September 30, 2008: Ed set pressures on the organ last night, have set the organ at:
Opus 412: 6 inches, left the 822 at a bit over 5 inches, the Tibia is at 6 inches, the Montre and Viole Celeste are at 4 inches, and the Vox Humana is at 4 inches.
The Vox probably should be taken up to 6 inches to better match the Tibia but for now leaving it at 4 as it is speaking, and the tremulant works at that pressure.
We are continuing to have a leather issue on the opus 412 and the Melodia rank, presently middle C thru middle F# are not speaking despite being releathered.
The Armory Trumpet sounds much better at 6 inches than at 4, the Clarinet needs a bit of work on a few notes to accept the new higher pressure, but still sounds good.....later in the week I may get some more recordings posted.
September 23, 2008:
Did a quick testing of the two main chests for wind pressure:
They are :
opus 822 - 5.21 inches wind (should be 5 inches)
opus 412 - 4.76 inches wind. (should be 6 inches)
We will be resetting the pressures on the chests to what the pipes were originally voiced for.
The Opus 822 was voiced for 5 inches, opus 412 for 6 inches, the opus 195 we THINK was at 6 inches, and the Montre rank was voiced at 4 inches.
These pressures will change the organ from the current settings quite a bit:
The opus 822 will be taken down in pressure to 5 inches...it is presently a bit too powerful for the room anyhow so this should help in that regard.
The opus 412 is soft and very beautiful sounding now so I'm concerned raising the pressure will make it less "beautiful" sounding, but I do want the pressure at 6 inches to increase the volume level as we are going to be putting the entire room under expression and the organ currently in the back room is just a bit soft so the raise in pressure for that will be VERY helpful.
Ed is releathering parts of the Melodia on the opus 412 main chest. This rank has a few dead notes. Eventually as time allows Ed will be redoing the leathers on the entire organ to get it all in perfect working order.
Probably no updates until next week, Ed is beginning to get the Montre & Viole Celeste ranks rewired permenantly (they had been functional on a "temporary basis" wiring that was basically strewn across the floor...will be working to get all the wiring in place and hidden out of view. Also next week we will be setting the pressures for the organ.
September 18, 2008: got the "Pink Panther recorded, (on the Clarinet)..check that out on the mp3 page. No new updates until Tuesday Sept, 23, 2008 when Ed returns again.
September 17, 2008 morning update:
A few more pics:
This pic is taken from the hallway looking back into the swell chamber...note the Vox Humana on the left which is in the former bedroom closet..
..on the left further is the 8' bass octave of the Tibia Clausa...behind the Tibia is the 8' octave of the Clarinet..
.....on the right is the Clarinet..and behind the Clarinet is the 8' octave of the Armory Trumpet...then on the far right is the Subbass 16' extention.
Walking into the room and facing the front of the house shows the clarinet 4' pipes on the left, and a few notes of the pedal Subbass 16'...then above is the 4' section of the Armory Trumpet....and behind the trumpet (above) is the 4' section of the Tibia Clausa.
September 16, 2008 afternoon update:
A few new MP3's posted, 3 of them highlighing the "new" Clarinet 8' rank.
Also a new movie of the Clarinet (briefly demo'd) at:
September 16, 2008 Clarinet Demonstration
September 16, 2008 morning update:
The last pipes have been racked (for this year anyhow!)!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Yesterday Ed got the Clarinet rank going.
Historical information on this rank:
The Clarinet is a 1920's Moller.....originally 73 notes...we have installed 61 notes for a 8' rank....on the chest originally constructed in the 1970's for a capped Oboe that was added to the Reuter opus 195 theatre organ in El Paso, Texas.
The wind pressure is 5" and the scale is 2" at low C . Scratched on the low C block is J.L.West, This is believed to be the voicer . These pipes were removed from the organ in Sell Memorial Chapel Masonic Home Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania. when the organ hybridized (partially digitized) .
Sell Memorial Chapel
Masonic Home, Elizabeth, Pennsylvania.
The Elizabethtown campus of the Masonic Village has a long, rich history dating back to 1902, when Edgar Tennis called upon the Grand Lodge to establish, finance and administer a Masonic Home.
