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Notwithstanding the efforts of the humidifier, the organ in Halifax Parish Church has not stood up well to the heating during this brass monkey weather. The swell flutes are particularly badly affected; they are so out of tune as to be effectively unusable. The other flutes are nowhere near as bad for some reason. But the whole organ sounds dull and lifeless.

 

It's all still working at the moment, but past experience tells me the odd note and stop will be off before long, and there will be runnings and other little irritations.

 

Does everybody else go through this every winter? More importantly, does anyone have any tips to minimise the effects of the heating on the instrument?

 

It's not as if the place is that well heated - it was only 50 degrees at the console yesterday.

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Notwithstanding the efforts of the humidifier, the organ in Halifax Parish Church has not stood up well to the heating during this brass monkey weather.  The swell flutes are particularly badly affected; they are so out of tune as to be effectively unusable.  The other flutes are nowhere near as bad for some reason.  But the whole organ sounds dull and lifeless.

 

It's all still working at the moment, but past experience tells me the odd note and stop will be off before long, and there will be runnings and other little irritations.

 

Does everybody else go through this every winter?  More importantly, does anyone have any tips to minimise the effects of the heating on the instrument?

 

It's not as if the place is that well heated - it was only 50 degrees at the console yesterday.

 

Why not ask the PCC Treasurer how much you are saving on heating by having it set to arctic conditions? You can then show him (manufacture if necessary :D ) the figures for the cost of the extra visits needed to sort out all these faults. There is likely to be little difference and so everyone will be happy! You never know a good number of your congregation might feel less inclined to stay in bed on a cold Sunday morning if the heating goes up and be there to swell the collection plate too!

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Why not ask the PCC Treasurer how much you are saving on heating by having it set to arctic conditions? You can then show him (manufacture if necessary  :D ) the figures for the cost of the extra visits needed to sort out all these faults. There is likely to be little difference and so everyone will be happy! You never know a good number of your congregation might feel less inclined to stay in bed on a cold Sunday morning if the heating goes up and be there to swell the collection plate too!

 

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

 

It hasn't a lot to do with heating, but the fact that the old girl hasn't had much done to her since Arthur Harrison re-built it; save for attention to the primaries using synthetic pneumatic material and that awful Great Mixture, added at the same time.

 

In fact, it is probably a miracle as close to the ressurection as it possible to get, that the old girl functions at all!

 

Worry not, when things slowly dry out, the slides will stop sticking (as they are prone to do in wet weather) and the flutes will become stable once more.

 

The organ at Halifax has needed a dceent re-build most of my life, and I'm sure Mr Mander would be happy to oblige!

 

MM

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Guest Roffensis

The organ where I am is on a west gallery high up, and the radiator system fortunately does not reach it much, but the cold does. The action (TP) tends to go a little awol (stiff leather?), but usually only a couple of pedal notes and it always springs back. It's a Hill and is built like a tank, which helps. In the summer it gets very warm, and I have a humidifier to counteract it, which tends to keep it about 55 or so, ditto the RH.

I'd recommend anyone to get one, and if the heating is a winter nightmare, leave it running.

Richard.

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I am reasonably fortunate in that my own church is kept fairly constant at around 65 degrees Farenheit. There is a humidifier, which runs as necessary. Strangely, insofar as the tuning is concerned, the organ seems to prefer it hot. Returning from holiday either last Christmas (or the one before, I mis-remember), I was met by the Administrator who apologised and explained that, due to repair work on the heating system (and the fact that the engineer had forgotten to re-set the controls to automatic after running a capacity test), the building was very hot. I went in and tried the organ and absolutely everything was in tune. The organ seemed quite happy. What this may have done to the soundboards and the action, I am not so sure, but it was very pleasant for the next Sunday.

 

With regard to Halifax, it is an organ of which I know little - is there a specification available anywhere, please?

 

A point about the Swell flutes. This may also be due to shrinkage in the stoppers (if, of course, they are stopped flutes....) and may be remedied by re-packing with more leather and grease. Alternatively, Charles Wooler's suggestion may be worth trying. However, I suspect that there may be a somewhat greater difference between the cost of two or three extra tuning and maintenance visits and keeping the church at a constant 65 degrees Farenheit.

 

:blink:

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With regard to Halifax, it is an organ of which I know little - is there a specification available anywhere, please?

