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Everything posted by MusoMusing

  1. Found it! Follow this link, and it should take you straight to the patent:- https://worldwide.espacenet.com/patent/search/family/010053866/publication/GB382907A?q=GB382907A MM
  2. I've never seen one, but apparently there was an example somewhere near Luton which is sadly no more. Basically, there was a little "trolley" which moved up and down on the pipe, operated by a pneumatic motor. There is, I believe, a patent which shows how it worked. I shall be back when I've found it. MM
  3. That sounds like a slightly primitive idea, but better than missing notes! Compton bi-phonics are always (so far as I am aware) stopped pipes, and they have a valve which opens and increases the speaking length of the pipe, using a tube which drops down from the valve aperture. The cleverest one I came across, was a Bourdon which used to same pipe in two different pressures, to give pp and mf. Cleverly, the top lip was moveable, and operated by pneumatics to effectively increase or decrease the cut-up. Clever stuff! MM
  4. I'm fairly sure that John Compton didn't experiment with bi-phonic Diaphones; his usual domain being stopped wooden flue pipes or cube basses etc. He was, however, the absolute master of controlling Diaphones and getting them to speak evenly and bautifully. He wrote an extremely comprehensive article about them which I included in the Compton book, because it is the most revealing insight about his tonal genius and his command of the subject. There are quite a few remaining examples of his Diaphones, and although these brutes are capable of immense power, they can also be tamed to give quite soft register such as "metal" Contra Basses. There's a fine example of one at Wakefield Cathedral, which just sounds like a normal Double Open Diapason at 16ft on the manuals. To demonstrate just what a punch Diaphones can have, there is a delightful clip on YouTube, but be warned, don't wind the speakers up too far:-
  5. Having immersed myself in all things Polyphonic while compiling the Compton Organs book, I was very surprised by this. It's the sort of thing Compton would have delighted in, but I had no idea that Wurlitzer went down the polyphoning route. Of course, Robert Hope-Jones did all sorts of things with Diaphones, including variable wind-pressures for ff and mf sound levels, but not even he ever made Polyphonic versions so far as I am aware. Is this a one-off example, or were there others?
  6. Like all things, there are exceptions. I cringe to think what the 32ft pure Cornish tin facade at the Bavokerk, Haarlem might cost to-day!
  7. Thank you, but I'm not sure that I know what you have in mind. The last thing I would want to do is to use the Mander Forum as an advertising medium. There is a further problem, in that I only got 50 CD's duplicated and 20 have gone already. My longer term hope, is that someone could take it on board and use it for fundraising; especially those closest to the preservation of Compton organs. The reason for this is simple, because I am not claiming the story as entirely my own. I may have written the facts into a story, but quite a few people in the Compton Study Group have contributed information, and claiming that as all my own work would not be very ethical; especially the information on the electronic Melotone. My role has largely been that of researcher and collator, and it has been an enormous and very lengthy task. My name does not, therefore, appear on the front, but rather, 'Written by members of the John Compton Study Group". The 50 CD's were really a tester,which I paid out of my own pocket, to see what response it might get, and with 20 copies moved in just 4 days, it looks encouraging. With the book being on e-bay, it has an automatic global exposure, and it is a good barometer of potential sales. I'm just listing them as and when another one is snapped up. The scary thing is, I have not yet notified any of the theatre/cinema organ groups, and that is where I would expect the most interest; simply because they have technical teams looking after their own instruments. Furthermore, although one copy has gone to the Netherlands, I have yet to target the big Compton interest in Australia. I have an idea in mind, which could well result in the story appearing as a physical book; at which point I could sit back, relax and forget about it all! The simple fact is, I have another (written entirely by me!) book completed, and a novel which merely needs revising, and which would be suitable for an organisation like Lulu or Amazon. Anyway, just to plug the book, there will be more on e-bay until the 50 are gone, by which time, I hope someone will take over the production and distribution. MM
  8. Ah! That makes sense. The Devonshire Street Congregational Chapel was possibly the first one to close and relocate to smaller premises. I never actually went in there or heard much about the organ, though someone once suggested that it was the best organ in town.. The other loss was the fine Forster & Andrews at Temple Street Methodist Chapel. which hosted all the big choral events. In fact, there are probably only a handful of organs left these days, of which one is exceptional and another quite a fine instrument by Brindley's.