Eight years later, the Masonic Home at Elizabethtown officially opened with 11 residents and the beginnings of a working farm and orchard. As the campus grew with new and remodeled buildings, so did the services provided and the number of residents. New facilities added over the years included a children's home, a health care center, a child care center, a Veterans' Grove Monument, formal gardens and many residences.
In the late winter of 2008 I purchased the 73 note 8' Clarinet rank of pipes from the original Moller organ of this chapel for installation on the Reuter opus 822 organ.
It took several months to get it installed mainly because this is probably the very last rank of pipes going in on the organ and I wanted everything else installed first so we would not damage these pipes while working on the other ranks as we got everything installed.
Ed is vacuuming up the dust/shavings from cutting the rackboard to accept the clarinet rank pipes.
Ed is working on one of the larger 8' octave notes of this rank in this photo.
You'll note the 8' octave of the Armory Trumpet behind the 4' section of the Clarinet.
The pipes are in excellent condition and sound great....2 notes got broken during the move so will have to get those fixed, but I should have some recordings up soon.
The 12 note low 8' octave of the Clarinet is on a separate chest.
I should have some recordings posted of this rank tomorrow morning. It sounds GREAT!!!
There are two notes that got broken during the move so those will have to be soldered by Trevor at some point to complete the rank.
September 13, 2008
A photo taken by my niece Moriah of the historic old Borchers church, the original home of the Reuter opus 822 pipe organ from 1948 thru 2004 when the organ was relocated to my home for preservation.
The new church is nearing completion with only a few more regular services scheduled in the old church.
The congregation voted to preserve the old church and move it to the location in the photo highlighed in "yellow". The location occupied by the church presently will be made into more parking spots.
September 10, 2008
Posted some new recordings on the MP3 page...I particularly like the Schumann piece as it highlights the orchestral sounds of the opus 412 ranks contrasted with the Oboe 8' on the opus 822.
The Sheep may safely Graze piece is a very nice piece as well with the Spitz Principal 2' (and Flautino 2') with the Gedeckt 8' contrasted with the Melodia 8' and Grand Diapason 8' on the Swell....if you listen closely you can hear the Tibia 8' on the pedal from time to time as well..quite a fun piece.......
And..WOW..getting adjusted to the Armory Trumpet....its still out of tune but still very fun...the big French works highlight it I think quice interestingly....the Durufle in particular.
September 8, 2008
Ed worked yesterday on repairing several dead notes on the 822....on the Oboe it was mainly dirt in the reed pipes and one one magnet, there was dirt inside it causing a cipher ..... he also replaced a dead magnet on the Gedeckt on the 822 that had not worked since the organ was installed in my house about 4 years ago....high F Sharp...it is nice to have all the notes working again!!!!! THANKS ED!!!!!
He also repaired several magnets (wiring/dirt) on the Vox Humana chest.
No new updates planned for a week or so... Ed returns again next Monday to work on various air leaks and to perhaps get a tremulant going on the 412 chest.
I will be doing some recording on the 16' pedal Trumpet over the next few days, but other than that there will be no updates for at least a week.
September 8, 2008
Trevor got the 16' Trumpet installed over the weekend..it is working just fine now!
It REALLY adds a new dimension to the organ of depth that was lacking before..i.e. the organ was always "top heavy" for much of the "grander" organ repertoire....
Some quick recordings of the 16' pedal Trumpet are on the MP3 page.
Also placed the 8' low octave of the Armory Trumpet...it is placed on a chest that has room for another 12 notes of a 16' reed rank at some point...it is a POSSIBILITY that we may put in the 16' Armory Trumpet on this chest perhaps in the summer of 2009....OR more likely a big 8' French Horn whenever I find one.
The "unused" chest in front of the Subbass pipes is for the Clarinet 4' pipes....Ed is POSSIBLY going to get those installed either today or in the morning..if not then, in a week or so!
A view showing many of the various ranks of pipes in the swell chamber. Visible from left to right are:
2. Echo Salicional
3. Vox Celeste
4. Violin Diapason
7. Grand Diapason
8. Flute Celeste
9. Grand Diapason 8' bottom octave
10. 16' pedal Trumpet bottom octave
Above these ranks (where the rag is plugged into an winker line) are the Spitzflote 2' and Octave 4'
This view is underneath the 412 chest..you can see some of the various wind lines going out to the various tremulants and offset chests.
