Welcome to the My Music Website
(Hosted on the Raspberry Pi - a webserver for £25.00 and consuming only 4 watt!)
PLEASE NOTE: in 2021 the web address of this site changed to: my-music.kaspencer.com (NB.: no "www")
The old site-address (www.my-music.mywire.org) will cease to exist during 2022!
This music information website first came into being in its current form in 2010, when I had the idea of sharing information about my rather small guitar collection.
At that time it was an offshoot of my business website project.
From 1995, most of the website on my business and community domains had been hosted on my ISPs servers, but in my office at home I was running Microsoft Small Business Server, and later Windows Server 2003 R2 as a supplementary host for the provision of information and business databases for some of my business and information clients. I just added subdomains to provide access to the musical sub-site.
In February 2012, here in the UK, the Raspberry Pi foundation released the first Raspberry Pi computer, and I was fortunate enough to get two of the very first releases. I immediately realised that I could make a major saving in hardware and power costs by transferring much of the Windows Server content to the Raspberry Pi.
Not only did the Raspberry Pi hold the Music Site, but it also hosted my Dungeons & Dragons site and the site of an annual photographic competition which I had been involved in for some time.
So, below, you will find access to the sections of the site which you may peruse at your leisure.
I have written three books on some of my interests:
1. All about your Computer
will tell you things you didn't know about PCs.
2. All about Hauptwerk
Hauptwerk is the software behind the "Virtual Pipe Organs" seen on this site!
3. The Polychronicon about a group of D&D players over 35 years!
My new book:
The thing about Hauptwerk organs is that they can be as simple or as complex as you like. You can develop your Hauptwerk instrument over time as you gain skills and understanding, adding usability & elegance that will give you enormous satisfaction.
So, I present here, a useful and rewarding project, supported by a Core Kit of Components, for the Hauptwerk organ enthusiast: providing automatic electronic stop labelling so that as soon as an organ sample set is loaded the stops are labelled.
There is a liberally illustrated, detailed Construction Manual which explains exactly how to build and test the project. The clear instructions with many photographs & diagrams will give you confidence. Details of Hauptwerk Configuration for each organ ensure that your stops will be labelled clearly and accurately.
As well as the core component kit, some of the other components can be bought from the author - all in the Conbstruction Manual.
For more details, click on the PROJECT link at the top of the panel on the immediate right.
Build it yourself, or Ready Built?
From time to time I build a pair of these Electronic Labelling Stop Plates, complete with Illuminated Switches, Socketted CBs, OLED displays, and Arduino controllers. These are all ready for YOU to fit into stop jamb enclosures for your Hauptwerk console.
Start of construction to completion time is around 8-10 weeks, and the finished pair of stop plates are then availabile on a first-come-first-served basis. If you are in the UK, you are welcome to visit and examine thenm and see them working.
Typical price is about £675/plate not cheap, but they are so good, and brilliant when the stop names just appear!
PROJECT: Electronic Stop
(with Kit of Key Components)
Electronic Display of Stop Text
WATCH THE VIDEOS
BUILD THE PROJECT!
I have prepared FIVE videos telling you all about the project.
FIRST: All about the Core Kit of Components - Learn about the Construction Manual, the PCBs, The Stop Plates, and the Software and micro-controller. See the video here: The Core Kit
SECOND: Assembling and testing the PCBs - How to solder the connectors onto the PCBs, and install the OLEDs onto the connectors. See the video here: The PCBs
THIRD: Assembling the Stop Plates - Mounting the stop switches & LEDs onto the stop plates, and then fixing the PCBs in position.
See the video here: The Stop Plates
FOURTH: Connect the PCBs to the Due - Constructing the ribbon cables required to connect each PCB to the micro-controller.
See the video here: Cabling the PCBs & Micro-controller
FIFTH: Connecting the Stop Switches & their LEDs - Constructing the ribbon cables required to provide sockets to connect your stop switches and their LEDs to your MIDI encoder and decoder. See the video here: Wiring the Stop Switches & LEDs
NB: a sixth video showing how to configure Hauptwerk for this project will be released soon. Watch this space, and watch the video!
