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Bodge-it-yourself House Organs


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Guest Cynic

Having just done (in a couple of days) a major round trip (800+ miles) dropping off and picking up items of mutual interest to/from some seriously obsessed organ feinds (? friends) one is forcefully aware of how many rescued/cobbled-up pipe organs there are lurking in UK homes. These are frequently hidden away almost completely. I know for instance of a very impressive four-manual (20+ ranks) near Evesham that has been a-building for several years and I'm about the only outsider that has ever seen/heard/played it! At the other end of the scale, I recently sat down in a clergyman's house in Oxfordshire to try an utterly gorgeous 'quasi-16th century German' one-manual.

 

I noticed on one of the USA forums (?fora?) that there was a section for those with house organs. Here, what I had in mind was that if we only knew who else was constructing things, maybe we wouldn't be throwing away quite so much stuff, or (even more important) wasting time looking for materials/methods that are not actually as hard-to-come-by as the trade would sometimes have us believe. I was told, for instance, that proper colour-coded pvc-covered cable was hard to come by and as a result had a few sections bodged up with odd cast-off lengths when (now I know where to go) this stuff is actually quite reasonable to buy new and readily available.

 

Because of space restrictions (even with a lot of room, it still fills up) I am still regularly disposing of things where I am perfectly sure that someone, somewhere would have a use for them. I have (for example) a tatty but small-scale Bourdon bass on my drive now that will in two hours time be in a skip at the local amenity. I am about to trash a newish (but not completely standard) concave and radiating pedalboard too, any day now.

 

Dear readers, I invite anyone interested in sharing info/materials/the pleasures of this sport to contact me (on or off site) and maybe we can work out a decent network for those engaged in projects.

 

 

P.S. Those with completed house organs - do you want a (fairly) unbiased outsider to write-up your instrument for a magazine? I ask because a series of little articles on these instruments would (I am absolutely sure) find a ready home. I'd do it!

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Having just done (in a couple of days) a major round trip (800+ miles) dropping off and picking up items of mutual interest to/from some seriously obsessed organ feinds (? friends) one is forcefully aware of how many rescued/cobbled-up pipe organs there are lurking in UK homes.

 

Dear readers, I invite anyone interested in sharing info/materials/the pleasures of this sport to contact me (on or off site) and maybe we can work out a decent network for those engaged in projects.

P.S. Those with completed house organs - do you want a (fairly) unbiased outsider to write-up your instrument for a magazine? I ask because a series of little articles on these instruments would (I am absolutely sure) find a ready home. I'd do it!

 

Hi

 

Sounds like a good idea to me. I'm a member of the American-based DIYAPASON list, but the scale of most of the projects that get a mention there is far bigger than anything I'd have room for.

 

My current project is a 3 stop job, attributed to Bishop, that I rescued from a church to save it from being broken up. It's not playing yet as I'm sorting out previous bodging - presumably by an organ builder who worked on the thing in the past (I doubt it left Bishop's works with no real building frame!). Once I get a little further, I may well be looking for some replacement pipework - especially a Stopped Diapason treble (many of the wooden pipes are held together with insulating tape - and the stop I have is a Clarabella, despite what the stop knob says!) and maybe a 2ft flute to replace the Open Diapason, giving me a stop list of Stop Diap, Principal, Blockflute 2 TC, all dividing at middle b,c Rather than the present Stop Diap, Open Diap, Principal.

 

Let me know if you do set something up - and the magazine articles sound like a good idea as well. There are a few house organs listed on NPOR, but I'm pretty sure there are many missing (n.b. we do NOT publish addresses for current house installations - just the town - unless we are either asked to or the information is already in the public domain so no need to worry on the security front)

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

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Having just done (in a couple of days) a major round trip (800+ miles) dropping off and picking up items of mutual interest to/from some seriously obsessed organ feinds (? friends) one is forcefully aware of how many rescued/cobbled-up pipe organs there are lurking in UK homes. These are frequently hidden away almost completely. I know for instance of a very impressive four-manual (20+ ranks) near Evesham that has been a-building for several years and I'm about the only outsider that has ever seen/heard/played it! At the other end of the scale, I recently sat down in a clergyman's house in Oxfordshire to try an utterly gorgeous 'quasi-16th century German' one-manual.

