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Mander Organs
Peter Allison

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I visit this site every day, and as a "non player", I find some the posts very interesting, but sadly not seen any "new post since 19/10 17. The old adage comes to mind from when I was doing farmers markets, in Yorkshire..... " use it or loose it

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Challenge accepted.

Here's a question on something I've been wondering about for years, but lack access to the appropriate facilities to explore it.

In several places, in particular Peter Hurford's book on Playing the Organ, it is noted that there is a subjective flattening when playing notes on a swell division, and closing the shutters.

My experience, with playing the recorder many years ago and with my own house organ, is that flue pipes are very sensitive to various changes around them. Even small changes around the mouth, the length, the pipe foot, or anything coming close to them causes them to change pitch noticeably. In particular, only as it's my instrument and I'm allowed to play with it, messing around with the wind pressure in the windchest, made possible by it having a built-in regulator rather than bellows which I can change the spring tension, equally shows that even minor changes in wind pressure can throw a rank of pipes out quite a long way. I also have a feeling for just how much wind even a relatively small division can consume, backed up by a somewhat over-sized blower which turned a CCC bourdon into a harmonic flute until it was tamed.

With a swell division, there is therefore quite a volume of wind passing through. As it is often said that a nice tight swell is desirable, my simple question is - when it's shut, where does all the wind go? Is there some mechanism for maintaining the pressure differential across the pipes for various positions of the shutters? I remember John Norman writing in Organists' Review about a organ shipped to South Africa which sounded terrible on delivery, but needed only an adjustment of the wind pressure and tuning to resolve the problem, caused by it being installed at a greater altitude than its place of manufacture, and indeed had a similar experience when my organ travelled with me from sea level in the Netherlands to 600m above sea level in Bavaria. If the box really is airtight when shut, I'd expect much more than a subjective flattening of pitch, it would approach a drunken cacophony. But this doesn't happen. Why?

I often see small doors opened at the back of swell divisions (e.g. in Newcastle Cathedral) and wonder if this is the trick.

Answers with facts, anecdotes, pictures and outrageous theories to stimulate debate all welcome.

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:D

 nice to see someone post something 

newcastle has a "toaster" now. I made one of my first recordings, back when Time Hone was DOM  and before  a toaster was there

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In response to Damian's very interesting post, I should have thought that an additional wind trunk (of limited dimensions) could be run from the Swell box to the area in which the blower(s) takes its wind.  This would not be a tight fit at the blower, though, as the rarefaction of air inside a closed Swell box caused by the blower sucking in air would have a similar adverse effect on the speech of the pipes.

I'm afraid I have no evidence of such a thing, though; it is no more than an idea!

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I have noticed that the word "fine" is invariably used to describe organs (and occasionally organists).  What would the organ world do if the word "fine" had never been invented? However would we describe organs in such a nightmare world?

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I find the word "fine" can have a very loaded meaning and should be used with caution. For example the reponse "I'm fine" often infers that the responder is far from fine, particularly if they are one's spouse or child.

So far as organs are concerned, personally I would use "marvelous" as a well constructed & voiced organ is a marvel of engineering and a well played organ is a marvel of musicianship. How many other other instruments require the use of all four limbs as well as requiring the perfomer to select different registrations in the midst of whatever complications their hands and feet are doing?

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On 10/31/2017 at 06:26, iy45 said:

Thank-you.  The Nicholson rebuild is now 36 years old, so I guess it may be due for another going-over, particularly if older material was re-used.  Even some new tracker jobs of that age have needed work in that time.....

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