IF YOU FEEL THIS PROJECT IS BEYOND YOUR ABILITY
I can build you a pair of Stop Plates, as mentioned on the far left of this section. The switches & LEDs, PCBs & OLEDs and the Arduinos (+ software) are all mounted on quality beech ply. Switch & LED connections pass to 20-way sockets to enable connection to your MIDI Encoder & Decoder: use ribbon cable with appropriate plugs. For the Labelling functions, you only need to connect each Arduino (one per stop plate) to your Hauptwerk PC via a USB cable.
Having been interested in pipe organs since I was 12 years old, I was delighted to discover an amazing piece of software that gave me something I had wanted all my adult life! I had tried so many elctronic organs, and had even built and part-built some myself. But none of them could really create the sounds of a genuine pipe organs.
Then in 2006-7, I discovered "Hauptwerk", a piece of software written by Martin Dyde (UK), which plays sound recordings of actual pipes, using one or MIDI keyboard(s), and a pedalboard, if you have one. There it was - the most realistic sound of pipes without having pipes that I had ever heard, and exactly what I wanted.
Having a "Virtual Pipe Organ" is the very next best thing to a real pipe organ, at home. And so I have designed and built two such organs for my own use and part-built two more for other people.
OPUS I has a five part series of videos on YouTube - Pt 1 Here. Although OPUS I was quite sophisticated in its day, using Touchscreen and Novation LaunchPads, I could see over the 12 years of its use, that there was scope for many developments.
OPUS II has two videos YouTube - Pt 1 here which show every part of the instrument, as well how it was built and designed.
OPUS II features lots of quite advanced features such as automatic electronic stop labelling, and colour displays which help the organist control many aspects of the instrument. The two YouTube videos show these features.
My Latest Virtual Pipe Organ
OPUS II (click on the link)
is my most elaborate.
Although I say it myself, it is a truly wonderful, beautiful instrument!
My first fully fledged Virtual Pipe Organ
OPUS I (click on the link)
was such a pleasure to build and play.
But, soon I knew that I could build one Bigger & Better!
As a result of the development of the special features of these consoles, I have naturally accumulated a reserve of prototype component constructions. There are several of these that were developed to the point of actually being used for a while in OPUS II, although the current design of, for example, the Electronic Stop Labelling, is more sophisticated than the prototype systems. Nevertheless, as these prototypes are worthwhile additions to any Hauptwerk console, I have decided to offer them for sale. The price represents a considerable saving over the cost of the final (Mark V) stop jamb designs.
There are three Prototypes on offer: one pair of Mark II Stop Jambs, and two different designs of Stop Labelling Plates (one plate only of each):
MARK II: 60 Illuminated-switch Stop Jambs
This pair of left & right Mark II stop jambs were created for OPUS II, and were in use when the console was demonstrated in Christchurch Clifton, Bristol in 2018.
These jambs are described and illustrated in the central column.
As they have no electronic labelling present the stops are labelled using printed strips, as shown
MARK IV: 60 Illuminated switch Stop Plates + 60 OLED Stop Labels, in two designs
Two different designs of stop plates which preceded the current MARK V design described in the project in the second frames, above.
These jambs are described and illustrated in the right-most column.
Two jambs, 60 illuminated stop switches in each.
(click on the link for a detailed document)
This offer is a pair, Left & Right, of Mk II Stop Jambs, housed in beech-ply stop jamb enclosures. Each jamb has 60 round illuminated stop switches in three double-columns of 20. The switches are wired to connect to 60 inputs of your MIDI Encoder, which in turn connects to your Hauptwerk PC via a MIDI cable & Hub. The LEDs are also wired, to connect instead to 60 outputs (64 is common) of a MIDI Decoder, which is driven from output of a MIDI Hub connected to your Hauptwerk computer. Advice is given on how to achieve all that.
These jambs use printed strips for stop labelling, the strips being attached vertically down the side of each double column of switches. Such strips will be supplied for several organs with these jambs, along with a template to make it easy to produce any others.
