Residence Organ

January 19, 2003

This article is coming to you from the Isle of Man, an
island some 30 miles long by about 14 miles wide, and sitting midway between
Ireland and England. Its longest river--the Sulby--stretches for a
full 10 miles or more, and Snaefell--the highest mountain--reaches a
height of over 2,000 feet. Anyone with a world atlas and a magnifying glass to
hand will have no trouble in locating the "Island," as those who
live here often term it, off the west coast of England, facing Liverpool.

 

The Isle of Man may be little known in the wider world (or
even on the "adjacent island" of England--we don't say
"mainland," of course!) but like most places it does have its
peculiar features which mark it out for those with special interests. It is an
off-shore finance center, for example, with relatively low rates of tax. It is
known for its motorcycle races (the "TT Races") which take place on
the public roads--one of the largest (and arguably most dangerous)
circuits of its kind in the world. For those who like unspoiled countryside to
look at or walk over, and a quiet and relatively unhurried way of life, the
Isle of Man is the place to be. It is an island of Fairies, one of the largest
water-wheels you are ever likely to see, Celtic stone crosses and much more.
Most important to me, and I hope of interest to readers, its small area is home
to a surprising variety of some 50 or so pipe organs, and I am more than happy
to have been the resident organ builder here for over 20 years.

For those of us with a fascination for the King of
Instruments, there is much to be said about life here--too much for one
article such as this--and rather than describe the organs as a whole in
greater or lesser detail, I thought it might be better to describe some of the
incidents which make the life of "the organ man" anything but
tedious.

Looking back over the work undertaken in the recent past, I
see one job which will be of interest to the great majority of organ players,
from the professional recitalist to the home enthusiast who plays only for his
own enjoyment. I refer to an ambition which attracts so many organists, and
which eludes all but a few--the luxury of a real pipe organ in one's
own home.

How many have investigated this possibility, only to find
that the cost (and sometimes the space) involved ensures that the pipe dream
remains just that? True, there is the electronic substitute--smaller and
cheaper, with a great variety of Golden Tones of one kind or another--and
then again the organ in church is usually available to the serious
player--albeit not so attractive in the winter, nor so convenient for that
odd 30 minutes practice at the end of the day. But for those badly infected by
the organ bug, the unfortunates with an acute case of "organitis," there
can never be any hope of a cure until they can see for themselves those
gleaming ranks of metal and wooden pipes and the console with its several
keyboards, waiting in the music room for their sole use!

So it was with The Reverend Alec Smith. His love of the
organ had actually led him to start an apprenticeship in organ building as a
young man, but he quickly saw the light, heard the call, and became an ordained
priest in the Church of England. At that time, he assembled a worthy (if
somewhat ungainly) collection of pipes, old keyboards, bits of mechanism, etc.,
into a Frankenstein creation which crouched in the corner of one of the large
rooms of the vicarage in his country parish in England. This creation was a
credit to its owner, but more than a little ponderous for anything other than a
large house (preferably not your own) with plenty of spare rooms. When, in the
fullness of time, Alec became an army chaplain, and he and his wife Jean were
inevitably posted abroad, the organ was dispersed, almost all of it never to be
seen again.

On retirement from the army, Alec settled in the Isle of Man
and became Organ Advisor to the Diocese. It was now that the organ-building
bug, which had lain dormant for so many years, was re-awakened, and the idea of
a house organ was again proposed. There were, of course, several problems. The
usual ones--centered around lack of space and finances--were, quite
rightly, pointed out by Jean, and in any case there was a seemingly adequate
2-manual electronic, with its equally large speaker cabinet, already taking up
far too much room in their small cottage in the Manx countryside. Jean
correctly pointed out that it was more room they needed, not a pipe organ!

