JohnR Posted July 15, 2011 Share Posted July 15, 2011 Hi Speaking as an enthusiast for reed organs - (although not everyone in the reed organ fraternity will agree with me) - the reed organ, and especially the Harmonium, is a different type of instrument to a pipe organ. It was designed to be expressive - and the main way on a harmonium of providing the expression is by disconnecting the wind reservoir and manipulating the treadles to change the volume. This is a technique that takes a lot of practice! But it does allow, for example, the "grand Jeu" the 4 basic Harmonium ranks) to be played at a whisper - and with deft manipulation of the treadles, go smoothly to an ff that can, on some harmoniums, exceed 100dBA! The American organ developed from the Harmonium, using a different mechanical arrangement, which does take some of the harshness out of the basic reed sound. (Later quality Harmoniums and American organs also tend to have more voicing variety than the early ones, as techniques improved) A good many of these instruments were built to a price (cheap) for the undemanding and unsophisticated amateur player, whilst a Mustel could cost more than a modest house of its period. They do make adequate instruments for church service accompaniment - but only if the player is prepared to learn how to get the best out of them (just the same as any other organ really!). Many French churches used a Harmonium as the "Orgue de Choer" The 2mp variants, which came a little later were aimed at the "pipe organ substitute" market - and will, with a little care and attention, outlive any electronic - but they will always sound like a reed organ. Personally, I'd rather have a good Harmonium or Suction reed organ and take advantage of the expressiveness than play a 2mp reed organ - but others differ on that point! As to their suitability vs electronics (or the increasing - and I find very worrying - trend to pre-recorded accompaniments) depends mainly, IMHO, on the style of music that's needed - and the availability of a GOOD reed organ (restoration doesn't come cheap!) Every Blessing Tony I don't know much about these instruments but have noticed that they seem to stay in tune rather well, even if there are other problems. A church in my sister's group of parishes managed to sell their harmonium on ebay for over £400. I'd said they may be lucky to get over £50 for it so was very pleased for them if a little embarassed. Many pipe organs on ebay would do well to fetch £400. John R Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
Please sign in to comment
You will be able to leave a comment after signing in
Sign In Now