Two designs of Electronic Stop Labels
(click on the link for a detailed document)
These Stop Jambs preceded the current designs: one plate design has 60 round illuminated switches, whilst the other has slightly smaller rectangular stop switches. Both jambs feature Automatic Electronic Stop Labelling, using 60 96" OLEDs to label each stop individually. Note that only one finished stop jamb is available in each design, but some components are available to construct a second jamb if required.
These designs differ from the current Mark V design which uses somewhat larger OLEDs which label two stops on each display.
May I tell you about Real Pipe Organs.
Mozart described the pipe organ as the King of Instruments. As well as being the largest of musical instruments, they can have the widest range of pitch and greatest range of tonal characteristics of almost all the instruments of the orchestra and other unique timbres.
Until the invention of the telephone exchange, they were the most complex machines, more even than the Jacquard loom.
As well as playing the organ at home I also play the organ for church services two or three times a month. There are some videos of the playing of a couple of hymns for the congregation on the Real Organs linked page. (I also have a nice baby grand piano - there is one piano video on my YouTube channel.)
REAL PIPE ORGANS (click on the
Real pipe organs produce their sound by two main methods:
- Either: air (known as "wind") is blown over a lip in a wood or lead+tin alloy pipe. This type of pipe, known as "flues" produce a tone, as in a recorder, whose pitch depends on the length of the pipe, and timbre depends upon the material, shape and girth of the pipe;
- Or: wind is passed along a brass "tongue" or reed, which vibrates. The vibrations pass up to a resonator tube which adds character and volume to the note. This is similar to a clarinet or oboe.
As pipes produce only one note, each of the 61 keys on the keyboards must play one unique pipe at least in the rank (sometimes more than one).
On the right is shown several "ranks" of pipes. A rank is "switched on" by drawing a "stop" which then allows wind to any pipe in the rank when its corresponding key of its controlling keyboard is played by the organist. Each rank has a characteristic pitch range and timbre, and the organist chooses ("registers") his desired ranks in combination to produce the tone colour s/he wants for the piece.
On the far right I am playing a large cathedral organ with many stops and four keyboard manuals, and a pedalboard for the feet.
SEVERAL RANKS OF PIPES
in a large organ
PLAYING A LARGE CATHEDRAL
I wanted a real pipe organ. But I couldn't afford one! And my house was too small to accommodate one.
To the rescue: The Virtual Pipe Organ. The next best thing to a real organ.
Better than an old fashioned electronic organ!
Better than even a modern digital organ costing tens of thousands of pounds!
Here is a brief introduction ...
THE VIRTUAL PIPE ORGAN
(click on the link)
MAKE A "SAMPLE SET"
Send a skilled recording engineer with a quality sound recorder into a large cathedral which has a fine example of a pipe organ.
Get someone to play each pipe - several times - press "record", and for each pipe:
Hold that key for a several seconds. Fill the space with the pipe speech. Record the pipe and keep recording the smooth reverberation as the sound returns in a smooth blend from all parts of the building.
Tap the key for a moment only. Record the pipe - the sound of the pipe ceases, but the building sends back distinct echoes which arrive back at different times from the diffent extremes of the building. You hear each echo separately.
Tap the for several intermediate durations. Record the pipe and its reverberations.
Repeat for every pipe - often for many thousands of pipes if the organ is large. Process the sound for noise reduction, and carefully spot the points where recordings could be joined seamlessly in case a longer note might be required than that actually recorded.
Photograph the entire organ console in highest definition: Include the keyboards (manuals), the pedalboard, every stop, every coupler, every control. Then photograph every control which moves when operated - the software replicates all movements of every cntrol as you play.
Package the audio recordings together with the photographs.
PLAY THE SAMPLE SET
Get some MIDI keyboards, a pedalboard and a computer.
Install the Hauptwerk Vitual Pipe Organ software.
The software will play each pipe recording when you pull the stop of its corresponding rank and press its key. It will use a reverberation which matches the length of your note and the original building acoustic.
And so you have it: the Virtual Pipe Organ.
My first band, formed in the 60s began as The Fenlanders, also spelled "Fenlanderz" from time to time. Four of us (centre picture) with just Lead Guitar (me), Drummer (George Byers), Rhythm Guitar (Brian Garill), and Bass Guitar (Keith Rossington).
