DIYAPASON-L Digest #249 - Tuesday, January 30, 2001
How to TUNE an organ?
  by "Dave McClellan" <>
Re: How to TUNE an organ?
  by "Larry Chace" <>
RE: [Residence Organs] pipe scales
  by "STEVE PITTS" <>
Ventus blowers/dust blowers
  by "homer valenzona" <>
here it is,My Interview
  by "DanielW Hopkins" <>
DIY reeds, etc.
  by "Caroline Kehne" <>
[Residence Organs] Touch sensitivity!
  by "Hugh Knapton" <>
Small Organs
  by <>
Re: [Residence Organs]  Ventus blowers VS dust blowers
  by "Richard Schneider, President" <>
Fw: [Residence Organs]  RE: [Residence Organs] pipe scales
  by "VEAGUE" <>
Re: [Residence Organs]  DIY reeds, etc.
  by "VEAGUE" <>

(back) Subject: How to TUNE an organ? From: "Dave McClellan" <> Date: Tue, 30 Jan 2001 06:31:14 -0500   My question is a bit more basic than building reeds! How does one go = about tuning an organ? First of all, here's the pipework (soft to loud):   8' Salicional, 73 pipes (Chest A + offset) 8' Unda Maris, 49 pipes (Dulciana scale - Chest B) 8' Clarabella, 73 pipes (open flute, 12 stopped basses - Chest A) 2 2/3' Nazard, 61 pipes (big and fluty - Chest B) 16' Flute D'Amour, 97 pipes (24 stopped basses, wooden rohrflote - Chest A = + offsets) 8' Gamba, 85 pipes (sounds more like a geigen principal - Chest B + = offset) 4' Principal, 61 pipes (Chest A) 8' Open Diapason, 61 pipes (Chest B) Chimes, 21 tubes   Chests A and B are side by side with the offsets behind and to the side of Chest A.   I have a Conn Strobotuner as a basis.   The problem is that the principals swamp out any other stop, with the possible exception of the Gamba. The other problem is that I do not have = a good ear for tuning, especially when attempting to tune small treble pipes in the 4' and 2' top octaves and the pipes are not close to being on = pitch. I have tried using the Conn to tune the whole organ, but it takes forever, and by the time I finish, if I go back to the where I started, the first pipes I tuned are out of tune.   I have no problem tuning the Unda Maris to the Salicional, its companion rank. I also have no problem tuning the Nazard to its companion flutes, = or the flutes together, or the two diapasons together, or the gamba to the rohrflote.   So what is the recommended sequence (or do I have to wait until I can find = a builder/tech to come on site and show me the sequence)?   How long should the wind be on before starting tuning?   Should the organ be played during this time, or simply stand idle with the wind on?   Thanks for any advice. Dave      
(back) Subject: Re: How to TUNE an organ? From: "Larry Chace" <> Date: Tue, 30 Jan 2001 09:15:24 -0500   "Dave McClellan" <> asked for advice about tuning his =   residence organ. It takes practice to be able to hear the beats produced by pipes that are out of tune (with each other), and it takes *lots* of practice to be able to hear the difference between the beats and various warblings that the little pipes (in particular) like to produce. Add to that the possibility of temperature changes, perhaps caused be the very presence of the organ owner/tuner, and you have a difficult situation.   I've used a stroboscopic tuner (many years ago), and they are effective in =   filtering out much of the random "noise", but I'd also suggest the modern "smart" tuners such as the Korg (AT-12?). These have a meter that shows how far off the note it; they "guess" which note you are playing and then do a comparison. You can also calibrate them, and so you may be able to adjust for rising temperature; go back to a "standard" pipe and see if it has drifted.   Make sure that the wind pressure is constant. If the blower tends to heat =   the wind, you might want to include some lengths of metal wind duct to try =   to dissipate the heat. If the blower is drawing air from somewhere with a =   different temperature, such as a cooler basement or garage, then you may need to find a way to feed the blower chamber air or otherwise keep the blower at chamber temperature.   