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Going More Classical – A 27 Note Radiating Pedalboard

Hi Ya!

I am trying to improve my classical skills at the organ, and one problem i encounter  when playing my Roland PK-7A 20 note pedalboard is running out of notes!

Due to the limitation I have to modify my pedal work whenever any printed music note goes over G2 i would therefore usually play it an octave lower but this gets impractical!


That said the PK-7a is ‘a keeper’ and excellent for popup/rock and simple classical arrangements so i’ll probably just use it with the PSR-SX900 (and might get some TRX Organ software from Sounds Elite – for news on this, watch this space).


My initial thoughts were to go for the big brother of the PK7-A ie: the PK25a which is not spinet size but still has only 25 which although a big improvement, it would still be problematic with some classical organ pieces. The PK25a/PK7a btw is directly compatible with the Atelier (having single power/data connection and combined volume pedal 2 assignable footswitches, plus a handy sustain pedal). 


Unfortunately Roland pulled the plug on these organs and pedalboards so can now only be sourced second hand (and the pk25a is rarely listed).


So i went shopping online and read reviews/ technical specs made some measurements (the pedalboard has to fit between the stand legs of my at900c organ and has to be able transmit bass note on midi channel 2, and a pedal (controller 7) on channel 15.


One contender I liked was the Nord 27 note but it only transmitted on channel 3 and did not have midi on the expression pedal (the length of the pedals were half way between spinet and proper length but according to one review were fine for heel and toe pedaling).


Eventually i have settled on a wooden 27 note radial flat pedalboard with 2 expression pedals having 2 expressions which will also be ideal when i start using Hauptwerk with my setup (watch this space for Hauptwerk progress where i will use my PC and organ to play some of the finest classical and theatre pipe organs in the world!).


Here’s a photo of my Atelier At900c organ with the new bass pedals in situ (required a bit of drilling in the base of organ stand to accommodate it).

With the addition of a midi thru box I was also able to ‘midi up’ my Windows 10 PC with the organs 2 manuals and pedalboard and play it as a Hauptwerk Console.

As an example of the quality of Hauptwerk I recorded an Advent medley on the Friesach sample set (at the time I was using 2x m-audio 61 midi keyboards and the pedalboard). 

Hear Hauptwerk medley here

NB Later I came by a free app which can use the same Friesach sample set and to my ears is pretty good it may not have all the features of Hauptwerk but hey it’s free!

Disadvantages of a full pedalboard

The full pedalboard is good quality but being a Midi controller it has a few ‘compatibility issues’ with the Atelier organ, the one I hadn’t  anticipated is that the ‘transpose feature’ on the organ is ineffective. The other two issues were expected – there are no foot switches and no sustain pedal, both could be solved with extra midi gear – watch this space for my updates in this department!

Cheers Tony

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