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MusingMuso

Re-engineering The Organ

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Having just returned to re-read this topic I realize that England had the cat's whiskers of a long tracker instrument when Hill provided an action of 90ft for his detached console (1842) in Canterbury Cathedral. Beat that?

 

Best wishes,

Nigel

 

Nigel, as far as I can ascertain, this console and action were provided by William Henry Longhurst in 1827. Hill did undertake some work - in 1849, supplying a new pedal clavier, three new pedal stops (each consisting of twelve notes) and augmenting a [pedal?] stop, installed by Longhurst, from seven to twelve notes. Hill also provided three couplers: Choir to Pedal, Great to Pedal and Swell to Great. In 1873 the instrument was tuned to 'equal' temperament. At this time, the only compound stop (out of a total of thirty-three) was a two-rank Sesquialtera on the Swell Organ.

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But then, dear MM, here is the chest you need:

 

http://209.85.48.12/6761/11/upload/p113956.jpg

;) ;) :rolleyes:

 

Pierre

 

 

=======================

 

 

Far too complicated for what I have in mind.

 

You can't beat the simplicity of tracker-action and bar & slider chests. All I am concerned with is re-organising the layout and improving accessibility, with perhaps a nod in the direction of standardisation.

 

MM

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"You can't beat the simplicity ".....Of the Taschenlade, in which only

a leather membrane moves.

 

Pierre

 

Is not the object of re-engineering the organ at least partially to make it last longer? What is the shelf life of an internal, hard to access leather membrane as opposed to mechanical action materials, which are essentially self-contained and non-corroding?

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"hard to access leather membrane"

(Quote)

 

This was adressed since E-M Skinner.

Nowadays a membrane can be changed like a cassette

in a recorder, while a diagnostic system can tell you

at the console: "Membrane 179 Swell to be changed".

We live in 2008, no more in 1898.

(This said, mechanical slider-chests are excellent, and not to beat

for baroque style organs).

 

Pierre

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This was adressed since E-M Skinner.

Nowadays a membrane can be changed like a cassette

in a recorder, while a diagnostic system can tell you

at the console: "Membrane 179 Swell to be changed".

 

But the fact remains that it needs to be changed. Why does this provide an advantage over a permanent mechanical link?

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But the fact remains that it needs to be changed. Why does this provide an advantage over a permanent mechanical link?

 

Every about 50 years, with today's material.

(A tracker action does not need anything during

the same period, of course, ahem, ahem...)

 

Pierre

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Guest Barry Williams
Every about 50 years, with today's material.

(A tracker action does not need anything during

the same period, of course, ahem, ahem...)

 

Pierre

 

Some tracker actions need dealing with rather more often than every fifty years and the worst culprits appear to be the new actions.

 

Barry Williams

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Some tracker actions need dealing with rather more often than every fifty years and the worst culprits appear to be the new actions.

 

Barry Williams

 

Yes !

There is no hierarchy between both designs; both are excellent for their

respective purposes.

 

Pierre

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But the fact remains that it needs to be changed. Why does this provide an advantage over a permanent mechanical link?

 

 

========================

 

 

I think I agree with this, because I can't think of anything more reliable if it is well made.

 

I was musing (as you do) about sliders and things, and the thought occured to me, that a perfectly good slider could be obtained using almost wafer-thin metal valves running in a rigid-frame, with good quality synthetic seals. As separate, detachable, underslung modules, all the sliders could be detached and re-furbished in no time at all.

 

It's a fascinating exercise, because the smple tracker-action is really quite elegant, and actually quite difficult to "improve" in a meaningful way.

 

On the other hand, I find coupler-mechanisms to be a bit of an engineering nightmare, but I haven't invented the alternative.....yet.

 

MM

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.....And you don't need all those experiments with the Taschenlade.

You build the thing with the simplest means, thick, heavy wood, big screws,

then you kill a cow, preferably grown in the middle-of-nowhere, far away

from any town and its air pollution, and you make the membranes from

its skin.

As simple as a british roadster from the fifties. Any sophisticated

material research would be useless.

Even if the thing warps somewhat, no worry, there are no sliders to block,

no trackers to disturb, nothing, nuts, nada, niente, nichts, niets, niks,

nitts, which can go wrong.

The saved money you can invest in thick Diapasons.

 

Pierre

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Yes !

There is no hierarchy between both designs; both are excellent for their

respective purposes.

 

Pierre

 

=======================

 

There is indeed a hierarchy. One of them came first, and has yet to be improved upon.

 

MM

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=======================

 

There is indeed a hierarchy. One of them came first, and has yet to be improved upon.

 

MM

 

.....So as the steam engine, which also deserves improvments.

 

Pierre

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.....So as the steam engine, which also deserves improvments.

 

Pierre

 

 

===================

 

I quite agree Pierre, and so would you if you took a walk near where I live. Every summer, the air is thick with billlowing smoke and half the countryside goes up in flames. I'm sure they do it on purpose. With the amount of wind-farms around here, I'm sure they could lay down a third-rail and drive the old steam-trains with electric-motors; just the odd puff of steam here and there, to keep the enthusiasts happy.

