Physis is a computer generated physical model of an organ pipe. The model can be manipulated in just the same way as a pipe voicer would approach an organ pipe.
The model defines the pipe bore mouth size and position material of manufacture etc and by manipulation of upwards of 20 parameters the sound is defined. The same model runs across the entire keyboard compass so there is a smooth transition of sound without any noticeable break points that can sometimes be heard in sampled sound instruments.
Also with sampled sound organ technology, each note reproduces identically each time it is played. In practice even in a single steady note there is a very subtle inconsistency in what you hear, as the air flow through the pipe always has some element of random motion. This ‘micro variation’ which the Viscount Physical model reproduces, adds a completely new dimension to the sound which greatly enhances the realism. Further as the organ sound is built up by the playing of additional notes and the adding of extra stops, the model subtly changes the ensemble sound just as would occur in a true pipe organ when the available air is delivered to an ever increasing number of pipes. Because of this the sound has a life that is not heard in sampled sound instruments.
A further marvelous feature of the sound processing allows Physis instruments to develop individual sound boards for each of the organs divisions. In a pipe organ each division (Great, Swell, Choir and Pedal) is set in a different area of the case. In a classic design the Swell organ will be near the top of the instrument, the Great in the centre and the Choir organ is often set behind the player with Pedal divisions set to the extreme sides of the case.
In addition, each division will have its own sound architecture with the possibility of bass pipes at the centre moving to the trebles at either side, referred to as a cusp layout. Alternatively the trebles can be at the centre with the basses to either side referred to as an inverted cusp layout. There are many other layouts and Physis technology allows us to faithfully replicate any of theses configurations for each of the organs divisions.
When placing these instruments in a church or concert hall setting this allows us to build a sound stage of speakers that will also faithfully place the sound source of each individual note at the point in the speaker array where it would be if were to come from an individual pipe that the real instrument would sound to produce the note.
These factors combine to allow us to build instruments of remarkable realism and create a sound that is exceptionally pleasing, lively and authentic.
We have created a video series where Francis Rumsey explains how to configure, voice and customise Viscount’s Physis-based organs.
You can view the first three videos in this series below. To view the entire video series on Vimeo go here.