 2018, and his place is yet to be taken by someone else who has the knowledge and ability to promote the ongoing development of jOrgan. You need to be warned that the jOrgan Wiki is not easy to read in some places, so don't be put off. I find parts of it to be impenetrable, myself. But if you are someone just starting out, rather than an enthusiast wanting to create your own VPO or to push the boundaries of jOrgan in some direction or other, you need to read very little in the jOrgan Wiki, except for the download instructions and the list of available jOrgan VPO's. And I will now guide you through that material.
There are three things you have to download: a version of jOrgan suitable for your computer, and likewise, a suitable version of the Java Realtime Environment program (“Java” explains the “j” in jOrgan). jOrgan will not work without it. The third thing is one or more actual VPO's which can be played using jOrgan. A VPO suitable for jOrgan is actually a group of files, kept within a single folder, and that folder is often called the disposition. The download is usually in the form of a “.zip” file, which needs to be unzipped before it can be used.
There is one other thing that needs to be explained in this introduction, and it is very important. Not only does jOrgan require the Java program to be installed on your computer, but it requires a version of Java (32-
In any event, if you are starting to use jOrgan with a Windows computer, it is fairly likely that you will not yet have any version of Java on it. So you have to download both Java and jOrgan, and the versions have to agree. So which version should you use?
jOrgan seems to work equally well with either. The only factor, really, is whether you plan to use some “additional” soundcard for your audio instead of simply the headphone socket of your computer, or whether you plan to use some other peripheral device for some other purpose, and those things REQUIRE either 32-
My recommendation for those only moderately experienced in computer use is to choose 32-
You will need to make a choice: 32-
I suggest that you do that first. But you probably should check to see if it is already on your computer. A simple way is to bring up the “Uninstall List” and see if it is there. (For Windows versions up to Windows 7, click on the Windows Start icon in the bottom-
WARNING (added 3rd November 2018)
Oracle Java has recently made changes in its Version 10 (and future versions) which jOrgan is in the process of catching up with. Users of 64-
Mac users should take special note, as some Mac versions seem to use Java Version 6 as a default. jOrgan 3.21 will certainly not work with Java 6, and it may be that Jorgan 3.20 will not work with it either. The difficulties in trying to use jOrgan on Mac computers are currently being addressed by the jOrgan development team. It is likely that jOrgan will work on most versions of Mac OS X if the above warning about the Java version is heeded, but will not work on the macOS operating system. I suggest you use Boot Camp as a work-
If you need to download Java, after clicking on “jOrgan Wiki”, click on “Installation” in the navigation list at the left, and scroll down until you see “Java”. Find the words, “This is the best link to use” and click on the  which immediately follows it. This takes you to a Java download webpage. You will see three options for Windows. Numbers 2 and 3 are for a manual download, and you should choose one of those, so that Java does not automatically download a version you do not want.
If you want 32-
If you want 64-
After the download is finished, you will need to choose whether to Run or Save. I think it is a good idea usually to save it, so that it ends up in the Downloads folder. This means that if you want to install it a second time for some reason later on, it is easy to do so.
If after Windows has downloaded the file and saved it, it offers you the option of examining the file in the Downloads folder, you should do that. You then don't have to find it.
How do you find it (if you have to)? I am typing these instructions on a computer which has Windows 7, and in Windows 7 (and possibly in other Windows versions) there are actually two separate Downloads folders! If the file is not in the first you examine, then you will have to look for it in the other. To find these folders, click on the Start icon in the bottom-
The file you are looking for starts with “jre”. It then indicates the version, and finishes with the file extension “.exe”. You normally have to scroll down past any folders in the list until you get to the files.
