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Walcker's Free Reeds


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Here is a link to the photos of the Walcker free reed oboe at Christ Church Lausanne:




The vital statistics in mm of the CC (1), C (13), c (25), c' (37) and c'' (49) pipes are:


Boot length: 650, 450, 255, 205, 205

Boot diameter at block: 60, 50, 38, 30, 24.

Boot toe hoe: 6, 5, 4, 5, 3.

Resonator length: 1210, 610, 280, 210, 185.

Resonator mouth internal diameter: 75, 58, 44, 34, 24.

Resonator diameter in block: 14, 12, 11, 5.5, 5.

Shallot length from block: 100, 61.5, 43, 24, 17.

Reed tongue width: 9, 5, 4, 5, 3.75.


As the tongues are riveted to the shallot, I'd prefer not to dismantle them to measure the tongue thickness. Bottom C's tongue is approximately 1.5 mm thick with a 45° chamfer.


The reed becomes beating at treble C (37) - which explains the sudden increase in tongue width.

From middle C (25) up the cylindrical part of the boot is (or what looks like) chrome plated!


Of the Walcker organs listed on the NPOR, only two appear to have their original oboe: Lochmaben 1903, and Dalziel Parish Church, Motherwell, Lanarkshire, 1900. As the sound is reminiscent of the bag pipes, it isn't a surprise that Scotland has kept hold of their Walcker Oboes. I don't know whether they were the free reed variety as they are 20 years later than ours and those in Riga Cathedral (1883).


Sound files on their way, but may be next week as there are rehearsals tomorrow and a big choral concert on Sunday - Rutter's requiem.


I'll send you the images by PM, Pierre, as you will see higher resolution than that shown on the site where I've posted them.

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Many thanks, David,


The first Walcker organ with free reeds was Paulskirche, Frankfurt (1829-1833).

Of E-F W's free reeds very few remain.

But such stops were used by nearly all belgian builders in the 19th century, and

were used longer in Belgium than anywhere else: up to WW I.

They were made after Walcker model.

But an Oboe you won't find; most were Clarinets and Cor anglais.

We shall see if any older Oboe still exists.



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