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Now That's A Console


Barry Jordan
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American, presumably?

 

 

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

 

That was an inspired guess John!

 

Forrest Burdette Memorial United Methodist Church, Hurricane, West Virginia

 

I recall reading the blurb about this combination Walker digital/pipe organ, and I checked the facts.

 

It has 456 draw knobs but only 2,600 actual pipes, but at least it has the biggest draw stop console in the world.

 

It's the sort of console where you could do with voice-recognition technology.

"Dulciana," and out it pops, because that's probably the only way you would ever find it!

I suppose the church is about the size of a small tennis-court, with acoustics to match.

 

I'm sure it's a wonderful attempt at simulating an organ, but with just the cost of console, I would have thought it possible to build something genuine.

 

Quite ridiculous!

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This has been mentioned here before (check out the thread on six-manual organs). The organ has a few pipes, but is mostly digital. It was donated by a parishioner who wanted to do something for the community - which should have most of us eating our hearts out. The drawstops are luminous (of the Viscount toasters type, I would assume).

 

Good photo of it though.

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I have to say that I think that this is one of the ugliest consoles I have ever seen. I really cannot understand this American obsession with needing to have the largest of everything. Even with the multiplicity of pistons and other registrational aids, I suspect that a fair proportion of this toaster will generally be neglected.

 

What a shame no-one had the restraint to design a much smaller instrument - with pipes providing all the sounds.

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stmport1.jpg

Surely you don't need the music to play "Hot Dog"?

 

It's bad enough to get your hands in a comfortable position to have any realistic keyboard technique on a four row job. I wonder how often the top two manuls are used coupled down to something more comfortable? - if you can find the couplers!

 

FF

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It's fugly. Nowhere near as pretty as that one designed by FA Porsche...

 

Pearoast!! :

 

2005-03-1010-a.jpg

 

(http://en.red-dot.org/284+M5c0fe64683f.html)

 

 

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

 

That is surely the same organ, designed not by Dr Porsche, but by the Porsche design studio?

 

I quite like it personally, but I wonder if it has automatic spoilers which come up out of the case when the crotchet beat exceeds 120?

 

It's got a bit of style anyway.

 

MM

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If you haven't seen it elswhere , feast your eyes on this one....would have had our departed friend Steve glassy-eyed and panting.

 

Cheers

Barry

 

http://www.pipesounds.org/ConsoleSm.jpg

 

 

First, is the stop list available anywhere? (I bet there's at least one 64'!)

 

Also, I remember seeing a photo of an instrument similarly oversized on which the upper two or three manuals were built at an angle sloping towards the player so that his/her hands would have been more vertical than horizontal. American again, I think. Does anybody have an info regarding this?

 

Regards

 

Peter

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Perhaps you mean the organ at the Atlantic City Convention Hall

 

http://www.acchos.org/

 

 

Also, I remember seeing a photo of an instrument similarly oversized on which the upper two or three manuals were built at an angle sloping towards the player so that his/her hands would have been more vertical than horizontal. American again, I think. Does anybody have an info regarding this?

 

Regards

 

Peter

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Also, I remember seeing a photo of an instrument similarly oversized on which the upper two or three manuals were built at an angle sloping towards the player so that his/her hands would have been more vertical than horizontal. American again, I think. Does anybody have an info regarding this?
Among the six-manual organs, Mainz Cathedral, Montjuich Palace, Lichen Bazylika, the former Chicago Stadium Batron and the Wanamaker Grand Court organ all have progressively inclined keyboards. I'm sure many five-manual consoles do too (I seem to remember the fifth manual at St Paul's being slightly inclined).
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First, is the stop list available anywhere? (I bet there's at least one 64'!)

 

Also, I remember seeing a photo of an instrument similarly oversized on which the upper two or three manuals were built at an angle sloping towards the player so that his/her hands would have been more vertical than horizontal. American again, I think. Does anybody have an info regarding this?

 

Regards

 

Peter

 

 

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

 

 

Here you are:-

 

 

 

Atlantic City console http://www.acchos.org/html/gallery/current/rightjamb.html

 

 

MM

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I remember seeing a photo of an instrument similarly oversized on which the upper two or three manuals were built at an angle sloping towards the player so that his/her hands would have been more vertical than horizontal. American again, I think. Does anybody have an info regarding this?

 

Regards

 

Peter

 

 

The sloping of keyboards is pretty well standard on large jobs. HN&B used to do it (60s/70s) even for the top manual of their three-deckers. On the 1948 J.W.Walker five-manual console that used to control the Milton and Apse organs at Tewkesbury Abbey there is a progressive rake with each of the keyframes shaped like a portion of cheese rather than an oblong - in addition, a mild-steel frame is provided for them to pivot on - each one lifts up so that key contacts can be accessed. Murphy's Law applies to organ building as everywhere else, in this case it reads as follows: 'If something cannot be reached, it is the first thing to go wrong!'.

