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For over seventeen years the most stable and extensive resource on the Internet for pipe and electronic organs
The hub of this site is the Complete Articles page which gives you instant access to many detailed articles dealing with numerous technical aspects of both pipe and electronic organs. Use the Google search box below to quickly identify areas of interest. While browsing, why not also listen to over 4Ĺ hours of music played on the three manual organ below and the Prog Organ virtual pipe organ here?
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!! TWO NEW ARTICLES !!
article discusses the tendency of some modern authors to reflect today's norms of fashion, musical culture and understanding of physics into their writings about early temperaments, when these matters were in fact very different several centuries ago. A prime example concerns the difficulty of tuning intervals accurately until relatively recently when electronic tuning devices appeared in the late twentieth century. Until then tuners of keyboard instruments had to time beats using various less precise methods, and even this only became routine from about 1800. Prior to that tuning was done for centuries using the vaguest of instructions which appear
ludicrous to modern eyes. The reasons for this are that beats and the harmonics which generate them were for long imperfectly understood, and practical means for timing them accurately did not exist. The plethora of different pitch standards made things worse because beat frequencies depend on absolute frequency. There were also problems due to the slow dissemination of temperament theory, together with widespread educational narrowness which meant that most musicians and tuners would not have understood it anyway. In addition, hand blowing and poorly-designed winding systems meant that the tuning stability of organs was badly controlled regardless of how tuners might have struggled to set a temperament accurately. The upshot of all these factors is that the sharp focus applied to subjects such as key colour today can be anachronistic if it is assumed that our predecessors several centuries ago viewed them as we do. Obviously, the key colours of a temperament become elusive if it cannot be set up accurately in the first place on an instrument with stable tuning, and for centuries this would have been the case with the organ.
This article was first published in Physics World, the house journal of the Institute of Physics. It discusses the curious topic of pendulum synchronization which has been observed since the first clocks were developed hundreds of years ago, but uses metronomes instead. In fact my pair of metronomes do not synchronize as most others seem to do, and it is this feature which is examined in the article.
The picture above is of a test rig used for experiments on pipe organ valves, such as those described in the articles entitled Calculating Pallet Size, Touch Relief in Mechanical Actions and Response Speed of Electric Actions. These can also be accessed from the Complete Articles page where summaries are also available.
This electronic organ is a dual purpose instrument containing both "straight" and "theatre" voices, designed and made by the author. It is tuned to the author's Dorset Temperament with the addition of some impure octaves as described in Keyboard Temperaments with Impure Octaves. A full specification can be downloaded here (PDF file, 717 kB).
The things they say:
These recordings span some years and they were made in various rooms and auditoria. The older tracks were made using analogue equipment and some were recorded acoustically using microphones, hence the occasional noises due to piston thuds and page turns, etc. Other tracks were captured electrically. All are of real players performing in real time - no synthetic MIDI 'performances' here. I have not got round yet to normalising the volume settings of all the tracks so they are compatible with each other, therefore you might wish to adjust the volume between tracks depending on which ones you select. Do not be alarmed if some tracks appear to start with an excessive noise level - this simply means they were recorded at a higher level than others. Just turn the volume down to suit. In any case, it is a wise precaution to always begin playing each track at a low level to protect your audio equipment and your ears from unexpectedly high signal levels when the music begins. Although the instrument has 13 ranks of theatre organ voices in addition to its 'straight' sounds (see specification), copyright considerations preclude the inclusion of much theatre-style music here. Playing time 1 hour 35 mins approx.