PipeChat Digest #28 - Sunday, August 10, 1997
 
 


(back) Subject: Winchester Mystery House From: orgnloft@ultranet.com (Bob & Sally Evans) Date: Sat, 9 Aug 1997 12:57:24 -0400 (EDT)       Hi Group,   Been away but thought that I would like to add that the organ in the Mystery House is a reed organ with some fake pipes stuck on top.   If you're in San Jose; the house is worth a visit. The museum shows all of the products that Winchester made from flashlights to bicycles.   Bob Evans   Bob's Wurlitzer Loft 798 Old Warren Road Swansea, MA 02777 Home of "Rochelle" the RJ-12 Wurlitzer Pipe Organ      
(back) Subject: Re: Thank you -- Venice, etc. From: topman <topman@zzapp.org> Date: Sat, 09 Aug 1997 16:19:20 -0300   Hello Peter,   Thank you for your note. I regret my delay in responding -- it's been hectic here the past few days.   I'm glad to know about La Pieta (Vivaldi) and San Pietro di Castello (the old Cathedral), and I'm not surprised that St. Mark's has the kind of instruments that seem to be usual for such places...   Your comments are enormously appreciated.   Al Lunde Washington, DC     PS: Were your Yale days at the School of Music? I did my Master's there in 1962. At that time John Fesperman, then Organist/Director at Old North in Boston, did one of the few good sessions ever in our weekly "organ seminars" presented by distinguished authorities (!?) on various aspects in the organ grinding business. He later became curator of instruments at the Smithsonian here in Washington, DC and still lives here, although retired. I'll be checking with him about all this one of these days soon. Do you know John? He and I became fairly good friends starting with my Yale years when I went to interview him on matters pertaining to my Master's Thesis. It turned out he had just completed a book on the subject I had chosen for my paper, so I had to do some fast changes in my profound plans.   A.       Al Lunde Washington, DC    
(back) Subject: Re: acoustics From: "Wm. G. Chapman" <wchapmn@ibm.net> Date: Sat, 09 Aug 1997 12:08:06 -0400   Ronnymn@aol.com wrote: > > ... If one were to build a smaller room onto a house for an organ, what would be > the best "shape" so to speak ... would one get better results from a rectangle vs. square ... is there a general answer? ...   Generalizations are always dangerous so: 1. Do not build a square (cube) room. 2. The smaller the room the more irregular the room response will be and the sound colorations will increase. 3. The smaller the room the harder it becomes to get good bass. 4. Parallel walls can cause flutter echo. This problem seems to peek at a around 40' between the two surfaces. Wall hangings of soft material can moderate flutter problems. 5. There are room proportions that help eliminate problems. Sepmeyer suggests the following: Room Height Width Length ------------------------ a. 1.00 1.14 1.39 b. 1.00 1.28 1.54 c. 1.00 1.60 2.33 6. If floor space is limited turn the room on end: L becomes H. 7. All surfaces should be hard and inflexible. However, once built understand the room will act a bit like a stopped pipe. 8. Smaller rooms often need pronounced damping or sound shaping on one end. (Think of it as "voicing" the room.) Consider the use of a decorative wood splay from 1" lumber mounted out from the wall on the long axis opposite the organ.   Wm. G. Chapman West Coast Pipe Organ Co.      
