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  • Organ case or no organ case?



    What do you prefer:

      [*]organ case[*]organ without a case[*]organ grilles[*]organ with shutters[/list]


      I think some large organs can look unspeakablly ugly especially the ones without organ cases.



      Some organs should not be hidden behind grilles or blank screens.



      Some small to medium size organs look rather natty with shutters that open and close the pipework in the case.



      What are your thoughts? Share some good and bad examples[H]


  • #2
    Re: Organ case or no organ case?

    [quote user="hauptwerkobsessed"]


    What do you prefer:



    • organ case

    • organ without a case

    • organ grilles

    • organ with shutters
    • [/list]



      I think some large organs can look unspeakablly ugly especially the ones without organ cases.




      Some organs should not be hidden behind grilles or blank screens.




      Some small to medium size organs look rather natty with shutters that open and close the pipework in the case.




      What are your thoughts? Share some good and bad examples[H]




      [/quote]





      Personally, I like to see as many of the pipes on display as possible. Ornate wooden cases are nice but not necessary.


    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Organ case or no organ case?



      Hi,



      I much prefer pipe organs with casework, with an exposed pipe facade. It is aesthetically more pleasing, but more than that is the function of the case. Properly designed, the case acts as a mixing chamber, amplifier and focuses the sound in terms of egress.



      An organ chamber, will act as a mixing chamber, but also quite often it hinders the sound as it exits the chamber. Also it frequently tends to unfocus the sound.



      AV




      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Organ case or no organ case?

        This isa fascinating thread. I think that most organ pipes are beautiful. Installations such as St. Mary the Virgin in New York City may have crossed the line; however, I personally find the appearance of that instrument acceptable. Bottom line: The top priority is the sound rather than the appearance.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Organ case or no organ case?



          My personal opinion -- and that of an illustrious organauthority quoted at the endof this post --is that pipes sound better out in the open. The sound is dispersed in a very broad manner, almost 360 degrees and nearlyspherical,even though the mouth is the primary tone source and the tone will be somewhat louder right at the mouth.




          This broadly dispersed tone can freely interact with the acoustic space, bouncing off walls, ceilings, floors, and other surfaces near the pipes, then continuing to roll around the room as it is reflected over and over by the more distant surfaces. To my ears, this is an effect most desirable in an organ, and one which is not often heard, sadly.




          A pipe in a box will definitely have its tone colored by the box. Numerous resonances, reinforcement of tones that fit neatly into the box's dimensions and nulling of others that don't, obscuring of an individual pipe as a tone source due to the mixing of sounds within the box -- these are unavoidable consequences of the box. Certainly a builder and voicer will do his best to minimize any tonal deficiencies or quirks introduced by the box, but isn't it better to just do without the box instead of having to try to compensate for it?




          Having one or more divisions under expression of course calls for some pipes to be ina box. But I'd want my box designed to open up all around, not just a single window on the front. In fact, it should be feasible to build a swell box that would become almost acoustically transparent all around when open. The shades could be relatively narrow and thin, so that when turned perpendicular to the box they would hardly influence the exit of the tone. Put shades like that all around the box, even on top of it, and you'd have an effect almost as good as a boxless division with the advantage of a swell.




          To quote James Blaine Jamison in his little book on Organ Design (pg. 97) "The best place for the organ is right out in the church -- no chambers at all. If the architect has forgotten to provde chambers, the church should pay him a bonus."




          John


          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

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Organ case or no organ case?



            [quote user="Menschenstimme"]This isa fascinating thread. I think that most organ pipes are beautiful. Installations such as St. Mary the Virgin in New York City may have crossed the line; however, I personally find the appearance of that instrument acceptable. Bottom line: The top priority is the sound rather than the appearance.[/quote]




            I love Smokey Mary's - best place to go for a reliable high church service when you visit the big apple. Pipes look fine to me.


            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Organ case or no organ case?

              [quote user="jbird604"]


              My personal opinion -- and that of an illustrious organauthority quoted at the endof this post --is that pipes sound better out in the open. The sound is dispersed in a very broad manner, almost 360 degrees and nearlyspherical,even though the mouth is the primary tone source and the tone will be somewhat louder right at the mouth.




              This broadly dispersed tone can freely interact with the acoustic space, bouncing off walls, ceilings, floors, and other surfaces near the pipes, then continuing to roll around the room as it is reflected over and over by the more distant surfaces. To my ears, this is an effect most desirable in an organ, and one which is not often heard, sadly.




              A pipe in a box will definitely have its tone colored by the box. Numerous resonances, reinforcement of tones that fit neatly into the box's dimensions and nulling of others that don't, obscuring of an individual pipe as a tone source due to the mixing of sounds within the box -- these are unavoidable consequences of the box. Certainly a builder and voicer will do his best to minimize any tonal deficiencies or quirks introduced by the box, but isn't it better to just do without the box instead of having to try to compensate for it?




