DIYAPASON-L Digest #192 - Tuesday, November 21, 2000
 
Tuba and diapason revoicing
  by "Kelvin Smith" <KelvinSmith@untraveledroad.com>
Progress report
  by "Larry Chace" <RLC1@etnainstruments.com>
 

(back) Subject: Tuba and diapason revoicing From: "Kelvin Smith" <KelvinSmith@untraveledroad.com> Date: Tue, 21 Nov 2000 16:28:58 -0700   Hello all,   I thought I would report a couple bits of progress on my organ, but first as a sidelight, I have to tell you about our choir for our Christmas program. We are going to have our 2nd annual christmas program at our = house this year and I have drummed up a choir for it. We have about 12 people line up for it, but we have only had as many as 7 to a practise. But our last practise was on Saturday and it was adequately satisfying. It is pretty interesting to hear the organ with a choir. With the church choirs = I have accompanied in the past with organ, it was always a trial to balance the organ with the choir and everyone always complains that the organ is too loud. For the most part the organ was fitting in nicely with the choir or even too soft sometimes. (Actually I am thinking of times where we need to get the choir to sing soft.) There are a couple places where I want to open it up and the choir was getting lost a bit, but I am hoping we can get a bit more out of the choir there. All in all it was pretty fun. I would be in a desperate state if I didn't have my crescendo pedal (and combination action).   I have been working on racking up my tuba pipes. I am trying to force them into a windchest that they don't really fit on. It is 72 notes and to get the 61 notes to fit on it I skipped toe holes in a few spots to relieve = the pressure. Even after I had fitted them all on the chest out of the organ, = I didn't believe I could fit them installed in its spot with choir shades on one side and a harp on the other. But I finally decided to do it and see what would happen and it actually worked. Nothing bumps into anything. (Excepting tubas into each other.) The 16' octave is also standing in its places, but I have no windchest for it. Because the celing height was not adequate, I am putting them on thin toeboards and tubing them to a chest. They just barely clear the ceiling. I have to run a windline to get higher pressure from the blower into the choir chamber and set up a regulator for them. Then I can find out if the magnets will operate under the pressure. = I need this rank for some fanfares and solo lines in the Christmas program and I really hope it will work.   I got out my proportional dividers yesterday and lit into the swell 4' octave. The mouths were cut up to 1/4 of the width, a little bit higher than that in the bass. I cut them up to 1/3 in the bass and a bit less = than that in the treble. It was a smashing success. They all picked up a little fundamental and lost that abrasive sound that made them stick out = horribly. I love to hear them now and they can even be used with the 8' flute = without anything else to cover them up. They still have a bright tone like you would expect from a swell 4' octave. The 8' Diapason in the swell is cut = up to 1/3 the width.   My great 8' Diapason is cut up higher than 1/3 the width. The dividers = have 10 notches between each number, and the Diapason is 3 tenths above 1/3. = The great 4' octave is less than 1/3, but I didn't check enough places throughout the range yet. One treble pipe seemed a lot less than 1/3. One bass pipe seemed pretty close to 1/3. I tried again to get a better sound out of them by closing the windways, but couldn't get what I wanted. I think they're going to get cut up some pretty soon.   Sorry to report this to those of you who favor low pressures and all. This will never be a neo-baroque organ and I saved this pipework from going to the dump at considerable personal sacrifice and my only concern is to make it work in its new environment.   Kelvin      
(back) Subject: Progress report From: "Larry Chace" <RLC1@etnainstruments.com> Date: Tue, 21 Nov 2000 23:54:42 -0500   It was good to read Kelvin Smith's report just now about Choirs and Tubas and Diapasons and all. Indeed, the holiday season seems to cause folks to take extra time and exert extra effort...   While we were attending the recent ATOS regional convention (in the Boston area, but not in Boston!), Barbara commented that if I didn't get *something* playing on the organ project, then she'd start to think about converting the nice new (-ish) organ chamber into a wine cellar. = Hmmm.....   A 24-note bass offset chest of dubious origins was on hand, and local = organ builder and friend Cullie Mowers loaned a nice little (well...) 61-note Moller Vox Humana chest. Both chests needed new cables, and so that got done. The 1917 Estey Clarabella (yes, with Haskell basses) got carried down from the attic of the barn, partly through the heroic efforts of a 7-year-old (though she really preferred using the shop's intercom to talk remotely to Grandma back in the house). Lo and behold -- the bottom 24 of the Clarabella fit almost perfectly into the offset chest, with just a little bit of filing of some rack board holes needed.   The 61-note Vox chest wasn't an ideal fit for the Clarabella (from middle = C up); most of the rack board holes and some of the top board holes were rather too large. Make a new rackboard? No -- the Holidays are Upon Us! Instead, take the trusty roll of masking tape and ... (I shouldn't = describe it -- but you can use a couple of strips of masking tape to "reduce" the size of the rack board holes on a "temporary" basis, of course!)   All of this material got carried to the house and lowered into the = chamber. Parts of a Z-tronics relay were also added, along with some wind conductor and a tiny (15" square) Moller regulator. The 1/4hp blower was hooked up, a few "cat 5" cables were threaded up the conduit to the console overhead in the dining room, and some additional wiring was done to the Great = manual and to a few selected stop tabs.   The result is that The Organ Plays. Well, sort of. It has a Great manual that has 16', 8', and 4' flutes as well as 16' and 4' couplers. No, this isn't my idea of a good tonal design! The Pedal and the other two manuals look nice, as do the other 131 stop tabs, but none of them do anything. While I tried playing a few hymns and dusted off a few bits of real organ music (which I could just barely play back when I was trying to practice), the real fun was firing up the MIDI sequencer and letting Lemare's "Ride = of the Valkyries" go for a romp. (The Z-tronics relay has a MIDI interface, and this "Ride" is a MIDIfied version from an Aeolian player roll.)   Perhaps most amazing of all is that this 1917 Clarabella has been in my possesion (in storage) for about 20 years, and who knows how long it was = in storage before that. I haven't tuned it, and while there are some fairly sour notes, most of them are tolerable. This is a tribute to Estey's wooden pipe construction with their "inset" wooden tuning slides.   The wind pressure was selected by the simple method of piling on the barbell weights that I had purchased just for this purpose; not quite 4" pressure was the result, and the Estey pipework seemed quite happy with that. There are no swell shades (yet), and this one rank has a satifying sound in the house.   The big fun will be when the various grandkids come over and start playing with the organ console, as they are used to doing. *THIS* time, it will make a sound!   Happy holidays to all, and to all a good night!   Larry Chace