This shows the very tight placement...pipes had to be placed from end to end...getting in to access the pipes for tuning is by going UNDER the 412 chest to the left where there is room to make adjustments...however getting in to raise a pipe to fix an errant reed is NOT going to be fun.
As you can see the height of the 16' pipes works well inside the A-Frame style structure of the home....again I can't emphasize enough the benefits of this type of home for a pipe organ.
Trevor is down below the 412 chest installing the chests for the 16' Trumpet...this is where you have to tune the pipes as well.
Placeing one of the pipes.
This is a view looking UP....the pipes on the left are the Spitz Principal 2' from the opus 412 organ..which were a 1970's addition to that organ by the Reuter Organ Company.
The sun really does not shine into this window (it is facing north east) so tuning should not be an issue.... although it may look like a unstable environment, it actually is very stable temperature wise.
This is a view from outside the house at night showing the VERY tightly packed swell chamber.
Slightly different angle from above without flash..note the 16' Subbass on the right.
September 5, 2008
Trevor got the Vox going again last night. Today we are going to work on getting it working correctly (the tremulant is working only when it is on very high pressure so have to get that adjusted)..and spot tuned to be playable somewhat again etc.
Today we are going to work on getting the Clarinet and possibly the 16' pedal trumpet extention going...so should have another update tomorrow!
September 4, 2008
Trevor returns today to put the Vox Humana back in (he has been busy releathering that chest as WELL as working on his Wurlitzer theatre pipe organ!
So I SHOULD have some more updates by tomorrow or at least by this weekend!
I believe Ed is returning as well so check back soon for some updates hopefully!
August 28, 2008
Some new photos taken of the Montre above the fireplace.
no big news lately....although I AM starting to get the house cleaned up and back in order...FINALLY...........I DID get the tremulant back on the opus 822 going and you can hear that on the "Abide with Me" recording recently posted to the MP3 page.
Ed returns next week to start working on STARTING to go back in and fix the dead notes on the opus 822 and remaining air leaks on the 412.....presently the organ sounds like a kettle at full steam when the blower is operating!
Jay Mitchell has been spec'ing a new blower to operate the 412 & theatre ranks...I currently plan on taking the old 822's Spencer blower off and putting the Zephyr back on it along with a muffler box so that HOPEFULLY the organ will operate without any blower noises audible...that is the HOPE anyhow!
It will be a few months for that to happen.
Other than that...the "BIG" things have been added..the ONLY remaining rank to put in this year will be the Clarinet which will require some reworking of the rackboard...I MAY get to that in a few weeks.
August 20, 2008 update:
Well..first the good news....did some recordings last night..I tuned the Montre...a bit..to make it match up pretty well to the 822's diapason.....I particularly like the Toccata & Fugue in D Minor recording....that contrasts the Montre with the Diapason.
Check the MP3 page for that and a really strange recording of Sabre Dance at full organ....horridly out of tune of course at full organ.
Some minor issues to work out on the Montre: The pressure on the chest is a bit low..so on some works you'll note the pipe speech "sags"....I'm going to pump up the pressure a bit..it is rather low now..I think only at about 3 inches of wind..the Montre was voiced to speak correctly at 4".....however the Montre shares the same reservoir as the Viole Celeste on the fireplace mantel upstairs..and it spoke correctly at 3"..so I will have to figure out something long term to make both speak correctly.
I've been playing with the idea of moving the Viole Celeste PIPES back to the 412 chamber and using them to celeste with the Violin Diapason.......and then sticking the opus 412's Dulciana rank on the upstairs fireplace in place of the Viole Celeste..and tuning the Dulciana rank to celeste with the Dulciana rank on the opus 822.
That should work just fine, and I'm not really sure I like having the Viole Celeste "exposed" on the Great....it is quite "pungent" to the point that I dont' really care for the recordings made with it as a string celeste should be more "ethereal" than "striking".....so I have some options that I'm looking at. I think I can just swap out the pipes and put that 412's Dulciana on the chest and it would work just fine.
