By David Back, January 2019, updated May and July 2019
How to translate organ MIDI files to play on another organ
Nearly all organs have their own unique midi format. There is no standardisation for midi channels,
stops or expression controls. Thus an organ midi file will seldom if ever play properly on another
organ and there is never any chance of it playing properly on any normal midi player.
Version 3 and later of eplayOrgan has solved this problem by enabling you to automatically and in real
time translate and play an organ midi file on another organ. No other organ can do this.
Translation is a two stage process, first the file is translated to an intermediate, Universal organ
format and then translated again to play on the target organ. You can either record the intermediate
file and play it later on the target organ or you can route it to the target organ via a real or
virtual midi cable for immediate playing.
Translation Method using eplayOrgan
The midi file for translation must be playable on eplayOrgan by choosing the correct organ.
Use Options/Setup.. to select the correct organ and tick the translate output box. This will make
eplayOrgan translate the Current file format to the Universal file format when the file is played.
This Universal format may be routed to another instance of eplayOrgan, by selecting the midi output port,
and connecting a midi cable for immediate playing or recorded for playing later.
To perform the second stage of translation start up a second instance of eplayOrgan and use
Options/Setup.. to select the target organ and tick the translate input box. If connected by midi cable,
select the midi input port or if not play the Universal midi file recorded above. This instance of
eplayOrgan will then translate the incoming midi from the Universal file format to the Current organ's
file format, play it and allow you to record the resulting midi in the format of the Current organ.
A "Virtual Organist" will select the best alternative stops when the target organ does not have the exact
stops required. This works well and is very versatile. You can make manual adjustments to the stops and
swell while recording is taking place. All adjustments will be faithfully recorded.
If you want to silence one of the organs, tick the mute box.
There is no claim that the translation will be perfect. The Universal organ will be able to play
the translated midi from almost any one, two or three manual organ. However the target organ must be
selected so that it has at least as many manuals as the source organ and has a similar selection of stops.
For example, translating a theatre organ file to a church organ file will likely lose all percussion stops.
Also when translating a two manual organ to three manuals it is sometimes better to move the swell
manual to great and the great manual to accomp. This is now an option. The organ's stops
will still be correctly translated when the file is played. A bit of experimentation will quickly find the
best option for any situation.
Another problem may be loss of volume balance between the manuals. Some organs have particularly
overpowering Pedal volume and the Swell manual can sometimes get drowned out. Closing the offending pedal
stops can improve this situation.
The original midi file below was intended to play on HW Armley Schulze, Leeds organ.
It was converted to universal organ midi format by playing it with eplayOrgan set to be 'Armley Schulze'
and with 'Translate Output' selected. The file was recorded using the 'Record' button.
The resulting file, which is downloadable below, was named march_of_the_bowmen_uni.mid
eplayOrgan can play this recorded file correctly on any three manual organ by loading the required
organ and selecting 'Translate Input'.
If this playing is recorded then the resulting file will play correctly on the appropriate "Real" organ.
See 'Typical final midi file', below.
Alternatively if you connect eplayOrgan's output to the "Real" organ using a virtual (or real) midi cable
then eplayOrgan will play the "Real" organ directly.
If you set up a string of two eplayOrgans followed by the "Real" organ then the whole translation
and playing process can be done simultaneoulsy in real time.
Universal Organ Definition
The Universal Organ is intended to be an organ which can be used as an intermediary when translating from
one organ format to another. This Universal organ will be able to play the translated midi from almost any
one, two or three manual organ. For example when translating a Paramount 310 organ to a Miditzer 260 organ
the Paramount is first converted to Universal format and then the Universal is converted to Miditzer 260.
This enables any organ format to be converted to any other.