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  • Johnallen
    replied
    Thanks for the advice. I was meaning to push the tows all the way down. I see that information is lacking by many organists. When i played the organ for the first time i saw that the swell boxes was closed.

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  • Leisesturm
    replied
    I'm late to this thread and I can see there has been some confusion as to what it means to "open the Swellbox". Somehow I doubt the organ being discussed has automatic Swellboxes that open when the instrument is shut off. So the organist should do it him or herself. This is done by pushing your toes all the way down. Not your heels. Heels down closes the boxes, toes down opens them. I find it easier to forget about the "up" as that takes care of itself. All the organist needs to think about is what is down, heels or toes. Toes down, box fully open, volume is at its loudest. Heels down, box fully closed, volume at its softest. On topic. I leave the organ running during the sermon. You never know when the minister is going to cut the sermon short or call for some kind of accompaniment mid-sermon. Liturgical church musicians probably have it easier in that things are more predictable. Still, the blower is probably using less electricity than the lights are! These organs used to be powered by nine year old boys.

    H

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  • ArthurCambronne
    replied
    ^^^^ Great point. I forgot this also happens to the Hook when the weather turns cold. Not as much an issue during the summer, and I had forgotten. Perhaps that is why I used to leave it on (remember, I have only been playing for a year)? I haven't been through multiples of the same season yet! I started on Christ the King Sunday in 2013. . .

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  • crapwonk
    replied
    I prefer to leave the organ on based on experience with a number of older organs: during start up, there are sometimes ciphers. Usually these are brief hoots that stop as soon as the wind pressure comes up. However, I have played a couple of organs that every start up was an adventure, with ciphers continuing until I found the right note to play a few times to get the cipher to stop. Even on an occasional basis, it isn't worth the risk to me to turn off the organ in the middle of a service.

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  • ArthurCambronne
    replied
    FWIW, I turn off 'my' organ during the sermon. The start-up is fast and does not cause additional noise, but the running and continuous escape of air is noticeable to me, and I find it distracting, so I just assume that others do as well. The acoustics are quite lively and good in our sanctuary. . .

    To further explain, in our service, after the sequence hymn there is no music until the offertory, which follows the peace (which follows the confession, the Nicene Creed, and before that, the sermon. Since the sermon is immediately after the sequence hymn, I simply turn of the organ, turn out the lights, and turn my attention to the homily by taking a seat in the chior box (which faces the pulpit and which is otherwise unoccupied). At the same time, all the servers on the alter also retire into the pews to sit with their families during the sermon, so there is about 20 seconds of moving and situating where this feels quite natural. I used to leave it on, but I started turning it off as it just felt better. Also, for some reason, turning off the lights feels appropriate, as the music will return after the peace, and there is another natural time with motion and commotion for me to turn it all back on. . .

    I've probably said more than was required. . .

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  • JonathanP
    replied
    Originally posted by Johnallen View Post
    Thanks for the tip on swellboxes. I asume that mean not to push swell pedal down.
    No, the opposite is actually what he means. On most organs, and I'm sure yours is no exception, the swell manual is enclosed. This means that the pipes are essentially in their own box, which has shutters on it like Venetian blinds. When the swell pedal is pushed all the way back (in the "up" position), these shutters are closed. When you push the swell pedal down, these shutters open, and they're open fully when the swell pedal is pushed all the way forward/down. This is how the volume is controlled, as obviously the wooden shutters will shut out the sound a great deal when they are closed.

    Whenever you leave a pipe organ, make sure the swell pedal is pushed all the way down.

    Exactly as myorgan explained, this means that temperature changes affect the whole organ equally. As tuning is affected by temperature, this means you don't have parts of the organ which are extremely sharper than others! When the organ goes out of tune equally, the effect is of course far less noticeable, meaning less expenditure for the church in tuning.

    I very nearly forgot to do this the other day, but thankfully I wasn't alone and was reminded. I've only just started regularly playing a pipe organ with the "luxury" of a balanced swell pedal (in the USA people are lucky as most organs will be new enough to have them). Hopefully after informing someone else about it, I won't forget either! At least that's usually how my brain works.

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  • myorgan
    replied
    Originally posted by Johnallen View Post
    Thanks for the tip on swellboxes. I asume that mean not to push swell pedal down.
    John,

    It does mean to push them down--meaning opening them to the highest amplitude possible. In a pipe organ, that opens the Swell shades and allows the air to circulate. Many organ builders build their organs so the Swell shades open automatically once the reservoir empties itself of air. In that case, the organist doesn't need to think about it. However, it's not a bad practice to always open the shades when done. Note--this doesn't mean to open the Crescendo pedal (usually the one on the far right)--just the expression boxes.

    Michael

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  • Johnallen
    replied
    Thanks for the tip on swellboxes. I asume that mean not to push swell pedal down.

    Leave a comment:


  • myorgan
    replied
    Originally posted by Johnallen View Post
    I'm 28 and quite new as organist in our Church. I was wondering if it's best to leave the pipe organ switched on or off during the sermon. We have a small Walker organ from 1954 with 2 registers on pedals plus swell to pedal and great to pedal. 6 registers on swell and 4 on great.
    John,

    I guess the question becomes how long the organ needs to start, and how much noise it makes. I've generally left the organ on because the wind supply starting during the closing prayer would have been quite distracting. However, if your organ is rather quiet, I don't see any reason you would need to turn it off other than to save electricity.

    I'm sure you already know that you should leave the swell boxes open when the organ is off, so the air circulates freely between the chambers and the sanctuary while it's off. Generally, that's only a problem on a mechanical/tracker instrument. If you close the boxes, most pipe organs are built against an outside wall, therefore the temperature during the week will get much colder inside a closed swell box, and the pipes will be at a different temperature (as well as tuning) than the rest of the organ. But I'm sure you knew that already.

    If the noise isn't an issue or if the use of electricity isn't an issue, feel free to leave the organ on. The reservoirs are designed to allow air to escape when at full pressure.

    Hope that helps.

    Michael

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  • Johnallen
    started a topic Turn off pipe organ

    Turn off pipe organ

    I'm 28 and quite new as organist in our Church. I was wondering if it's best to leave the pipe organ switched on or off during the sermon. We have a small Walker organ from 1954 with 2 registers on pedals plus swell to pedal and great to pedal. 6 registers on swell and 4 on great.
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