Recording without an organ

Over the last couple of weeks I have been working on a Christmas Album which is due for release at the beginning of November. As well as the production and mastering of the recording I was also tasked to add orchestration to a number of tracks.

Being a Choral Christmas album, a lot of the carols require an organ accompaniment. This in theory should be easy, simply take your choir to a church and record them with an organ. However, on this occasion for various reasons this wasn’t possible. As a result the organ accompaniment had to be added in post production. Again, compared to some of the orchestration I have done in the past, this was fairly simple. As a church organist playing in the accompaniment to In the Bleak from Carols for Choirs 1 shouldn’t pose too much of a challenge.

The difficulty here was finding an organ sample which didn’t sound like a 1980s electronic keyboard. in the end, I resorted to the samples in Logic’s library which, with a bit of tweaking, can actually be made to sound passable. I found that a combination of different “organs” and stop combinations could be blended together to make something that most people would pass as an organ.

I can vouch for this as I have played the tracks to a number of friends and passers by who all say it sounds fine to them. Factor in, as well, this is a charity album where budget is limited so the important thing is to produce something acceptable. Clearly the best solution would always be to record with a decent organ if at all possible.

I know there are also a number of third party samples based on cathedral organs and should a lot more work of this type come along this is something I will consider. However, that said, I have also explored the idea of making my own samples using the assistance of 4 Part Music. Whether this will be economical or not remains to be seen. In the meantime I will be very interested to hear people’s views on the current album. Currently it’s still in the final stages of production but I will put some audio clips on here in the next few days and you can all make your own judgement.