While it is customary to use something like the Great 4' Octave as the tuning rank, it might prove more useful to use something like the Gamba, = in Dave's example, since it seems to be "in the middle" between the flutes = and the Diapasons. Use the Conn to get the Gamba right on pitch and then use the Gamba with each of the other ranks, tuning by ear to get the beats out. Sometimes, the pipes will "pull" slightly, making you think they are =   in tune (because, for the moment, the *are*!). Shade the pipe just a bit to see what happens; a strobe or meter device is helpful because you can see how much the pitch changes or stays constant when you adjust the pipe. You may also find that the tuning slides (if the pipes are so fitted) are sticking and not moving smoothly. Or, they may have a gap or other problem that causes the pitch to be somewhat variable.   There's little you can do about the tops of the 2' ranks -- those little guys are notorious for being difficult! The Conn (or other such device) may not be able to "hear" them, and they tend to burble and gurggle and generally be annoying. Oh, ear protection is probably a good idea as well!!! In fact, it might reduce some of the higher-pitched noise so that =   you can hear the beats better. If I recall correctly, top C of a 2' is about 8Khz. To tune out a 1 beat per second error, you have to adjust the =   pipe's effective length by a factor of 1/8000. If its speaking length is about .75", then the adjustment is about .0001". Will that little tuning slide move such a small amount?   To summarize: to tune, you need to have several things constant, including =   wind pressure, chamber temperature, wind temperature, pipe speech,and your =   sanity. If those things remain constant, then the only variable is the pitch, and so you can adjust (by hear, by strobe, by meter, or by golly) and you'll have success. If any factors vary, then you tuning will be for =   naught.   Larry Chace    
(back) Subject: RE: [Residence Organs] pipe scales From: "STEVE PITTS" <> Date: Tue, 30 Jan 2001 08:35:15 -0600       The 4Ft C of my Open Diapason rank is 3 1/8" in diameter.Would this be considered a medium scale or a very common scale for a Diapason?   What is the correct terminology used to describe the various octaves and = the pipes of the various octaves in a rank of pipes?  
(back) Subject: Ventus blowers/dust blowers From: "homer valenzona" <> Date: Tue, 30 Jan 2001 14:46:12   Greetings: What makes ventus blowers so quite? Can the same mechanism be used to = lower noise on older type blowers, i.e., incorporate those mechanisms in rebuilding a used older type blower. I have seen commercial blowers used = for removing dust from workshops sold in tool/hardware store for a very reasonable price. One can produce 1200CFMs at 6" static(60-70dB) and structurally look like organ blowers. Is there a contraindication for = their use in winding organs. Best regards. Homer _________________________________________________________________________ Get Your Private, Free E-mail from MSN Hotmail at    
(back) Subject: here it is,My Interview From: "DanielW Hopkins" <> Date: Tue, 30 Jan 2001 14:23:44 -0400   Danny Hopkins: A passion for the pipes   by CATHY HOLMES It=EDs not hard to get Danny Hopkins, Lockeport talking about his hobby: Be prepared to stay awhile because it=EDs not so easy to get him stopped.=   Words like diapason, dulciana, windchest, pallets, channels and ranks of   pipes flow from his lips as he describes how his pipe organ, built in 1881, works, giving credence to his statement that the pipe organ is the   =ECmost complicated instrument ever made.=EE While the jargon describing the instrument is confusing, the passion Hopkins expresses when he speaks of =ECcolours=EE and =ECtones=EE is pict= ure clear. The pipe organ can produce a very =ECgrand sound or right quiet sound that=EDs so peaceful,=EE he explains. When The Coast Guard visited last week, Danny Hopkins played the pipe organ in his small John St. living room, filling the house with the rich   sound of an old wind instrument. As he plays, his concentration is intense: he plays by ear, begins with the Doxology, flows into other pieces and ends with Silent Night. The =ECtonal beauty=EE that he talks about is there, filling the house wi= th rich, awesome sound. Mixed in with the music of the pipes and the sound of wind blowing through the channels of each pipe is the gentle thump as   he moves his feet from one base pedal to another. The organ is made up of 303 pipes: rows of hand-painted pipes are