To install Java on your computer, double-
For Mac or Linux users, I suggest that you use the  link mentioned above, and then read the various “Instructions”, including all four in the case of Linux, before choosing which download. Note that if you have an old version of Ubuntu, it may still be 32-
The download and installation of jOrgan can follow:
After clicking on “jOrgan Wiki”, you will see the Home page, where you will find the heading, “Download”. You should click on “Latest installer for Windows”. What you see there is immediately confusing. You should ignore the green and blue links at the top. Below you will see 3.21 and 3.20. My advice is to choose the 3.20 (i.e. jOrgan version 3.20 for Windows), which I think is still officially the latest version, with 3.21 properly called a “beta” version, even if it does seem to work 100%. Next you will be presented with two files. The choice is easy. For 32-
Follow basically the installation instructions which were given above for Java.
If you need to find the downloaded installation file, the file you are looking for in Downloads starts with “jOrgan”. It then indicates the version, and finishes with the file extension “.exe”. Double-
FOOTNOTE: The installation process will have placed a “jOrgan” folder within either the Program Files folder or the Program Files (x86) folder. It will also have done this for a “Java” folder. As I have already mentioned, this gives you an easy check on what versions you have installed (32-
You don't have to do anything about Java, but you will probably now want to run jOrgan. The installation will have placed a shortcut onto your Desktop, and double-
One of the files within the VPO zip file possesses the file extension “.disposition”, but the other files are necessary as well. You will need to unzip it all into a single folder before it can be used. During that process, you will need to nominate where on your computer you want to place that single folder. You could, for example, simply put it on the Desktop, but that is not a very tidy thing to do.
With Windows, especially with anything later than XP, you should place that single folder into some computer location OTHER THAN a Program Files folder. This is for normal housekeeping reasons, connected with Microsoft's wish to maintain security/permissions protocols (users of other systems will probably find a similar situation there). In Windows, My Documents is a good place, but it can really go into any “main” folder that you create yourself and place wherever you like (other than the exclusion I have mentioned). I warn you that installing jOrgan will have placed a “jOrgan” folder within either the Program Files folder or the Program Files (x86) folder. Within that jOrgan folder, there is actually a sub-
To find the jOrgan VPO's, go to the jOrgan Wiki page called “Shared Dispositions”, where you will find links to a number of websites. For your convenience, below are direct links to four VPO's which you may like to start with, as good examples of various types. I have suggested these four examples, because as far as I can see, they should all work for you first go, with no problems.
I suggest that at least with the first one you try, after you open it, and its console has shown up on the computer screen, you should try a few notes using the on-
If you have a MIDI keyboard or a MIDI-
If your physical console outputs MIDI messages when stop switches, pistons and swell pedals are operated, you will probably want jOrgan to respond to those messages . The steps you should take are covered in a footnote to my INSTRUCTIONS pdf file (click HERE).
If with the computer audio turned up as high as possible, you still find the volume inadequate, it is possible to increase it by adjusting the Fluidsynth Gain. This and other settings can be adjusted in the last window of the Customizer. Here is some guidance:
You may need to increase the Gain setting if the sound is too soft, or to reduce the Gain setting if you find that the sound is distorted (the maximum allowed is “1”). Also, you may find that you can improve the operation of this VPO in your particular computer by adjusting the Fluidsynth buffer size settings. Try increasing or decreasing the settings for buffer size or the number of buffers. Such changes to the buffer size should be made only by a factor of 2. Thus you may change “512” to “256” or “1024” etc. Click on Finish to enter the new settings, and Save the disposition (File, Save). Increasing the settings may improve the sound by eliminating unwanted crackles etc., but it may be at the expense of latency, where there is a noticeable delay between pressing the playing key and hearing the sound. Try to find a setting which satisfies you.
(Most of the above detail is taken from the body or the Footnotes of my INSTRUCTIONS pdf file.)
Paul is by far the most productive of the jOrgan VPO creators, and his large ACO is very popular amongst jOrgan users. It uses synthesized samples, but although it has a large number of stops, it still presents as a very small download. You may have only two manuals (or even only one), but you can still access all its manual stops by appropriate use of the couplers. However, this download gives you a choice of versions, and there is even a two-
Rick has based this VPO on a three-
This VPO uses recordings (3 per octave) made by Paul of an Aeolian-
This is the first of my VPO's using recorded samples (6 per octave), created from recordings I made of a small two-
As already noted, I have selected these four VPO's because they should work. If you have followed all the download and installation instructions correctly, then that is what I expect.
