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Behavior of Melody Coupler on AP-4

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  • Behavior of Melody Coupler on AP-4

    Our "new" AP-4 featuers a "melody coupler" which my wife instantly noticed. Its behavior seems a bit odd, however. For instance, if you play a minor third (or larger interval) and drop the top note, the lower note does not then reflect the coupled stops. If you play a minor or major 2nd, the lower note does play the coupled stops. Is this normal? Thx! Mark

    P.S. Just noticed that the behavior is identical with the bass coupler (in opposite direction, of course). So, either the behavior is standard for this organ, or a component underlying both melody and bass couplers is suspect.
    Last edited by yeffurb; 06-02-2015, 06:36 PM. Reason: incorrect intervals; addt'l info

  • #2
    Yes, this is normal. When you play a chord with your right hand, the highest note is assumed to be the melody. If you lift your finger from the highest note, the organ does not assume the next lower depressed key of the chord is the melody. (The bass coupler functions the same except it plays the lowest note in the chord.) It takes a bit of getting used to because each note of the melody line needs to be deliberately keyed so there won't be dropped notes. If my memory is correct, the range of the melody coupler is middle C and up; bass coupler is lowest great manual note to B before middle C. The range is factory set and can't be changed.

    BTW, I sold Allen Organs and the AP-4 was a very popular model because it was the entry level AGO console at the time. You made an excellent purchase.

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    • #3
      Thanks, M.A.! I suspected that it was so. Comforting to receive confirmation from an expert. Mark

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      • #4
        As I recall, Allen resisted putting bass couplers and melody couplers on their organs for a long time. Rodgers organs going way back had them, and I even remember discovering (to my delight) an auto-pedal on a Baldwin spinet in the 60's or early 70's. I was at the Allen dealer meetings in the early 80's when other sales people began to ask when we were going to get these features, which some thought were drawing our prospects to Rodgers etc.

        I think the Allen people saw these as gimmicks, just as they saw MIDI as a passing fad so so long! Insular and conservative, they simply didn't like to load up an organ with anything that didn't line up with genuinely emulating a pipe organ, no matter how many other companies were doing it.

        In a way, they turned out to be right. Although every Allen organ sold today has both these couplers, and a lot of organs were ordered with them when they were optional, I have to wonder how many people actually find them useful.

        Before I got serious about my practicing and determined not to fear the pedals, I'd sometimes try to use the bass coupler to avoid having to play the pedals on some hymn that I thought was too hard to pedal properly. But in truth it was harder to get my left hand to do both the tenor and bass smoothly than it was to play the pedals! And add to that the quirky operation of the bass coupler -- as mentioned above, you really have to lift your pinky and intentionally strike each new bass note -- and it's just too much trouble!

        Likewise, now and then I'd think I was going to do some fancy solo work by putting on a trumpet on the swell and playing both hands on the great with the melody coupler. Once again, I found it frustrating to have to work my fingers so carefully to make sure the coupler would in fact play all the melody notes and not play "wrong" notes now and then.

        So I guess these special couplers can be useful in certain situations. A friend of mine had knee problems and was unable to play pedals for a while, so she got by the the bass coupler. But these aren't really the miracle devices we thought they were when the first came out.

        I agree with M.A. above, you got a really nice instrument. One of these days I hope to replace my home organ with a good AP model. I think these are some of the best models Allen ever sold, and true bargains when you can find one. Enjoy!
        John
        ----------
        *** Please post your questions about technical service or repair matters ON THE FORUM. Do not send your questions to me or another member by private message. Information shared is for the benefit of the entire organ community, but other folks will not be helped by information we exchange in private messages!

        https://www.facebook.com/pages/Birds...97551893588434

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        • #5
          Originally posted by yeffurb View Post
          Thanks, M.A.! I suspected that it was so. Comforting to receive confirmation from an expert. Mark
          yeffurb, will you please confirm the range of the melody and bass couplers. After I thought about what I wrote, the melody coupler may go to B flat below middle C, with the bass coupler stopping at A below middle C. Thanks, Allen

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          • #6
            I think the Bass Coupler is very useful for voicing the organ--often the pedals are detached in order to move the console for access to the back--using the bass coupler is easier than re-attaching the pedals.

            Melody couplers go all the way back to theatre pipe organs, but personally, I'm not fond of them. They'll chirp & squeal if you don't make sure the top note is the 1st played, so a particular technique is required.

            But, like many mechanicals on an organ, they can be useful.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Moller Artiste View Post
              yeffurb, will you please confirm the range of the melody and bass couplers. After I thought about what I wrote, the melody coupler may go to B flat below middle C, with the bass coupler stopping at A below middle C. Thanks, Allen
              MA, the melody coupler goes down to and includes B below Middle C. The bass coupler goes up to and includes Bb below Middle C.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by yeffurb View Post
                MA, the melody coupler goes down to and includes B below Middle C. The bass coupler goes up to and includes Bb below Middle C.
                yeffurb, thanks for your help with this. Now we know the correct range for the melody and bass couplers. Allen

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