In a attempt to save some space, and acting on the advice of
the local music shop, new and much smaller speakers were fitted to the
electronic by an "expert" from Douglas, the Island's capital.
After a day spent fitting the new speakers into the ceiling (with the novel use
of a screwdriver to create some suitable holes in the plaster), the expert
switched on, at which point there was an impressive bang followed by an ominous
burning smell. It seemed, on later examination, that the amplifiers (intended
to power two large speaker banks in a church setting) had seen the modern
speakers as a virtual short circuit in electrical terms, with the inevitable
result. The expert withdrew, promising to "work something out." I
believe he left the Island, and, in any case, was never seen again. The
electronic was no longer adequate. It was dead.

At this point, a further discussion took place on the
subject of a new pipe organ, and Jean was persuaded, but only agreed on one
seemingly-impossible condition: aside from the console, the new organ must not
project into the room any further than the line of the first ceiling beam (some
14≤ from the end wall). Since there was no possibility of siting anything
behind the walls (three of them being external, and the fourth taken up with
the fireplace) the situation appeared hopeless, and it was at this point that Alec
called me in.

Impossible situations regarding space are a challenge to the
organ builder. More than one has succumbed to the temptation to push too-large
an organ into too-small a space, with disastrous results, and I have seen the
consequences of several of these unhappy situations. In one such case, an
instrument was built in which the Great and Choir (mounted one above the other
and in front of the Pedal pipework) "speak" into a solid masonry
wall some 3 feet thick. Tuning/maintenance of such an organ is difficult if not
impossible, and a warning to any organ designer. Alec's requirement was
for the cheapest possible instrument, with a fair selection of stops over two
manuals and pedals, all within a depth of 14≤. It had to fit into one
small room of a cottage which has only three rooms on the ground floor (the
other two being the kitchen and porch) and it must not be a monster from the
tuning/maintenance standpoint.

There was space for only two or three sets of pipes, but
Alec stated from the outset that, "I want more than three wheels on my
car," so we were obviously looking to something other than mechanical
action with two or three stops. This need to make the most of the available
pipework suggested an "extension organ" of some sort. This, and the
restrictions of the site, dictated electric action, and financial
considerations suggested the simple mechanism as shown in the sketch. The
question of electric versus mechanical action is one of those subjects likely
to provoke strong opinions both for and against. In my view, each system has
its merits and I am happy to work with either, but when a client requests more
stops than the room or budget will allow, the obvious way forward is for a
stoplist extended from a small number of ranks, and this means an electric
mechanism. The design shown, if correctly made, is reliable, very quick (giving
good repetition) and quiet. Incorrectly handled, it is none of these things,
and has thereby acquired a poor reputation in some circles. With sufficient
funds, and more space, an electro-pneumatic action would have been more
sophisticated, but with enough care taken in its design and construction,
direct electric action (as shown) is almost as good.

Some readers may be unfamiliar with the idea of an
"extension" organ. This is an instrument in which a set, or
"rank," of pipes is available to be played at more than one pitch.
For example, a set of flute pipes could be played at 8' pitch (via a
console stop labeled, say, Stopt Diapason 8') and the same set could also
be available at 4' pitch (via a console stop labeled Flute 4') or at
16'  pitch (in which case the
console stop might be labeled Bourdon 16') and so on. Clearly, the idea
has its uses and abuses, as in the case of the 2-manual and pedal organ in
which every console stop was actually taken from a single rank of Dulciana
pipes!

The final stoplist is one which I have used successfully on
various occasions. It is based on three ranks representing the three main
tone-colors of the organ: 
Diapason, Flute and String. Each of the three ranks consists of 73
pipes, and are listed below as:

Rank A/ Open Diapason, running from C13,

Rank B/ Stopt Diapason, running from C1, and

Rank C/ Salicional, running from C13.

In addition there are 12 stopped Quint pipes (shown below as
"Q") running from G8 (at 8' pitch) for the pedal 16' stop
(see later).

(Reed tone was not included, as it is difficult to have
conventional reeds sufficiently quiet for such a small setting. In any case,
there was no space available.)