 

 

Hi

 

As usual, the first port of call for info on UK organs is the National Pipe Organ Register (www.bios.org.uk/npor) There's currently somewhere in the region of 30,000 current and historic organs listed - and we're continually updating and adding more information as it comes to hand (so PLEASE let us know if you find an error or an out-of-date survey!)

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

(NPOR Editor)

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Well, I have tried it. However, it appears to be considerably less user-friendly than the previous incarnation (which also had its moments). Basically, I cannot find how to reach the relevant archive. I have followed the instructions and avoided abbreviations. I can reach a page that tells me that there is an archive (BIOS) but I am currently unable to make the quantum leap to the page.

 

If I type in 'Halifax', or 'Halifax' (and then 'Harrison and Harrison' in the organ builders' box) or even 'Halifax John Baptist' as a keyword search, I either get nothing or I get a page which tells me there is further information, but then turns petulant and refuses (as far as I can see) to direct me to the page.

 

I would be interested to know whether or not the writer of the software has ever tried to use it 'from the outside', as it were. Certainly, it appears to lack a logical progression. Or else, the response programming is illogical. (It is, of course, also possible that I am too stupid to negotiate the NPOR software.)

 

Either way, if anyone has the specification of Halifax Parish Church, or a degree in quantum physics (or, for that matter, the psychic ability to discern the contents of the NPOR) please IM me or post a message.

 

Thanks

 

Grrrrrrrrrr......................... :ph34r: :angry: :blink::blink:

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Guest paul@trinitymusic.karoo.co.uk

Well, I have tried it (N.P.O.R.). However, it appears to be considerably less user-friendly than the previous incarnation (which also had its moments).

 

 

Hear, hear!

I tried using NPOR today to find a specific church (and organ) not a hope! I was searching for the Danish Church in Hull which has a pipe organ - when I got there, of course, I discovered that I had been invited to deputise (at short notice) on a one-manual with no pedals and had to shoot back to my own church to find some decent manuals-only repertoire! A locatable NPOR entry would have been a real time and energy-saver.

 

Please note I did try the button marked NPOR.

 

I must admit, NPOR used to be rather idiosyncratic - (classic case: when one searched for Eton College Chapel this didn't have an entry - or at least claimed not to have one - either for Bucks or for Berks. Meanwhile (in another part of the wood) the same Hill was a proud holder of one of BIOS's special certificates. At least one could side-step this sort of problem by placing a sufficiently vague question - best tactic was often to ask for the (much larger) general area. 'Widsor' for instance would probably have listed Eton.

 

Now, of course, with the 'new-improved' version one has to learn a whole new range of dodges. Interestingly, I note that Tony N. has given us correct up-to-date www.addresses, but these are not found by Google. 'emma' and 'lehuray' (of course) are there.

 

Why is it that things have to be improved beyond the point where they can be successfully used by the uninitiated? I know, typical middle-age moan!

 

To change the subject:

I recommend that you don't follow advice earlier in this column and get your stopped flutes further greased - that is half the problem. Best trick (if flutes keep going sharp with changes of temperature) is and always was for the tuner to pack the stoppers (by slipping a sliver of paper between the leather and the wood of the stopper). For the same sort of reason I quite like the way old, rusty tuning-slides behave. Flue ranks with them rarely need more than a very occasional touch, unlike those with flashy new ones.

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I recommend that you don't follow advice earlier in this column and get your stopped flutes further greased - that is half the problem.  Best trick (if flutes keep going sharp with changes of temperature) is and always was for the tuner to pack the stoppers  (by slipping a sliver of paper between the leather and the wood of the stopper).  

 

For the record, I wrote that the leather should be replaced, and the stopper re-greased - not that one should simply add more grease to old leather. Naturally, this would increase the tendency of the stopper to slip down inside the pipe - resulting in a one-way Swanee whistle....

 

There are several pipes in the 4p rank on my 'own' Swell Organ, where a sliver of paper would have little or no effect in counteracting the problem of shrunken and compacted leather. Is this not, in any case, a somewhat lazy method of correction?

 

Back to Halifax PC: Having finally located a specification, I assume that the given intervals for the former GO IV rank were 17-19-flat 21-22 (in fact, a standard H&H Harmonics) - not as given in the NPOR. THerefore, is it possible that the replacement mixture details are also incorrect and it should read as a IV rank 19-22-26-29 mixture? Certainly, this was a favourite GO mixture composition of Walker's at the time. I am not sure why they would have replaced the previous IV rank mixture with a III rank stop (as stated), since the upperboards were already bored for four ranks.

