PipeChat Digest #4549 - Tuesday, June 8, 2004
 
Another sad story -- five years in the making
  by "Larry Wheelock" <llwheels@mac.com>
Re: The Role Of Old Growth Hardwoods in Pipe Organs built  Looooooooong A
  by "John Vanderlee" <jovanderlee@vassar.edu>
6/12, 7:30pm: Curtis Organ Benefit Recital
  by <niksiz@comcast.net>
DANNY BROOKE CONTACT INFO (x post)
  by <ScottFop@aol.com>
old pipe organs available
  by "terry hicks" <Terrick@webtv.net>
Re: digital "action"
  by "John L. Speller" <jlspeller@swbell.net>
Re: digital "action"
  by "Jim McFarland" <mcfarland6@juno.com>
Hey, Mister, buy my bourdon PLEASE!
  by "Raymond H. Clark, Quilisma Publications" <quilisma@cox.net>
Butz Verlag info [x-posted]
  by "Charlie Lester" <crlester@137.com>
 

(back) Subject: Another sad story -- five years in the making From: "Larry Wheelock" <llwheels@mac.com> Date: Tue, 8 Jun 2004 14:02:41 -0500   Well -- it has happened again. Every five years or so I begin to actually believe what I read from the supporters of electronic instruments and I set aside my rule about not performing on an electronic/digital/whatever substitute. Each time I do this, I end up regretting it and vow never to do it again. Invariably, the supporters of these devices will announce that there have been great improvements in the technology and the design, and some big church on Wall Street in NYC will put in a big state-of-the-art pipe organ substitute, and I am enticed into reconsidering my ban. Once again I regret it. This time it was a Galanti and I shudder every time I think about the noise it makes.   The first problem with the instrument boils down to the one complaint which I have been screaming about for over 30 years -- violation of scale.   The church in question was a typical building of the type which the Lutheran Church in America (now ELCA) used to recommend as a "first-unit" to small congregations wishing to build a building. The room is only slightly longer than it is wide and has a peaked ceiling which is at about eight feet at the sides and rises to around twelve feet in the middle. It can probably seat one hundred or so. This one was, of course, carpeted to within an inch of its life, had cushioned pews, and had a "popcorn" ceiling which was probably "acoustical" (read: sound-dampening material.)   When I went to practice on the instrument early in the week before the 'musicale' I was greeted by one of the three resident organists who was pleased to tell me that they had, just last week, had the repairperson over to fix a dead pedal-note and go-over the instrument to make sure it was in recital form. Actually, she said, it turned out that more than one pedal note was dead, but they had not noticed because the primary organist "doesn't use the pedals too much." She did not specify how much was "too much" and I considered reassuring her that I would endeavor to use the pedal 'just the right amount' and never 'too much.' She pointed out the three pistons which the resident organists use (I suspect, one apiece) and proudly pointed out the genuine Zimbelstern mounted precariously over the head of the organist which is engaged by a toggle-switch a mere 14 inches under the right stop-jamb. On a good day I would only need to get down on the pedals with one knee to find it, I'm sure.   What I encountered was a three-manual instrument of some fifty stops - one stop for each two seats in the room! It was breath-taking -- and not in a good way. I defy anyone to justify the installation of a fifty-stop instrument in a room of this size for a congregation with organists of limited skills.   I can understand how this happens in churches where the organist is some 'fresh-out-of-the-conservatory' hot-shot who cannot be bothered with anything smaller than 100 stops because it would limit his/her "creativity" and rule out the works of that major French romantic/contemporary/classique composer whose works are so crucial to the worship life of a 75-member UCC congregation of elderly in the suburbs of Milwaukee -- that, I understand. This instrument was sold to a bunch of old ladies -- literally (no offense intended -- I only wish to be accurate here.) The mere presence of this instrument in this room is an insult to any true musician and represents -- at the very best -- ignorant, if not unscrupulous sales-staff.   If you cannot understand how an instrument of this size in a room of this type is a 'violation of scale' then you'd best stop reading and move onto the next post -- but first -- call your local Galanti dealer and inquire about just how many stops you can get on your 5-manual instrument for your ten-foot by eight-foot practice room. Apparently, the sky is the limit, and taste and appropriateness are not a consideration at all. Perhaps the only limit is -- how many zeroes can you write in a row? That is "How many Zeds..." for our Anglican readers. On with my sad story.   