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This appears (from reading) to be fairly commonplace on the continent. I recently played a small organ by Merklin which immediately went into my top 5. Its spec was as follows:

 

GO Bourdon 16 (+Ped), Montre 8, Bourdon 8, Flute harmonique 8, Salicional 8, Voix celeste 8, Flute 4, Fourniture III, Basson et hautbois 8, Trompette 8

 

Recit Bourdon 8 (GO), Flute harmonique 8 (GO), Salicional 8 (GO), Voix celeste 8 (GO), Flute 4 (GO), Quinte 3, Doublette 2, Basson et hautbois 8 (GO)

 

Ped Bourdon 16 (GO), Violoncello 8 (GO)

 

No manual coupling necessary, all under expression.

 

This struck me as an excellent way of achieving so many objectives - small balancing trio registrations, accompanimental colour and beautiful solo voices in spades, seamless and appropriate crescendos (by which I mean that you can change manuals gradually, rather than all parts at once) without any need for pistons or ventils, two balancing choruses with contrasting top-ends, exceedingly compact footprint, and (in this particular instance) one of the most beautifully regulated tracker actions I have encountered.

 

It was last rebuilt in 1982, and (save for one note overblowing when played on both keyboards) there were no evident mechanical problems. The tuning book suggested there had been none to speak of - we were only on about page 4 or 5 of a small notebook since its restoration nearly 30 years ago.

 

I've seen this done a little in the UK, such as this Drake organ, but there the shared stops are on an 'either or' basis and cannot be used in two places at once, thereby invalidating one of the strongest benefits.

 

So - why not??

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Sharing stops like this is by no means unknown in these islands and elsewhere too. There are two ways of doing it mechanically.

 

One way (as it seems used by Bill Drake in the quoted example) is for a stop to be available on one or the other manual. Usually this is achieved by having a slide which moves in two directions, one feeding wind from the (say) Great pallets, and the other from the (say) Choir pallets. One advantage of this method is that the pipes are pretty well guaranteed to get the same amount of wind from each department. Note that Heckelphone mentioned one pipe which over-blew when a stop was played from both manuals at the same time. But it does mean that a stop is only available on one or the other manual and not both at the same time.

 

The other method allows a stop to be selected on one, the other, or both manuals at the same time. There are two ways this can be achieved. The most usual method is to have non-return valves (often called clack valves) inserted between the slides and the chamber under the pipe. This is to prevent wind going back down the other slide when both are drawn, feeding wind into the bar of the other manual, which will then feed wind to any stops drawn on that manual. This is an old technique, found (for example) on the borrowed Stop Diapason on the Great and Choir Organs of the Adlington Hall organ. Not a new idea therefore. But it can also be done without clack valves. What is called a bar divider is put in the bar which runs from the table to the pallet. This means that if the pallet of the second manual is closed, any wind wanting to go back into the bar of the second manual is sealed off from the rest of the bar, so wind will not get to any other pipes of stops which are drawn. Obviously, this only lends itself to being done for a stop or two as otherwise one would need lots of bar dividers which would restrict the amount of wind getting to the other stops. But it has been done in fact. Rensch in Germany did at least one organ where all the stops were borrowed and it used this method with especially designed pallets set in the centre of the soundboard, rather than at the front or the back. I saw an organ in the Rensch works like this in the early 1970s.

 

Neither of these techniques lends itself readily to employment for borrowing reed stops. Reed stops are extremely sensitive to the amount of wind they get and any even very small variation affects the tuning.

 

But, having said that, we have done it even with reeds, after a couple of less than totally successful trials. Our instruments at St Giles Cripplegate, Sydney Grammar School and the Meeting House on Cape Cod all employ both these techniques. In each instance the Open Diapason of the Great is borrowed to the Pedal as a Principal 8 and the Trumpet 8 on the Great is also borrowed to the Pedal. The Open Diapason borrowing employs clack valves and also individual regulators so that the lowest pipes receive a little more wind when they are played on the Pedal than they do when they are played on the Great. This is so that the bass is a bit firmer on the Pedal than on the Great which is musically desirable. The borrowed Trumpet employs the bar divider method as clack valves disturb and alter the amount of wind which affects the tuning of the Trumpet as mentioned above. All the wind ways from pallet to tip hole of the pipe are made over-generous so that all the regulation of the pipe is done at the tip and there is no chance of any restriction anywhere else in the system.

 

One of my colleague organ builders, director of a large firm here in the UK, had noted that we had shared Trumpets in this way and asked if this threw up any problems. I said "no" and then after a pause I said "If you had asked if we had had problems, I would have said yes, but we have now sorted it out." When the IBO came to St Giles Cripplegate we displayed a drawing of how this was done which became the subject of much detailed study and the organbuilder mentioned above happily walked off with the drawing when I offered it to him.

 

John

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A most ingenious solution and admirable honesty to admit that it's practice that makes perfect!

