Alright ElectRowers, we’ve got a special treat for you with this feature. While we have interviewed a lot of big DJs, producers, and artists, this is the first time we’re featuring someone that is doing a little something different with their passion for music! Angelina Ngo is a New York Metro-based organist, pianist, and artist that is currently building a pipe organ inside her bedroom. Now what does this have to do with electronic music? Well, here’s the thing- her organ will allow you to load in virtual samples and use the instrument as a MIDI controller! This opens up some crazy possibilities in the form of electronic music performance. While it might not be quite portable, it is an interesting option for organists that might want to start to expand into the world of electronic music.
She has already started on this project, and from what we’ve seen in pictures, it’s looking pretty cool! She has been putting in a lot of hard work, but this isn’t a cheap project either! She mentioned to us that the organ manuals alone are $1000 each and she is looking to purchase at least three of them. She’ll also need an additional $1000 for each of the key cheeks. That’s already the price of some nice CDJs, and they comes pre-built! She’s saving money by making some of the parts herself! Swell shoes typically cost $250, but she is spending $100 and making 2 for that price.
We admire Angelina’s dedication and thirst for creation. That’s why we are excited to ask her a few questions and learn more about her adventure with building her own Hauptwerk virtual pipe organ. We’re finishing up the formatting on the interview, so you’ll have to wait just a little bit longer. However, we wanted to get all her information out to you so you can start to support and maybe even contribute. Keep reading to find out more on how you can help Angelina out!
First of all, tell us a little about what you are building.
To put it simply, it’s a MIDI pipe organ, 3-4 MIDI keyboards with the pedals of an organ. To be a little more technical: it’s a MIDI pipe organ omplete with a standard AGO 32 note pedalboard. Ideally it will have 4 manuals (keyboards) that have tracker touch. (that’s the touch you get from tracker organs, gems and much sought after by organists). I’m currently using weighted keyboards for manuals, it’s a work in progress. VST sound samples are available from actual organs from all around the world, both dry and wet, including the Notre Dame Great Cathedral organ in France. Also available are awesome theater organ sounds including some great Wurlitzers.
What sparked the idea to build something like this?
I really needed to have a personal organ that I can access at any time for practicing to get better at my art. I at first looked into purchasing a used electric organ (aka toaster organ), but at the price that is asked for in today’s market, it’s more cost effective to build one; you get to customize it to your wants and needs, and you can virtually be able to play a dozen different organs from the same console after its completion.
What were the biggest obstacles for you to overcome during this process thus far?
There were many. I knew absolutely nothing about electrical engineering, soldering, or soldering, or circuit boards. It was all new, but I had a really supportive group of people from various forums who have helped me along and helped me understand the concepts of how a MIDI Hauptwerk is built. There was even an organ builder who has taken it upon himself to make the cables I need for the pedalboard (which has just been recently finished) and will be sending me cables for the swell shoes I’m making. I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to build the pedalboard, but the fact that I have finished it, and it works, had given me much needed confidence that this is actually possible. Another obstacle is finding the right parts for me to MIDIfy. But with persistence, I am bound to find something that suits my needs.
More Information / How to Help
As we mentioned, Angelina has already started this project and has done some heavy work. She has setup a blog where you can follow her progress and get detailed information about what parts she’s using and how she is building it step by step. You can check it out by clicking here! With plenty of cool perks, the easiest way to contribute to the organ is through her Indiegogo campaign (<click) that is happening right now. The countdown clock is ticking, so check it out as soon as you finish reading this. If you aren’t familiar with crowdfunding, basically, you contribute to a person’s project or cause and they give you ‘perks’ in return. The more you contribute, the bigger the perk! The final way you can help out Angelina is by spreading the word. This is a really cool project and we hope that more and more people find out about it. So copy the links below and give them a share on your social media platforms. We know you have a couple of seconds to spare!
Indiegogo Campaign : https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/hauptwerk-a-diy-pipe-organ
Website : http://www.angelina-ngo.com/index.html