Someone who installed the instrument had at least figured out that, with this many stops in a small room, there has to be some compromise in the loudness-level of the individual stops. The various swell pedals were adjusted so that they provided a wide range from a tolerable 'forte' (boxes closed) to an absolutely ear-splitting 'fortissimo.' "Piano" was not on the menu. Did I mention that there was a "Trompette Harmonique" (playable on GT and POS) which I dearly wish I had on my SAAB for use in freeway traffic?   I once complained (on this list) that manufacturers didn't build an instrument of a truly appropriate size for this room (which I would consider to be 10-15 well-voiced stops, max) and I was summarily inundated with materials proving that they did, indeed, make such instruments. The problem here is that they don't seem to put any of them in churches -- at least I've never found one. Unlike pipe organ builders, substitute-manufacturers are not subject to limitations of space, which is a natural factor which prevents violation of scale problems in most (not all) pipe-organ installations. It is true that there exist some pipe-organs which are too large for the rooms in which they are placed, but this is the exception rather than the rule. For the substitute-manufacturers, I see overwhelming evidence that 'too-large' instruments are the rule rather than the exception. If I ever met an organ-substitute salesperson who told a congregation that any particular instrument was too large for their room, I would pat him/her on the back and buy a round of coffee for everyone involved.   Now -- here is a tip for all of you digital manufacturers out there who missed "Organ design-101." It doesn't matter how scalable and voicable your sounds are -- if there are too many of them in the instrument, you cannot voice the individual stops as they should be voiced. One can compromise the voicing only so far to compensate -- after that, each individual voice becomes irrelevant.   Then there was the actual stoplist -- the late Larry Phelps would have loved it (but don't get me wrong here -- I am a child of the 60s and 70s and that is the type of instrument I cut my teeth on, and still enjoy -- I have a great deal of respect for Phelps (and others) work even though I can see that there are issues which some would consider 'shortcomings.') There were few foundations stops -- and even those were weak due to voicing considerations (see above) and there was enough high-pitched "mixtur-werk" to fill the bat-cave. Fortunately at my age (54) I have probably lost enough of the upper-range of my hearing that I couldn't fully hear the mixtures. Pity the young, who could. I can only observe that it must have been a hell-of-a salesperson who convinced these old ladies that they needed 20 equivalent-ranks of mixtures (1 rank for every 5 seats) for their overly-upholstered room.   One might think that, with this many stops, there would be an abundance of color from which to draw, but, with a three manual instrument, a certain number of stops must be duplicated in order to have a complete chorus in each division, and the builder had opted for chorus reeds exclusively. Even the Krummhorn was a smallish trompette. Only the Swell Hautbois was suitable for a lyric solo and I ended up using it over and over combined with various other stops for color variation. Ironic, isn't it? All these stops and still the only color reed is the lowly oboe, so favored by the builders of small pipe organs. The flute stops varied to a certain degree, but none of them was what I would describe as beautiful or interesting except perhaps one on the GT which sounded rather like a xylophone as each note spoke. The 'principals' were not. They were rather more like loud strings.   Now -- this is interesting -- even though the swell pedals had minimal effect, there was a loudness-control slider on the GT and on the pedal divisions which controlled their relative balance to the other divisions. There was also a "Brilliance" control (my nomenclature, I can't remember the exact term on the knob.) It seems as if, having failed to be able to voice the instrument suitably, the manufacturers decided that perhaps the organist could do better, given a couple of knobs to fiddle with. Unfortunately, the changes offered by these controls were insufficient to overcome the simple fact that this was the wrong instrument in the wrong room. To be fair, I'm not certain that this particular instrument would sound much better in a different room, but, mercifully, I probably will never have a chance to find out. No doubt, someone on the list will explain that the instrument didn't have enough, or large enough, speakers, ampli-fryers. widgets or doo-dads to which the only reasonable reply is that this congregation should then have been "sold into" a smaller instrument with the appropriate guts. I maintain that the fault lies with the builder and the sales-staff, who have a responsibility to know better, and not with the 'old-ladies,' who don't.   