 

I noticed on one of the USA forums (?fora?) that there was a section for those with house organs. Here, what I had in mind was that if we only knew who else was constructing things, maybe we wouldn't be throwing away quite so much stuff, or (even more important) wasting time looking for materials/methods that are not actually as hard-to-come-by as the trade would sometimes have us believe. I was told, for instance, that proper colour-coded pvc-covered cable was hard to come by and as a result had a few sections bodged up with odd cast-off lengths when (now I know where to go) this stuff is actually quite reasonable to buy new and readily available.

 

Because of space restrictions (even with a lot of room, it still fills up) I am still regularly disposing of things where I am perfectly sure that someone, somewhere would have a use for them. I have (for example) a tatty but small-scale Bourdon bass on my drive now that will in two hours time be in a skip at the local amenity. I am about to trash a newish (but not completely standard) concave and radiating pedalboard too, any day now.

 

Dear readers, I invite anyone interested in sharing info/materials/the pleasures of this sport to contact me (on or off site) and maybe we can work out a decent network for those engaged in projects.

P.S. Those with completed house organs - do you want a (fairly) unbiased outsider to write-up your instrument for a magazine? I ask because a series of little articles on these instruments would (I am absolutely sure) find a ready home. I'd do it!

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Dear readers, I invite anyone interested in sharing info/materials/the pleasures of this sport to contact me (on or off site) and maybe we can work out a decent network for those engaged in projects.

P.S. Those with completed house organs - do you want a (fairly) unbiased outsider to write-up your instrument for a magazine? I ask because a series of little articles on these instruments would (I am absolutely sure) find a ready home. I'd do it!

 

Count me in Paul,

 

Perhaps a CD of small home bodge house organs too as we discussed when you visited?

 

Every Blessing,

 

David W

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Guest Cynic
Count me in Paul,

 

Perhaps a CD of small home bodge house organs too as we discussed when you visited?

 

Every Blessing,

 

David W

 

Thinks: shall I tell them that the one-manual referred to in my first posting was yours? No, better not. Suppose I'd better keep it to myself.

Best wishes anyhow!

P.

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Having just done (in a couple of days) a major round trip (800+ miles) dropping off and picking up items of mutual interest to/from some seriously obsessed organ feinds (? friends) one is forcefully aware of how many rescued/cobbled-up pipe organs there are lurking in UK homes. These are frequently hidden away almost completely. I know for instance of a very impressive four-manual (20+ ranks) near Evesham that has been a-building for several years and I'm about the only outsider that has ever seen/heard/played it! At the other end of the scale, I recently sat down in a clergyman's house in Oxfordshire to try an utterly gorgeous 'quasi-16th century German' one-manual.

 

I noticed on one of the USA forums (?fora?) that there was a section for those with house organs. Here, what I had in mind was that if we only knew who else was constructing things, maybe we wouldn't be throwing away quite so much stuff, or (even more important) wasting time looking for materials/methods that are not actually as hard-to-come-by as the trade would sometimes have us believe. I was told, for instance, that proper colour-coded pvc-covered cable was hard to come by and as a result had a few sections bodged up with odd cast-off lengths when (now I know where to go) this stuff is actually quite reasonable to buy new and readily available.

 

Because of space restrictions (even with a lot of room, it still fills up) I am still regularly disposing of things where I am perfectly sure that someone, somewhere would have a use for them. I have (for example) a tatty but small-scale Bourdon bass on my drive now that will in two hours time be in a skip at the local amenity. I am about to trash a newish (but not completely standard) concave and radiating pedalboard too, any day now.

 

Dear readers, I invite anyone interested in sharing info/materials/the pleasures of this sport to contact me (on or off site) and maybe we can work out a decent network for those engaged in projects.

P.S. Those with completed house organs - do you want a (fairly) unbiased outsider to write-up your instrument for a magazine? I ask because a series of little articles on these instruments would (I am absolutely sure) find a ready home. I'd do it!

 

 

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

 

 

Do they have to be cobbled up?