visible on one whole wall of his living room: 13 above the keyboard, six   to the left, another six base pipes on another wall and four to the right of the keyboard. =ECI sanded enough=EE of the old paint down =ECthat I got the original colours and tried to reproduce it,=EE says Hopkins, who learned his skill= s   through the internet and through old and new books on organ building. Painted in milky turquoise with stenciled burgundy flowers and gold mouths =F1 the holes where the sound comes out =F1 the pipes a= re flanked by wooden posts that Danny built to enclose the organ. In the Holy Trinity Anglican Middleton church, for which the organ was built by the New Brunswick company Paine and Wetmore, all the pipes would have been together, taking up a space about 12 feet wide. In Danny=EDs house, some pipes are in his bedroom, another rank of pipes, ye= t   to be hooked up, are high up on another wall of the living room. The highest pipe ends just inches from the living room ceiling. ONE-MAN BAND The keyboard, with 58 keys, is shorter than a piano keyboard. But that doesn=EDt mean it=EDs musical capabilities are less. According to Danny, = the   pipe organ has the potential to play more variations of sound =F1 deeper than the deepest note of a tuba, higher than the highest note of a piccolo =F1 than any other musical instrument. For that reason, and because it can imitate the sound of other instruments, it=EDs sometimes called a one-man band and the first synthesizer. Danny decided a few years ago he wanted to build a pipe organ. He began looking for organ parts and wrote first to the Organ Clearing House in New Hampshire, where between 300 and 500 pipe organs are listed on the internet. He found his organ through a Pipe Organ Builder, Letourneau in   St. Hyacinthe, Quebec. Coincidentally, the same day Letourneau received Danny=EDs letter, they received a letter from a man in Cambridge, Nova Scotia who had a pipe organ in his barn, was moving and trying to find a   home for his organ. He gave it to Danny, who hauled it home in a U-Haul in April, 1998. ONGOING RESTORATION After he brought it home, Hopkins worked for a few months putting it together; it was fit to play =ECto a certain extent by early June.=EE But= , he said, there were problems. =ECPipes spoke when they shouldn=EDt;=EE th= ere were =ECmurmers.=EE Danny=EDs solution: to take the organ all apart, take all the pallet valves off, replace the felts and leathers on every pallet. Now, there are no =ECmurmers.=EE The instrument is powered by a blower in the basement, turned on with a   switch on the organ, that provides the wind that blows through the pipes   through plastic tubing. Bellows help to maintain a constant flow of air.   Danny rhymes off name for each pipe: the eight foot open, four foot octave, eight foot melodia, two foot fifteenth, eight foot dulciama, Tenor C, and Danny plans to get a Vox Humana, which will allow the organ   to produce a soft, velvety sound. Danny, who hopes to find a job with an organ builder or restorer, says the work on his organ is not finished. He has ordered more pipes and another rank of pipes sets on high on a living room wall, ready to be connected. BIGGS FELLOWSHIP While researching on the internet, Hopkins learned about the Organ Historical Society. He was urged by organ enthusiasts on the internet to   apply for a Biggs Fellowship. Hopkins was one of four recipients of the E. Power Biggs fellowship from the Organ Historical Society. He won an all-expense trip paid for the week of August 16 to 23. Throughout the week, he saw and heard about 40 pipe organs throughout the city of greater Boston. He shows pictures on the internet of himself   working huge bellows of a reproduction of a seventeenth century organ in the Chapel of Wellesley College inWellesley. He looks like he=EDs stepping on large pieces of staging, eight feet abov= e   the ground, but that staging is part of the organ=EDs bellows. He steps o= n   the end of the bellows and descends as the bellows descend, then he steps again, pumping the bellows as he steps. He points out another organ on the internet, one that dates pre Civil War, that hadn=EDt been played in 30 years, but was restored enough to be=   played for the convention goers.                