 

But I wonder if in striving for a perfect mechanical solution to borrowing reeds, aka the search for the perfect Swiss watch that manages at great expense to keep perfect time without resorting to quartz crystals and radio signals, a much simpler solution would have been that those stops that don't lend themselves to mechanical borrowing could have been on a separate electric action? Or say a Barker-style action if you want to retain a degree of mechanicity? At what point does pragmatism overcome a desire for all things mechanical? One could design a totally mechanical action sequencer with different levels of memory. After all, the King of Instruments had adjustable analogue memory systems a century before the advent of the computer. But with solid state being so cheap and simple, is it worth the trouble to design a mechanical alternative?

 

Of course, had the European Union decided differently a few years ago, we'd have been forced to do just that. Banning lead from all devices with electrical connections wouldn't have needed to have been the end of the organ building industry by any means - but it would have meant all new instruments would have had to have been built of mechanical or tubular-pneumatic action (with lead pipes of course), with mechanical combination systems and powered either by gas engines or by teams of strong fit people. Hey, why go to the gym when you can do a workout on the local church organ?

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Just on that note, go to Thann - Michael Gailliard has (with some nudging from Bernard Aubertin) constructed a mechanical piston system which runs on compressed air and is instantly settable at the console with a memory button - something to do with little metal pegs running down chutes and into holes. Very clever and very noisy.

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Just on that note, go to Thann - Michael Gailliard has (with some nudging from Bernard Aubertin) constructed a mechanical piston system which runs on compressed air and is instantly settable at the console with a memory button - something to do with little metal pegs running down chutes and into holes. Very clever and very noisy.

 

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

 

Have they never seen the Binns patent?

 

With a bit of development and small-scale compressed-air pneumatics, that could be made to achieve the same thing, surely?

 

However, thanks for bringing back memories of automated looms, which I used to watch with great satisfaction and delight when I was about 10 years of age. They would whirr, rattle, spit and make popping noises; all done by compressed air.

 

You could peep into factories in those days and watch people making things, and no one died or got hurt.

 

MM

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On the famous Waltershausen organ by THG Trost, 6 of the 14 pedal stops are by transmission from the Hauptwerk. Was this practice peculiar to Trost? None of the Schnitgers or Silbermanns with which I am acquainted have anything like it.

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Hello,

On the famous Waltershausen organ by THG Trost, 6 of the 14 pedal stops are by transmission from the Hauptwerk. Was this practice peculiar to Trost? None of the Schnitgers or Silbermanns with which I am acquainted have anything like it.

transmissions from the Hauptwerk are common at Trost-pedals. Altenburg has 4 of the 12 pedal stops transmitted from the Hauptwerk, Großengottern has 4 of the 8.

 

Cheers

tiratutti

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This practice was known in Northern Germany since the 17th Century.

It is an interesting substitute to the Pedal coupler -which does not exist

in those organs-.

Even better: Joachim Wagner of Berlin built organs with borrowings from one manual

to another alreday in the first half of the 18th century.

As for extensions, it is probable Eugenio Casparini already tried that system in 1700

-at least!-.

 

Pierre

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Getting off-topic...

 

4 seconds after reading MM's comment above I found this:

accidents

 

 

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

 

Well.....yes.....but I was only talking about "peeping in" rather than getting involved in hands-on ship-building at the age of 12.

 

That said, I did help out at a factory at the tender age of 15, when the overhead crane-driver fell off the ladder and injured himself badly!!

 

It was quite a thrill to learn how to drive an overhead crane the hard way, with no training whatsoever. After nearly killing a maiming a few people, I soon got the hang of it (no pun intended), and discovered how to move a heavy load, bring it to a precise halt, and drop it within an inch or two of the intended landing-area.

 

It was terrific fun driving along a factory 40ft up, and I got £5 cash-in-hand for doing it.

 

Other delights included driving a tractor age 13, fiddling with the controls of a gigantic mill steam-engine age 14, driving a steam-train age 14, driving a traction-engine age 15 and pushing oak planks through a rip-saw using two long pieces of wood.

 

Oddly enough, the most dangerous thing I ever did was oil the bearings and unguarded drive-chain of an organ-blower, which used the old feeders driven from a crank. (Binns....Rochdale Methodists). In the corner was a mercury bath/carbon-arc rectifier, which converted AC to DC to drive the old electric motor. From beneath a huge glass flask, the pointer (anode?) trembled; sending vivid blue flashes across the surface of the mercury. It was like something out of Frankenstein, and probably about as dangerous, with cotton covered DC cables and exposed terminals on the wall.

 

Add to that climbing and pot-holing, then motor-sport, I often express surprise that I lived to see the age of 21.

 

They didn't call me "Danger Mouse" for nothing.

