JEUX Version 1.4 (July 4, 2000), Change Log
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There is always room for improvement in the JEUX SoundFont. In the future, we expect to issue additional releases optimized
for the capabilities of the "SoundBlaster Live!", and we look forward to improvements in tonal design and inthe individual samples.
The fourth revision, Version 1.4, is now available, just as soon as Thomas Hammer can post it on his web site.
—John W. McCoy
Changes introduced in Version 1.4 (July 4, 2000) include:
- The BIG NEWS: New mixture samples kindly provided by Joseph Basquin, based on material from a late-20th Century organ
in Alsace. It has been possible to re-engineer the Plein Jeu registration to make it far more realistic, at long last. The new
mixture samples by themselves are appropriate to "a good Dutch organ", as my consultant put it, or to an instrument heavily influenced
by the Organ Reform movement. To make them useful in a French Classical organ required a bit of filtering. The same samples are
now being applied to several other of the plenum registrations. The Ripieno I and II of the Grand Orgue, for example, will now
sound much fuller, and be better suited to music of Bach and Buxtehude. The Ripieni of the Positif will remain somewhat more subdued,
and will retain the silvery tone appropriate for organ styles based on more delicate voicing. The Tutti of the Grand Orgue will be
very boisterous indeed, but I am also trying to keep the volume levels within reasonable bounds.
- The tremulant effect (obtained through the MIDI Modulation Controller) has been speeded up a bit for the combinations that
would be appropriate for the 19th-20th Century repertoire, in keeping with current information about historical styles. This
change should give a richer sound.
- The celeste stops in the previous versions of JEUX were detuned to produce rather slow undulations. In practice, they seem a bit
too slow. I have increased the degree of detuning so that the effect is a bit warmer, and less likely to produce sea-sickness!
- New stops have been added: Voix CÚleste, a new Trompette rank especially for 19th Century repertoire, a new Hautbois rank
also intended for 19th Century styles, and a group of chorus ranks based on samples from larger-scale principals (thanks again to
Joseph Basquin for this last item) and by manipulation of other samples to simulate characteristic "English" voicing.
- A classical "English" plenum chorus has been added, with the tierce rank that is encountered so frequently in English organs
of the Baroque and Classical eras.
- Sonic tinkering also led to changes in the Pedal Reed combinations, including an additional 16'+8' combination and a
- A very loud Ripieno III has been developed to satisfy the conditions sometimes encountered in the largest 19th Century
pieces, to deliver a true fortississimo, and to allow the realization of towering chords without succumbing to polyphony limitations.
Judge for yourself in the Franck "Chorale 3" and the Liszt "Ad Nos"!
- Well after the classical Plein Jeu registration became unfashionable, French organs began to acquire a stop called "Plein Jeu",
which now consists of the mixtures that used to be provided by the Fourniture and Cymbale. The mixture samples provided by Joseph
Basquin were designed to implement this concept, and we provide a version here as "Plein Jeu VI" and "Cymbale IV". The sound is
rather Neo-Baroque, but serves very well in pieces that need a full sound.
- Along the way I also collected a "Twinkly Flute Mixture", an alternative Glockenspiel, and several flute samples that were too
good to discard. The story of the flute samples is a little odd. We found several recorded samples of Dutch Quintadenas, not free
of copyright, but suitable for acoustic analysis. We used what we learned about the harmonic structure of the Quintadena to modify
our existing panpipe sample, resulting in an improved Quintadena 8'. The original panpipe sample has now been transformed into a
"Suaviola", and other samples from the same project have become "Quintadena 4'" and "Corinthian Flute 8'". Nobody knows what a
Corinthian Flute should sound like; it is simply a name dreamed up by an organist friend when asked what the sound should be called.
That's how organ stop names have been developed over the centuries!
Changes introduced in Version 1.3 (March 5, 2000) include:
- Errors in the Bombarde 16' and a few other "instruments" were corrected. The original Bombarde sample has been transformed
to extend the range of this stop, and better loop points have been found (thanks to Philip Goddard for encouragement on this.)
The Bombarde is not intended as a melodic solo stop, but rather as the foundation for a really loud reed chorus — and it
certainly fulfills that role now!
- Most stops have been adjusted in their upper ranges to correct bad notes that were out of tune, incorrect volume,etc. The
situations are caused by samples being used above their "good" range. I finally packaged a little MIDI file that runs through
each stop in octaves, revealing any notes that are out of tune or showing discontinuities in volume or timbre. The various reed
and foundation combinations, in particular, are now much more reliable at the top of their ranges.
- Trumpets and crumhorns had quite a few wolf notes, caused by "aliasing" — these have been fixed by rearranging
samples or by filtering the offending samples.
- The principals, flutes, and mutation ranks contained a number of objectionable discontinuities in the highest
registers. In some cases, the mutation ranks were playing wrong notes! I corrected all the problems that I discovered. Most
of the problems involved notes above the normal compass of the organ.