(back) Subject: Wanamaker Organ Recital From: Shirley <pnst@voicenet.com> Date: Sat, 09 Aug 1997 22:06:56   Hiya, list!!!   The 5:00 PM concert today on the Wanamaker organ in the newly refurbished Lord & Taylor's was phenomenal. It'd been years since I'd last heard the organ, so this was a real treat.   First off, the "room" around the console is gone. The dark-wood (mahogany? ebony?) console is now surrounded by a white picket fence and is visible from Designer Women's Wear on the second floor. Keyboards and organist are easily visible from the marble Grand Court ground floor.   For this recital, I stood up against the railing in the children's department, on the third floor, across the 7-story Grand Court and one floor up from the console. A wonderful view, but not the best place to hear the entire blend of sound, which would have been from the ground floor.   The Philadelphia Organ Quartet performed this program, one of several recitals that celebrated the reopening of the Philadelphia Wanamaker store as Lord & Taylor.   The quartet played separately as well as together on the Wanamaker instrument, presenting about an hour and ten minutes of music.   The quartet opened with what sounded like a Sousa march. Two were seated on the bench, one playing the accompaniment and the other playing the solo lines. Another stood along side and added glockenspiel riffs while the fourth every so often squeezed in to play a carillon on the newly available 6th keyboard.   One of my favorite pieces was an arrangement of "Londonderry Air" played by Colin Howland, and registered by Lord & Taylor staff organist and Organ Quartet member Peter Conte. Peter registered almost all of the solo playing of the three artists, and did so with flair. The "Londonderry Air" showed off the solo flute this organ is known for, as well as the string organ.   There were other memorable moments in this concert, from the quiet and delicately registered "Moonlight and Roses" to the Bach/Fox "Now Thank We" to the rambunctious quartet-played "The Entertainer" which closed the program.   Since Lord & Taylor's is known for roses throughout the store (there was a felt red-rose-covered replica of the Liberty Bell not too far from the Eagle, a revered Philadelphia Wanamaker icon), Peter's encore was a typically theatrical "Everything's Coming Up Roses" (from _Gypsy_).   I was very impressed with the playing of Peter Conte. The reverb and echo of this organ are immense, and it is easy to 1) unconsciously but steadily slow down the tempo to dirge, and 2) play too legato that all the notes would blend together and not make sense. Peter kept "Roses", for example, moving at a consistent appropriate tempo, and his leggiero style kept the horizontal movement without sounding choppy. Also, with so much organ at his fingertips, it would be easy to over-register. His registrations throughout the program were tasteful and appropriate.   If any of you have the opportunity to go hear the Philadelphia Organ Quartet, do so. They have a lot of fun together, and make some very good music.   I'll be interested to read what others who attended this event have to say. Claire and Karl were both in attendance. Were there others of you?   ******   Some of you have asked who built the organ. The brochure titled "An Invitation to Become a Friend of the Wanamaker Organ at Lord & Taylor" states that it was built for the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair by the Los Angeles Art Organ Company. It took 13 freight cars to bring the organ from St. Louis to Philadelphia in 1909. The installation was complete by 1911. A private organ factory was open in the attic of the store, employing as many as 40 full-time employees, and added a total of 18,000 more pipes between 1911 and 1930. (The brochure does not state how many ranks, or which ranks, this would have been.) The String Organ (a sound to die for!) boasts 7,000 pipes.   Some statistics as stated in the brochure: Organ has 28,500 pipes, 6 ivory keyboards, 729 color-coded stop tablets, 168 pistons, and 42 "foot controls". The console weighs 2.5 tons; the entire instrument weighs 287 tons.   --Shirley          
(back) Subject: Re: acoustics From: Joyce Weaver <jweaver@foxvalley.net> Date: Sat, 09 Aug 1997 20:56:35 -0500   At 05:09 PM 8/8/97 GMT, you wrote: >On Fri, 8 Aug 1997 09:04:50 -0500, cputman@post.cis.smu.edu (Clyde >Putman) wrote: > >>I was fortunate in being able to take an accoustics for musicians class. In >>it the professor stayed as light as he could on mathematics and heavy on >>practical rules of thumb. > >And my only qualification to comment is that I've completed the sort >of project that Ronnie has in mind - with good results >> >>>>From the class and from my experience I would agree with Bruce except to >>add that walls, floors and and ceilings should be heavy, hard, flat > >certainly agree up to this point > > >>and NOT >>parallel. Curved surfaces tend to focus the sound so that some folks can't >>hear anything and others are deafend. Parallel surfaces can have an echo >>rather than reverberation. > >Surely that's being rather theoretical for a small room (I'm assuming >Ronnie WON'T be able to afford to build King's College Cambridge!) >You'd surely need a very large room to produce noticeable echo from >parallel surfaces. (My church is built that way with a lovely flat >wooden ceiling - the acoustics are superb.) > >For a music room I would advocate keeping it uncomplicated along the >lines Bruce has already suggested. The optimum shape is supposed to be >the double cube (twice as high as wide) but I would imagine you'd be >struggling to get as much height as that in a house extension - as >Bruce said, go for as much height as possible. > >Roger   "I've been fortunate enough" to be able to teach such a course, years ago, and I still teach physics courses at our local community college. The advice above is mostly good.   