There is a relatively new term making its way around the music industry: the “virtual orchestra.” But what does that really mean? To answer that, we must take a look back in history to the 3rd century B.C. when a Greek engineer created a new type of instrument, the hydraulos. This instrument, known as the first organ, was created so that one person could mimic an entire group of musicians, specifically flute players. The hydraulos is the grandfather of the pipe organ that we know today.
If we fast forward to the 800’s AD, we find that the pipe organ was the first instrument allowed in church because of its ability to mimic the human voice through a series of pipe combinations. As time went on, more pipes were added to create fuller and more diverse sounds, which evolved into the pipe organs that are still played in churches around the world today.
At the turn of the 20th century, new technology known as “moving pictures” created a need for full orchestral sound accompaniment without the big expense of a full orchestra every night. The organ was the answer. The Wurlitzer Company created a “unit orchestra” (also known as a theatre organ) so that one person could sit at the organ console and easily sound like flutes, woodwinds, brass instruments, bass drums, cymbals…you name it!
By the 1930’s, Laurens Hammond and Frederick C. Lowrey were making electronic organs for home use. For the first time hobby players could have the satisfaction of making their own music at home and sound like the full orchestra (in 1930’s technology, anyway.)
Today, the Lowrey Company is the leader in “virtual orchestra” technology for the recreational music maker. At the touch of a button, you can truly sound like any member of the orchestra, or any of your favorite bands. Want to sound like the Boston Pops? How about Lynyrd Skynyrd? ABBA? The Beach Boys? Garth Brooks? With the Lowrey Virtual Orchestra, you can sound like any of these and more utilizing either a full band accompaniment, a professional pianist accompaniment, or your favorite guitarist.
Thanks to the Lowrey Virtual Orchestra, and the hobby of recreational music making, you can play what you like, and like what you play!