Note that the Open Diapason is of small scale, and this made
it much more suitable, for our purpose, than the more usual scaling of such a
stop. When selecting second-hand pipes for a home extension organ, a Principal
would be the first choice  to
provide the Open Diapason--Principal--Fifteenth "stops,"
as they appear on the console, and I have even known a Gamba to make a very
acceptable open metal extension rank, once it had been re-scaled and re-voiced.
Ideally, where finances are not a limiting factor, new pipes should be made for
all ranks, so that their scaling can be suited to the room and stoplist.

If an "extension" scheme is to work, musically,
it is important to avoid the temptation of too many stops from too few pipes. I
know of one organ with the stops simply repeated on each keyboard, and though
this gives maximum flexibility, it is very confusing from the player's
point of view, and the instrument as a whole is strangely bland and
characterless. The three sets of pipes for Alec's organ were made
available at different pitches, under the guise of different stop names, to
make registration more straightforward from the player's point of view.
In this way, some 15 speaking stops are available to the organist, instead of
three which would result from the use of mechanical action.

The specification shown has only one stop (the Stopt
Diapason) actually repeated on each manual. This is because it is so frequently
used, and blends with the other two ranks at 8' pitch. style="mso-spacerun: yes">  None of the other manual stops are
repeats, and they have been arranged so as to discourage the use of the same
rank at only one octave apart. (E.g., 
the Open Diapason 8' is intended to be used with the Salicet
4', or the Flute 4', not the Principal 4', as you might expect.)
Using the stops of an extension organ in this way reduces or (more usually)
eliminates the well-known "missing note" problem, which occurs when
one strand of the music runs across another, and both need a pipe from the same
rank, albeit from different extended "stops." If, for instance, the
Stopt Diapason 8' and Flute 4' are drawn on the same manual and key
C25 is held down, the pipes heard, as counted from the flute rank, will be C25
and C37. Now add manual key C13, which will sound pipes C13 and C25 (which is
already playing from key C25). In this example a pipe at the pitch of C25
should appear twice, but actually appears only once. The missing note will be
most obvious if either of the two manual keys is held down while the other is
repeated.

One of the most important criticisms to be levelled at an
extension scheme is this problem of missing notes, which can lead to a lack of
clarity. For all practical purposes, this drawback can be completely overcome
by a combination of the organ builder (in preparing a modest stoplist) and the
player (in thoughtful use of the instrument, so that the smallest number of
stops is drawn at any one time, preferably from different ranks, or at least
from ranks separated by more than one octave). In actual practice, this kind of
stop selection becomes automatic to the organist who realizes the limitations
of the instrument.

Another important factor in the success of this type of
organ is the regulation of volume and tone quality of the pipes within a stop,
and also the regulation of the stops in relation to each other. Each stop is
regulated with a very gradual crescendo from bass to treble. This requires
subtle handling, but when correctly carried out results in a clear ensemble in
which the treble parts can be heard above the tenor and bass.

The ranks themselves are regulated with much less
distinction in power than would usually be the case, so that equivalent pipes
of the Stopt Diapason are similar in volume to those of the Open Diapason, and
the Salicional, while quieter, is not far behind. This results in much less
contrast in power among the 8' stops and this is a compromise, of course,
though you still have variety of tone. The blend between ranks played at
different pitches is much better than if they are regulated in a conventional
manner, with the Open Diapason much louder than the Stopt Diapason and
Salicional distinctly quieter. In an instrument such as this, contrast in power
is created more by contrasting combinations of stops than between the ranks
themselves. Regulating the ranks as if they were separate stops (a mistake
often found in both church and house extension organs) results in the Open
Diapason and Principal obliterating everything else, while the Fifteenth
screams. 

I have used the specification shown several times, including
my own house organ, and find it to behave very much as a 'straight'
instrument would. I seldom use the couplers, though there are occasions when
they become necessary. While it requires thoughtful registration to get the
best from an extension organ, a scheme such as this, with a small number of
stops, arranged so as to discourage the use of the same rank in two stops
separated by only one octave, is very successful.

To cut down costs, Alec agreed to the use of his old
electronic as a console, and also to the use of any other second-hand parts
which could be obtained. He was also interested and able to lend a hand in the
actual construction, when his earlier experiences in organ building were a great
asset. The need to keep within 14≤ maximum depth was easily dealt with,
by taking up the entire width of the room, side-to-side.

