Forum Top Banner Ad

Collapse

Ebay Classic organs

Collapse

Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Organ tuning

Collapse
This topic is closed.
X
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Organ tuning

    Hi there. I was just wondering when you tune a pipe organ, I asumecyoubtunecthe prestant or others call it diapason first to serve as basis for other voices. Do you also tune using 4ths wider and 5ths narrower to set up temperament octave like a piano tuner would do?

  • #2
    Originally posted by Johnallen View Post
    Hi there. I was just wondering when you tune a pipe organ, I asumecyoubtunecthe prestant or others call it diapason first to serve as basis for other voices. Do you also tune using 4ths wider and 5ths narrower to set up temperament octave like a piano tuner would do?
    John,

    I'm not an expert by any means, but wouldn't tuning to 10ths allow slower beating, thereby more accurate tuning? I realize you're talking about the temperament octave only, but curious minds.... Also, if I recall correctly, some organs are designed to tune to the 4' Octave (or 4' Prestant), while others tune to the 8' Diapason. Perhaps there's a way to determine which is which?

    Hope this helps rather than creates more questions.

    Michael
    Way too many organs to list, but I do have 5 Allens:
    • MOS-2 Model 505-B / ADC-4300-DK / ADC-5400 / ADC-6000 (Symphony) / ADC-8000DKC
    • Lowrey Heritage (DSO-1)
    • 11 Pump Organs, 1 Pipe Organ & 7 Pianos

    Comment


    • #3
      Generally the pipe organ is tuned from the main 4' octave from the main division. First find the contract or the documentation for the instrument and see what temperament is listed and the concert pitch that is listed (Check documentation or contact the builder).

      When you have, tune accordingly to the documentation your tuning stop then, Tune the rest to the tuning stop.
      Instruments:
      22/8 Button accordion.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Johnallen View Post
        Hi there. I was just wondering when you tune a pipe organ, I asumecyoubtunecthe prestant or others call it diapason first to serve as basis for other voices. Do you also tune using 4ths wider and 5ths narrower to set up temperament octave like a piano tuner would do?
        Generally speaking (because there are exceptions to every rule) the Great 4' Octave rank is the reference rank to which others are tuned, at least in the Great division. Setting the initial tempering rank is done using 5ths and 4ths and octaves (sometimes using 6ths as proofs as well depending on the skill set of the tuner).
        Fourth intervals are typically tuned slightly wide and fifth intervals are typically tuned slightly narrow. When I was learning to set equal temper by ear, the narrow fifths were slightly slower than the wide fourths. I use a machine now to tune the reference rank simply because it saves time.

        There are times that using the Octave rank does not produce accurate results. When some ranks are tuned to the reference rank, the "draw into tune" giving a false result. This is particularly troublesome when the two ranks are adjacent to each other or their placement on the chest sets up odd standing waves. It can also be a problem on slider chests with pipes on a common wind channel. Again the tuning machine can be useful in overcoming these types of problems.

        Some tuners will tune a keen-toned rank like a Viola or Salicional as the reference rank, particularly in smaller unit organs. Then when the rest of the organ is tuned, the string is used at 2 pitches, which often gives very good results as long as the reference rank is very well tuned.

        Even tuning an individual rank of pipes can give false results, again because pipes will 'draw' into tune. By using a proving of the reference note and the 4th above
        (i.e. middle C and F above) then using the 5th and the tuned note (i.e. f-above-middle C and C-above middle C) and checking to see that the speed of the beat between the 1st interval and 2nd interval matches. If they do, than the octave is in tune...if the speed differs, then the Octave is close but not in perfect tune.
        Certain chest layouts are more troublesome for exact tuning than others, but an experienced tuner knows when and how to overcome those difficulties.

        Rick in VA

        Comment


        • #5
          Thanks Rick. So what I make out is that the tuning in theory is same as piano as in piano I use 3ds 4ths and 5ths. Also using 6th and 10s for some checking.

          Comment


          • #6
            As you should be aware Johnallen (since it seems you’re a piano tuner?), it’s not really an issue of the instrument but rather of the temperament. ET is going to have the same interval relationships on any instrument. Tuning a keyboard instrument will always be a compromise since it’s not possible to tune all intervals perfectly in tune at the same time, and those compromises will be the same on any keyboard instrument given the same temperament. Likewise, a piano in meantone will no longer have the same narrow 5ths/wide 4ths relationship as ET but would still have the same relationships as meantone on organ.
            Viscount C400 3-manual
            8 channels + 2 reverb channels (w/ Lexicon MX200)
            Klipsch RSX-3 speakers and Klipsch Ultra 5.1 subwoofers

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Johnallen View Post
              Thanks Rick. So what I make out is that the tuning in theory is same as piano as in piano I use 3ds 4ths and 5ths. Also using 6th and 10s for some checking.
              with one minor difference...pipe organs are NOT tuned with stretched octaves as they are on most pianos. all octaves are pure-tuned. But, using the circle-of-fifths would be the same on any keyboard as rjsilva has pointed out. ALL temperments are a compromise of some sort. Some people feel that tuning pipe organs in un-equal temperings gives the music more coloration...that is certainly true in some keys especially those which are referred to as "wolf" (for example, in Werckmeister 3 or Kirnberger, F-minor or A-flat major will just about rip the ears off your head - imho). Some temperments such as Kellner or Lehman are pretty mild.