  9. I'm afraid that I cannot offer any evidence whatsoever, but there were a few Harrison organs in Keighley and surrounding area. The one I played was the largest of them, at Holy Trinity church, and that certainly DID have a Vox Humana, added sometime after the turn of the 19th/20th century when the organ gained its extra manual. I don't recall that it was a very good example, but it also had a Clarinet and Orchestral Oboe. In fact, the "Choir" was more like a small Solo division. The only other one that comes to mind, was the organ of Oakworth Methodist Church, which closed. At some point after closure, Trinity was vandalised, and there were organ pipes scattered around the street.....presumably from the Great Organ, which was unenclosed. It was a beautifully constructed instrument, but typical of the period, with all that this implies. MM
  10. I understand and accept the wider point, but I can be such a pedant. The realisation struck me, after writing about all this, that it was the reformation which allowed the organ to flourish and prosper in places like Germany and the Netherlands, but at the same time, it held back English developments for quite some time. We can go in search of "ye olde British organ" and not find a terrible lot, until Father Smith came along. No wonder we didn't really develop a terribly significant era of organs and organ music until the 19th century. Doesn't that tell us something about the nature of the churches....most if not all of them? The Dutch, with characteristic intelligence, may have been restricted by Calvanism, but there was nothing wrong about the organ, so long as it wasn't used to accompany divine worship. Hence, the famous Bavo-orgel in Haarlem, was the property of the town rather than the church, and I'm not sure if that isn't still the case. As for the poor old C-of-E, it really does seem to be in its death-throes, but why doesn't that surprise me? I recall, as a mere sixteen-year-old, contemplating the meaning of everything. Even then, back in the 1960's, I could see populism creeping into worship and serious thinking being side-lined. The consequence of that, was a church, which itself, got sidelined and largely ignored. Any respect or power that the churches may have had, seemed to evaporate very quickly, and the response was ever more populism, trendy tunes and lightweight thinking. Still, neither iconoclastic rhetoric nor trendy "newspaper" style presentation, could ever kill the core of meaningful religion, based on love, forgiveness, tolerance and understanding. I blame Jesus, who started all this nonsense in the first place! I think I largely rejected organised religion at a very early age, but the music was good. Now I just regard it as an irrelevance for the most part, yet from time to time, I come across something special; like the good people of one parish I know, where they help to feed and support some of the poorest families in one of the poorest areas. They certainly wouldn't be sending out proclamations of Victorian morality based on rejection, ignorance and exclusion, yet they are still a small part of the C-of-E.....a tiny part even......but they are the voices crying in the wilderness.
  11. I took this from Wikipedia. It seems that the Sultan's organ was a mechanical clock thingy, and Thomas Dallam had a hand in it. It doesn't look as if the Emperor Suleiman was involved, but then, my history of the Ottoman Empire is probably sub-O-level . ============== In 1599, the fourth year of Mehmed III's reign, Queen Elizabeth I sent a convoy of gifts to the Ottoman court. These gifts were originally intended for the sultan's predecessor, Murad III, who had died before they had arrived. Included in these gifts was a large jewel-studded clockwork organ that was assembled on the slope of the Royal Private Garden by a team of engineers including Thomas Dallam. The organ took many weeks to complete and featured dancing sculptures such as a flock of blackbirds that sung and shook their wings at the end of the music.[12][13] The musical clock organ was destroyed by the succeeding Sultan Ahmed I.
  12. Did the church spawn the instrument? I think not! Just like the "populist church" of today, the early Christians rejected culture and anything to do with it. My understanding is, that the organ left the former Roman Empire, and ended up in the Muslim world. Wasn't an organ installed in the palace of the Emperor Suliman? For whatever reason, it then came back west, and formed the basis of early church music; though in quite a subdued way, and often little more than a positive organ. Things didn't really get going until the reformation, and even then, the puritans managed to destroy and delay things. Surely, the installation of organs co-incided with the age of Handel and the new choral tradition of oratorio singing? That got bigger and better with Mendelssohn, which suggests that big church and concert hall organs really came into their own during the 19th century. The names of Wm Hill and Dr Gauntlett must be in there somewhere. Meanwhile.....in Europe.......they were streets ahead!
  13. I checked York Minster. They're from the original Eliot & Hill organ of 1832!
  14. Where there was sufficient height and space, Harrison certainly did install 32ft flues. The organ at Halifax PC has a full length 32ft wood open, but some of the pipes are stacked horizontally right at the back of the organ. I would also mention York Minster, though I haven't checked to see whether it was Hill or Harrison who provided TWO 32ft pedal flues; one metal and the other wood. As regards cost, I would have thought that metal pipes are cheaper to manufacture than wooden ones; especially zinc ones. Compton probably had the right idea.......Diaphones! They stand about 10ft high or so, and can be made to shake the rafters, if required. The ones at Downside Abbey are a bit more subtle.