(back) Subject: DIY reeds, etc. From: "Caroline Kehne" <> Date: Tue, 30 Jan 2001 13:35:38 -0500   Just to complete my rambling thoughts on DIY reeds using recycled 'pump organ' reeds; be forewarned that most reed organs operate at vacuums varying between 2 1/4" and 2 3/4". Using a greater vacuum (or pressure, if you mount the reeds 'inside out') will give you more volume, but the tone will be harsher, more forced and the longetivity of the reeds may suffer (especially the large bass reeds and tissue-thin trebles).   BTW, certain reed organs mimicked flute stops rather convincingly (at a distance, anyway) by mounting reeds in special resonating chambers which strengthen some harmonics and tame others. Especially successful is the Orchestrelle, a roll-playing reed organ made by Aeolian. The Vocalion (Mason and Risch) is a non-roll playing relative of the Orchestrelle and worth listening to if you have the chance. Volume is not a problem. I have a single-manual Vocalion and the 4' harmonic flute can really dent your eardrums. It's also very fluty, in a reedy sort of way...   end of digression Robert Pelletier  
(back) Subject: [Residence Organs] Touch sensitivity! From: "Hugh Knapton" <> Date: Tue, 30 Jan 2001 16:18:53 -0500   Hi   A while back I asked the list about "add on" touch sensitive (velocity sensing) MIDI. I have had responses from Classic (Toronto), and Gulbransen (just today!).   Do any of you see a need for, and are any of you actively pursuing this?   Should I be surveying out the folks at Piporg?   I may be an organ builder ... but I know VERY little about Midi!   I guess that it comes down to.... is there any real interest in this = product?   Please let me know if you are interested!   Thanks, Hugh p.s. I started this search for 1 customer. I add below the responses from Classic & Gulbransen.   FROM CLASSIC > >Hugh: > >Thanks for the note. > >Unfortunately, at the moment, we don't have anything available for >"stand-alone" MIDI-out. That's not to say it can't be done; just >that we haven't seen a demand, or just haven't had time to do it! > >The boards we use for optical velocity-sensing keyswitching would be >capable of providing MIDI-out directly, but to do so would require a >change in the software. When we designed these boards a few years >ago, we assumed they would be used in an organ, requiring 2-5 to >work together attached to the same Console Control Computer, and so >they were designed to work with a high-speed shared serial >interface. This operates much faster that standard MIDI. However, >it should be possible to re-write the software to just provide >standard MIDI-out. > >Our price for the optical velocity-sensing switch boards, mounted on >an aluminium rail, and including 61 "shutters" (to be fitted to the >keys), is currently US$510.00 per manual. I believe that a >stand-alone MIDI-out version could be produced for about the same >cost, if there was sufficient demand. > >Hugh, feel free to forward the above info to anyone interested, or >the "advice column". If we can find 10 or so people interested, >I'll get our software people working on it. > >Henry >~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ >Henry Wemekamp, Pres. >Classic Organ Works >(div. of Artisan Classic Organ Inc.) >2800 John Street, Unit 4 >Markham, Ontario, Canada >L3R 0E2 >Tel: 905-475-1275 or 1-888-812-9717 >Fax: 905-475-2735 >e-mail: >web:   From Gulbransen:   At 11:39 AM -0800 1/30/01, Jerry Ray wrote: >Thank you for your interest in the Gulbransen MIDISystems. > >You're in great company with the Gulbransen MIDISystems - current >users include Billy Joel, Elton John, Tori Amos, KD Lang, Bruce >Hornsby, Chick Corea, Paul Shaffer (David Letterman Show), Wendy >Carlos, classical virtuoso Van Cliburn plus numerous LA, Nashville >and New York recording studios and TV/Film composers. > >If you provided us with your 'snail mail' address (your home Post >Office mailing address) in your Email, we will be sending you a >complete brochure. For additional information, please call our MIDI >expert, JACK BUTLER, on our MIDI HotLine at 800-757-MIDI (6434) or >619-469-1456. Jack can also be reached via Email. His address is: > > >To reach the Gulbransen MIDISytems department from OUTSIDE of the >United States, please call 619-469-1456. You can leave a message >with your phone number and time zone information and our MIDISytems >expert, Jack Butler, will return your call. Remember, Jack can >also be reached via Email. His address is: > >Jack can answer all your product, pricing and installation >questions. He can also make arrangements for your "factory direct" >purchase over the phone. The current MIDISystems price list is >(shipping extra): > >KS-1 $ 895.00USD >KS-20 >$1,575.00USD = >ORC-2P $1,645.00USD >ORC-3 $1,995.00USD >(all prices include a Control Box plus an 88 note keyboard strip. > 73 note or 61 note keyboard strips are also available on a KS-20 or >higher product) > >Be sure to visit our Web Site at for more details. > >Regards. >Sales Department >Gulbransen, Inc.   