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HAMMOND ORGAN ADDITIVE SYNTHESIS - A NEW METHOD
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Copyright (C) 1997 Paul F Schnellbecher 'pauless@rahul.net'

The first modern organ I ever played was a Hammond B-3 with a Model 31H Leslie speaker. It was in the local Methodist church. This was 1960 and I was fifteen when I became the organist. I studied piano beforehand and used the two volumes of the Ethel Smith Hammond Organ Method in order to learn to operate the console. I was not any good at playing Tico Tico. I was unhappy with the registrations presented in the books and I didn't like the standard preset key settings. What to do?

In the organ bench I found a couple of booklets published by the Hammond Organ Company which gave sample drawbar settings. These and the later-acquired Dictionary of Hammond Organ Stops said that to sum a chorus of stops together it was necessary to use the largest figure among the combination as the value for each given drawbar. Example:


To combine:
     Open Diapason 8'    00 8876 540
     Open Flute 8'       00 7632 000
     Salicional 8'       00 4554 322

Use:                     00 8876 542

I couldn't accept the idea that combining two powerful stops and a medium string could be simulated by using the most powerful stop with only a tiny contribution from the string. The excuse for this crock given by Stevens Irwin in the Dictionary is that powerful stops have in their makeup the tone of other less powerful stops. Balderdash. If this were so, 88 8888 888 would sound perfectly thrilling.

Being a literal sort of person, I decided that if stops were to be added, we would add:

     Open Diapason 8'     0  0    8  8  7  6    5  4  0
     Open Flute 8'        0  0    7  6  3  2    0  0  0
     Salicional 8'        0  0    4  5  5  4    3  2  2
                         -------------------------------
                          0  0   19 19 15 12    8  6  2

In no case is any carrying done between columns! We are summing as many as nine separate quantities.

Since any partial may only be drawn out to 8, it is necessary in most cases to divide down by two:

                          0  0   19 19 15 12    8  6  2
                         -------------------------------
                          0  0   10 10  8  6    4  3  1


It's still too big, so we will divide down again:

0 0 10 10 8 6 4 3 1 ------------------------------- 0 0 5 5 4 3 2 2 1

Divided down so that no drawbar's total is greater than eight, we find the combination works out to 00 5543 221.

You can see from looking at it that this combination shows the addition of the string much more than a combination by the traditional method will. The Open Flute doesn't work out to be so prominent as one might expect, but from my experience with pipe organs, I have come to expect a Melodia added to a big Open will not make as much difference in the loudness as might be expected. It will add "fatness" to the sound. Unfortunately we are unable on a Hammond Organ to suggest this fatness other than by switching on another speaker cabinet, perhaps.

Let's take one more example to compare the traditional and the additive methods for combining stops. This time we will combine stops of more than one pitch:

     Singend Gedack 8'        0  0   8  4  4  0   0  0  0
     Copula 4'                0  0   0  6  0  5   0  2  1
     Quinta 2-2/3'            0  0   0  0  4  0   0  3  0
     Blockflote 2'            0  0   0  0  0  4   0  0  2
                             -----------------------------
     Traditional Combination  0  0   8  6  4  5   0  3  2

I guarantee that if you drew these stops on the Positiv of your local Baroque-style pipe organ, you would hear something more like this:

     Singend Gedack 8'        0  0   8  4  4  0   0  0  0
     Copula 4'                0  0   0  6  0  5   0  2  1
     Quinta 2-2/3'            0  0   0  0  4  0   0  3  0
     Blockflote 2'            0  0   0  0  0  4   0  0  2
                             -----------------------------
     Sums                     0  0   8 10  8  9   0  5  3
                             -----------------------------
     Halved to fit            0  0   4  5  4  5   0  3  2

Working with this system after some careful comparitive listening will bring in some experience and judgement which says to try strengthening the combination:

                              0  0   6  8  6  8   0  5  3

This is a rather sprightly combination of stops. You will want in a case like this to play a little less legato than you ordinarily do.

Before we get deeper into additive synthesis, I would like to address some playing and equipment issues which will help make the sounds you create more convincing.

I once played a Hammond C-3 which spoke through a large Leslie in the choir stalls and through two arrays of six twelve-inch Jensen speakers. The Leslie and the Jensens were switched either/both. The Jensens were driven by MacIntosh amplifiers. In this environment, key click became a convincing substitute for pipe chiff, and I would not have believed it had I not played it and heard it for myself.

This brings up another matter about realism. You can rack up a set of good church Principal pipes in your living room, put temporary styrofoam chips in the toes to cut the sheer volume so the neighbors won't complain, and you will have a nice but somewhat dull if intimate sound.