Reverberation time seems to depend on two factors: the reflectivity of the walls (how hard the _surface_ is) and the volume of the room. You can only get so many reflections of the sound; the longer the time between those reflections (i.e. the larger the room) the longer the reverberation time will be.   My only disagreement with the previous advice is that it _does_ matter about the walls being parallel in a small room. Specifically, if the wallls are parallel and if one of the dimensions of the room is very close to the wavelength produced by one of the pipes you can get a very substantial resonance in the room which will destroy the evenness of the sound by considerably amplifying a few of the pipes.   In fact, I observed this the last couple of weeks. I've been out west visiting my daughter, and my wife and I usually play harp and flute for services at the little Episcopal church in her town. This time, I asked if I could practice on their organ (knowing that it was an old electronic that sounded horrible). You can imagine my delight when I found out that it actually was a lovely little (8 rank) Aeolian-Skinner that was just played very poorly when we had been there. Part of the problem with the playing is that there is a room resonance in the vicinity of the low pedal F-G. F and G are greatly emphasized, and E and A stand out quite a bit. Apparently those, plus the bottom C are the only pedals the organist uses. When I was practicing, I couldn't find a combination of stops that didn't work. On Sunday morning, the first thing I said to my wife after the service was over was, "I would have sworn that that organ couldn't be made to sound bad", but it really did.   For those who might care, the organ has two 8'stops, one on each manual. One of these is extended to 16' for the pedal. In addition, one of the manual 4' stops is extended to 8' for the pedal. She was playing with both 8' stops on the great, and the 16'and 8' on the pedal, besides having the manual 8'stops coupled to the pedal. This is actually fairly typical of people I have come across who I privately label as "not an organist".   When I retire out there, I expect to be asked to play regularly at the church, and one of my high priorities will be to find and fix that resonance.   Loren Weaver Professor of Physics Elgin Community College      
(back) Subject: Re: Wanamaker Organ Recital From: "Clifford N. Bohnson" <cbohnson@mosquito.com> Date: Sat, 09 Aug 1997 22:42:05 -0400   Shirley - I hate to contradict, but the roses on the bell were real -- at least they were at the 10:00 a.m. concert. Also, we discovered that the ground floor is NOT the best place to hear the organ, nor to see the performance. We did discover that the 3rd-level cafeteria seems pretty nearly ideal. One gets a fine view of the performer and console over the performer's left shoulder. And the newly glassed-in top two floors has done wonders for the sound, which seemed to mix nicely from that location. We had spent some time at the console earlier, but that was fairly crowded, and it was actually more difficult to see what was going on from there, so we bid Michael Stairs adieu and found our "sweet spot" in the cafeteria. Try it, you'll like it! -- CLIFFORD N. BOHNSON, President The Unicorn's Garden (representing Makin Organs of England [digital electronic] and ITC Pipe Organs of Jackson, New Jersey) http://www.mosquito.com/~unicorn/PAGE_1.HTML    
(back) Subject: Re: Wanamaker Organ Recital From: Shirley <pnst@voicenet.com> Date: Sat, 09 Aug 1997 22:55:04   At 22:42 08/09/97 -0400, you wrote: >Shirley - > I hate to contradict, but the roses on the bell were real -- at least >they were at the 10:00 a.m. concert.   Well, they were felt by 5 PM... I reached out and touched... unless they were replacing the dead and dying with felt ones... They sure did look real tho!     > Also, we discovered that the ground >floor is NOT the best place to hear the organ, nor to see the >performance. We did discover that the 3rd-level cafeteria seems pretty >nearly ideal. One gets a fine view of the performer and console over the >performer's left shoulder. And the newly glassed-in top two floors has >done wonders for the sound, which seemed to mix nicely from that >location.   Probably. I was too close to the chambers, I think, but the view across the court was perfect. You were in a more ideal location for sound, I would think. And a cafeteria?!? That's a cafeteria? Folks, it's open on one side, looks out onto the grand court. Looks elegant, though I didn't get in there this trip. I wonder if they take reservations for specific tables.... hmm....       > We had spent some time at the console earlier, but that was fairly >crowded, and it was actually more difficult to see what was going on >from there, so we bid Michael Stairs adieu and found our "sweet spot" in >the cafeteria. Try it, you'll like it!   Yup! Next time I'm down there, I hope to "do lunch" there during a noontime concert. :)   So, folks, the next time you're in Philly, head for the third floor eatery and stand against the railing for the best in sound, and nearly the best in visual, to hear and see the Wanamaker organ. Now you know. :)   --Shirley    
(back) Subject: Re: Winchester Mystery House From: DudelK@aol.com Date: Sat, 9 Aug 1997 23:02:43 -0400 (EDT)   That segment ran again today in Washington. Any idea who the woman was in the footage playing the organ? Probably not Mrs. Winchester. Also any idea where the sound track came from -- the Charpentier Te Deum -- hard to tell if it was pipes or a reed organ?  
