What is Organ Symphony Assistant?
Organ Symphony Assistant was created for organists who are interested in practicing the rarely-performed repertoire for organ and orchestra - along with the orchestra!
Here, you'll find a collection of audio files in the MP3 format that recreate the experience of music composed for organ and orchestra. Each file is an orchestra-only part (with a click track). You add the organ part!
Why Organ Symphony Assistant?
Music for organ and orchestra is not often found on concert programs today. Although there has been some effort at installing new and repairing existing symphony hall organs, good symphonic hall organs are still scarce, especially at the local level. The greatest number of decent organs are located in churches but logistics often complicate staging a full orchestra in a space not necessarily designed for performance. Organ consoles are often positioned in a rigid location where sight lines for organist and conductor become complicated.
Much of the time, only major recitalists get the chance to play the great music written for organ and orchestra. Sadly, all other organists don't and tend to neglect this repertoire.
Organ Symphony Assistant presents an exciting opportunity for organists at all levels to explore this repertoire for the purpose of study, or simply personal enjoyment. The hope is that Organ Symphony Assistant will generate an effort to create more interest in performances of these pieces, heard so infrequently.
How Does Organ Symphony Assistant Work?
Organ Symphony Assistant is a collections of orchestral-only MP3 files that can be purchased and then easily downloaded to your computer. From this page, go to the Organ Symphony Assistant (OSA) Information Page, where you will find detailed instructions on how OSA works along with a list of select music from the 18th through the 20th centuries. Once you have selected a piece and moved to the next page, you will find short audio samples of that piece, specific performance notes and a download button (If you first wish to become more familiar with a particular composition as a whole, there are a number of video recordings available online). Once you have made a decision, there are two options for download which are explained on the OSA information page. Please be sure to choose the option that works best for you!
What do I need to make Organ Symphony assistant work for me?
A "classic" pipe or pipe-imitative organ
2. SHEET MUSIC
Depending on the piece you choose, you will need the corresponding organ score or full score. Many of the pieces are available from online music publishers or can be downloaded from the IMSLP website (links provided for each piece). Please be sure to observe all copyright protection laws when downloading from IMSLP. Donations to this site are encouraged!
3. PLAYBACK SYSTEM
Your playback system can be as simple or elaborate as you like. After the download to your computer has taken place, you can connect to a set of headphones or an entire audio system for playback. (IMPORTANT: If you plan on using an iphone or ipad for playback, you must first download your files to a computer and then send them via itunes to your Apple device.)
What is a "Click Track" and why do I need it?
All OSA files come with a "click track". When playing along with an accompaniment audio file, a click track is an absolute necessity (unless your timing is perfect). This will assist you with staying in "'time" with the orchestra and also with keeping you aligned through any of the lengthy sections when the organ is playing without the orchestra.
THE CLICK TRACK IS YOUR FRIEND! For any of you who have benefited from the diligent use of a metronome, you will soon realize the benefit of the click track, not only for keeping you in sync with the orchestra, but also for helping you to internalize a steady tempo. There are some who feel that the use of a metronome or click track takes the musicality out of performance. That is true; however, in order to make OSA be successful as a study tool, it is a necessary evil. Once you have moved beyond OSA to the possibility of performance with a live orchestra, you can then reward yourself with genuine musical and rhythm freedom.
On the Understanding Organ Symphony Assistant page, you can learn more about the option for downloading the click track as a separate audio file at no charge. As a separate file you can direct the click track to an earpiece via an audio interface. This is ideal when attempting to create a recording, a video or a "live" performance.
If I Purchase an Organ Symphony Assistant file, can I request changes to the file?
If, after purchase, you find that you would like to make tempo changes to your Organ Symphony Assistant audio file, please email me with your specific instructions and I will be happy to make overall changes to tempo only. Individual changes to the orchestral instruments (balance, dynamics, etc.) are not available.
Another solution is download a free tempo changing software ( Audacity is one such program). However, the more you slow the file, the greater the amount of degradation. I recommend a quality digital audio workstation (like Reaper) which, for a nominal fee for a personal license, will offer a much better solution. If you would like more information on how to use Reaper to slow your files, please email me below.
What if my organ is not tuned to A=440?
OSA files are pitched at A=440. Many pipe organs are not tuned to A=440 or are at a lower or higher pitch because of temperature changes. The easiest way to address this issue is to change the pitch of your OSA file with a audio program. Audacity is a free program that, along with other adjustment options, will allow you to easily change the pitch. Simply open the audacity program, load your program, select it and then in the "effect" menu, scroll down to "change pitch". Go to the frequency boxes and enter 440 on the left side and a number on the right side that reflects the pitch of your organ. Once it has been created, export (not save) as a wav. file with a new designation. Please see the video below.
Can I share these files with my friends?
Organ Symphony Assistant is the result of countless hours of work. Your purchase of any and all of these files is for your use only. Rather than sharing these files with friends, please provide them with the link to my website. If you let me know ahead about anyone who is interested and they purchase, you'll receive a 25% discount on your next purchase.
Can I download files directly to my iPhone or iPad?
Once you have made your purchase, you must download any files to your computer. You can then load it into your iPhone or iPad device via iTunes.
Still intrigued? Want to try it for free?
Learn more about how Organ Symphony Assistant
can work for you at the Understanding Organ Symphony Assistant page
Here, you'll find a link to a free download!