Last updated: 10 July 2015. Click About This Website for update list.
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For over fifteen 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 three hours of music played on the three manual organ below and the Prog Organ virtual pipe organ here?
Pièce Héroïque (César Franck) - 8.20 MB/8m 58s
As well as his enormous hands, it also illustrates "Franck's weakness for sharps" as Harvey Grace put it.
LATEST ARTICLE - Hope-Jones at Ocean Grove
This article concerns the famous organ built by Robert Hope-Jones at Ocean Grove, New Jersey, USA in 1908 and in particular a lecture and demonstration he gave there a couple of years later. That event was auspicious because it took place shortly after he had consigned his future to the Wurlitzer company, and it was also to be only four years before he took his life. Thus the lecture was a swan song marking his entry into the poignant twilight days of his career. The article also points out the contrast between the Ocean Grove lecture and one Hope-Jones had given nineteen years earlier to the College of Organists in London. At that time he had built only a single organ in St John's church at Birkenhead near Liverpool, England, and even that was just a rebuild of an older instrument. Yet so compelling was its demonstration of a new electrical control system for organs that it instantly became his stepping stone to fame. Thus the two lectures mark the rise and fall of his work as an organ builder who changed the face of the craft, globally and permanently, over little more than two decades.
It is fortunate that transcripts of both lectures still exist. By comparing them we can see how his ideas were fully developed on paper at an early stage, how they became realised in practice as the enabling technology around him unfolded and progressed, and how his personality changed for the worse in response to the pressures he encountered during his career. His first instrument at Birkenhead contained all of the action, switching and circuit techniques which were immediately taken up and applied in electric actions worldwide. They appeared in a fully developed form in the Ocean Grove organ, which could not have existed without them. They were not displaced until electronics began to appear in organ building in the 1970s, well over half a century later, and even today organs are still built or rebuilt with electromechanical actions and components which are functionally identical to those invented by Hope-Jones.
The article explores these threads, demonstrating that his engineering achievements remain a positive and objective measure of his legacy which cannot be disputed even by his severest critic.
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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 is available for download here (PDF file, 117 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.
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