The PipesandSpeakers project was initiated in 2005 when Joris Verdin presented a program Organ and Synthesizers in the Lemmens Institute, on invitation by "De Nieuwe Reeks". It was a first experience to combine a pipe organ with synthesizers in real time, through the MIDI connection of the console. The essential technical support was designed by Jean-Marc Sullon, from the "Centre Henri Pousseur Liège". In the following years Joris Verdin developed his own way of using modern sounds to complement the original pipe organ. The experience was repeated in Leuven in 2007 and this new step stimulated new experiences, in spite of the lack of more organs with a digital console. Some years later, larger organs with MIDI connections, were installed in the Orgelpark Amsterdam, the Acusticum concert hall in Piteå and in Göteborg Symphony Konserthus Sweden. They created the opportunity to present the possibilities of organ and synthesizer to a larger audience.

PipesandSpeakers has the goal to be a complement to the Augmented or Hyper Organ. The starting point is to find a way of introducing contemporary existing sounds into the world of the pipe organ, the sound that started with the first analog synthesizers.

The basic idea is "simplicity". Although this seems to be utopian, neither a large organ or a synthesizer is simple, the set up is simple and clear: a laptop and a PA system. The software of the computer controls the addition of digital sound, chosen and prepared by the player. It makes the organ sound as it never could be without this combination of genuine modern sounds with genuine organ stops. At the same time, the computer can make the organ play musical phrases or entire compositions that even the most skilled player is unable to. For examples on vimeo, see links.

Organ and Digital Sound Processing

In 2019 the AULO Symposium was organized by the Sorbonne Université and the Conservatoire de Paris. Since no organ with MIDI was available, it was the start of a new track in PipesandSpeakers: using digital sound processing in real time, with the help of microphones, a sound system and a laptop. The principle of simplicity remains the main idea, translated in the use of consumer friendly affordable software. In this context, standard effects taken from popular music are a basic element in combining acoustical sounds with digital processing. The sound of the organ is not new, neither are the basic effects, but the combination is.

In February 2020 the PipesandSpeakers project was part of NextDoors in the Royal Conservatoire of Antwerp. It was announced as follows: "For keyboard players, composers, DSP freaks, and all those who would like to use the organ not only as an organ. The organ will be augmented with mikes, interface, sound system and speakers. Between them all kinds of Digital Sound Processing are possible. Bring your compositions or drafts of pieces in which you imagine the sound of pipes being used in a personal way. The sound of pipes can be as it is, but it can also be modulated by using different ways of shaping the wind pressure, as the source of your patch. If you are using DAW, come and connect your laptop to the system in the organ. If you don't use DSP yet, come and see what is possible in transforming or augmenting the organ sound with digital effects."

In June 2020 the restrictions created a unique opportunity: Leuven Orgelstad made it possible to install microphones and a sound system in the organ loft of the Predikherenkerk. Leuven Orgelstad created an exceptionally favorable situation to explore the possibilities of the Van Peteghem organ with digital sound processing, using a extremely limited setup, two microphones and a basic sound system. Recordings available on vimeo.

A most important element in the project is the live experience. Recordings and videos can only reproduce a very small impression of the effects in the real situation: the integration of loudspeakers in a large acoustical instrument.

PipesandSpeakers focuses on combining the acoustical organ sound with the loudspeaker sound of a synthesizer or any sound processor through microphones, but not excluding computer generated music. Loudspeakers are part of the basic setup. Doing so, it is different from the current tendencies of the Hyper Organ or Augmented Organ. Those approaches concentrate on implementing algorithms, on controlling the organ action and sound production directly without the addition of loudspeakers.


Organ and DSP, recorded 2020 in Predikherenkerk, Leuven, Belgium

Organ and DSP, recorded 2015 Positive Debierre 1870

Destination 8 Autobahn 2

Organ and Synthesizer, recorded 2016 in Studio Acusticum, Piteå, Sweden

Organ and Synthesizer, recorded 2019 in Brussels - Bozar