(back) Subject: Re: acoustics From: cremona84000@webtv.net (bruce cornely) Date: Sat, 9 Aug 1997 23:02:43 -0400   A question for Loren Weaver.... Isn't one of the reasons that the long, narrow and high gothic buildings have such wonderful acoustics the result of parallel surfaces being virtually eliminated by pillars, irregular stone surfaces, statuary and other decorative aspects of the building. I have always been taught that parallel surfaces were "bad" and in previous positions when renovations were done, even walls behing the choir were slightly angled for this purpose.   Bruce Cornely ============ o o o o ============== o o o ______________ o o o o o o ______________ o o o OHS ======================== AGO  
(back) Subject: Re: Wanamaker Organ Recital From: kwkeller@juno.com (KARL W KELLER) Date: Sat, 09 Aug 1997 23:06:13 EDT   Great post Shirley. You covered the CONCERT just like a pro journalist. I can't add anything except to say it was great to hear the Wanamaker organ again. I was informed that Lord & Taylor is giving the organ it's full support and for this we should be thankful. I saw many of the areas organ lovers in the audience and met several members of the organ lists. To sum it up - It was a great afternoon.   Karl Musica est Dei donum optimi  
(back) Subject: Re: Wanamaker Organ Recital From: kwkeller@juno.com (KARL W KELLER) Date: Sat, 09 Aug 1997 23:18:47 EDT   Gotta jump in on the question of the "roses". They were made of pure silk and had the same feel as real rose petals. This came from one of the store officials.   The third floor restaurant will open Sept.15th. In the past your could made reservations but don't know if there is a new policy. It is a great place to hear the organ while having lunch unless you are sitting next to a couple of "blue hairs" who want to talk (loudly) about their arthritis rather than enjoy the organ.   Karl Musica est Dei donum optimi  
(back) Subject: Re: Wanamaker Organ Recital From: MFulk70776@aol.com Date: Sat, 9 Aug 1997 23:28:35 -0400 (EDT)   In a message dated 97-08-09 23:21:53 EDT, you write:   << a couple of "blue hairs" who want to talk (loudly) about their arthritis rather than enjoy the organ. >> Oh, this is awful, but I couldn't help but giggle.  
(back) Subject: Re: Wanamaker Organ Recital From: cremona84000@webtv.net (bruce cornely) Date: Sat, 9 Aug 1997 23:41:07 -0400   Shirley, A friend and I sat in that wonderful third-floor eatery, which was a restaurant then, at the OHS convention in Philadephia. It was a great seat then; glad it is still around. So glad to hear you had a good time, too.   Bruce Cornely ============ o o o o ============== o o o ______________ o o o o o o ______________ o o o OHS ======================== AGO  
(back) Subject: Re: Wanamaker Organ Recital From: Shirley <pnst@voicenet.com> Date: Sun, 10 Aug 1997 00:35:04   At 23:18 08/09/97 EDT, you wrote: >Gotta jump in on the question of the "roses". They were made of pure >silk and had the same feel as real rose petals. This came from one of >the store officials. Well, that answers THAT! :)   > >The third floor restaurant will open Sept.15th. In the past your could >made reservations but don't know if there is a new policy. It is a great >place to hear the organ while having lunch unless you are sitting next to >a couple of "blue hairs" who want to talk (loudly) about their arthritis >rather than enjoy the organ.   It's difficult to remember that Lord & Taylor is there to make a buck, and is a working retail store. I heard someone counting coins in a register.... I heard the *occasional* phone ring. And there were two young children (*not* mine! heh) who were noisily pushing and shoving past us. Their mom was shopping. I applaud the folks standing there that they ignored the rude children.   This gives the appearance of being offtopic, but it isn't. I think all of us have to be tolerant of the shoppers at Lord & Taylor, for it is their megabucks that will keep the store open and therefore, the organ playing.   I'm a bit concerned once the upper 4 floors are converted into office space. No way can they quiet the organ enough on those floors for business as usual. The 32's are where?!?   --Shirley