The one thing which was not organist-adjustable on this device was the 'tremulaunt' which was wider and deeper than the room itself, and mostly useless.   Well, I muddled through my short program using and re-using as many of the tolerable sounds as possible, and using the ear-splitting ones only where interpretation of the music gave me no alternative. One cannot play the Leighton 'Fanfare" on flutes alone unless one plans on ending one's performance career at 3PM today. I seriously considered changing my entire program, but I just could not come up with 20 minutes of music from my limited repertoire which would sound good on this instrument but not lull the audience to a blissful repose. Of course the audience was thrilled, and one visitor actually asked me after the program, "Where are the pipes?" I still have a bloody hole in my tongue from biting it rather than addressing that question as I would have liked to. I also still keep asking myself if the audience, and the congregation, doesn't deserve better.   I was followed on the program of the 'musicale' by a fine young cellist playing Bach (unaccompanied). The sound of his late 18-cent. cello filled even this dry space profoundly, and his playing was quite moving. I wondered to myself why, in the spirit of their organ, they hadn't booked 15 cellists to play together? Oddly enough, one was sufficient -- no, not just sufficient, but rather, elegant and completely fulfilling.   I went into this program sincerely hoping to have my low expectations raised and to come away with a new respect for the manufacturers of organ-substitutes. Some of you will, no doubt, point out that this is merely one organ, in one location and not representative of the field in general. That might be true, but my experience has been similar each time I encounter an organ-substitute in an actual church placement. While I believe that there might actually be a "good" organ-substitute out there in a church somewhere -- one that makes beautiful sounds, time after time my experience has been otherwise. Perhaps I am just the unluckiest organist alive, or perhaps my hearing is flawed in such a way as to prevent me from recognizing the innate beauty of ugly sounds. While I have happened upon a few pipe-organs which were of the lowest quality, I can confidently say that I have been able to make music on even the lowliest of these (assuming that the instrument was in acceptable mechanical condition -- an assumption which I apply to organ-substitutes as well.)   I expect that this post will generate a veritable firestorm of "flames" from uncritical supporters of organ-substitutes. I have donned my flame-retardant suit and I ask only that you send the most vile of your condemnations to me at musicdirector@kenwood-umc.org and not subject the entire list to your invective. I offer this post only as a caveat to organists who, like me, are trying to be open-minded about the ongoing debate between advocates of pipe organs and advocates of organ-substitutes, and who, like me, might be lulled into thinking that technology has rendered the disagreements moot. It isn't so. This represents my personal opinion only, but, as a great reformer once said, "Here I stand..."     Larry Wheelock Director of Music Ministries Kenwood United Methodist Church Milwaukee, Wisconsin musicdirector@kenwood-umc.org    
(back) Subject: Re: The Role Of Old Growth Hardwoods in Pipe Organs built Looooooooong Ago From: "John Vanderlee" <jovanderlee@vassar.edu> Date: Tue, 8 Jun 2004 15:18:53 -0700   >Not necessarily. At least one organ-builder salvaged 19th century >timber from a building he was renovating for a new shop. > >Others (and this isn't limited to organ-builders) scour the >countryside for 19th century barns, etc., buy them up, and dismantle >them for their lumber.   so why can't I sell a 16' Bourdon? must be fortune in clear lumber! Thinking of offering it to a cabinet maker to cut up for other uses.   John V  
(back) Subject: 6/12, 7:30pm: Curtis Organ Benefit Recital From: <niksiz@comcast.net> Date: Tue, 08 Jun 2004 19:39:36 +0000   Greetings,   The correct time for the Felix Hell's benefit recital on the 10,731 pipe = Curtis Organ at Irvine Auditorium on Saturday, June 12th is 7:30pm (there = was a misprint on the tickets, sorry).   If you did not purchase a ticket in advance, tickets will be available at = the door for $15 cash.   Look forward to seeing you there!  