 

You can see from this what we have to suffer:-

 

http://kwvr.fotopic.net/p41066126.html

 

Of course, the old tracker-action signals and points continue to work well enough.

 

 

 

:lol:

 

MM

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Guest Patrick Coleman
===================

 

You can see from this what we have to suffer:-

 

http://kwvr.fotopic.net/p41066126.html

 

MM

 

Good for clearing the chest - you're welcome to send it all here, where the Atlantic winds will soon blow it all away, and the torrential rain would wash away the tracks.

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Good for clearing the chest - you're welcome to send it all here, where the Atlantic winds will soon blow it all away, and the torrential rain would wash away the tracks.

 

 

========================

 

 

Certainly not!

 

We may suffer the occasional chest ailment, but I don't think we would welcome de-railment: there's money involved.

After all, the smelly old things bring in the tourist cash, along with the Bronte sisters, the parsonage, "Wuthering Heights" and "Taylor's real ale".

 

Poor Nick Bennett is probably taking smelling-salts after my last post; being one of the more prominent members of the "Keighley and Worth Valley Railway".

 

Not unrelated, is the excellent story about one of the theme-days on the "KWVR".

 

It was "Thomas the Tank Engine" day, and as usual, the trains had faces on the front, and the cast were all dressed up in the costumes of the various characters. The children were ecstatic as the "Grand Controller" stepped forward to admonish "Thomas" for running late.

 

Meanwhile, in the local parish church of St.John, just 100m across the road from Ingrow Station, Morning Worship was taking place.

 

With the radio microphones working on exactly the same frequency, the vicar was a bit alarmed as he ascended the pulpit and began his sermon with the words, "You've been a very naughty boy. A very naughty boy indeed!"

 

:P

 

For the record Nick, I love steam-trains!

 

MM

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Guest spottedmetal
If the organ had never been invented, and someone came along and said, "Hey, if I blow this tube, it makes a musical note," how would you make a musical instrument which used ANYTHING at the disposal of designers/engineers to-day.

 

I'm not sure that I can find his details now, but I came across an amateur organ builder on the south coast who had built a house instrument house entirely out of pipes made from the various diameters of plastic plumbing.

 

He had built a larger scale instrument in Czech Republic or Poland using such pipes with the advantage that they weren't going to be pillaged for scrap metal in due course . . . !

 

Best wishes

 

Spottedmetal - who does not want to change his name to plain plumbing plastic!

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I seem to recall reading a number of years ago a book called Organ Building for Amateurs by Mark Wick in which he proposed a scheme which had all the pipes built entirely from paper.

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I'm not sure that I can find his details now, but I came across an amateur organ builder on the south coast who had built a house instrument house entirely out of pipes made from the various diameters of plastic plumbing.

 

He had built a larger scale instrument in Czech Republic or Poland using such pipes with the advantage that they weren't going to be pillaged for scrap metal in due course . . . !

 

Best wishes

 

Spottedmetal - who does not want to change his name to plain plumbing plastic!

 

 

================================

 

 

That's perfectly plausible, and I saw something similar on e-bay a couple or so years ago. I dare say that the duller sound of plastic may well sound better in a house than it would in a larger space. The one I saw, I'm fairly certain, had been built by an expert organ-builder/voicer, who "may or may not" have been involved with Nicholson Ltd., and the mouths were metal and bonded into the plastic. It's amazing what can be done with a soldering-iron and a bit of plastic-bonder!

 

I would also suggest that Gareth's comment about paper pipes is probably a rather good one. I know a bit about paper (groan!)........here goes.

 

Paper is a completely natural material derived from wood as we all know, but beyond that, the quality gets less as the paper is re-cycled. The actual structure of the paper sheet, which starts off very even and fine, becomes more open and "grainy" as various old paper soups are added to virgin material. So whilst it wouldn't be possible to make pipes out of newspaper quality material, or soft, porous cardboard, the harder, higher quality grades should act something like wooden pipes acoustically.

 

In fact, you can try this at home children........

 

Take your typical soft cardboard as found in the centre of household paper rolls, and you would never get a note out of it. On the other hand, find a really hard, high-quality "card" made into a roll, and when you tap it, you will distinctly hear a musical note.

 

With this type of cardboard roll, or thick section card fabricated into pipes, I can well imagine that it could be made to sound very good. (I used to make free-reeds with pieces of grass when I was 10, but I could never get them to stay in tune for very long).

 

Of course, some paper is laminated, and other grades have a coating; the best quality being computer-paper, worth perhaps £250 per tonn scrap, compared to about £40 for even good cardboard.

 

How do I know this, I sense you all asking?

 

Well, my friend is a waste-paper merchant, and he has made enough out of processing the stuff to own 18 Lowrey paintings!

 

 

MM

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Guest spottedmetal
I would also suggest that Gareth's comment about paper pipes is probably a rather good one.

There used to be a good reference book on fairground organs. From memory there was a chapter on making pipes out of "Oxford board" . . .

 

Best wishes

 

Spottedmetal

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