Knowing the number and range of the ranks and the space
available, the first step, in a job such as this, is to measure the pipework,
in order to see how best to arrange the pipes, and, indeed, if they will fit in
at all!

Metal pipes need to be measured in height and in diameter,
wooden ones in height only (including any stoppers). In practice, nearly all
metal pipes run to a standard scaling (i.e., the rate at which the diameters
reduce from note C1 through to the top pipe). Wooden pipes vary considerably,
both in scaling (the internal width and depth) and in the thickness of the wood
used, which in turn decides the external width and depth. There is also the
question of the foot, which, in second-hand wooden pipes (and some new ones)
can be bored well off-center. For these reasons it is best to make a paper
template of the bottom of each wooden pipe, as described later.

I already had a small scale (i.e., relatively small
diameter) Open Diapason rank, and a Salicional, both running form C13 (so the
longest pipe in both sets was about 4' speaking length) and Alec located,
from a friendly organ builder on the mainland, the Stopped Diapason pipes
(running from C1) and a bundle of miscellaneous stoppered wooden pipes for the
pedal Quint.

The necessary measurements were taken and noted down in the
form of a table. I find it convenient to have a sheet of paper with the 12
notes C through to B in a column down the left-hand edge, followed by vertical
columns headed "1--12" then "13--24" then
"25--36" and so on, up to "73--84," placed
from left to right across the page. This forms a table which will cover an
84-note rank, the biggest usually needed. (Note C85 is only necessary in the
case of a rank which runs from 8' pitch to 2' pitch, where the organ
has a manual key compass of 61 notes. This C85 pipe needs an additional square
to itself.) Every square represents a pipe, and in each one can be written the
length and diameter (if metal), together with other details such as size of a
rackboard hole, and toe hole etc., which are also measured at this time.

Notice that only the Stopped Diapason rank has its bottom
octave (in organ building terms, a "Stopped Bass") the largest pipe
of which is, like the other two ranks, something over four feet long. The
Salicional and Open Diapason share this bottom octave, as does the 16'
pedal stop (the "Harmonic Bass") which produces an acceptable
16' substitute, in the first 12 notes of the pedalboard, by playing the
Stopped Bass pipes with the appropriate Quint pipe (from a separate and
therefore very soft, 12-note rank of wooden pipes). The resultant note
(actually a low hum) which is created from a combination of any stop of 8'
pitch and its quint is at 16' pitch. Admittedly, this is much softer than
the two pipes actually sounding. The pedals from C13 up play the Stopped Bass
again, and then the rest of the Stopt Diapason, thereby sounding at true
16' pitch. These compromises are necessary to reduce the size of the
organ, and, if carefully carried out, are soon accepted by the player and
listener, especially in a small room.

While there is no substitue for the soft, heavy, warm tone
of a full-length Bourdon bass, I have asked many players (including several
professionals) their opinion on this "resultant" 16' pedal
stop. So far, no one has realized what he was playing until it was pointed out.
They all accepted it as a pedal 16' 
stop, like any other. The least convincing notes in the bottom octave
are, predictably, the smallest three or four. If there is room for full-length
pipes down to, say, F#7, so much the better.

It is worth noting that a quinted 16' style="mso-spacerun: yes">  effect which uses the pipes of the
Stopt Diapason rank only is almost always a failure, because the quint will be
too loud. If you have no room for the extra Quint pipes, it is better to use
the 8' octave of the Stopt Bass on its own (from pedal keys C1 to B12)
before completing the pedal compass by repeating the Stopt Bass followed by the
rest of the Stopt Diapason. Another possibility worth considering is a 16'
bottom octave in free reeds.