(back) Subject: DANNY BROOKE CONTACT INFO (x post) From: <ScottFop@aol.com> Date: Tue, 8 Jun 2004 15:40:30 EDT     --part1_1a1.256ce124.2df7702e_boundary Content-Type: text/plain; charset=3D"US-ASCII" Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit   Hello All   I am still trying to reach this gentleman, who was the record shop coordinator for Fabulous Fox Organ Weekend in Atlanta. Can anyone provide = me with his contact and email information?   Much appreciated! Thanks!   Scott F. Foppiano Cantantibus organis Caecilia Domino decantabat.   --part1_1a1.256ce124.2df7702e_boundary Content-Type: text/html; charset=3D"US-ASCII" Content-Transfer-Encoding: quoted-printable   <HTML><FONT FACE=3D3Darial,helvetica><HTML><FONT SIZE=3D3D2 PTSIZE=3D3D10 = FAMILY=3D =3D3D"SANSSERIF" FACE=3D3D"Arial" LANG=3D3D"0">Hello All<BR> <BR> I am still trying to reach this gentleman, who was the record shop = coordinat=3D or for Fabulous Fox Organ Weekend in Atlanta.&nbsp; Can anyone provide me = wi=3D th his contact and email information?&nbsp; <BR> <BR> Much appreciated!&nbsp; Thanks!<BR> <BR> </FONT><FONT COLOR=3D3D"#000000" BACK=3D3D"#ffffff" = style=3D3D"BACKGROUND-COLOR:=3D20=3D #ffffff" SIZE=3D3D4 PTSIZE=3D3D14 FAMILY=3D3D"SCRIPT" FACE=3D3D"Monotype = Corsiva" LA=3D NG=3D3D"0"><B>Scott F. Foppiano</FONT><FONT COLOR=3D3D"#000000" = BACK=3D3D"#ffffff=3D " style=3D3D"BACKGROUND-COLOR: #ffffff" SIZE=3D3D2 PTSIZE=3D3D10 = FAMILY=3D3D"SANSSER=3D IF" FACE=3D3D"Arial" LANG=3D3D"0"></B><BR> Cantantibus organis Caecilia Domino decantabat.</FONT><FONT = COLOR=3D3D"#00000=3D 0" BACK=3D3D"#ffffff" style=3D3D"BACKGROUND-COLOR: #ffffff" SIZE=3D3D2 = PTSIZE=3D3D10=3D FAMILY=3D3D"SCRIPT" FACE=3D3D"Monotype Corsiva" LANG=3D3D"0"><BR> </FONT></HTML> --part1_1a1.256ce124.2df7702e_boundary--  
(back) Subject: old pipe organs available From: "terry hicks" <Terrick@webtv.net> Date: Tue, 8 Jun 2004 12:41:56 -0700   The reason there are so many of those organs are available is that most of them were in church buildings that have changed congregations or demolished.   No matter how good imitation organs can get, they will still be comparable to playing an excellent recording of the real thing. I am really amazed how good some of them do sound. However, speakers don't create sound waves like pipes, and that's the biggest stumlbing block.   I can't help but think of the movie A.I., when humans finally cease to exist and the artificial life forms are all that's left. It's a very frightening prospect. Our world is becoming increasingly "unreal" because of all sorts of products that are trying to imitate the real thing... is that progress? Thank goodness I'll be dead before it hits "critical mass".    