The bad news:
I have discovered the unpleasant reality of temperature changes on tuning. The "Montre" is located downstairs in my house which is always (during the summer) very cool. The upstairs part of the house where most of the organ is located warms up quite a bit during the day from April thru September.......
So this a.m. the Montre rank was VERY out of tune with the upstairs organ which had changed temperature (and tuning) overnight. This basically means for now that the Montre will only be in tune with the rest of the organ in the evenings (when it was tuned together). So it is not horrible news......I guess it means I have a Diapason Celeste in the mornings! (laughing).
I'm going to see if the organ goes back into tune tonight but I think it will once it warms up again.
Ed will be back sometime after labor day to continue work on the organ....Trevor is returning with the Vox Humana chest sometime in early September as well.
I hope this weekend to get some of the tremulants going again..and if I get REAL gung-ho I may go ahead and place the Clarinet rank...the chest for that rank is already wired up and winded, I just have to drill out the rackboards to hold the pipes which are a larger scale than what was in that chest originally.
August 19, 2008 update:
HISTORIC WORLD FIRST!!!!!!!!*
*on a 56 note Diapason chest placed on a fireplace mantel (yes that was purely for dramatic affect only! (laughing)..still pretty nifty though!!!!
"WINDOWS" OPERATING SYSTEM ON A PIPE CHEST!!
designed by Robert Vaughan of and built by the Reuter Organ Company in the early winter months of 2008....installed & operating August 18, 2008.
This is a 56 note chest that I use with the Diapason rank of the Reuter opus 638 pipe organ, originally installed in Kahoka, Missouri. I call it my "Montre", which is the french term for "facade" display pipes. This rank is now the main "great" Diapason rank on the Reuter 822 pipe organ. The original 822 Diapason is now termed the "Solo Diapason" and is playable presently from both the great and swell, however this "Montre" rank is nearly identical in tone and power so I'm having a strong Diapason on each division to be able to play against each other. There are some MP3 recordings posted in the MP3 section of the now functional Montre rank.
Note here the 3rd note from the right, the stopper below the pipe is "pulled down" to allow air into the pipe....while this rank is operating you can watch the stoppers go up and down alllowing air into the pipes for the pipes to sound.
Installing the wind line on August 18....Tim and I do plan on installing "clear" pvc eventually. I installed "Schedule 80" PVC in the shortrun which is a dark gray color which is not as noticable as the white PVC which is cheaper, but
doesn't blend well in terms of aesthetics...not an issue in a organ chamber, but in the living room of a house, the white would stand out quite vividly....I spose I could paint the white, but I like the gray for now..
This is the chest shortly after its arrival from Lawrence, Kansas. I picked up this chest at the Reuter Organ Company factory on the same day I picked up the entire opus 412 pipe organ near by where it was in storage after its removal from
A BIG thanks to Robert Vaughan for carrying this idea out so spendidly. I had been thinking of something "neat" for visitors to see in terms of how the pipe organ operates....having this "Windows" system allows you to
simply watch the organ chest at work to understand how the pipes get air.
While at the Reuter factory early this year talking with Robert, he was showing me a plexiglass "mockup" of a chest to explain the various operating parts of how the chest operates.
I told him of the idea to carry this all the way forward and while concerned about the structural integrity of the chest, he did feel it would work. You'll note the screws on the facing of this chest..this is to allow access to the chest to clean it out as necessary should that be required.
Again..a BIG BIG BIG thank you to Robert......he has since retired from the Reuter Organ Company and I feel very lucky to have had his expert design knowledge on this chest. THANKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
August 12, 2008 update:
Something a little different today (not organ related): I know someone famous! (well getting there anyhow)..
......A recommendation for a book of a close friend of mine from my New York City days:
The Brisk Walk
My Amazon.com review:
"I've ordered several of these so far as gifts for friends and family. It is a wonderful account of life in the Big Apple from a fresh perspective that is really quite eye opening.
I believe this book rates up there with Bridges of Madison County in terms of its social impact. It really makes you stop and think about life, and our interactions with others as we all go about our own struggles etc.
You'll learn some incredible advice on dealing with dogs...AND humans. I guess walking a dog is sort of like walking yourself...this book provides an insight on life that is really very deeply moving...and it does make you stop and think about "The Brisk Walk" thru life we all share."