  15. Oh dear! Well, it's a very good bit of spoof comedy writing.
  16. I had absolutely no idea just what controversy surrounded the introduction of balanced Swell Pedals, but the following piece of religious nonsense had me squealing in delight. ========================== Regarding the current interesting debate on the merits or otherwise of the trigger swell, may I quote the Revd Ezekiel Bracebridge, himself an organist of no mean ability from his "Reflections from a country manse" published by the Stepforth Press 1912. he writes; "There can be no more pestilential and vexatious innovation to the King of Instruments than the new-fangled so-called balanced swell pedal. Instead of the noble and inspiring crescendi and decrescendi of old sounds that draw the souls to higher regions we now have fandangle effusions of ariel crescendi of a debilitating nature whose effect is to fill the heads of the "weaker sex" with lewd and lascivious thoughts and draw their souls to lower regions. The sooner these emissaries of Satan are banished from our sacred edifices the sooner we can turn our thoughts back to higher regions" ============================== Well, now we know why the rear stalls of the cinema were dens of iniquity! MM
  17. I think that needs a musical tribute to the sea and the harpsichord:-
  18. That makes sense; especially with the word 'fix' rather than 'open'.....with one exception. "My" first organ was a fine (very early) 3-manual by Harrison & Harrison, which had been enlarged from two manuals to include a new Choir Organ, placed ABOVE the Swell manual. As if this wasn't quirky enough, the Swell had a trigger pedal, and the Choir had a Swell pedal, which made accompaniment fall into the Fred Astaire category. I wish someone HAD fixed the swell, but at least it had tracker-action to the manuals and pneumatic action to the pedal organ. Sadly not more, since they demolished the church. MM
  19. I've heard the term used previously, but I don't think it's particularly Compton related. I suspect that it merely means "fix swell box open" but I can't be certain. The only possible Compton connection may relate to organs with an enclosed Great division, because most new Compton organs were fully enclosed. Fixing the Great box open, gives the more usual balance between an unenclosed Great and an enclosed Swell. Would I find the use of the term in the Plymouth Suite? I have a copy of that somewhere.
  20. What are the chances of this? Two days ago, I went to the printers to get card inserts for the book CD. I explained what I wanted, because the original inserts had a spelling mistake/typo which the printer had made in the first batch. So there I was, explaining layout and wording and the correction required, when a voice from behind said, "Compton Organs? That's interesting!" I turned to find the local organ-builder standing behind me!! Almost as good as the time I stood on the top of Cape Wrath.....somewhere between here and the Noth Pole......only accessible by foot, from the road about a mile away. There were two people standing there, and as I approached, one of them turned and said, "Hello, what are YOU doing here?" It was one of my neighbours! MM
  21. I'm working on it! There must be easier ways, not to say cheaper ways. E-bay is quite expensive to use, and on top of that, PayPal want a piece of the action. Bear with me! MM
  22. I suppose I should be pleased, but the e-bay entries are being fairly snapped up. The problem is, e-bay do not allow multiple entries of the same thing, of which I wasn't aware until I received an official notification. I'm trying to keep an eye on things, and the moment I see that one has been snapped up, I immediately re-list the item. It's all very much a trial at the moment, to see what the uptake is. I'm quite surprised at the interest, and that's before I mention it in cinema/theatre organ circles and to the electronic buffs! I wonder if a book about organ-building could become a best seller? No! That's just daft!
  23. Check my other posting about e-bay. Another listing starts at 18.00 to-day, but I was a bit taken aback by the speed at which the first one was snapped up!
  24. At the moment, until I can work out a better system, the e-bay entries will enable me to get some idea of demand. There are only 100 discs in existence at the present time. Keep checking on e-bay. As soon as one sells, I'll relist it again.
  25. I have nothing against the BIOS, but the Compton story is almost unique, in that it has a lot of appeal to various types of people.....cinema organ enthusiasts, classical organists, electronic organ enthusiasts, students of technology, electrical engineers, computer geeks, theatre lighting people, RAF wartime activity (including making the Link trainer aircraft) and others. This has been the problem of writing the book.....the sheer volume of research necessary, and then cutting it down to a readable entity. I'd like to think that it's a match for any other single organ-builder history, but other can judge for themselves. I was just thinking the other day, before the master went off to the duplication company, that to do justice to what Compton did, would probably require 1,000 pages of fine detail; such was their breadth of activity. Cutting it down to 214 pages has been quite a challenge, whilst still doing justice to the whole. The thing I'm still mystified by, is how a single organ-builder (no doubt with outside help) ever managed to build, in their busiest year, something like 1.4 organs a week and making very big profits from over-priced cinema organs. The other mystifying question, which will never be answered properly, is how such a firm of such genius and quality could survive little more than 60 years!
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