(back) Subject: Re: digital "action" From: "John L. Speller" <jlspeller@swbell.net> Date: Tue, 8 Jun 2004 14:44:14 -0500     ----- Original Message ----- From: "Jim McFarland" <mcfarland6@juno.com> To: <pipechat@pipechat.org> Cc: <pipechat@pipechat.org> Sent: Tuesday, June 08, 2004 1:07 PM Subject: Re: digital "action"     > > > John: > > I have always been told that Backinton chests were so called because of > the pallet. > In his article for ISO there is no mention of a different slider > treatment.   I looked it up again, and indeed he does not say very much on the subject, although he does say "Since we do not use slider seals, it is important = that our toeboards have maximum stability and be free from warping, cupping or twisting. The finished thickness of our toeboards is 35mm. We take 25mm stock, rip it into 40mm strips, turn them on edge and glue them up in a butcher block slab the size of the chest table. Since most lumber is "plain-sawn," the annual growth rings in the majority of any load are = going to be closer to parallel to the board surface than at right angles as in quarter-sawn stock. By ripping the lumber and turning it at right angles, = we come close to having quarter-sawn stock. With humidity changes, the toeboards now tend to expand and contract in width and there is a minimum = of warping and twisting. We normally let the laminated slab sit around the = shop for a month or so to allow the moisture from the glue lines to dissipate = in the lumber. This allows a state of equilibrium to be reached."   See the article on the AIO website at http://www.pipeorgan.org/service/manuals/technical/design1.html   Experience shows that the main reason why sliders stick is because of movement/warpage of the toeboards. If the toeboards are built up in = strips and glued up so that the grain runs in opposite directions in adjoining strips, thus ...   |\\\|////|\\\\|////| etc, then if one strip warps in one direction, the = next strip will warp in the opposite direction and cancel it out. As he says quarter-sawn lumber would be ideal, but in practice this is not really necessary as long as it approximates.   Table is glued on with a vacuum table. Use voidless ply or military grade (i.e., waterproof) medium density fiber board for the table. Some organ builders don't use military grade fiber, in which case it is curtains to = the organ if there is the slightest roof leak.   Irrigation is routed onto both the table and the toeboards, with cross-hatching in the traditional way.   The gibs (the strips along the top of the table separating the sliders) = are made of the same material as the sliders (i.e., resin similar to printed circuit boards) obtained from organ supply houses. Under each gib place 7 thousandths of an inch thick brass strip ), nailing the gib and brass down together with small brass escutcheon pins and countersinking the heads to make them flush with the surface. You also have to predrill the holes through the gibs and brass strips for the toeboard screws. This is all = you have to do normally to fit the sliders -- no need for feeler gauges, no = need to flatten anything, usually no need for further shimming. Occasionally a slider will initially be a little stiff for whatever reason if something = is not perfectly flat, but then all you need to do is see from the graphite that will have got onto the slider from the rubbing where the tight spot = is, and then put a single thickness of masking tape along the offending = stretch of gib. That should be all the fitting of the sliders you will ever need = to do in 500 years let alone a century.   The one other thing that might cause problems is sagging of the toeboard under the weight of the pipework. In toeboards more than about 4" wide, therefore use an insert in the middle of the slider and support the center -- as was done in a lot of historic trackers.   John.      
(back) Subject: Re: digital "action" From: "Jim McFarland" <mcfarland6@juno.com> Date: Tue, 8 Jun 2004 15:55:15 -0400       John:   All you say below is true. BUT, there is nothing anywhere in the info below that has not already been used by dozens of builders many many hundreds of times.   ERGO:   These techniques are not uniquely Blackinton, therefore a chest without Blackinton pneumatics is not a Blackinton chest. This was my initial point.   I enjoyed our little chat immensely.     Jim     On Tue, 8 Jun 2004 14:44:14 -0500 "John L. Speller" <jlspeller@swbell.net> writes: > > ----- Original Message ----- > From: "Jim McFarland" <mcfarland6@juno.com> > To: <pipechat@pipechat.org> > Cc: <pipechat@pipechat.org> > Sent: Tuesday, June 08, 2004 1:07 PM > Subject: Re: digital "action" > > > > > > > > John: > > > > I have always been told that Backinton chests were so called > because of > > the pallet. > > In his article for ISO there is no mention of a different slider > > treatment. > > I looked it up again, and indeed he does not say very much on the > subject, > although he does say "Since we do not use slider seals, it is > important that > our toeboards have maximum stability and be free from warping, > cupping or > twisting. The finished thickness of our toeboards is 35mm. We take > 25mm > stock, rip it into 40mm strips, turn them on edge and glue them up > in a > butcher block slab the size of the chest table. Since most