 

I recall playing an 18th century cabinet-organ in the home of an Amsterdam organist, which was a miracle of small design, with lots of horizontal wooden pipes inside.

 

Of course, the exterior finish was an absolutely superb example of baroque cabinet-making, and the sound so sweet that it didn't disturb anyone in a tall apartment block.

 

On the other hand, I knew an organ-builder who installed a three-manual organ in his house; thus reducing a spacious 4 bedroom house to a bijou one up/one down with connecting spiral staircase!

 

The things some people do just for fun!

 

MM

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Guest Barry Williams
Hi

 

Sounds like a good idea to me. I'm a member of the American-based DIYAPASON list, but the scale of most of the projects that get a mention there is far bigger than anything I'd have room for.

 

My current project is a 3 stop job, attributed to Bishop, that I rescued from a church to save it from being broken up. It's not playing yet as I'm sorting out previous bodging - presumably by an organ builder who worked on the thing in the past (I doubt it left Bishop's works with no real building frame!). Once I get a little further, I may well be looking for some replacement pipework - especially a Stopped Diapason treble (many of the wooden pipes are held together with insulating tape - and the stop I have is a Clarabella, despite what the stop knob says!) and maybe a 2ft flute to replace the Open Diapason, giving me a stop list of Stop Diap, Principal, Blockflute 2 TC, all dividing at middle b,c Rather than the present Stop Diap, Open Diap, Principal.

 

Let me know if you do set something up - and the magazine articles sound like a good idea as well. There are a few house organs listed on NPOR, but I'm pretty sure there are many missing (n.b. we do NOT publish addresses for current house installations - just the town - unless we are either asked to or the information is already in the public domain so no need to worry on the security front)

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

 

It is interesting that the eight feet stop is to be replaced by a two feet register. 8 8 4 gives far more useable variety than 8 4 2. (Six against four.)

 

It would be interesting to learn of the rationale behind the change.

 

Barry Williams

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It is interesting that the eight feet stop is to be replaced by a two feet register. 8 8 4 gives far more useable variety than 8 4 2. (Six against four.)

 

It would be interesting to learn of the rationale behind the change.

I've spent time working out the number of available combinations (including solo stops) available on my own, never realised, small stoplists - once you start diving the stops treble and bass the maths can get quite complicated.

 

I can imagine the wrong kind of Open Diapason being less than useful in a house organ, such that 8+8 is not noticeably different from the OD on its own, nor 8+8+4 from OD+4. On the other hand open and stopped diapasons together is a central part of the English organ sound so may be worth keeping. On the third hand 8+4+2 and 8+2 are my favourite sounds. :ph34r:

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Guest Cynic
I've spent time working out the number of available combinations (including solo stops) available on my own, never realised, small stoplists - once you start diving the stops treble and bass the maths can get quite complicated.

 

I can imagine the wrong kind of Open Diapason being less than useful in a house organ, such that 8+8 is not noticeably different from the OD on its own, nor 8+8+4 from OD+4. On the other hand open and stopped diapasons together is a central part of the English organ sound so may be worth keeping. On the third hand 8+4+2 and 8+2 are my favourite sounds.

 

 

Same here!

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Guest Barry Williams
I've spent time working out the number of available combinations (including solo stops) available on my own, never realised, small stoplists - once you start diving the stops treble and bass the maths can get quite complicated.

 

I can imagine the wrong kind of Open Diapason being less than useful in a house organ, such that 8+8 is not noticeably different from the OD on its own, nor 8+8+4 from OD+4. On the other hand open and stopped diapasons together is a central part of the English organ sound so may be worth keeping. On the third hand 8+4+2 and 8+2 are my favourite sounds. :ph34r:

 

I am surprised how often 8' + 8' is satisfying on our house organ where it would be muddy in a church. It may be a question of having the right tones, which possibly proves that the ear is the best judge of registration. 8'+8'+4' is certainly different on our organ to 8'+4' - markedly so. It is a question of having good tone pipes in the first place.

 

One thing is certain, it is far more diffuclt to design a small house organ than any large instrument where space and money are less critical.

 

Barry Williams

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It is interesting that the eight feet stop is to be replaced by a two feet register. 8 8 4 gives far more useable variety than 8 4 2. (Six against four.)