              Having one or more divisions under expression of course calls for some pipes to be ina box. But I'd want my box designed to open up all around, not just a single window on the front. In fact, it should be feasible to build a swell box that would become almost acoustically transparent all around when open. The shades could be relatively narrow and thin, so that when turned perpendicular to the box they would hardly influence the exit of the tone. Put shades like that all around the box, even on top of it, and you'd have an effect almost as good as a boxless division with the advantage of a swell.




              To quote James Blaine Jamison in his little book on Organ Design (pg. 97) "The best place for the organ is right out in the church -- no chambers at all. If the architect has forgotten to provde chambers, the church should pay him a bonus."




              John





              [/quote]




              Speaking of pipes in a box, here is a prime example. The Jacksonville (Florida) Symphony Orchestra moved into a new Symphony Hall in the late 90s. Now they have an historic Casavant Pipe Organ in place.




              The hall is in the European 'shoe box' design. Marvelous acoustics. The pipes are located in a chamber above and behind the musicians, with onlya facade of pipes showing.




              As a result, the organ can sound quite muffled at times. I don't know if they ever considered mounting one or two divisions on the wall and out in the open or not - but it would have made a lot of difference.




              http://www.jaxsymphony.org/about/jacoby/pipeorgan.php


              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Organ case or no organ case?



                Organ case or no organ case? Organ case, with some pretty exposed pipes on the front.Although I have not personally seen St. Marys in New York, I have seen pictures of it. It looks just like what it is...bare bones, with no pretty skin. To me, it's as unfinished as driving a car around with nocar body on it. The engine, the transmission, the drive shaft, the gas tank...all exposed. How "finished" would that look?




                A beautiful musical instrument deserves to be "clothed".




                Swell boxes and Chambers can both be very effective if designed and constructed properly.Experienced organ builders know how to accomplish stellar results from swell boxes and chambers. The architect and the building often get in his way, and a less than stellar instrument can result.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Organ case or no organ case?



                  Exposed pipework does not offend my eye (there are some beautiful designs), however I'd much rather have the pipework encased; thecase gives focus and blend to the tone - the result is integrated,whole, coherent. The instrument speaks as a single entity rather than a myriad of discrete parts. Casework effectively projects the sound outward, especially if it is not too deep.




                  Sometimes the room will act as a resonating chamber for an unencased instrument - this works bestin a live acoustic. Unfortunately, many churches in this country have dry acoustics. A dry acoustic is much better served by an encased instrument as the tone is lesshard-edged, more polished.




                  A violin has a box, a piano has a box... why shouldn't an organ?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Organ case or no organ case?

                    St. Mary the Virgin's pipe organ is in my opinion the best sounding pipe organ...that I have ever heard. I think a case would muddy it and HOPE it never gets put on..I know it was designed to have one but it speaks so clearly now.. to muddy it up with a case would destroy its unique and breathtaking sound.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Organ case or no organ case?



                      I wonder if a couple of factors, not yet mentioned, would affect the decision. First, you need to consider the division to decided whether or not to box it behind shutters. A swell, choir orother expressive divisionceases to be such without the means to control its volume.Shutters are a necessity. Apositive is never enclosed, unless it's a hybrid division, serving a couple of purposes. The pedal is a mixed bag, depending on whether the stops are specifically from that division, or borrowed from other divisions. Great and positive are usually unenclosed, though enclosing the great provides another tool for accompaniment if the right stops are provided and they're correctly voiced.




                      That leads to what I think might be another missing point. If pipes are well voices they will use the room to blend. If not, a case can assist with that. I'd think you'll have difficulty in placing a chest of pipes, uncased and unenclosed in a dry room and achieve a cohesive ensemble, A dry room or an instrument in an intimate environment will require lots and lots of voicing to fine tune the ensemble, whereas you can get away with less finevoicing in a large reverberant room. As SB said, In a small space a case helps focus and blend better, IMHO.


                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Organ case or no organ case?



                        Well designed cases add a visual esthetic to the space, but I also do think unenclosed ranks, artfully arranged are beautiful.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Organ case or no organ case?



                          The issues for me are BLEND, FOCUS, and LACK OF SOUND BARRIERS.




                          Organ Case is my preference, as I believe that it helps to blend and focus the sound, andgenerally, good cases do not impede sound travel.




                          Without a Case and free standing in the room? I think that the lack of a focussing element results in a waste of sound energy. Our mouths naturally focus our voices. If I need to talk to you from a great distance, I cup my hands around my mouth to focus the energy. I would never have some of my choir face away from the listener, unless it was for a special effect. Facing the listener optimizes their sound energy If the sound of the organ is directed toward the listener, it need not be so loud.To some extent, volume and beauty are on opposite ends of a line - the more the volume of a pipe is 'cranked up', the less beautiful it becomes. "Focussing" the sound of the organ can allow us to maximize it's beauty.




