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When Best To Tune


Chris Woollard
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When is it best to tune a house organ?.

I have an 11 stop 13 rank house organ (it includes a 3 rank mixture). Is now (or the spring) the best time to tune, hoping for acceptable beats mid summer and mid winter. The room has of course heating for the winter, but as this is reserved for the organ it may be kept somewhat cooler than the remainder of the house though the door to the room is far better left open during playing at least. A far better sound is produced. The house is somewhat regulated humidity wise all year but has no air conditioning for the very warm summer weather. The organ is classical with very little nicking on 50mm wind, rather Silbermann in tone and with only flue pipes. The upper work is spotted metal or 70% tin. It has conventional slider chests. It has 16ft Subbas, 2 8ft wood Gedacts, 1 8ft Gemshorn (spotted) 1 4ft Principal, 1 4ft Rohrflote, 2 2ft Principals (different voicing and divisions) a quint plus the 3 rank mixture which includes a Tierce.

 

Any advice most welcome.

 

Thankyou

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When is it best to tune a house organ?.

I have an 11 stop 13 rank house organ (it includes a 3 rank mixture).  Is now (or the spring) the best time to tune, hoping for acceptable beats mid summer and mid winter.  The room has of course heating for the winter, but as this is reserved for the organ it may be kept somewhat cooler than the remainder of the house  though the door to the room is far better left open during playing at least.  A far better sound is produced.  The house is somewhat regulated humidity wise all year but has no air conditioning for the very warm summer weather.  The organ is classical with very little nicking on 50mm wind, rather Silbermann in tone and with only flue pipes.  The upper work is spotted metal or 70% tin.  It has conventional slider chests.  It has 16ft Subbas, 2 8ft wood Gedacts, 1 8ft Gemshorn (spotted) 1 4ft Principal, 1 4ft Rohrflote, 2 2ft Principals (different voicing and divisions) a quint plus the 3 rank mixture which includes a Tierce. 

 

Any advice most welcome.

 

Thankyou

 

Hi Chris

 

I'm suprised that all flue pipes need much tuning other than the odd note here and there. I've nornally had organs tuned twice a year (spring and autumn - just before Christmas) but that's been in churches. One organ I used to play had cone-tuned metal flue pipes, and they hardly ever needed touching. I await the professional's views with interest.

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

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Thanks Tony, I forgot to mention the 4ft Principal and all the upper work are either roll tuned (longer pipes) or cone tuned (shorter ones). I have only just finished building the entire organ but my experience thus far has been that I seem to have significantly more drastic temperature and humidity changes in the house than you would in an unheated church. I am trying to control summer humidity with a dehumidifer, getting a swing of about 42% mid winter to 55% mid summer. Perhaps temperature is more important than humidity, I do not know.

 

Chris

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Thanks Tony, I forgot to mention the 4ft Principal and all the upper work are either roll tuned (longer pipes) or cone tuned (shorter ones).  I have only just finished building the entire organ but my experience thus far has been that I seem to have significantly more drastic temperature and humidity changes in the house than you would in an unheated church.  I am trying to control summer humidity with a dehumidifer, getting a swing of about 42% mid winter to 55% mid summer.  Perhaps temperature is more important than humidity, I do not know.

 

Chris

 

Hi Chris

 

As far as I understand it, temperature has more effect on pipe pitch than humidity - but in general, flue pipes will move with temperature as a body, and still remain "in tune" with each other althoguh they will shift sharp as the temperature rises. This normally is only an issue if you wnat to use the organ with other instruments. I'm told that some of the cinema organs that were installed in temperature controlled chambers would stand reasonably in tune for years.

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

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Guest Roffensis

My house organ, 5 ranks 1807 or possibly 1857, gets tuned pretty well just once or twice a year. The clue to to keep the temperature as even as possible. I use a humidifier in the organ room during the summer, and keep the central heating low/off in winter too, and just try to keep it roughly an even temperature, about 55. How often and when you do it depends I guess on its use, if you have Easter and Christmas festivals in your house (with full choir of course) then you need it for then, and of course summer for the weddings!

All best,

Richard :lol:

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  • 1 month later...
When is it best to tune a house organ?.

I have an 11 stop 13 rank house organ (it includes a 3 rank mixture).  Is now (or the spring) the best time to tune, hoping for acceptable beats mid summer and mid winter.  The room has of course heating for the winter, but as this is reserved for the organ it may be kept somewhat cooler than the remainder of the house  though the door to the room is far better left open during playing at least.  A far better sound is produced.  The house is somewhat regulated humidity wise all year but has no air conditioning for the very warm summer weather.  The organ is classical with very little nicking on 50mm wind, rather Silbermann in tone and with only flue pipes.  The upper work is spotted metal or 70% tin.  It has conventional slider chests.  It has 16ft Subbas, 2 8ft wood Gedacts, 1 8ft Gemshorn (spotted) 1 4ft Principal, 1 4ft Rohrflote, 2 2ft Principals (different voicing and divisions) a quint plus the 3 rank mixture which includes a Tierce. 

 

Any advice most welcome.

 

Thankyou

 

I would think that if you haven't got reeds, a major tune is not really necessary as everything will gentle fluctuate with temp and humidity. Smaller metal pipes will sound a bit 'iffy' when central heating hits in though. I hope that it is in a good 17/18th century temperament too. That makes for exciting times. With all that upperwork I imagine the best place to hear this organ is in the rose garden!

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