j ORGAN DISCOVERYjj
AN OUTSTANDING FREE VIRTUAL PIPE ORGAN OPTION
A WORD FROM THE SITE'S CREATOR
I created this website early in 2018 because I wanted to increase jOrgan's presence on the Internet. In my opinion, jOrgan deserves to be much more highly known and regarded than it seems to be. I first discovered jOrgan in about 2008. That discovery turned out to be very much a process, for although I knew a lot about pipe organs and was almost obsessively enthusiastic about them (just ask my wife!), I knew nothing about MIDI and not a lot about computers, except how to use them with relative ease. This applied to Windows computers and to a lesser extent, Linux computers. But I was totally ignorant about Mac computers, and I continue that way. Also, apart from developing some ability with the BASIC programming language of some decades ago, much of which I have now forgotten through not using it for many years, I am very ignorant of computer programming languages.
I tell the first part of my story, on my fairly amateurish website, Reimer Organs. There you may learn that I began my working life as a graduate in Electrical Engineering (alas, before the digital age), but soon began studying for the ministry within the Anglican Diocese of Sydney. At the end of four years of study, I was ordained, and then spent the next 36 years involved in normal parish work. That included much “spare time” effort during the 1980's in designing and managing the construction of a number of analogue electronic organs, most of which were bought by Sydney churches.
jOrgan was of great interest to me, because my long-
There are two other Virtual Pipe Organ programs available, both of them much better known (written before “Great Organ” was released in early 2020). Why my preference for this one? As regards the quality of sound available from them, I would class them all as being capable of producing sounds of high quality, and fairly equally. However, that does not mean that an excellent sound is always being produced, for much more is needed to achieve good results than having an excellent computer program.
The three things I look for in a VPO program are Excellence (of sound and presentation), Simplicity (of use), and Economy (of cost). And here I would include the implications for those people writing the program or constructing the VPO, and of course the user. Other people may have other priorities, and inevitably we will all differ somewhat in just what makes up excellence, simplicity and economy anyway. So there is plenty of room for much difference of opinion.
Without going into all the details, I merely want to say that I have come to the conclusion that jOrgan satisfies these three criteria, taken together, the best. That is my considered opinion, and I think I have said enough about my background to be able to claim that such an opinion will not have been arrived at, out of ignorance of the subject, or indeed at all tritely. Of course plenty of people will differ from my opinion, and I am perfectly happy about that.
HOW DOES jORGAN DIFFER FROM THE OTHER TWO?
All these VPO programs use MIDI to convey instructions from the keys and pedals being played, to the computer. Also, they all need effective audio systems plugged into the output socket of the computer in order to do justice to the high quality sounds being generated. There is no difference between jOrgan and the others there. The most significant difference, I believe, is that jOrgan alone makes use of Soundfonts in the way it handles its sound samples; the other two do not. The Soundfont technology is something that was invented some years ago to assist musicians generally, and not just organists, who wanted to use computers to create enjoyable sounds. In some cases those sounds were to be quite new, with no particular correspondence to the sounds of existing acoustic musical instruments, but certainly not in all cases. Some musicians wanted to reproduce, in a satisfying way, the sounds of existing instruments, played either solo or together.
After using jOrgan now for some years, and with a passing knowledge of what is happening with the other two options, I believe that the use of this particular technology does give jOrgan some significant advantages as regards flexibility and economy. It is certainly the case that jOrgan makes less demands upon the resources of the computer being used than the other two, especially in the amount of Random Access Memory required, to say nothing about the implications for the person creating the VPO. Again, I admit that not all VPO enthusiasts will agree with me, and may even see the use of Soundfont technology as a minus. However, this is how I see things, and having explained why, admittedly in broad terms only, I choose to leave the matter there.
I wish to express heart-
Sydney, New South Wales 2018
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