I lived in NYC from 1995 thru 2005.....I knew C.R. at the dog run that is the focal point of many of the stories in this wonderful book.....I lived about 2 blocks from the Madison Square dog run and would often walk some of the dogs with C.R. on his rounds.......If you are into dogs this is an amazing book. If you are not into dogs, it is still a really interesting perspective on life.
It is a good read with some true HARROWING tales of life in NYC and I do highly recommend it.
Other updates: The web server was down for a few days, but everything is up and running.
Presently I'm in discussions with Jay concerning a new blower to handle the entire organ. Once I get the new blower in, I will be able to have it tuned and start working on a preliminary regulation.
August 10, 2008
Recorded some nice (for being out of tune) Buxtehude last night, it is now posted on the MP3 page.
Had a awesome trip out to Kansas, to Wichita, Kansas last week to help Trevor Dodd pick up his Wurlitzer pipe organ. Will be posting more on the trip soon.
No organ updates for a while most likely although I MIGHT get the tremulant going again on the 822 and 412 reservoir later today..if so I'll post in the a.m.
July 30, 2008
Did a quick recording of JUST the Melodia 8' rank, it is on the MP3 page.
July 28, 2008 afternoon update:
(insert laugh)..ok for not planning on doing much on the organ I keep ticking off items that needed doing. This a.m. I found myself with some time so I installed the opus 195 Viole Celeste on the fireplace upstairs.
As you can see it fits above the upstairs fireplace mantel perfectly. I have it on a temporary wind line, but it will do for now....
some recordings of it here:
"Just as I am - Voile Celeste ONLY (not celesting with any rank"
"Just as I am - Voile Celeste with Opus 822 Salicional"
"Abide with Me - with opus 195 Viole Celeste & opus 412 Vox Celeste"
It doesn't sound like much yet...a big issue is whether it will celeste correctly with the opus 822's Salicional. The issue is the Viole Celeste was intended to celeste with a Viole de Gambe which is a much darker/heavier string than the salicional......sooooooooooooo...how we can get it to tune with the Salicional is going to be tricky. It may work, will just have to wait and see how that goes, but the "worst case" scenario is that I'll have a Tenor C Viole de Gambe on the fireplace as a 3rd string on the Great organ.
July 28, 2008 morning update:
Nothing new other than some observations.
You may wonder why I'm bothering to record the organ when it has not been tuned...mainly I'm doing so just to get some experience recording the different stops and trying to get a "feel" for the new sound of the wood floors in the house. When the upstairs of the house was carpeted the bass sounds of the organ got "sucked up" by the carpeting, so the recordings always sounded "top heavy", however with the new wood floors everywhere, I am now in the reverse situation.
Like a piano, the wood is acting as a soundboard...the sound is amplified and the resonance in the house is honestly breathtaking. The organ sounds good in the recordings, but in person it frankly sounds unbelievably wonderful. I guess I got used to it on the carpeting but even now the original 5 ranks on the wood floor sound amazing...and the additions...I'm still in shock at how awesome the sound is. I did expect such a huge improvement in the sound, but I'd guess on a scale of 1 to 10 I was thinking I'd be going from a 1 to maybe a 3 or 4.....I'd guess on a scale of 1 to 10 the 822 is at a 7 or 8 now... the forthcoming regulation/tuning and replacing the blowers with a single silent blower...if I can ever get a truely silent blower and get all the wind leaks fixed the organ would be at a 10...whether I get there or not I'm not sure, but I am going to try.
Some observations on the recent orchestral works I have been recording:
I think I went a bit heavy on the 16's. Used to I was always "light" in that area on the recordings, but the wood floors are making me rethink registrations for recording purposes...I'm going to have to be using less 16' sound in both the manuals and pedal...before the carpeting sucked up alot of the "muddiness" of the 16' sounds, but on the wood floors it is just too much at times.
The subbass is tuned a bit different from the lieblich gedeckt 16' so there is a "celesting" on the bass that is not so pleasant..I'll get that tuning issue resolved although I'm fast coming to the conclusion that I've been using the new subbass 16' too much in these recordings and need to just use one 16' sound (probably just the lieblich gedeckt 16') for the orchestral stuff..adding the subbass 16' for when I throw in some diapason or reed registrations perhaps.