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Back to Halifax PC: Having finally located a specification, I assume that the given intervals for the former GO IV rank were 17-19-flat 21-22 (in fact, a standard H&H Harmonics) - not as given in the NPOR. THerefore, is it possible that the replacement mixture details are also incorrect and it should read as a IV rank 19-22-26-29 mixture? Certainly, this was a favourite GO mixture composition of Walker's at the time. I am not sure why they would have replaced the previous IV rank mixture with a III rank stop (as stated), since the upperboards were already bored for four ranks.

 

I am assured by the present organist, who has been in the post for nearly 35 years, that Walker's did indeed replace the Harrison Harmonics with a III rank mixture, and that it was later replaced by a IV rank one. Could some money possibly have been saved by this? Could they simply have re-arranged the pipes of the Harrison mixture, for example?

 

Now that the weather has warmed up a little, the swell flutes are nowhere near as bad as they were. I don't understand this. It the problem were caused by the stoppers slipping into the pipes as the humidity went down, I would expect the pipes to remain out of tune when the humidity recovered. There must be some other reason why they went out of tune in the first place, mustn't there?

 

We do have a humidifier, and it is permanently turned on. As a result, the organ gets nowhere near as bad in the winter as it was before we had the humidifier installed (the first year we had the heating on every day the instrument became almost unplayable) but nevertheless it is still quite badly affected in the winter.

 

As I expected, the TP action is now starting to suffer. The first sign is that middle G# on the swell has become slow to sound.

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Now that the weather has warmed up a little, the swell flutes are nowhere near as bad as they were.  I don't understand this.  It the problem were caused by the stoppers slipping into the pipes as the humidity went down, I would expect the pipes to remain out of tune when the humidity recovered.  There must be some other reason why they went out of tune in the first place, mustn't there?

 

Indeed - presumably there is some other reason. Are the ranks metal, or wood? Is it possible that the problem was caused by tightly-fitting slides (probably swelling with excess moisture) and that, since the temperature increase, they have dried out?

 

Incidentally, are the GO reeds true Trombi - or did Walkers revoice them and not bother to re-engrave the stop-heads? If the former is the case, perhaps it would be possible to investigate the possibility of re-instating the Harmonics. I do not particularly like the stop and am concerned that it has a limited musical use; however, it may help to bind the reeds to the flues and partly to counteract the smooth 'oily' timbre of the reeds. I assume at present, the intervals at CC are 19-22-26-29?

 

One further question - is the 32p Wood open throughout or are the lowest five/seven pipes acoustic?

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Well, I have tried it. However, it appears to be considerably less user-friendly than the previous incarnation (which also had its moments). Basically, I cannot find how to reach the relevant archive. I have followed the instructions and avoided abbreviations. I can reach a page that tells me that there is an archive (BIOS) but I am currently unable to make the quantum leap to the page.

 

If I type in 'Halifax', or 'Halifax' (and then 'Harrison and Harrison' in the organ builders' box) or even 'Halifax John Baptist' as a keyword search, I either get nothing or I get a page which tells me there is further information, but then turns petulant and refuses (as far as I can see) to direct me to the page.

 

I would be interested  to know whether or not the writer of the software has ever tried to use it 'from the outside', as it were. Certainly, it appears to lack a logical progression. Or else, the response programming is illogical. (It is, of course, also possible that I am too stupid to negotiate the NPOR software.)

 

Either way, if anyone has the specification of Halifax Parish Church, or a degree in quantum physics (or, for that matter, the psychic ability to discern the contents of the NPOR) please IM me or post a message.

 

Thanks

 

Grrrrrrrrrr......................... :ph34r:  :angry:  :blink:  :blink:

 

Hi

It sounds like you've clicked the BOA tab. To find an NPOR survey, go to www.bios.org.uk/npor, then click the "NPOR" tab (1st left in the row of tabs) In the drop-down menu click on "Address" (or, if relevant, one of the other options) Enter the town name - "Halifax" - and if you know the CORRECT name of the church, just the saint's name (e.g. Barnabas Bradford will find out local Parish Church here) and click "send". The next screen will give you a list of possible buildings, and just click on the link from there. Entering "Halifax Parish Church" will not work, because that's not the correct name for the building, so the database just won't recognize it.

 

Please bear in mind that computers do not have any intelligence - it will only find words that are in the relevant part of the database! if you're not sure of a spelling, you can use "%" as a wild card to represent one or more characters.

