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Twisted Organ Pipes


Niccolo
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I stumbled across an article about a new Rieger organ being built for the Musiikkitalo concert hall in Finland.

The design of this new concert organ is suppose to have some novel ideas such as micro tonal registers, as well as even having a visible wind supply. But what doesn't mention the design of facade pipes which look like squiggle lines, which is not something I thought was easy to do with metal pipes.

https://urutsoimaan.fi/en/musiikkitalos-organ/

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Unlikely as it may seem, these pipes might, indeed, be able to sound. There is no acoustical reason why they shouldn't - albeit somewhat 'oddly'.

There are 'microtonal pipes' in the spec, which would chime (if that's the word) with a similar departure from organ norms.

The associated composition competition piqued my curiosity, too.

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Bit unconventional for many of the stuffy aficianados I would suspect but IMHO this design is quite visually appealing, but I do rather appreciate industrial/scrapyard art . This instrument could look rather like the workings of a brewery - but how wonderful!

I always think it a bit sad really that the craftsmens art is covered by a cover,or box, or some similar, just for the purpose of aesthetics.   Think this attitude of mine stems from seeing the " open air " instrument in Tewkesbury when I was very small.

Even computers in the days when they were installed in those awful dull cream boxs` took on an artistic lease of life when years later they were housed in clear acetate housings so one could see the works.

Even my grandfather clock irks me somewhat with its mantle covering the recently restored clockwork. Think I will remove it!

 

With regards to the ability of these pipes to sound, well I am no expert here but I think my caveman knowledge of acoustics and physics extends to the fact that if you have a pipe with a clear airway and you blow into one end of it, it will sound at the other.  Many organs have pipes mitred to fit awkward spaces.

I know I sound like William Morris banging on here so, Seasons Greetings to One And All.

 

 

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At that scaling they would appear to be gambas!

It does seem a bit strange to bury the whole 10k pipes (which are intrinsically decorative) in a big dark box and then make a false, albeit quite distinctive, decorative frontispiece. 

I much prefer the honesty in the "functional pipes used decoratively" style, such as at RAH, RFH, Coventry, Blackburn, Liverpool Met, and so on.

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I shan't become involved in the discussion about this organ but urge Adnosad not to remove any of the clock case. The very light oil used by horologists would soon become affected by accumulated dust which occurs even in the cleanest household and form a horrid claggy mess. This would affect the regulation and proper running of the movement.

 

Here endeth etc.☺️

 

Seasons greetings to one and all.

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The pipes don't appeal to me in the slightest.  In fact, I'd say they are a gimmicky attempt at doing something different.

The specification, however, looks very interesting as I'm sure will be the sounds produced.
One thing I'd like clarification of, though, is what exactly are 'microtonal' pipes?

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  • Niccolo changed the title to Twisted Organ Pipes
11 hours ago, John Robinson said:

what exactly are 'microtonal' pipes?

That/they remain/s to be seen/heard !

Possibly, we've already seen some of them. It would be a more than interesting visual and audile effect to have these 'twisted pipes' sounding a microtonal melodic line, or even harmonies, against a more conventional background.

John Cage was an exponent of such - but there are many other noted composers who use them. Alternatively, think 'Indian' raga on the organ.

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On 24/12/2021 at 09:18, John Furse said:

That/they remain/s to be seen/heard !

Possibly, we've already seen some of them. It would be a more than interesting visual and audile effect to have these 'twisted pipes' sounding a microtonal melodic line, or even harmonies, against a more conventional background.

John Cage was an exponent of such - but there are many other noted composers who use them. Alternatively, think 'Indian' raga on the organ.

Still none the wiser, I'm afraid!
I can only assume that they are slightly out of tune, though I'm trying to imagine how that would sound on an organ assuming that it is done intentionally for a specific effect.
Perhaps one day there will be a recording on this, or perhaps another, instrument with microtonal stops.

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I don't have a lot of knowledge on micro tonal music or even tuning temperaments, From what I do know Micro tonal music consists of more than 12 notes in each octave.

The Rieger organ at St. Martin in kassel also has four ranks that contain 24 notes in each octave, which you can see demonstrated at around 5:36 in the video bellow.

 

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Thank you, Niccolo, for finding these. And “slightly out of tune” is a very good description of what this kind of thing sounds like.

That H-Pi brings back painful memories of a first-year undergrad aural torture machine.

I would have thought some of what is in that Kassel video are exactly what will be heard in Helsinki. Especially since it’s the same builder.

Some of these effects would certainly spice up Howell’s Coll Reg ! I’m sad to say that I fear my compositional style is too conservative to utilise any of these.

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If you do a quick survey of recent concert organs (or even recent German organs) the concept is actually totally predictable. Weird case. Tick. Micro tones. Tick. Enormous. Tick. Just a huge Riesenorgel really, which is not a particularly radical idea. Just a very, very expensive one. 

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On 25/12/2021 at 22:23, John Robinson said:

Still none the wiser, I'm afraid!

Listen to the music of Alois Haba! He wrote several theoretical articles on microtonality and, in 1925, wrote his major theoretical work New Harmony Textbook of the Diatonic, Chromatic, Quarter-, Third-, Sixth-, and Twelfth-tone Systems.  His theories appear in a lot of his music and he also had woodwind instruments made that would play in microtones. In 1924 he had his first quarter tone piano made and in 1927 a German firm made for him, a sixth-tone harmonium based on designs by Busoni

Cage did use microtones - particularly in 'Five' of 'Thirteen' but I wouldn't have said that he was a great exponent. Granted his 'Indian' influence does bring up microtonal music but that is only a small fraction of his considerable output.

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