 

It would be interesting to learn of the rationale behind the change.

 

Barry Williams

 

Hi

 

I'm by no means committed to replacing the Open, but my thinking is:-

 

1) I haven't got enough height for the tenor octave (currently front pipes), so putting a 2ft rank in is easier (I see little point in a mid.C Open Diap, whilst a Ten C or Mid.C 2ft opens various solo possibilities. Also, the conveyancing for the front pipes is damaged. I may be able to re-arrange them if I do decide to retain the OD.

 

2) I'm concerned that an Open Diap scaled for a church organ will be too loud in a domestic setting.

 

3) I play a lot of early english music calling for cornet solos, etc. and I think that a 2ft will be more useful than the Open + Stopped Diap combination (which I agree is also very characteristic) (but it does also rather depend on how the existing Principal sounds (I was only able to play the organ very briefly, and since it hadn't been tuned for 3 years, the tuning was "interesting" to say the least. I did briefly consider replacing the OD Treble with a 3 rank Cornet, but I suspect that the work involved is beyond my current capabilities.

 

I'm not certain yet what line I'll take. Although 8-4-2 seems to be pretty common on small organs these days (and moving things up or down an octave adds other possibilities) I may still retain the OD- or go to 8-8-4 with a Dulciana or similar plus either a Stopped or Open Diap & Principal (or do I change the principal for a 4ft flute?) Even with 3 stops, there are many permutations.

 

A lot will depend on what the pipework sounds like once I start getting in back in (I still need to finish the action, having had to build a new building frame - the chest and reservoir were screwed to 2X1 battens inside the case!)

 

I agree that 8+8 can be nice - the c.1820 chamber organ downstairs in the church has 3 8fts (Stop Diap, Dulciana, Open Diap in order of volume) and they can all be mixed and matched, or used singly or in combination with the Principal & 15th.

 

I'd be interested in other suggestions - but please bear in mind that whatever I need I will have to either scounge, or will need to be very little money! The current Stopped Diap (actually a Clarabella treble) is in pretty poor condition. As far as I know, the metal pipework is reasonable (but it has been moved twice since it came out of the organ).

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

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I've spent time working out the number of available combinations (including solo stops) available on my own, never realised, small stoplists - once you start diving the stops treble and bass the maths can get quite complicated.

 

I once went to the trouble of working out a formula for the number of possible combinations of organ stops, and still use this as part of a mathematical investigation at school:

 

(2 to the power 'n') - 1, where 'n' is the number of stops. (Sorry, I can't do superscript here!).

 

Of course, many combinations will not be practical, but it certainly gives one an idea of the unbelievable number of combinations possible on even a moderately-sized instrument (1023 on a ten-stop organ, for example, and this excludes bass/treble divided stops).

 

Try it out (on a calculator) and see what I mean!

 

John

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This is a bit theoretical....

Some organs do actually permit to do nearly

whatever -example: Gottfried Silbermann's-

but then you need to voice all stops with no

overdone character, and with nearly the same strenght !

 

Pierre

 

As I said, many of these combinations will not be practical.

 

Nevertheless, over a thousand possible sounds (even if some are rather unconventional!) from only ten stops is, in my opinion, quite amazing.

 

John

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As I said, many of these combinations will not be practical.

 

Nevertheless, over a thousand possible sounds (even if some are rather unconventional!) from only ten stops is, in my opinion, quite amazing.

 

John

 

Hi

 

I used to practice on a small 2m Father Willis in St. George, Brede in Sussex. On that pretty well any combination of stops - no matter how bizarre - made a musical sound (maybe not appropriate to the repertoire, but musical).

 

Another example - on the recently rebuilt chamber organ here, Willis' have modified an old Keroulophone rank (that probably supplanted the original Stopped Diap treble in the 1870's) into a beatiful Stopped Diapason - the only drawback is that it's rather on the quiet side (making it louder induces excessive chiff - not in character with the rest of the organ). Played by itself it's the quietest stop on the organ (softer than the Dulciana even) - but it can be drawn as the only 8ft beneath the Principal and/or 15th and somehow it seems to "grow" and make a very useable alternative to the Open Diap.

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

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