Full-size card or paper templates are needed to represent
the metal pipes, as seen from above. It is not normally necessary to make these
for every pipe, as different stops usually reduce in diameter, note for note,
to a more or less standard pattern. If this pattern is known, the set of
templates need cover only the range of diameters from the fattest metal pipe in
the organ (in this case C13 of the Open Diapason) down to the minimum spacing
dictated by the pipe-valve mechanism. (As direct electric action was being used
and the smallest magnets were 3/4≤ wide, with pipes placed directly above
the valves, minimum pipe spacing = 3/4≤ + 1/8≤ clearance [=
7/8≤] no matter how small the pipes.)

Like most organ builders, I have a set of these circular
templates for general use, so templates for the metal pipes were already at
hand, but the wooden pipes had to have paper templates individually made to
show their exact shape and the center of the pipe feet. Such a template is made
by taking an over-sized piece of paper, drawing on it a circle which equals the
diameter of the pipe foot, cutting this out, and sliding the paper up under the
pipe and creasing around the four sides. Once the paper is removed and trimmed
to size, the original circle can be taped back into place, resulting in an
accurate template.

Alec's wooden Stopt Diapason (reputedly by the
well-known Victorian organ builder, William Hill) was over 100 years old, and
may have been in more than one organ during its lifetime. Its mouths were
rather high, which made the tone breathy, and some of the pipes had been
mitred, or were cut too short, possibly where they had been in a crowded swell
box. But it was basically sound and we went on the basis that it could be made
acceptable by repairs, lowering the mouths and re-voicing. The Salicional and
Open Diapason ranks were also Victorian, from a local Methodist church. Again,
they were not perfectly scaled or voiced for a house  organ, but were basically well-made and capable of
re-voicing. All the pipes were measured, and with the tables of measurements
and templates to hand, and a given space into which to fit the pipes and action,
the process of "setting out" could begin.

An instrument with direct electric action enables the
builder to arrange pipework in almost any pattern, within the limits of the
room and the physical space taken up by the pipes themselves (or, in the case
of the tiny treble notes, the size of their magnets and valves). My preferred
system of setting out is slightly unusual, in that I like to place the taller
pipes behind the smaller pipes, regardless of their rank. Most other builders
would plant pipes in rows, each row being made up from pipes of the same rank.

Secondly, and in common with many of my colleagues, I prefer
to plant pipes in "sides," i.e., pipe C1 on the extreme left of the
organ, and C#2 on the right, working down to the treble pipes in the middle. In
this way, all the pipes of the "C side" (C, D, E, F#, G#, A#) will
be on the left, and those of the "C# side" (C#, D#, F, G, A, B)
will be on the right.

These two underlying principles result in a pipe set-out
which is visually attractive, compact, and which offers the greatest
accessibility for tuning and maintenance. Admittedly, it does lead to some
complications in the cabling patterns between the console and the magnets, but
this is not an insurmountable problem. (In fact, the many cables for this organ
were made up, wire by wire, by my school-boy workshop assistant, with no errors
at all.)

Alec and I set out our templates on strips of white paper,
as wide as Jean would permit, (the 14≤ maximum) and as long as the space
available (i.e., the width of the room: 157≤ or just over 13 feet). After
a day or two of pushing the templates around, and, bearing in mind the many
details such as how the pipes could be best faced away from each other, the
space to be allowed for rack pillars, cable registers, assembly screws and many
other essentials beyond the scope of this account, we decided upon the ideal
arrangement, with the pipes set out on three chests. The chests were placed one
above the console, for the treble pipes, and one on each side at a lower level,
for the bass pipes. The central chest was just under 13≤ from front to
back, and the two other chests were only 9≤ wide. The whole organ would
stand in the maximum ceiling height of 91≤ (barely over 71/2 feet). The
actual planting pattern was so tight that every possible space has been used,
given the limited width and length available. Even so, no pipes are crowded,
and all of them have been accommodated. The fronts of the three chests were
made from oak-veneered ply salvaged from the old speaker cabinet and console
back of the electronic. Consequently, they matched the finish of the console
exactly.

Admittedly, there was no room for any casework or building
frame, and we had yet to solve the problem of space for the blower, wind
pressure regulator, wind trunks, low voltage current supply and one or two
other essentials, but these are minor obstacles to the true organ fanatic!

