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While we wait for HW 2.........

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Jim Reid


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While we wait for HW 2.........

PostSat May 29, 2004 5:29 pm


Some of you may have read the discussion topic about the Klotz
stop list; a pipe organ specification looking back to the low wind
pressure, low cut pipe mouth, etc. organ of the Baroque era. Also
the alternate organ design presented said to be more "symphonic"
by some, others would say more "balanced", or more "dynamic",
or even "American Classic", a term used by G. Donald Harrison
of Aeolian-Skinner.

What is the real difference in the two types of organ: mostly the
application of new technologies developed across the 19th century.

The most dramatic of these was the “harnessing” of electrical
power! Michael Faraday and Joseph Henry in the first and
second decades of that century “discovered” the results of the
interplay of forces that existed between wires carrying electric
current and magnets, or more properly the “field” set up in
the space near the magnetized object. Within very few years
of that, in fact in 1834 Thomas Davenport had created an
“electric motor” for which he was awarded a patent in 1837.

During the second half of the 19th century, organ builders
began applying electricity to pipe organs: Father Willis in
the UK, Cavaille-Coll in France. and Robert Hope-Jones
also initially in the UK. Their applications was to use electrical
energy to power the mechanical action of the organ control
system: valves, key contacts, etc. However, the BIG
development, which had a huge impact on organ sound
and design occurred when Hope-Jones used a rotary forge
blower, driven with an electric motor for the first time
at St. Cuthbert's church, Edinburgh, in 1896. From then
on it was possible for organists to have sufficient quantity
or pressure of wind, nor were organs again limited in size
due to an insufficient wind supply. Majesty of tone from
diapasons and the dignity of a deep pedal bass now
came forth from the shadowy chambers. No longer need
the organist limit his practice to times when a "pumper"
was available or depend on many sorts of hydraulic blowers.

An electric motor driven blower was the defining divider
between the human pumped Baroque style organ and
what was to come from then on!! Chest wind pressure
were increased from the Baroque 2” or 3”, to quite high
pressures: 10”, 15”, even 50” in the Hope-Jones Solo
Tuba pipe rank.

When Hauptwerk 2 comes along, we are going to be able
to compare these organs in close detail, just about immediately!
A perfect example of the Klotz organ is the Ariaan Hoogendijk
CD for Hauptwerk containing the Marcussen Organ of
St. Stefanuschurch, Moerdijk, The Netherlands. Looking over
the stop list, it is close to the Klotz "ideal"; differing in the
placement of the various stops, stop chorus varieties and
voices are all there, see: ... tie_uk.htm

Or any of the three Silberman organs available.

And we can contrast these with the Skinner from Milan
Digital Audio, for example to see the differences wrought
by the application of 19th century technology.

Then, in the early 20th century, the popularity of the
silent motion picture spread far and wide. Theatres
employed pianists initially, then small orchestras to
provide background sound to the silent action and text.
But an orchestra was expensive. Enter once again
Robert Hope-Jones who had been experimenting with
various ways to "imitate" orchestral instrument voices
with his electrically winded pipes. Though he only lived
until 1914, who had begun yet another divide in organ
technology with the development of the motion picture
Theatre Pipe Organ, and his company, WurliTzer became
legend in that field.

And, once again we know of at least two theatre pipe organ
sample sets to be on the way either with or shortly after
the release of HW2; that will really be exciting for me!

And there is the spread of organ design between these
extremes in the soon to be available sample sets of
Schantz, Cavaille-Coll, and later from Post, the
3-manual, 17-rank Strunk cinema organ at the Amsterdam
City Theatre to compare to the WurliTzer.

So, while we wait, we just must anticipate and plan
that computer which will be needed.

Best to all,
Jim Reid

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