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Mander Organs
Vox Humana

Six-manual Organs

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I had a little bet with myself, before clicking the link, as to in which country this is in.

 

I won!

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A large proportion is to be an electronic concoction, so doesn't really count! I own a property immediately across the road from the Castro,so if it were to be a real 7 manual pipe organ I would be it's greatest fan!

 

John

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I must say I'm kind of "what's the point" at this point. I mean, I can't really see any need for six manual organs though there are several in existence, and when I played a five manual in recital and used the top manual I almost fell off the bench trying to reach it. Indeed at Liverpool Anglican cathedral the music rack slides up to give access to the Bombarde, and when I played there I nearly couldn't find the fifth manual as it was obscured by the music desk. I'd have thought a series of divisional on-off stops to the fifth (or sixth) manual would be far more sensible given that once you get above four manuals there are several possibilities for the remaining keyboards - bombarde, echo, string, Grand Choeur etc.

 

I don't know any organists who have Marfan's syndrome but I guess they would be pretty much the only people capable of playing the top manual of seven.

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A droll thread. One thing I have always wondered about the 7 manual at Atlantic City Convention Hall (or should I now say Boardwalk Hall) is - where the blazes does the player put his/her music? And, once they have found it, why doesn't it just fall off anyway? There was an artlcle on it in the IAO Millenium Book by an organ builder, and I wrote to him asking this very question. Unfortunately I didn't get a reply. Maybe he thought I wasn't taking the whole ridiculous thing seriously enough - which I wasn't. I have never been able to!

 

CEP

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How interesting. Do they make touchscreens now that allow for multiple simultaneous presses? One of my potential issues with H*******k is that, with a touchscreen system, you can only change one stop at a time (or so I was told).

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You don't have to use touchscreens, though...

 

I know, but given the hassle when it comes to changing organs, it would be the only solution that would work for me. Given that it's against forum rules, I really don't want to open up a H*******k debate here, but I am curious about how practical the Malmo touchscreens will be. I'm a bit of a technological Luddite and not at all up to speed with developments, but I imagine Klais wouldn't be proposing this system unless this issue had been overcome.

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How interesting. Do they make touchscreens now that allow for multiple simultaneous presses? One of my potential issues with H*******k is that, with a touchscreen system, you can only change one stop at a time (or so I was told).

I may be wrong, but I *think* that (depending possibly on the brand of touchscreen and the driver software) you can "swipe" across a number of stops.

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I'm a bit of a technological Luddite

 

Same here. The issues of maintainability, repairability, obsolescence and limited lifetime all arise with digital electronics. At one extreme are PCs and the like which are lifed to only about three years nowadays - anything more is a bonus. This is driven largely by the need to replace the hardware fairly frequently to keep up with the insatiable demands of software which require ever-increasing resources to run at a reasonable speed (which is why your 3+ year old PC starts to struggle when opening web pages, doing virus scans etc, etc). This is unlikely to affect things like pipe organs as strongly though. Software upgrades will presumably occur, but not at the same breakneck speed as they do for PCs, phones, etc. So lifetimes will depend more on how long the hardware itself will survive. But when it goes wrong, will it be possible to repair it, or will it involve replacing the whole shooting match, internal computers and all? From the evidence of what happens to electronics generally in organs (e.g. solid state transmissions) this is exactly what does happen - the whole system needs to be replaced because obsolescence often dictates that replacement parts cannot be obtained after a few years. However there is a reasonable prospect a system will last 10 years or more before this is necessary. I agree with VH's other remark that a firm of the stature of Klais will have factored this into the maintenance agreement with the client, and the client will therefore be aware of it.

 

Still, it's very different nevertheless to the conservative technology which used to characterise organs. Good old fashioned electromechanical draw stop or stop key units have hardly changed for half a century. They are still readily available and replacements can be dropped in as required, and that doesn't happen very often anyway. Quite different to touch screens. It's today's electronic control systems which make the electromechanical stops pop in and out which are the weak(er) link.

 

As an aside, I feel saddened that organ builders sometimes seem to forget the needs of the visually handicapped player in their enthusiasm for the latest control technology. I might well be wrong, but I can't help thinking that it must be easier for such a player when s/he can physically feel the stop controls and detect whether they are on or off.

 

CEP

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