We grew in experience and lineup over the years to become The Brotherhood Combo (leftmost picture) adding Brian Mason and Susan Keenan (vocals), Dick Byers (keyboard), and Pete Reeves (not present) as second rhythm guitar.
We were a pop orientated band with some rock & roll thrown in. We played all around the Midlands and East Anglia. I left as, at 20, I was about to qualify in my chosen career and then to move down to London for my first job.
When I left The Brotherhood Combo carried on for some time after I left but then disbanded.
I have carried on my guitar playing, giving fairly rare solo electric guitar performances and concerts. I also play organ regularly
THE FENLANDERS - THE BROTHERHOOD
COMBO - (click on the blue link) - and
YEARS LATER PLAYING SOLO!
The Brotherhood Combo The Fenlanders Playing Solo (playing standards & jazz)
I have played the guitar since aged twelve. Over the years I have accumulated a small collection, and am pleased to show them all to you.
In fact this website actually started with the original title of "my-guitars" in 2004 and, as mentioned above, was extended to cover my other musical interests a few years later.
MY LITTLE GUITAR COLLECTION
(click on the link)
I have ten guitars. The oldest is my orginal Dobro Resonator, made in the United States in 1928-1930. I inherited this guitar from my father,
and it was the first guitar I played. I had it restored in 2000-2001 by luthier Johnny Cincaid in Bristol.
When I joined a band in the 1961 I bought a Hohner Apache. This guitar is currently unplayable but will be restored in the future.
I also have two Fender Stratocasters. One is a Jim Squier, bought at the time when they were almost as good as a real Fender!
The other is a Fender 60th Anniversary Issue because the Fender Company and myself share a birthday!
I have a Gibson Les Paul in black lacquer and gold metallics, and a Paul Reed Smith (PRS) in black. I also have a Fender acoustic and a Martin electro-acoustic.
The Acer DX1150 Projector
Do you have an Acer DX1150 Projector?
Have you fallen foul of the OpenScreen utility which causes the projector to become inoperable because it overwrites the firmware code?
Have you contacted Acer about this problem? You will be lucky to get help from Acer!
If you need help with the DS1150 Projector Firmware, click here.
AliExpress: a note of
caution! We all appreciate the range of products available at good
prices from the Chinese eBay equivalent, AliExpress.
However there is some risk.
One of their traders, TopTon MiniPCs offers well-priced, well-specified small form factor PCs of good performance. But beware, they have a good selling infrastructure but a very poor support infrastructure for when things go wrong. If you have to return a PC to China, be prepared for an abysmally long journey time, prolonged delays in Chinese Customs, and then an interminable (e.g. six months?) time whilst TopTon examine your PC and decalre that you are right, it does not work! You may be better off claiming against your credit card service provider at the outset!
English: the language of the world given
freely to the world by the English nation!
Do you spell the words of the English language correctly? Are you able to distinguish verbs and nouns by their spelling?
Advice (noun)/advise (verb), aesthetic, archaeology, ardour, boulder, cancel/cancelled, centre/centred, colour, defence, device (noun)/devise (verb), disc, favour, flavour, fibre, glamour, goitre, jewellery, label/labelled, licence (noun)/license (verb), manoeuvre, marvellous, marvelled, mould, neighbour, organise, paediatrics, practice (noun)/practise(verb), recognise, rumour, sabre, sceptic, stabilise, theatre, travel/travelled, valour.
Is that one of your interests? Adventure Gaming - do you play rôle-based
adventure games such as Dungeons & Dragons (D&D)? If so, you might be
interested in looking at this site:
It features some of the adventures of a group of gamers (The Friday 'Venturers) who played for 40 years, during which time they travelled all over their self-consistent created world.
The site also gives details of a large book (hard back, and in full colour) which details the first 35 of those adventuring years.
NB.: the D&D site recently moved from its old home (where is was based for almost 10 years) at
http://fridayventurers.mine.nu - its no good looking there, because it's gone!
Copyrignt (c) KASpencer 2004-2022