The actual construction of the instrument started with the
chests--comprising the pipe ranks, toe boards, or top boards (on which the
pipes stand) "wells" 
(the sides and ends) and bottom boards. Details of each chest varied
with the numbers of rows of pipes, but the sketches showing the basic mechanism
will give a good idea of a typical chest in cross-section.

Strips of mdf (a sheet material available in 3/4≤
thickness) were cut for the top boards for each of the three chests, and the
pipes centers were punched directly onto them, using the paper setouts, taped
down, as a template. Based on these centers, the magnets, valves, pipe racks
and the many other details of the mechanism can be marked out and fitted.
Unfortunately, a detailed description of this procedure is beyond the scope of
a general article such as this. While the basis of the mechanism is shown
clearly in the sketch, there are a great many practical details which must be
finalized in design and observed in manufacture, if this deceptively simple
idea (drilling a hole, screwing a magnet and valve under it, and planting a
pipe on top of it) is to be carried through to create a reliable musical
instrument. Such a mass of information has not, to my knowledge, ever been
written down, as it is essentially based on practical experience over the
years. If any readers are interested in further practical details, it may be
possible to describe some of the problems involved, and how they are overcome,
in a future article, but only a practicing organbuilder can have all the
necessary skills and knowledge to cope with every situation, and this makes it
impossible to give a general "recipe" for building an organ.

The wind supply is provided by a small electric blower of
course, but this one is unusual, in that it was passed on to Alec by an
organ-building friend from the days of his original house organ. Indeed, it
turned out to be the very same blower, which had returned to him, after an
absence of 30 or more years! It proved to be an excellent machine, and very
quiet when housed in a new silencing cabinet.

It was necessary to regulate the wind pressure to a value
suitable for the pipes and their setting, and, of course, we had no space for
traditional bellows. In a case such as this, I used my own design of wind
pressure regulator (basically a hinged plate of 1/2≤ sheet material,
"floating" over a rubbercloth diaphragm, and supporting some
suitably-tensioned springs). Movement of the plate controls a valve which
allows wind from the blower through to the chests. As the pipework makes a
demand on the supply, the valve opens just far enough to maintain pressure to
within 1/8≤ or less at peak demand. This is an acceptable degree of
control, and only a very critical ear will notice the slight fall-off in power.
Every builder has his favorite design for such a regulator (sometimes called a
'schwimmer' or, in my case, a 'compensator') and they
all bear a strong family resemblance. Not all are equally effective, however,
and some are prone, under adverse conditions, to fluttering (creating an effect
like a very rapid Tremulant). Again, only experience of such devices can
provide a way out of trouble, though there are some basic rules in compensator
design.

The steady, regulated wind from the compensator is fed to
the chest by a rather broad, but shallow, wind-trunk (made in mdf, like the
blower box and compensator). This is fixed to the back wall, out of sight,
behind the console.

With all the basic elements designed, there still remained
the question of the 14≤ limit on width. Obviously, the blower box and
compensator were too wide to keep within the limit, so it was decided to
camouflage them, together with the circuit boards, transformer/rectifier unit,
and other large components.

In the final design, the three chests were screwed to plates
of 3/4≤ ply, previously fixed, in a true vertical position, to the rather
uneven stone wall. The console was placed centrally, with the two outer chests
(holding the bass pipes) low down on each side. The third chest (containing all
the treble pipes) was fixed centrally on the wall, just behind and above the
console's music desk. Two bookcases were made to fill completely the gap
between the sides of the console and the side walls of the house. They were set
rather further forward than would be usual, with a broad top which ran back to
the wall behind, effectively disappearing under the side chests.

On the left of the console, the bookcase is a real one, with
its top extending over the circuit boards and transformer/rectifier unit hidden
behind. To the right of the console the seemingly identical bookcase is, in
fact, a dummy. Its shelves and books are only about 11/4≤ deep. (One of
the more bizarre scenes in the workshop was that of pushing large quantities of
scrap books through the circular saw, leaving their spines and an inch or so of
paper and cover. These truncated volumes look convincing when glued, side-by-side,
onto the foreshortened bookcase back.) The space under the dummy bookcase top
contains the blower box and compensator. The bookcases, blower box,
compensator, etc., all sit on 3/4≤ ply panels which have been leveled
onto the floor.