 

MM

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Oddly enough, the most dangerous thing I ever did was oil the bearings and unguarded drive-chain of an organ-blower, which used the old feeders driven from a crank. (Binns....Rochdale Methodists). In the corner was a mercury bath/carbon-arc rectifier, which converted AC to DC to drive the old electric motor. From beneath a huge glass flask, the pointer (anode?) trembled; sending vivid blue flashes across the surface of the mercury. It was like something out of Frankenstein, and probably about as dangerous, with cotton covered DC cables and exposed terminals on the wall.

 

I know this comment is off topic, but your post brought back so many memories of the factory power house where my grandfather worked. They also had mercury arc rectifiers, large generators driven off a weir on the river, big copper bus bars (which they dusted by hand, with the other hand firmly in their pocket), and of course all the equipment out in the factory. What a cool place to visit as a young boy! For anyone interested,

of a mercury arc rectifier in operation on the Isle of Man.

 

And with that detour over, back to organs!

 

--Justin

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I know this comment is off topic, but your post brought back so many memories of the factory power house where my grandfather worked. They also had mercury arc rectifiers, large generators driven off a weir on the river, big copper bus bars (which they dusted by hand, with the other hand firmly in their pocket), and of course all the equipment out in the factory. What a cool place to visit as a young boy! For anyone interested,
of a mercury arc rectifier in operation on the Isle of Man.

 

And with that detour over, back to organs!

 

--Justin

 

You can see some operating :o:P:o at the Kempton Steam museum if you go when the engine is in steam (there is a little more to life than just organs and 17th ranks..!)

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Up until the Wood Brown rebuild of the 1970s (of which the least said the better) the organ blower on the fine 3 manual Walker in St Bartholomew's Brighton was DC, converted by carbon rods dipping in and out of pots. The organist had to fill the pots up with water once a week. The system worked quite well but was somewhat noisy in operation.

 

I believe a similar system was used in the early days for the Morgan & Smith organ (one of their less unsuccessful efforts at organ building) in St Augustine's Brighton.

 

Malcolm

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  • 5 months later...

What would people think of a scheme where a choir division (in the old English sense, with a secondary principal chorus) was borrowed almost entirely from the Great? Did Goetze and Gwynn not do something along those lines? How easy is it to do in terms of blend, etc.? I can imagine it would be a great idea for small parish churches - a way of getting a pipe organ, with a reduced number of pipes, but no extension!

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This works exceptionally well.

 

It looks great! It is a shame the borrowed stops are "either/or" though. I can certainly think of situations where I'd like to have the 4' Flute available on both. I suppose that can be worked around.

 

Here's the Goetze and Gwynn example which I mentioned before:-

http://www.goetzegwynn.co.uk/newchurch/rehringhausen.shtml

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

 

Well.....yes.....but I was only talking about "peeping in" rather than getting involved in hands-on ship-building at the age of 12.

 

That said, I did help out at a factory at the tender age of 15, when the overhead crane-driver fell off the ladder and injured himself badly!!

 

It was quite a thrill to learn how to drive an overhead crane the hard way, with no training whatsoever. After nearly killing a maiming a few people, I soon got the hang of it (no pun intended), and discovered how to move a heavy load, bring it to a precise halt, and drop it within an inch or two of the intended landing-area.

 

It was terrific fun driving along a factory 40ft up, and I got £5 cash-in-hand for doing it.

 

Other delights included driving a tractor age 13, fiddling with the controls of a gigantic mill steam-engine age 14, driving a steam-train age 14, driving a traction-engine age 15 and pushing oak planks through a rip-saw using two long pieces of wood.

 

Oddly enough, the most dangerous thing I ever did was oil the bearings and unguarded drive-chain of an organ-blower, which used the old feeders driven from a crank. (Binns....Rochdale Methodists). In the corner was a mercury bath/carbon-arc rectifier, which converted AC to DC to drive the old electric motor. From beneath a huge glass flask, the pointer (anode?) trembled; sending vivid blue flashes across the surface of the mercury. It was like something out of Frankenstein, and probably about as dangerous, with cotton covered DC cables and exposed terminals on the wall.

 

Add to that climbing and pot-holing, then motor-sport, I often express surprise that I lived to see the age of 21.

 

They didn't call me "Danger Mouse" for nothing.

 

MM

 

 

Sounds like you have had a charmed existence! One organist died at the hands of his blower. At Leck near Carnforth in Lancashire the H&H organ has a very remote blower, in a shed by the church gate, and some distance from the building. The original power source was a gas-oil engine, hence the layout, which avoided the noise and fumes nuisance associated with such machines! The duties of the organist included starting the thing up each time, and on one tragic occasion in the 1920's his clothing became entangled in the flywheel, with sad consequences.

 

Ellenroad Mill is worth a visit if you haven't already been. We have the biggest engine still working, plus two from other sites. Adjacent to J21 of the M62, in steam 1st Sunday of each month except January.

 

CP

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