- An experimental trumpet "en chamade" has been added, stop 52 of the second bank. The MIDI "pan" parameter is set so that
each note comes from a different point in the stereo spectrum. Whether this is an improvement over the "Divine Trumpet" or the
"Trompeta de Batalla" will have to be determined by the users of the JEUX SoundFont.
- As a result of adding several more "transformed" samples to overcome the aliasing problems noted above, the total size of the
JEUX SoundFont has reached 3.6 MB.
Changes introduced in Version 1.2 (September 6, 1999) include:
- The big news: JEUX now has a second bank! The stoplist for the first bank has not changed, though a
number of stops have been adjusted. The new second bank will appear automatically when you load JEUX into your sound card. If
you load JEUX into bank 42, the second bank will end up in bank 43. The second bank is called JEUX Romantiques, because it contains
the various combinations of foundations and reeds that are needed for the French Romantic repertoire. The second bank also has
some interesting additions for other styles.
- In spite of the expanded stoplist, JEUX still requires only 3.5 MB of your soundfont memory!
- A new viola sample has been added, and appears in several combinations. The String Chorus now has more verve!
- Tutti has been revised so it should sound fuller. A different approach to the Tutti is provided by new samples from
the MUMS project, a "Baroque Tutti with reeds" from a Beckerath organ in Montreal, which I have combined with the additional
reeds and mixtures needed to match the personality of the JEUX instrument. Look for the new Tutti in the second bank. Internally,
the Beckerath samples have been set up as a separate "instrument", so tinkerers may want to experiment with substituting this
combination for the "Church Organ" patches in other soundfonts. These samples are certainly more realistic, but they do not
loop as well as I might wish.
- The new Divine Trumpet is a sample from a real high-pressure reed. The other trumpets have been adjusted somewhat for
better balance. This is tricky, as they have to work with Romantic combinations as well as the French Classical style.
- A new combination has been added in the second bank to simplify the registration known as "Gros Tierce", which was supposed
to include all the Grand Orgue foundations and mutations right up to the Tierce 1 3/5'. It appears in Trios and Fugues,
typically, in the bass voice. I was not able to package it in a single stop, because of the polyphony limitations of the
AWE64 sound card. Instead, I use the Jeu de Tierce of the main bank, and duplicate the notes in a separate track assigned
to the new stop, Fonds de Gros Tierce, which is found in the second bank. The combination of these two stops comes very
close to a Gros Tierce based on a 16' principal.
- The Bombarde 16' has been retuned! Used alone, it still sounds like an industrial noise, but it is very effective when
added to very full reed registrations. A combination of pedal reeds including the Bombarde has been added to the second bank
- Italianate ranks have been added in the second bank. The classical Italian organ had individual principal ranks at very
high pitches, up to 1/2' at least. But these ranks broke back whenever the pitch reached about c'''''. After several attempts,
I have come up with a workable scheme to accomplish this. These ranks are intended to be added to the main principal ranks
one at a time. On an old one-manual Italian organ, registration involved adding or subtracting one or more ranks at a time,
rather than switching between the standardized colors that characterized French organs.
- The Terzizimbel is here! It is perfectly in tune, but you will hear strong clashes when the harmony involves tempered thirds.
It is a useful stop, nevertheless, besides teaching us why tierce mixtures went out of fashion when equal temperament came in!
Transposed down an octave, it will produceless violent clashes, but is still effective as a Cymbale.
- Many stops in the main bank have been adjusted and extended upward or downward so that they will be more useful for
transcriptions of later music.
Changes introduced in Version 1.1 (June 25, 1999) include:
- JEUX will now be downloaded as a self-extracting RAR archive. It will only be necessary to double-click on the downloaded
file to convert it to its final form. The file size is still approximately 3.2 MB.
- Viola combination stops are corrected, should be more usable.
- Many stops have been extended upward and/or downward to make them more useful in MIDI realizations of transcripts for
the Romantic era. Tchaikowski's "Hamlet Fantasy-Overture" and other MIDI files can now be downloaded to demonstrate how
the JEUX Soundfont can be adapted to this repertoire.
- The "church organ" sound samples have been rearranged to obtain a fuller and more uniform sound. I hope to replace
these samples with something better in the next revision. The problem is that there is no single "church organ" sound that
will suffice for all the historic and national variations of the full organ sound.
- Trumpets and other reeds have been revised to make them more historically appropriate for the French classical repertoire.
This change has also produced a Grand Jeu that sounds much more like the real thing. At the same time, I have tried to keep
these reeds from becoming so "French" as to be unusable for German music. Changes in the trumpets led to changes in Cromorne
combinations as well, to preserve balance.
- The Dulzian (a soft reed) has been replaced with an interesting regal stop labeled "Orlos", intended for use in early Spanish
organ music. Other "Spanish" stops have been modified to a lesser extent.
- Great Bells are now in better tune with other
- Minor changes in many reeds and ripieni, mostly to remove discontinuities in timbre or volume.
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