                          Grills? I don't mind some grillwork, as long as SOME pipes are visible, and as long as the grills do not impede the sound.




                          Shutters? These should be behind some kind of ornamental grill.




                          Chambers were not mentioned, and these present particular difficulties. In any performance space with a proscenium arch, everyone knows that standing behind the arch results in a loss of sound, which seems 'trapped' behind the arch. [As a 'visual', imagine turning the hall upside down, so the ceiling becomes the floor. Then roll a marble from the stage"floor" to the audience "floor". If it rolls unimpeded, you can expect sound to do the same.] Once you can imagine this, you can see the problem with those buildings that have ceiling arches. The effect of an arch like this is comparable to putting up a wall to divide one room into two rooms.




                          If organ pipes are in a chamber where the front wall drops down from the ceiling of the chamber, a proscenium arch is formed. That is easy for anyone to see. But if the side- or bottom-walls of the chamber also come in, it is just as possible to have the "proscenium arch effect" on the sides or bottom of the chamber. The "marble couldn't roll" smoothly; nor can the sound.




                          I have seen organs where the chamber might be, for example, 20' across and 15' high, but the walls have been built in so that the organ speaks through an arched opening, that is only 15' wide and 12' high. The front area of the chamber itselfis 300 square feet. The area of the opening is 180 square feet, less the curve of the arches. The result is that less than half of the wall is open.




                          To demonstrate the variety of forms that a proscenium arch can take, considera concert hall (like Roy Thompson Hall in Toronto) where the orchestra performs on an entirely 'open' stage. The choir seating is beside and behind the orchestra, but is raised above the orchestra floor by 10 or 12 feet. The problem is that the choir seating PROJECTS out by a small amount, perhaps a foot or two. This, unfortunately, functions like any other proscenium arch, just that is laid flat. Roy Thompson Hall is lucky that the rest of the stage area is so open, so the limiting effects of the choir seating are minimized.




                          Disasters that I have seen?




                          - the organ that was entirely behind a curtain.




                          - the organ that was designed before the architect was finished - solid wood panelling comes up about 10' above the windchests - the only way that sound can get out is up over the top of these panels.




                          - the organthat has to speak from side chambers through a heavy grill into a chancel; the sound then has to turn a corner and go under a severe proscenium arch into the nave. The poor thing has to scream, just to get to the congregation's ears.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Organ case or no organ case?

                            An addition - I think that an architectural space can effectively function like anorgan case, as long as it is similar in size/location/placement to an organ case. St Mary the Virgin could fit into that category, based on the pics I've seen, although I'd still want something OVER the pipes to keep the sound focussed down, rather than get lost in the rafters.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Organ case or no organ case?



                              [quote user="NYCFarmboy"]St. Mary the Virgin's pipe organ is in my opinion the best sounding pipe organ...that I have ever heard. I think a case would muddy it and HOPE it never gets put on..I know it was designed to have one but it speaks so clearly now.. to muddy it up with a case would destroy its unique and breathtaking sound.[/quote]Casework is rarely the cause of a muddy sound - the finest European organs prove that point! Muddy sound is more of a scaling/voicing issue; it could also be caused by a room that is too reverberant.The only times casework causes a problem is if it is too deep, or if pipes are planted below impost level.




                              My hunch is that casework might actually improve the sound of the organ at St. Mary the Virgin [:)] - though you are right... it doesn't need any improvement. When most people speak of that instrument they are usually talking about the lack of a formalfaçade, not the lack of casework.




                              Regarding chambers...it is possible to design a successful instrument in chambers - I play one on a regular basis. In this instance, each division speaks from two openings, one facing the congregation and the other facing the chancel. As the whole instrument is located under an arch the sound blends and mixes very well. The result (which is a little odd) is that it is almost impossiblefor a person in the room totellwhich sidethe sound is coming from, unlessthey are atone of the sidesof the room. The organ is articulate and coherent, and the pipework is not on excessively high pressure.




                              Regarding grillework - I'm familiar withquite a fewinstruments designed without a visible façade. Although my preference is to seesome pipes, it is possible to have a very fine instrument even though it is 'invisible'. The rooms I'm thinking of are architecturally magnificent, and the organ sound pours forth beautifully. In these instances the architectural style of that particular era (the 1920's)makes avery fineimpression. I'm less happy with some of the hidden instrumentsbuilt afterthe '40's, such as the ones built with façades of wooden spindles or ugly loudspeaker cloth.

                              Comment

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