MIDIMUSIC Computer Processed Music

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Organ midi file translation

By David Back, January 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 while recording is taking place. All adjustments will be faithfully recorded.

If you want to silence one of the organs, tick the mute box.

Possible Problems

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.


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.

Midi Channels

Swell = Channel 1
Great = Channel 2
Pedal = Channel 3
Accomp. = Channel 4
Standard Midi Percussion = Channel 10

Swell and Volume Pedals

Swell Pedal controls the Swell Division volume. Midi Code (right pedal) = 176;7 (0xb0;0x07)
Volume Pedal controls all other divisions volume. Midi Code (left pedal) = 177;7 (0xb1;0x07)


All stops use Universal NRPN's

Following are the Universal NRPN's used in the Universal Organ. They can be used in any channel and are based on Allen's Universal NRPN's.

For split manuals use the same number for both ends of the split. Otherwise it is good practice not to use the same number more than once for each manual.

 2   =  Contra Violone 32
 9   =  Diaphone 16
12  =  Tibia Clausa 16
15  =  Bourdon 16
17  =  Violone 16
31  =  Open Diapason 8
34  =  Cello 8
35  =  Celeste 8
37  =  Violin 8
40  =  Tibia Clausa 8
41  =  Tibia II 8
43  =  Flute 8
53  =  Fifth 5-1/3
56  =  Octave 4
59  =  Violin 4
63  =  Flute 4
76  =  Twelfth 2-2/3
80  =  Fifteenth 2
84  =  Piccolo 2
91  =  Tierce 1-3/5
95  =  Larigot 1-1/3
100  = Mixture lV
108  = Contra Bombarde 32
114  = Brass Trumpet 16
115  = Tuba 16
116  = Bombarde 16
118  = Clarinet 16
121  = Vox Humana 16
124  = Saxophone 16
127  = Horn 8
128  = Tuba 8
131  = Trumpet 8
132  = Clarinet 8
133  = Oboe Horn 8
139  = Vox Humana 8
141  = Saxophone 8
144  = Clarion 4
154  = Piano 8
157  = Harp 8
161  = Cathedral Chimes
162  = Glockenspiel
163  = Xylophone
166  = Chrysoglott
167  = Bells
198  = Standard Midi Percussion (use in pedal channel only)
202  = Bass Drum 
203  = Cymbal 
205  = Snare Drum 
207  = Tambourine 
208  = Castanets 
209  = Tom-Tom 
210  = Wood Block 

Couplers must be defined and used in the pedal channel

266  = Swell Octave
265  = Swell Sub-octave
271  = Swell Unison Off
247  = Swell to Great
268  = Great Octave
247  = Swell to Accomp
270  = Accomp Octave
247  = Swell to Pedal
248  = Great to Pedal
250  = Accomp to Pedal
General Purpose.
500  = Tremolo
510  = Anche
511  = G.O.Unison
512  = Afsluiter