 

The new interface is very different from the previous one - but once you're used to it, it is actually easier to find the information.

 

Hope this helps.

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

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Well, I have tried it (N.P.O.R.). However, it appears to be considerably less user-friendly than the previous incarnation (which also had its moments).

Hear, hear!

I tried using NPOR today to find a specific church (and organ) not a hope! I was searching for the Danish Church in Hull which has a pipe organ - when I got there, of course, I discovered that I had been invited to deputise (at short notice) on a one-manual with no pedals and had to shoot back to my own church to find some decent manuals-only repertoire! A locatable NPOR entry would have been a real time and energy-saver.

 

Please note I did try the button marked NPOR.

 

I must admit, NPOR used to be rather idiosyncratic - (classic case: when one searched for Eton College Chapel this didn't have an entry - or at least claimed not to have one - either for Bucks or for Berks. Meanwhile (in another part of the wood) the same Hill was a proud holder of one of BIOS's special certificates. At least one could side-step this sort of problem by placing a sufficiently vague question - best tactic was often to ask for the (much larger) general area. 'Widsor' for instance would probably have listed Eton.

 

Now, of course, with the 'new-improved' version one has to learn a whole new range of dodges. Interestingly, I note that Tony N. has given us correct up-to-date www.addresses, but these are not found by Google. 'emma' and 'lehuray' (of course) are there.

 

Why is it that things have to be improved beyond the point where they can be successfully used by the uninitiated? I know, typical middle-age moan!

 

To change the subject:

I recommend that you don't follow advice earlier in this column and get your stopped flutes further greased - that is half the problem. Best trick (if flutes keep going sharp with changes of temperature) is and always was for the tuner to pack the stoppers (by slipping a sliver of paper between the leather and the wood of the stopper). For the same sort of reason I quite like the way old, rusty tuning-slides behave. Flue ranks with them rarely need more than a very occasional touch, unlike those with flashy new ones.

 

Hi

 

Please also see my previous reply.

 

We are aware that there are gaps in NPOR coverage. Re. Danish Church in Hull - firstly, does it have another designation? (dedication to a saint or something?) - if so, it might well be listed under that (or the building may have changed hands since the survey was done!) Then, secondly, does it actually house a pipe organ? We do not record details of electronics or reed organs, although the building MAY be listed as "building without survey" if someone has told us about it.

 

If it is missing from the records, then please let us know - there's a downloadable form that you can complete with the relevant information to enable a survey to be raised. The same applies if you find discrepancies or that things have changed.

 

One of the most important pieces of information to check when using NPOR is the survey date - if the organ was surveyed 50+ years ago, then bear in mind that it might well have been rebuilt/replaced. NPOR is a good first sourced of info, but it's not infallable, and it's a mammoth task keeping it up to date. And bear in mind that if people don't tell us when things change, etc. we are unlikely to find out!

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

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Guest paul@trinitymusic.karoo.co.uk
Hi

 

A PS - entering "Windsor" will NOT find Eton.  Entering "Eton" will!  And will give you links to the various organs at Eton College - I've just tried it.

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

 

 

Sorry. Things may have changed. I simply recounted a previous experience which I promise is/was true. I will give NPOR a few more tries, but I have to say that when I needed it, it wouldn't play ball.

 

And... There is a pipe organ at The Danish Church, I played it yesterday.

 

P.

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I tried using NPOR today to find a specific church (and organ) not a hope!  I was searching for the Danish Church in Hull which has a pipe organ - when I got there, of course, I discovered that I had been invited to deputise (at short notice) on a one-manual with no pedals and had to shoot back to my own church to find some decent manuals-only repertoire!  A locatable NPOR entry would have been a real time and energy-saver.

 

I had a similar (but possibly even more alarming) experience some years ago.

 

It was the Sunday after Ascension and I had just finished playing Transports de Joie after Mass, when a gentleman who had recently booked me to play the organ for a concert at Wardour Castle Chapel turned up at the console and asked if I would play the same piece as one of my solos. I replied that I would be happy to do so.

 

You are, of course, wondering why I did not ask about the type of organ first. There could be several reasons for this. I like to think that it is because I am generally an obliging sort of chap.

 

Well, on the night of the concert, I arrived at the chapel, found my way up to the organ gallery....