The same pipes set unenclosed and open-toed against a hard plaster wall and above ear level will take on a much more "cathedralesque" sound. The difference is placement and environment. You can work toward this in a house by placing a speaker cabinet on an upstairs landing. Cranking up the treble on it may also help the illusion of Big Instrument.

Another church where I was assistant organist had a Hammond CV with an old upright "coffin" Hammond speaker. The speaker was rated at 20 watts. This was not much output for a room seating easily 200 people. Because the ceiling was open beamed and the walls hard plaster, there was almost no sound absorption.

For a stunt at a recital, I had a BSEE candidate tap into the phono input on the preamplifier and run a line to the public address amplifier phono input. Everybody tells me the phono input on a Hammond preamplifier is for input and that what we did was severely unorthodox or that it should not have worked. Be that as it may, it worked most excellently!

The increase of complexity in sound was greater in effect than the addition of a couple of twelve-inch RCA PA speakers up in the rafters would suggest. You will improve the sound of any Hammond Organ immensely by having more than one sound source. The secondary sources do not have to be fancy to work. But they should not dominate the output of the tone cabinet(s).

The 8' Clarinet registration I used on some Lutheran chorales at that recital surprised even me in its plaintive beauty with the additional speakers operating -- 00 5161 431. This registration is at its best in the octave above Middle C.

Another help toward making a sound from the Hammond believeable is to use it in an appropriate range. Generally, the more complex the character of the sound, the more convincing and musical it will be above Middle C. You should be careful adding 16-foot tone to Hammond registrations. They become not grave and serious but muddy very quickly if not handled with delicacy.

We will analyze a typical stoplist and build up some full choruses from it next.

For reference, I am including the Hammond Preset Key equivalents as reported in the Hammond FAQ.

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Standard Hammond Organ Preset Key Drawbar Equivalents
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SWELL/UPPER ----------- C# 8' Stopped Flute 0 0 5 3 2 0 0 0 0 D 8' Dulciana 0 0 4 4 3 2 0 0 0 D# 8' French Horn 0 0 8 7 4 0 0 0 0 E 8' Salicional 0 0 4 5 4 4 2 2 2 F - Flutes 8' & 4' 0 0 5 4 0 3 0 0 0 F# 8' Oboe 0 0 4 6 7 5 3 0 0 G 8' Swell Diapason 0 0 5 6 4 4 3 2 0 G# 8' Trumpet 0 0 6 8 7 6 5 4 0 A - Full Swell 3 2 7 6 4 5 2 2 2 GREAT/LOWER ----------- C# 8' Cello 0 0 4 5 4 5 4 4 0 D - Fl 8' & Str 8' 0 0 4 4 3 2 2 2 0 D# 8' Clarinet 0 0 7 3 7 3 4 3 0 E 8' Salicional* 0 0 4 5 4 4 2 2 2 F - Great w/o Reeds 0 0 6 6 4 4 3 2 2 F# 8' Open Diapason 0 0 5 6 4 2 2 0 0 G - Full Great 0 0 6 8 4 5 4 3 3 G# 8' Tibia Clausa 0 0 8 0 3 0 0 0 0 A - Full Organ w/16' 4 2 7 8 6 6 2 4 4 * On some models: E - Diap, Str & Fl 8' [ registration unavailable ]

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Theatrical Hammond Organ Preset Key Drawbar Equivalents
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SOLO/UPPER
----------
C#   8' French Horn      0  0     8  7  4  0     0  0  0
D    -  Tibia 8' & 2'    0  0     8  4  0  8     0  0  4
D#   8' Clarinet         0  0     8  0  8  0     8  4  0
E    8' Novel Solo       0  8     8  8  0  0     8  8  0
F   16' Theatre Solo     6  0     8  0  8  8     0  0  0
F#   8' Oboe Horn        0  0     4  6  8  5     3  0  0
G   16' Full Tibias      6  0     8  8  0  7     0  0  6
G#   8' Trumpet          0  0     6  8  8  8     6  5  4
A   16' Full Thtr Brass  7  6     8  8  7  8     6  6  7

ACCOMPANIMENT/LOWER
-------------------
C#   8' Cello            0  0     4  5  4  5     4  4  0
D    8' Dulciana         0  0     4  4  3  2     0  0  0
D#   8' Vibraharp        0  0     4  8  0  0     0  0  0
E    -  Vox 8' & Tib 4'  0  0     3  8  0  0     4  6  0
F    8' String Accomp    0  0     6  5  5  4     3  2  2
F#   8' Open Diapason    0  0     5  6  4  2     2  0  0
G   16' Full Accomp      4  3     5  4  3  4     3  3  4
G#   8' Tibia            0  0     8  0  3  0     0  0  0
A   16' Bombarde         8  4     7  7  6  7     6  6  6

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Let us analyze the layout of these preset schemes. First, the sharps are almost always single stops of solo character. This makes them easy to locate. Correspondingly, the naturals are accompanimental tones and ensembles graded in strength from soft to loud. Everyone is at least subconsciously used to this sort of layout, so I will preserve it when offering new schemes to spruce up a Hammond's voicing.