July 26, 2008 update:
Recorded some marvelous Mahler with primarily the opus 412 stops...those ranks lend themselves to orchestral pieces so very well..check the MP3 page for those.
Did a video this a.m. of the Melodia and some other stops....it is about 12 minutes long...includes some stops I've not demo'd before as they have not worked, but Ed did get all the opus 412 ranks going correctly before he left..thanks Ed!!!
July 25, 2008: Minor update...I finally got around to placing the 4' section of the "Montre" pipes (Open Diapason rank from the Reuter opus 638) above my downstairs fireplace. We had placed most of these a few weeks ago, but several rackboard slots were too tight, so this a.m. I spent some time drilling out the holes to get these pipes to all fit nicely.
You'll note the "cord" going up on the left hand side..this is the electronic connection to the 12 8' facade pipes upstairs. We still need to run a wind line which will roughly follow that line up and thru the fireplace to the reservoir located upstairs. That might get done sometime in mid August.
This specific chest has a BIG surprise, which I'mm waiting to unveil when wind is connected and it is up and running.
It is the 4' octave of the "Montre", as noted these are pretty much standard issue 1940's vintage Reuter diapason pipes. In fact when I got this rank it was missing the top 2 octaves of pipes so you can see some replacement pipes on the far left that are darker metal. These are also Reuter pipes, from the Reuter factory taken from a similar vintage rank to fill this one out.
The pressue of this rank is on 4 inches of wind, so it will be very full sounding in the room, but NOT overly strident like the opus 822's Open Diapason which is on 5 inches of wind and quite loud...we are hoping this rank is softer.
This specific chest contains 56 pipes, to match the Holtkamp 56 compass keyboard on the downstairs console when the 4' coupler is used.
Originally I had planned on using this specific chest as the 4' octave on the great organ, but for now it will only be available at 8' as the "Montre" on the great, as we were able to place the 4' Octave of the opus 412 in a favorable speaking position to allow both sets to be placed in the home and used. I will have one extra stop on the "great" that I could use for this rank at 4' if it becomes clear I need a powerful 4' octave rank to supplement the beautiful, chiffy yet reserved Octave 4' which is mounted up high in the back of the swell chamber.
Trevor is presently releathering the Vox Humana chest which is from 1926, and on the original leathers. He has it up in Michigan where he reports it is going, but taking more time than originally thought due to the pouches being placed in a different fashion than is now considered normal (or something like that).
Everyone is on vacation or working on other projects!
July 22, 2008 update: What remains to do:
1. Hooking up the tremulants. I MAY get some of these installed this weekend possibly, depends on my work schedule.
2. The Trumpet 16' is only partially playable, waiting on Trevor to come down to get that going in mid August.
3. The Clarinet won't be going in until VERY last, probably not until late August at the earliest.
4. Air supply/Winker issues. Almost all of the offsets need winkers, which I've not yet ordered, also awaiting some expert advice on the blower and how to handle that.
So MOST of the organ is up and running but many many details to take care of which are all pretty time consuming so progress towards them is going to be at a much slower pace than we had been going.
I may toy with some new recordings before then, but as the organ is not tuned I won't be spending too much time on recordings except to just try out different microphone positions which I'm still working on in terms of how to record all the ranks to how they sound best.
July 20, 2008 update:
Posted several new recordings this morning:
There is a tuning issue: 1. the entire organ needs tuned. 2. The opus 412 is on a different tuning than the 822....so I can't play the 412 against the or with the 822 ranks, so for now I'm just playing the 412 against itself and the other ranks against the 822 as the Tibia and Armory Trumpet have been SORT OF tuned with the 822.
You'll note in these recordings the wonderful oboe from the opus 412 that blends so well with the other opus 412 ranks.
PREVIOUS blog postings at:
July1 - 18 2008 blog updates, includes a visit to Georgia, and placement of the Austin Armory Trumpet.
June, 2008 blog updates, including photos of the newly installed opus 412 pipes.
May 6 thru May 31, 2008 blog updates, including photos and historical information on the Austin Atlanta Armory Trumpet
January thru May 5th 2008 blog updates.
2004 thru 2007 blogs.
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