 

.... and stood, frozen in horror and disbelief at the console of a quaint little eighteenth century instrument, with a Pedal Open, eight stops on the GO and six on the Swell Organ.

 

 

Oh....my....God.... :P

 

Well, I had to play the piece, but it was an interesting experience.

 

At least now that we have the NPOR (when I can understand how to navigate my way around the site) I can check to see if an organ is listed and so avoid making a similar error.

 

In my defence, I was quite young at the time....

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Indeed - presumably there is some other reason. Are the ranks metal, or wood? Is it possible that the problem was caused by tightly-fitting slides (probably swelling with excess moisture) and that, since the temperature increase, they have dried out?

 

Incidentally, are the GO reeds true Trombi - or did Walkers revoice them and not bother to re-engrave the stop-heads? If the former is the case, perhaps it would be possible to investigate the possibility of re-instating the Harmonics. I do not particularly like the stop and am concerned that it has a limited musical use; however, it may help to bind the reeds to the flues and partly to counteract the smooth 'oily' timbre of the reeds. I assume at present, the intervals at CC are 19-22-26-29?

 

One further question - is the 32p Wood open throughout or are the lowest five/seven pipes acoustic?

 

Without going inside and having a look I couldn't say whether these pipes are wood or metal, or what the great mixture composition is.

 

As far as I know the GO reeds weren't revoiced by Walker - they are certainly quite oily. My suspicion is that, fortuitously, there wasn't enough money to do more than the bare minimum of work on the instrument when they worked on it in the 70's. I have had sight of a 1975 (or thereabouts) proposal from Walker's which would have produced a quite different instrument with mutations on the choir and the no 1 diapason scrapped, etc.

 

The 32' Open Wood is open throughout and not acoustic. The bottom five pipes are laid horizontally across the back of the organ.

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Guest paul@trinitymusic.karoo.co.uk
Thank you, Nick.

 

It sounds both an interesting and a slightly unusual instrument. At least it was not radically altered - the 1970s have a lot to answer for!

 

 

Just a vote in favour of the organ at Halifax P.C. for readers such as pcnd who've not met it yet.

 

The organ is quite unusual and merits serious notice in a number of areas. The case is superb - a thing of real quirk and style! This should be better known and much more often photographed. I've never seen it in any book or magazine. Tonally: Principals throughout the organ are unusually and unexpectedly musical for an H&H - their blending powers are way above what one learns to expect from Arthur H. not a honk or a oily substratum anywhere! The tone of the fluework generally is more reminiscent of a Walker/Hill of c.1880. Only the quality of the reeds and strings (and the Harry Harrison console) give away the H&H pedigree.

 

I realise that the Great Mixture is not original, but I would guess that everything else essentially is. Those who have encountered unchanged H&H Harmonics will understand why anyone might want to switch them for something more multi-purpose.*

 

The Halifax organ is a lovely, typically English organ with a splendid range and tonal pallette. Of course is it overdue for a rebuild....

at least it has survived virtually intact until now!

 

 

 

*An original H&H Harmonics is rare, and for anyone who hasn't heard one, you get an 'as expected' scrunch and tang in the Tenor and Bass (having a flat 21st as well as a 17th) What you might not expect, and what makes them a very good second or climax mixture, is that these pitches carry way up into the treble. Your standard 1970's 19.22.26.29 IV breaks back earlier than an H&H Harmonics does! At Westminster Abbey the Harmonics came on (forgive me, I can't remember if it still does!) just like a Cymbal.

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The organ where I am is on a west gallery high up, and the radiator system fortunately does not reach it much, but the cold does. The action (TP) tends to go a little awol (stiff leather?), but usually only a couple of pedal notes and it always springs back. It's a Hill and is built like a tank, which helps. In the summer it gets very warm, and I have a humidifier to counteract it, which tends to keep it about 55 or so, ditto the RH.

I'd recommend anyone to get one, and if the heating is a winter nightmare, leave it running.

Richard.

 

Ventilation seems to be the most important thing. Often it's a good idea to open casework & access doors when the building is locked to let the air circulate freely. Damp chasers are invaluable, not for their heating effect which is minimal, but because they promote good circulation. Just because there is damp on the outside (sticky sliders etc) doesn't mean there is damp on the inside, so a humidifier is a good thing to keep running alongside to ensure the effects of heating and ingress of dry, warm air from the blower don't go unchecked. They do need frequent servicing if they are going to be of any use however - there is a good outfit called Fothergills in Dorset that operate nationwide.

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