WaldFlöte: midi controlled pipe organ

organ

Members of Dorkbot Edinburgh have done what most of us would do if we had a 19th century pipe organ. They hacked it to be midi controlled. The organ is located above a cafe owned by the university of Edinburgh. Students have been repairing and modifying it to get it back in working order.

The electronics are composed of an Xilinx Spartan-3E Starter Kit as the brains and a Microblaze processor converting midi events for the solenoids.  The cool thing is that none of this required any permanent modification to the organ itself.  It can all be removed to put the organ back in normal playing condition. Check out the video after the break for some classical Van Halen.

[thanks Jonas]

Comments

  1. Orv says:

    One interesting point is that this isn’t the first MIDI-controlled pipe organ. Some larger pipe organs, especially theater organs, were originally built with electric actions, so converting to MIDI isn’t much of a stretch.

  2. Kyle says:

    That’s cool! And they didn’t permanently modify it – that’s even cooler! I hate that when people try to “improve” an old object and in the process destroy the historical integrity of it. Drives me nuts.

  3. MRE says:

    nice work. looks like the solenoid rail simply clamps on. good for conservation.

    but, the clicking.. really bothersome. cant tell if it is the solenoid bottoming out, or if thats from the solenoid striking the key. If its key strike, they really need to put some pads on all the solenoid tips. could be very damaging to keys that are nearly impossible to replace.

  4. tinyblob says:

    mre – The clicking is indeed the solenoid “bottoming out” as you put it, we’ve used foam padding to stop damage to the keys.
    What you don’t see in the video is that the organ itself is located on a balcony above a large hall. The clicking is only really noticeable up close – folks in the hall wouldn’t be aware of it.
    That said, i’m rather fond of the audible juxtaposition of 19th century organ and modern solenoid action.

  5. Yeah, I like the solenoid sound. It’s like the clicking on Guitar Hero controllers.

  6. pejuang nasib says:

    urgently required smart battery monitoring and reporting system design, prototype

    we’ll pay some money but not much since it’s a community based project

    anyone ?

    for any question contact me pejuangnasib {[a-t]} yahoo dot com

  7. Christopher says:

    Would someone who did this installation contact me please? I am desperate to find out how this was done. I would really like to speak to someone.

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