Unfortunately, many of the tones, especially in the standard scheme, are too much alike and too plain. Strings need to be a bit brighter and flutes a bit clearer. Diapasons and chorus reeds such as trumpets tend to be too much alike; hornlike for the diapasons and choked for the trumpets. The ensembles have no sparkle. We can fix this to some degree if we take the stoplist of a well-appointed two-manual pipe organ and use the Hammond preset keys in much the same way as we would combination pistons.

First, here is a simple way to improve the standard scheme:

SWELL/UPPER
-----------
C#   8' Stopped Flute    0  0     6  1  4  2     1  0  0
D    8' Dulciana         0  0     4  4  3  3     2  1  1
D#   8' French Horn      0  0     8  7  6  5     3  2  1
E    8' Salicional       0  0     4  5  5  4     3  2  2
F    -  Flutes 8' & 4'   0  0     5  6  2  3     0  1  2
F#   8' Oboe             0  0     3  6  7  5     3  2  1
G    8' Swell Diapason   0  0     7  7  6  5     4  3  2
G#   8' Trumpet          0  0     7  8  7  7     7  6  6
A    -  Full Swell       3  2     7  6  4  6     3  4  6

GREAT/LOWER
-----------
C#   8' Cello            0  0     4  5  4  4     2  2  1
D    -  Fl 8' & Str 8'   0  0     5  6  4  3     3  2  2
D#   8' Clarinet         0  0     6  2  7  2     5  3  2
E    8' Salicional*      0  0     4  5  4  4     4  4  3
F    -  Great w/o Reeds  0  0     6  8  4  5     3  5  5
F#   8' Open Diapason    0  0     8  8  7  6     5  4  2
G    -  Full Great       0  0     7  8  6  8     5  7  6
G#   8' Tibia Clausa     0  0     8  0  5  0     2  0  0
A    -  Full Organ w/16' 4  2     7  8  6  8     4  6  7

* On some models:

E    -  Diap,Str&Fl 8'   0  0     5  6  3  4     2  1  1

I offer this pipe organ scheme as the example we will work through to lay out new preset keys:

GREAT
-----
   16' Dulciana               3  0    4  2  0  0     0  0  0
   16' Quintadena             5  4    1  1  0  0     0  0  0
    8' Principal              0  0    7  8  7  6     4  3  2
    8' Stopt Diapason         0  0    6  1  3  2     1  0  0
    8' Dulciana               0  0    3  4  3  2     1  0  0
    4' Octave                 0  0    0  6  0  7     0  6  5
    4' Flute d'Amour          0  0    0  5  0  1     0  3  1
    4' Dulcet                 0  0    0  3  0  4     0  3  2
2-2/3' Nazard                 0  0    0  0  6  0     0  3  0
    2' Fifteenth              0  0    0  0  0  5     0  0  4
    2' Blockflute             0  0    0  0  0  4     0  0  3
1-1/3' Fourniture IV          0  0    0  0  0  0     0  6  6
   16' Trombone               6  5    6  5  5  4     2  1  1
    8' Trumpet                0  0    8  8  7  7     6  6  5
    4' Clarion                0  0    0  7  0  8     0  7  7

SWELL
-----
   16' Bourdon                6  3    1  1  0  0     0  0  0
    8' Geigen Diapason        0  0    6  7  8  7     6  5  4
    8' Claribel Flute         0  0    7  8  3  5     2  1  0
    8' Viola Pomposa          0  0    5  5  4  4     3  2  2
    8' Aeoline                0  0    2  2  2  1     1  1  1
    4' Geigen Octave          0  0    0  6  0  7     0  7  6
    4' Clear Flute            0  0    0  7  0  7     0  4  2
    4' Dolce                  0  0    0  5  0  5     0  4  4
2-2/3' Twelfth                0  0    0  0  5  0     0  4  0
    2' Piccolo                0  0    0  0  0  5     0  0  4
1-3/5' Tierce                 0  0    0  0  0  0     5  0  0
1-1/3' Larigot                0  0    0  0  0  0     0  5  0
    1' Fife                   0  0    0  0  0  0     0  0  5
    8' Tuba                   0  3    7  8  8  8     7  7  7
    8' Trumpet                0  0    6  7  8  7     6  6  5
    8' Oboe                   0  0    2  4  6  5     4  3  2
    8' Clarinet               0  0    5  1  6  2     4  3  1
    8' Vox Humana             0  0    3  6  7  2     6  2  2