lumber > is > "plain-sawn," the annual growth rings in the majority of any load > are going > to be closer to parallel to the board surface than at right angles > as in > quarter-sawn stock. By ripping the lumber and turning it at right > angles, we > come close to having quarter-sawn stock. With humidity changes, the > toeboards now tend to expand and contract in width and there is a > minimum of > warping and twisting. We normally let the laminated slab sit around > the shop > for a month or so to allow the moisture from the glue lines to > dissipate in > the lumber. This allows a state of equilibrium to be reached." > > See the article on the AIO website at > http://www.pipeorgan.org/service/manuals/technical/design1.html > > Experience shows that the main reason why sliders stick is because > of > movement/warpage of the toeboards. If the toeboards are built up in > strips > and glued up so that the grain runs in opposite directions in > adjoining > strips, thus ... > > |\\\|////|\\\\|////| etc, then if one strip warps in one direction, > the next > strip will warp in the opposite direction and cancel it out. As he > says > quarter-sawn lumber would be ideal, but in practice this is not > really > necessary as long as it approximates. > > Table is glued on with a vacuum table. Use voidless ply or military > grade > (i.e., waterproof) medium density fiber board for the table. Some > organ > builders don't use military grade fiber, in which case it is > curtains to the > organ if there is the slightest roof leak. > > Irrigation is routed onto both the table and the toeboards, with > cross-hatching in the traditional way. > > The gibs (the strips along the top of the table separating the > sliders) are > made of the same material as the sliders (i.e., resin similar to > printed > circuit boards) obtained from organ supply houses. Under each gib > place 7 > thousandths of an inch thick brass strip ), nailing the gib and > brass down > together with small brass escutcheon pins and countersinking the > heads to > make them flush with the surface. You also have to predrill the > holes > through the gibs and brass strips for the toeboard screws. This is > all you > have to do normally to fit the sliders -- no need for feeler gauges, > no need > to flatten anything, usually no need for further shimming. > Occasionally a > slider will initially be a little stiff for whatever reason if > something is > not perfectly flat, but then all you need to do is see from the > graphite > that will have got onto the slider from the rubbing where the tight > spot is, > and then put a single thickness of masking tape along the offending > stretch > of gib. That should be all the fitting of the sliders you will ever > need to > do in 500 years let alone a century. > > The one other thing that might cause problems is sagging of the > toeboard > under the weight of the pipework. In toeboards more than about 4" > wide, > therefore use an insert in the middle of the slider and support the > center -- as was done in a lot of historic trackers. > > John. > > > "Pipe Up and Be Heard!" > PipeChat: A discussion List for pipe/digital organs & related > topics > HOMEPAGE : http://www.pipechat.org > List: mailto:pipechat@pipechat.org > Administration: mailto:admin@pipechat.org > Subscribe/Unsubscribe: mailto:requests@pipechat.org > > > >  
(back) Subject: Hey, Mister, buy my bourdon PLEASE! From: "Raymond H. Clark, Quilisma Publications" <quilisma@cox.net> Date: Tue, 08 Jun 2004 13:26:53 -0700   Bud sez:   >> Not necessarily. At least one organ-builder salvaged 19th century >> timber from a building he was renovating for a new shop. >> >> Others (and this isn't limited to organ-builders) scour the >> countryside for 19th century barns, etc., buy them up, and dismantle >> them for their lumber. > > John Vanderlee wrote:   > so why can't I sell a 16' Bourdon? must be fortune in clear lumber! > Thinking of offering it to a cabinet maker to cut up for other uses. > Bud sez:   Pedal bourdons aren't made out of windchest-quality hardwoods, to start with ... they're usually sugar pine or spruce. Bourdons (good, bad, indifferent) are frankly a dime a dozen. And, that wood has already been MADE into something. What's needed is the good LUMBER, unless you happen to have a lovely 19th century stopped wooden flute.   That said, if you have a 16' OPEN WOOD, *that's* another matter (chuckle). They're worth their weight in silver, at LEAST.   Cheers,   Bud      
(back) Subject: Butz Verlag info [x-posted] From: "Charlie Lester" <crlester@137.com> Date: Tue, 08 Jun 2004 13:26:55 -0700   Thanks very much for all the prompt replies to my query about Butz Verlag. (No further replies are necessary!)   The reason I could not find their site is because I was searching for it exactly as the name had been cited by another person -- as "Butz-Verlag-Bonn."   Anyway, just as a PSA, here's the information I gleaned:   "J. Butz Verlag is one of the best kept secrets in the music world."   WEB SITE: http://www.butz-verlag.de/   They do have catalogues on-line.   The address given in the published music is:   5205 Sankt Augustin 3 Germany   I have also found out that the OHS can secure anything from the Butz Verlag catalog. For us "Murrkans," that would surely be the way to go. See http://www.ohs.com   Cheers,   ~ C