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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?
!! NEW ARTICLE !! - Reversible Pistons - or how the pipe organ predated the computer
This article discusses reversible piston mechanisms by showing that they all require a memory which holds the reverse of the current position (on or off) of the controlled stop. This stored information then reverses the position of the stop when the reverser piston is pressed. It is also shown that the complete system, comprising the controlled stop plus its internal mechanism, is a bistable device which is similar in terms of its logical design to the countless millions of bistables which make up today's electronic computers. Therefore in this sense the familiar reversible piston of the pipe organ which we take for granted predated the computer by at least a century.
In the earliest mechanical reversers the internal memory element was a wooden 'poppet', and the way this worked is described. Poppets continued to be used in pneumatic and electropneumatic reversers until well into the twentieth century, when they were displaced by fully electric systems using electromechanical relays. Several varieties of all these types of mechanism are described in detail. The article concludes by examining entirely electronic reverser systems having no moving parts and in which the internal memory is realised by a transistor bistable circuit akin to those used in computers.
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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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