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I used the example pipe organ specification as a basis for a new set of preset key drawbar combinations, It keeps solo stops on the sharp keys and accompaniments and choruses on the naturals, all in order of power. I compared the unedtited totals for the choruses and adjusted them slightly to make the large combinations rise realistically in power. This is the finished data set:

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Revised Hammond Organ Preset Key Drawbar Equivlents
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SWELL     DESCRIPTION    CONTENT        R E G I S T R A T I O N
-----
C#        Softest Solo   Viola Pomp     0 0   5 5 4 4   3 2 2
D         Softest Accomp Aeoline        0 0   2 2 2 1   1 1 1
D#        Medium Solo    Claribel Fl    0 0   7 8 3 5   2 1 0
E         Strings        VP Ael Dolc    0 0   4 6 3 5   2 4 4
F         Diaps & Flutes Geig Cbl Clr   0 0   3 7 3 6   2 4 3
F#        Orch Solo Reed Oboe           0 0   2 4 6 5   4 3 2
G         Fanfare        Tuba           0 3   7 8 8 8   7 7 7
G#        Brass Solo     Trumpet        0 0   6 7 8 7   6 6 5
A         Full Swell     Flues & Trump  3 2   4 8 5 8   4 6 5

GREAT
-----
C#        Softest Solo   St Diap        0 0   6 1 3 2   1 0 0
D         Softest Accomp Dulciana       0 0   3 4 3 2   1 0 0
D#        Medium Solo    St Diap Fl dAm 0 0   6 6 3 3   1 3 1
E         MF Flues to 2' Fl Dul Block   3 1   6 7 2 5   1 2 2
F         Prncpls to 2'  8 4 2-2/3 2    3 2   4 8 7 8   2 6 6
F#        Great Trumpet  Trump          0 0   8 8 7 7   6 6 5
G         Full Great     Prncpls Reeds  3 2   7 8 5 8   3 8 8
G#        Reed Chorus    Tromb Trump Cl 2 2   6 7 5 6   4 5 5
A         Full Organ     incl Tuba      4 3   6 8 6 8   3 8 8

-----------------------------------------------------------------

Here is a representation of a Lotus spreadsheet which can be downloaded from this page. I prepared to help with the adding of stops together. I used the Lotus spreadsheet to make the computations which led to the new preset scheme above.

Each of the columns, SUB QNT UNISON OCT NAZ FIF TIERCE LAR SIF, in the spreadsheet is added independently of the other columns. The actual total of "points" for each drawbar or partial is the first line in the totals section below. The totals are each divided by two, independently of the other columns, three times.

You choose whichever set of totals has no figure greater than 8. You may need to round up or down to take care of decimals. On some Hammond models you can set a drawbar between numbers; other models have clickstops between numbers.

This will put you close to the ensemble combination you seek. The effect of age on components in the organ, the characteristics of the tone cabinets and the sort of room into which the organ speaks with have some effect on the outcome. You will need to make final adjustments to the drawbar combination when you try it under the conditions it will be used.

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HAMMOND ORGAN ADDITIVE SYNTHESIS COMPUTER
================================================================

STOP NAME             SUB QNT UNISON OCT NAZ FIF TIERCE LAR SIF
----------------------------------------------------------------
Open Diapason           0   0      7   8   7   6      5   4   3
Melodia                 0   0      7   8   4   5      2   1   0
Dulciana                0   0      5   5   4   4      3   2   1
Octave                  0   0      0   6   0   7      0   6   5
Harmonic Flute          0   0      0   6   0   6      0   4   3
Dulcet                  0   0      0   5   0   5      0   4   4
Nazard                  0   0      0   0   5   0      0   5   0
Fifteenth               0   0      0   0   0   6      0   0   6
Mixture IV              0   0      0   0   0   0      0   7   7
Trumpet                 0   3      6   8   8   7      6   6   5
Clarion                 0   0      0   6   3   8      0   7   7
Trombone                6   7      7   6   5   4      3   2   1
Quintaton               6   4      2   2   1   1      0   0   0   
----------------------------------------------------------------
Totals                 12  14     34  60  37  59     19  48  42
First division          6   7     17  30 18. 29.    9.5  24  21
Second division         3 3.5    8.5  15 9.2 14.   4.75  12 10.
Third division        1.5 1.7   4.25 7.5 4.6 7.3  2.375   6 5.2
----------------------------------------------------------------
Edited combination      2   2      5   8   5   7      5   6   5
================================================================

Someone else may take the theatre organ scheme and work with it. I don't feel qualified to do that.

I have a Lotus spreadsheet which can be used to add up single stops. It also works in MSWORKS or similar database programs.


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