If you strike problems, there are three sources of help on-
This is a carefully-
(Sorry, there are no graphics!).
This is actually a free Google ebook. As with my INSTRUCTIONS.pdf, it is very detailed, and even better, it is full of pictures!
It covers a lot of the ground my document covers, and probably mentions some points I didn't, so it is certainly worth consulting even if you have already worked through what I have advised. However, it assumes that you need to do it all in 64-
Click HERE, from which it can be downloaded as a pdf file. (Find the Tools icon at the top right, click on its Option arrow, and click on “Download PDF”).
This is a set of four pdf files which although a bit out of date (last revision 2009, dealing with jOrgan 3.7), are extremely detailed and helpful, if a little daunting. Also, the pdf files are full of pictures. I find this huge work very inspiring, not only because Bill Skees was provoked by his experience with jOrgan to commit himself to the work of creating this huge source of information about jOrgan and about setting it up, adjusting it and using it; but also because it opens the eyes of the discerning reader to the almost unlimited world of musical creativity and enjoyment which jOrgan makes possible, and all at minimal cost!
Click HERE for Volume 1.
Click HERE for Volume 2.
Click HERE for Volume 3.
Click HERE for Volume 4.
If you have not been able to solve your problems on your own by consulting the helps just mentioned, then you can consult the jOrgan – User Forum. To send posts, you will need firstly to register. What you are actually doing is registering with the jOrgan – User Mailing List, which is hosted by SourceForge. It operates by means of an emailing system. In fact, the emails are all archived, and can be be searched by entering some keyword via the jOrgan – User website. You have the choice of basically using the email system, or the Forum, which is a service provided by Nabble, and conveniently presents the emails as posts collected into threads, and also provides a good archiving and searching function. Some users prefer the convenience of the Nabble Forum, but others prefer simply to use the Mailing List.
You can also email individual jOrgan users for help, and most can be expected to respond positively if they are able to do so. The Forum (but not the Mailing List archive) provides a convenient way to ascertain their email addresses, if they have at some time sent a Forum post/List email. You need to find one of their posts, look across to the left and click on their Username (located immediately above their Avatar image). You should soon locate their address, but also the opportunity is given there to send an email “via jOrgan”. In this case your email (as received by them) will probably indicate that it is related to jOrgan, but it would probably be a good idea to include in the email Subject line the word,“jOrgan”.
For the Nabble jOrgan – User Forum, click HERE. To register (i.e. “Subscribe”), use the link immediately below.
For the SourceForge jOrgan – User Mailing List website, click HERE, in order to register or to change your options. (Uncheck the Newsletter options, if that is what you prefer.)
Many other VPO’s have been created by jOrgan users and are available for free download. Most of them have been developed using Windows, and like the four above, should work immediately “out of the box”. However, this will not be the case if you are using Linux or Mac computers, for you then have to change the audio driver entry in the Fluidsynth soundfont properties to match your system. And occasionally the creator may have inadvertently left some other setting which needs adjustment for your system (see Question 3 on F.A.Q. page).
Those VPO’s can usually be downloaded from the websites of the creators. Links to those website are provided on the “Shared Dispositions” page of the jOrgan Wiki. Click HERE.
It will not surprise me if you find at least two aspects disappointing in your initial experience of jOrgan: the latency and the quality of the reverberation.
If you are using Windows, and especially if the CPU of your computer is not very fast, you may find a slight delay between playing the keys and hearing the sound. This is called “latency”. Good (or “low”) latency means a small or unnoticeable delay. In Windows versions after XP, the audio (dsound) has normally been handled in a less than ideal way, leading to a definite increase in latency. Microsoft has provided a work-
Organs usually need at least some noticeable reverberation to be heard to full advantage. The reverberation effect provided by Fluidsynth, although very adjustable by the jOrgan user, is regarded by many users as of unacceptable quality, unless adjusted to be of quite a low level compared to the main VPO sound. One solution is to use external reverberation devices. But also, there are third-
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