Once Alec had installed his real books and ornaments, the
organ (while visually dominating such a small room, as it must) blended into
its domestic setting beautifully, with a spectacular visual touch being
provided by a trumpet-blowing angel, carved in oak, which had been salvaged
from a local church altarpiece,

What of the finished product? Naturally, the instrument is a
compromise--but then this is true of all but the largest organs. It is a
pity, for instance, that there was no room for a swell box, or another rank, but
it is a wise builder or player who knows when he has gone as far as space and
finances will allow. The wooden Stopt Diapason rank had its top lips lowered,
and was re-voiced to produce a charming, rather quaint sound, with none of the
original's unattractive, breathy tone. The Open Diapason had to be
softened to just short of dullness, and now adds considerable fullness and
warmth. The Salicional has made an excellent quiet voice, and is also very
useful in its other pitches, where it adds brightness without shrillness. This
is most important in a small room, and it is worth noting that, the larger the
room (up to cathedral proportions) the brighter and more cutting the treble
pipework can, and must, be. But the opposite is true for a small space, where top
notes can easily become uncomfortably piercing--hence the lack of Mixtures
on small house organs with no swell boxes. Many visiting organists, both
professional and amateur, have played Alec's instrument since its
completion, and all have been pleasantly surprised by its resources and the
fact it is possible to produce satisfying performances of both classical and
romantic works, albeit with some ingenuity on the part of the player.

True, it would have been possible to install a
"large" electronic with three or four manuals, a wide range of
stops and artificial reverberation, and I can see the attraction of such an
idea, especially for the player whose interest lies in large-scale, romantic
works. But, I cannot imagine anything less convincing than the sound of pedal
and manual reeds, with Diapasons and mixtures, echoing with a five-second
reverberation, across a room some 16 feet long and 8 feet high. The sound of a
small organ in a small room, with no reverberation at all, is an authentic one
and has a special charm. Whether it be two or three ranks of pipes offered with
mechanical action as two or three stops, or whether, as in this case, the ranks
are extended to several "stops," the small domestic instrument has
a sound and fascination all its own, and is capable of giving much pleasure,
both visually and musically, over many years.

 

Peter Jones will be pleased to receive comments, either on
this article, or relating to readers' own experiences, at: The Bungalow,
Kennaa, St. John's, Isle of Man, 1M4 3LW, Via United Kingdom

 

Manual I

                  8' style='mso-tab-count:1'>            Open
Diapason A

                  8' style='mso-tab-count:1'>            Stopt
Diapason B

                  4' style='mso-tab-count:1'>            Salicet
C

                  4' style='mso-tab-count:1'>            Flute
B

                  22/3' style='mso-tab-count:1'>    Twelfth C

                  2' style='mso-tab-count:1'>            Fifteenth
A

                                    Man
II/Man I

Manual II

                  8' style='mso-tab-count:1'>            Stopt
Diapason B

                  8' style='mso-tab-count:1'>            Salicional
C

                  2' style='mso-tab-count:1'>            Salicetina
C

                  11/3' style='mso-tab-count:1'>    Nineteenth C

Pedal

                  16' style='mso-tab-count:1'>         Harmonic
Bass B & Q

                  8' style='mso-tab-count:1'>            Bass
Flute B

                  4' style='mso-tab-count:1'>            Fifteenth
A

                  2' style='mso-tab-count:1'>            Salamine
C

                                    Man
I/Ped

                                    Man
II/Ped

Summary

                  A style='mso-tab-count:1'>              Open
Diapason 73 pipes

                  B style='mso-tab-count:1'>              Stopt
Diapason 73 pipes

                  C style='mso-tab-count:1'>              Salicional
73 pipes

                  D style='mso-tab-count:1'>              Quint
12 pipes