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Richard Washington

What Does En Fenetre Mean?

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"En fenêtre" (french) means "In window" (Like a window)

 

This means there is no "detached console", the keybords and the stop knobs emerge from the main case, the player facing it. This disposition is mandatory if one wants a suspended key action (without backfalls).

Best wishes,

Pierre Lauwers.

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En fenêtre also makes the distinction between consoles which have the keys within the confines of the organ casework (en fenêtre) and those where the keys project forward of the casework. Essentially it describes the difference between consoles which are built into rather then on the front of the casework. Having an en fenêtre console does not necessarily mean that the organ will have suspended action of course and you can have a little key projection and still have suspended action, but obviously not a great deal.

 

John Pike Mander

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Not an easy one to explain in words, but I will try.

 

The two main types of action are "balanced" and "suspended". The balanced key action is the more common variety.

 

In a balanced key action, the keys themselves are pivoted somewhere near the middle of the key. When you press the key down, the far end of the key goes up which pulls the tracker. That tracker usually goes down first and then through a backfall or two squares to send it up into the organ.

 

In a suspended key action, the key is pivoted at the back of the key and the tracker is attached somewhere between the back of the key and the playing surface of the key. When the key is depressed, the tracker is pulled down and goes straight up into the organ. This can sometimes result in a shorter tracker run and also sometimes reduces the number of squares that the action has to run through.

 

As to which is better, this is another of those things in organbuilding which brings out passions some claiming one is better and others the other. The truth is that in some instances one form of action is better and in others the other. This is usually because of layout. One should not apply any dogma, but simply consider which would be more suitable for each specific instance.

 

John Pike Mander

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I just want to add two things : "en fenêtre" consoles can be placed on the front of the case, but also at the back (for example in the Dallam organs of Ergué and Ploujean) and on the sides (19th century Heyer organs). Suspended action was common practice up to the middle of the 19th century when it was replaced by balanced action. So it can be said that suspended action is more appropriate for baroque music and balanced action for the romantic repertoire.

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