A traditional organ, with its pipes, its keys, its registers and its pedals, but expanded beyond the forefront of musical creation. 1,386 pipes and two 56-note manual keyboards that are actually much more. Because this is not really an organ, but a hyperorgan. An instrument with roots well planted in the past and antennas oriented towards the future with which Sónar is committed to “helping the organ leave the academic and reach the public”. “This type of project in which art and technology work together is part of Sónar’s DNA,” explains the co-director of Sónar, Ricard Robles.

“We must abandon the idea that the organs are an instrument of churches,” adds the master organist Albert Blancafort, head of the organ of the Palau Guell, icon of modernist Barcelona and mandatory for the Gaudí route

which, between June 15 and 19, will host the first sound experience starring a digitally expanded organ. Or, what comes to the same thing: the public that comes to the Nou de la Rambla mansion will be able to attend a pioneering continuous session with an evolved version of the musical instrument. A 21st century organ that welcomes the implementation of new digital technologies that make the pipes sound different.

In this sense, technology allows the organ to be converted into an organic synthesizer that modifies the timbre of the notes through the use of tubes and with which impossible arpeggios can be achieved, clusters of 50 or 80 notes, sound effects… In addition, the instrument has a MIDI input, which allows it to be played by other non-organ artists through electronic devices such as tablets, computers… Anything as long as “not treating technology as a black box”, In the words of Antònia Folguera, curator of Sónar D.

The project, the result of a collaboration between master organist Albert Blancafort, technologist Santi Vilanova and Berlin-based musicians gamut inc, is taking shape through ‘Aggregate

The Palau Güell organ presides over the central hall of the building built by Gaudí between 1886 and 1890, and is used to provide sound during visits. This is the only space that Gaudí proposed with a sound purpose and this has ended up making the Palau Güell one of the best acoustic spaces in Barcelona. The version that can be seen and heard today is from the 1980s, since the original, a romantic-style organ built by Aquilno Amezua for the use of the Count of Güell’s daughters, Isabel and Maria Lluïsa, was dismantled during the Civil War and post-war.