I will be pursuing this further, and will be asking the "list" for advice (interest). I am also hoping to get someone to ask the folks on Piporg if any of them are interested. I am hesitant to do that myself as I have never understood some of their posting requirements (No mime!, no HTML, etc.) I am still somewhat new to this internet... and can make a big enough fool of myself in real life.   Just keeping you up to date, Hugh              
(back) Subject: Small Organs From: <> Date: Tue, 30 Jan 2001 18:05:15 EST     --part1_88.1beefbf.27a8a2ab_boundary Content-Type: text/plain; charset=3D"US-ASCII" Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit   List,   I was searching House Organs the other day and came across the following articles. The ones on small organs look pretty good. Some good = theoretical information, not sure how practical for the hobbiest. Anyway, see what = you think.   <A = HREF=3D"">Small= Organs: A Perspective</A> Part 1   <A = HREF=3D"">Small= Organs: A Perspective Part 2</A>   <A HREF=3D"">British = Organs</A> Past Present and Future   Sincerely, Keith Zimmerman     --part1_88.1beefbf.27a8a2ab_boundary Content-Type: text/html; charset=3D"US-ASCII" Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit   <HTML><FONT FACE=3Darial,helvetica><FONT SIZE=3D2>List, <BR> <BR>I was searching House Organs the other day and came across the = following <BR>articles. &nbsp;The ones on small organs look pretty good. &nbsp;Some = good theoretical <BR>information, not sure how practical for the hobbiest. &nbsp;Anyway, = see what you <BR>think. <BR> <BR><A = HREF=3D"">Small= Organs: A Perspective</A> Part 1 <BR> <BR> <BR><A = HREF=3D"">Small= Organs: A Perspective Part 2</A> <BR> <BR> <BR><A HREF=3D"">British = Organs</A> Past Present and Future <BR> <BR> <BR>Sincerely, <BR>Keith Zimmerman <BR></FONT></HTML>   --part1_88.1beefbf.27a8a2ab_boundary--  
(back) Subject: Re: [Residence Organs] Ventus blowers VS dust blowers From: "Richard Schneider, President" <> Date: Tue, 30 Jan 2001 17:39:37 -0600   homer valenzona wrote: > Greetings:   > What makes ventus blowers so quite?   It's a combination of many factors: Impeller design, Carefully wound motors, and above all: BALANCE of all of the parts as a complete assembly.   All of this takes time, and therefore, is somewhat costly in comparison to blowers produced in volume that are intended for dust removal. There, noise is not a consideration (-at least not beyond OSHA compliance!) and many of them vibrate so violently that they would literally "dance" across the floor is not bolted to it!   It's like anything else: you get what you pay for, and if you're not willing to pay for the cost of having an organ blower properly built, then you cannot expect the kind of results these units are able to achieve. In other words: there's no "free lunch!"   Faithfully,   "Grandpa Arp in the Corn Patch" Richard Schneider SCHNEIDER PIPE ORGANS, Inc. Organbuilders 41-43 Johnston St. P. O. Box 137 Kenney, IL 61749-0137 (217) 944-2454 VOX (217) 944-2527 FAX Business EMAIL Personal EMAIL Web Page URL    
(back) Subject: Fw: [Residence Organs] RE: [Residence Organs] pipe scales From: "VEAGUE" <> Date: Tue, 30 Jan 2001 21:28:40 -0500   On my WurliTzer, 4ft C Diapason is about 3 1/2- 4" diameter. This being theatre scale.   OCTAVES:   1' -super-duper octave 2' -super octave 4' -octave 8' -unison 16' -sub octave 32' -basement 64' -China   Rick       ----- Original Message ----- From: STEVE PITTS <> To: Residence Organ List <> Sent: Tuesday, January 30, 2001 9:35 AM Subject: [Residence Organs] RE: [Residence Organs] pipe scales     > > > The 4Ft C of my Open Diapason rank is 3 1/8" in diameter.Would this be > considered a medium scale or a very common scale for a Diapason? > > What is the correct terminology used to describe the various octaves and the > pipes of the various octaves in a rank of pipes? > > DIYAPASON-L: a Discussion list for owners and builders of their own > Residence Pipe Organs. > HOMEPAGE : > List: > Administration: >    
(back) Subject: Re: [Residence Organs] DIY reeds, etc. From: "VEAGUE" <> Date: Tue, 30 Jan 2001 21:31:18 -0500   The 8' pump organ reeds I used for the horn on my street organ sound like mild trumpets on 4" cranking-wind. Very nice with wood resonators.   Rick