Virtual Pipe Organ Basics - Overview

Virtual (or software) pipe organs are created by recording the sound of real pipe organs, and allow you to play on these instruments without being present at the real organ. A virtual pipe organ is in many ways similar to a CD recording of the original instrument, but contrary to a fixed recording, it is flexible so that you can actually perform on it in real time.

Computer-based virtual or software pipe organs function and play back their recorded sound using a modelled interface of the original organ. The main properties of such software organs can be summarized as follows:

  • Their concept is all about real instruments by providing
    • an interactive sonic documentation with hands-on experience for the user,
    • educational value, promotion, accessibility and recognition for the instrument, as well as
    • preservation of the sound and acoustical data for posterity and for research.
  • They are totally different from digital organs, since
    • they can replace the often unsatisfying sound of digital organs,
    • they are flexible and can provide different instruments with the same physical interface,
    • they are considerably more cost-effective than digital organs while providing demonstrably superior tonal qualities, while
    • they do not compete with or aim at replacing real pipe organs, but on the contrary provide significant potential support for noteworthy existing instruments.

Every pipe organ is unique and different. Virtual pipe organs, as a family of virtual instruments, enable the rare experience of playing and exploring worlds of sound only a fortunate few could formerly access, hear and enjoy.