 

The sloping of manuals is helpful to a player, but it does have the effect of making the music desk even higher, since there needs to be a few inches clearance above the top manual, even when there are five of them. Some music desks really crick the neck, in this regard, I imagine that Atlantic City could be very uncomfortable indeed if one needed to do more than just check a score briefly for details!

 

Some builders have got it right - the Mander console at St.Paul's, H&H at Westminster Abbey and Willis/Wells at Liverpool Anglican are all comfortable. The J.W.W. at Tewkesbury (mentioned above) wasn't, but I used to put this discomfort down to a poorly placed pedalboard; as it turned out when I removed this, it would only have taken a few minutes and a screwdriver to put this right since everything was electric and the toe pistons were on a completely separate board.

 

Relatively recently a new five-manual console was made by Nicholsons for Doncaster Minster (better known as St.George's Parish Church). This is not as comfortable as the others mentioned above. Nicholsons have thoughtfully introduced a system of pivots on the music desk which allows a shorter-sighted player to re-hang this directly over manual 5. Less helpfully, Schulze's fabulous Echo organ has no longer any couplers! It cannot be brought down to any other manual, nor coupled to the pedal. I have to assume that this was done either to make the console more compact, or to save money because the reason cannot be musical!

 

Indeed, IMHO this new console is not as comfortable to play as the J.W.W. stopkey version that it replaced. I suppose it must bring a warm glow to someone, because it must have cost a lot of money! This work was done during the time that Mr.Joseph Sentance was Organist and Choirmaster. I notice with interest that as soon as he moved to Sherborne Abbey that organ was also rebuilt with a new console. I gather he has now moved on again.......

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The sloping of keyboards is pretty well standard on large jobs. HN&B used to do it (60s/70s) even for the top manual of their three-deckers. On the 1948 J.W.Walker five-manual console that used to control the Milton and Apse organs at Tewkesbury Abbey there is a progressive rake with each of the keyframes shaped like a portion of cheese rather than an oblong - in addition, a mild-steel frame is provided for them to pivot on - each one lifts up so that key contacts can be accessed.

 

The AGO model specification for consoles states that 'Manuals may slope towards Great or be level.' The illustrative drawing shows a three manual console, with the bottom manual sloping downwards away from the player, the middle one being level, and the top one sloping downwards towards the player. In other words the statement is apparently intended literally. Surprising but logical enough, although I've certainly never consciously noted a bottom manual sloping. The slopes shown are only 5 degrees, so far as I can measure from the drawing. Presumably, the intention is to help keep the lower arm/wrist/hand relationship more nearly the same, when moving between manuals, than would be the case with horizontal key surfaces. I suspect that, with two or three manuals, any benefit (from that degree of slope) is likely to be small in practice. With each additional manual, the slope is presumably more directed towards getting the keys within reach and, to be effective, will need to be much more than an additional 5 degrees per manual.

 

At least some Compton consoles have each manual above the first capable of hinging upwards and backwards for access (after a fair amount of panel-removal).

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At least some Compton consoles have each manual above the first capable of hinging upwards and backwards for access (after a fair amount of panel-removal).

 

I thought the majority did - Willis III jobs usually do, and even the (mechanical) Romsey ones lift away easily for access to centre pins etc.

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If you haven't seen it elswhere , feast your eyes on this one....would have had our departed friend Steve glassy-eyed and panting.

 

Cheers

Barry

 

http://www.pipesounds.org/ConsoleSm.jpg

 

 

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

 

 

I had to smile at the irony of some of the following comments about this ridiculous instrument:-

 

 

Allen Harrah wanted to do something big after he retired. (HE DID)

 

 

As a boy growing up on Charleston’s West Side, Harrah had learned to play the organ, but not especially well. “I never paid much attention to my teacher” (CLEVER BOY)

 

Were this instrument made entirely in the old technology, there would be 22,000 pipes.......... (IF ONLY!)

 

Some of the (digital) sounds come from pipes that went out of production in the 1940s or even earlier. (THAT SOUNDS LIKE OLD TECHNOLOGY TO ME)

 

 

Harrah, 69, graduated from ........the University of Alaska, where he studied electrical engineering for a year before switching to business and earning a degree in accounting. (HE LIKES LOAD OF MONEY)

 

Six weeks after graduation, the Army drafted him. He served two years, then co-owned a musical instrument retail store in Alaska. Then he came back to Charleston, setting up a small business selling Rodgers organs and rebuilding pipe organs. ( ie: "I DID NOT SERVE AN APPRENTICSHIP AS AN ORGAN_BUILDER)

 

“Basically, I’m supposed to be retired......." (PERHAPS NOT A MOMENT TOO SOON)

 

MM

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