Fotografia: J. Alomar
Research projects

The hybrid electrophone: a new interactive for the dissemination of musical heritage

We are excited to share one of the projects we have been working on in recent months, which we officially presented at the Organology Conference last week.

The creation of this new interactive, the hybrid electrophone, is the tangible result of the keyboard sampling project at the Museum dating back to 2008. This innovative instrument allows the public to access the sound reconstruction of nine keyboard instruments from the Museum and play them virtually with a physical keyboard. This performance enables us to rediscover the sound of ancient instruments without causing harm, as these instruments become accessible to everyone without direct and repetitive contact with the originals.

This performance has been co-financed by the Department of Culture of the Generalitat de Catalunya, through a prior call for the European Regional Development Funds (FEDER) from the European Union, within the framework of the FEDER Operational Program of Catalonia 2014-2020.

The virtualizations have been carried out using the sampling technique, capturing samples of each note of the instrument across various interpretative variables. We already had samples of some instruments from the collection, including the Pérez Molero organ, the "Aragonese" organ, Josep Pujol's prgan-psaltery, Lorenz Hauslaib's claviorgan, and Christian Zell's harpsichord. To these, we have added a new selection, including Carl Conrad Fleischer's harpsichord (with the reconstruction of 5 stops by Joan Martí), the Boscà organ, a Mustel celesta, and also a Mustel harmonium.

Joan Martí with Fleischer's harpsichord

Pep Aymerich drawing the furniture for the hybrid electrophone

The final result is a virtual device with a central computer running the GrandOrgue software, enabling the emulation of an organ and its stops. It features two touch screens with a graphical interface for intuitive access to different instruments (each accompanied by an image and a description), a control interface for sending MIDI commands to change the stops of each organ, speakers, and headphones for public or individual listening, and custom-designed furniture to accommodate the keyboard, screens, and all devices and peripherals.

Pere Casulleras, Gerard Font and Josep Maria Comajuncosas reviewing the project

To carry out this project, a multidisciplinary team collaborated with the Sonology department of the ESMUC, including sound engineers and teachers Pere Casulleras, Gerard Font, Josep Maria Comajuncosas, and students Francesc Becerra, Pau Burrillo, Sergi Andrades, Miquel Tur, Andrey Solienko, and Néstor Català. The furniture was designed by Pep Aymerich, and the video recordings of the sampling processes were produced by Gen-Lock Video. Joan Martí and Óscar Laguna have taken charge of the restoration or adaptation of the instruments.

Pere Casulleres with Mustel's harmonium

Francisco Becerra, ESMUC student, during sampling

Pau Burillo, ESMUC student, during sampling

The result of this project will be open, allowing for future expansion with new instruments, music, digitized scores, and the replication of acoustics from specific spaces in Catalonia. Currently, it is available for learning and directly experiencing some of the most prominent keyboard instruments from the Museum.

Recording the process with Gen-Lock Vídeo

All sound samples are openly accessible on the website

On our  Youtube channel you can view behind-the-scenes footage of sampling process of some of these instruments:

Procés de samplerització de l'harmònium Mustel, MDMB 11600, fet al s. XIX a París (in catalan)