              Rick in VA

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by VaPipeorgantuner View Post
                There are times that using the Octave rank does not produce accurate results. When some ranks are tuned to the reference rank, the "draw into tune" giving a false result. This is particularly troublesome when the two ranks are adjacent to each other or their placement on the chest sets up odd standing waves. It can also be a problem on slider chests with pipes on a common wind channel. Again the tuning machine can be useful in overcoming these types of problems.
                Rick,

                If I'm understanding you correctly, tuning a piano is different from an organ in that a piano doesn't care what the string next to it is doing, it'll produce the pitch tuned regardless of the other 2 strings (of which, the tuner has probably muted one anyway). OTOH, when tuning a pipe organ, for lack of a better way of describing it, it will have a tendency to center the tuning from both pipes in sympathetic resonance (i.e. the lower one will raise a cent or two, while the higher one will lower a cent or two). If I also understand your description correctly, using a rank with a different waveform or tonal makeup will help break that cycle?

                I was aware of this phenomenon, but didn't realize it was as prevalent as you describe. Thank you for sharing your extensive expertise on a topic not readily understood by most organists. For those of us who dabble in the technical end, it will help us when dealing with our own service personnel. It will also come in handy when I begin installing my own pipe organ later this year at home.O:-)

                Michael
                Way too many organs to list, but I do have 5 Allens:
                • MOS-2 Model 505-B / ADC-4300-DK / ADC-5400 / ADC-6000 (Symphony) / ADC-8000DKC
                • Lowrey Heritage (DSO-1)
                • 11 Pump Organs, 1 Pipe Organ & 7 Pianos

                Comment


                • #9
                  My understanding is that the "stretch" tuning of pianos (and probably harps and harpsichords) is to compensate for the fact that taut strings are not perfect oscillators and the upper harmonics are not perfect multiples of the fundamental--the physical characteristics of the string material cause the harmonics to be slightly "sharp" and in order to preserve the sympathetic vibration in the upper strings it is necessary to tune them sharp to match the actual harmonics developed by the lower strings. This same phenomenon means that the lower octave strings have to be tuned slightly "flat" so that their harmonics will more closely match the pitches of the middle strings. The beauty and full sound of a piano is partly due to the strings being played having an effect on many of the other strings in the instrument (even though they are damped).

                  David

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by davidecasteel View Post
                    My understanding is that the "stretch" tuning of pianos (and probably harps and harpsichords) is to compensate for the fact that taut strings are not perfect oscillators and the upper harmonics are not perfect multiples of the fundamental--the physical characteristics of the string material cause the harmonics to be slightly "sharp" and in order to preserve the sympathetic vibration in the upper strings it is necessary to tune them sharp to match the actual harmonics developed by the lower strings. This same phenomenon means that the lower octave strings have to be tuned slightly "flat" so that their harmonics will more closely match the pitches of the middle strings. The beauty and full sound of a piano is partly due to the strings being played having an effect on many of the other strings in the instrument (even though they are damped).

                    David
                    May I add that when the sustain pedal is depressed on the piano, the sympathetic vibration of strings near harmonic frequencies is a very important element in the sound the pianist draws from the instrument.

                    The harmonics of harpsichord strings are closer to their theoretical frequencies because the strings are much thinner than those used on pianos. When tuning harpsichords - and I regularly tune four or five different harpsichords a week - only the lowest few notes, generally from "C" two octaves below middle c', are ones that I stretch, and that much less than a piano tuner needs to do.

                    The bass strings on pianos are overwound and hence are considerably thicker in order to sound at a lower pitch than the tension and length would otherwise allow.

                    An app or program such as TuneLab's Piano Tuner can be used to measure the deviation from pure the harmonics are for each string. An interesting exercise.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I once assumed a new position that had a beautiful E. M. Skinner organ. I noticed that the beating of the celeste on the Swell division was uneven. Different notes beat at different rates. This really bugged me, so when the tuner came I mentioned it to him. The mystery was solved when he pointed out that whoever tuned the organ last set the beating on the C side differently than the C# side!
                      Bill

                      My home organ: Content M5800 as a midi controller for Hauptwerk

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        A couple more thoughts about the differences between organ and piano tuning: Unlike a piano, you don't want to set a fresh temperament every time you tune the organ. If it is all right, leave it alone. Likewise, you don't want to be adjusting the pitch of every pipe on the instrument, not unless you have to. Unless the instrument has been neglected, the majority of the pipes will be already in tune.

                        Be sure that the heating/air conditioning is settled into whatever conditions are present when the organ is played. Piano strings change pitch based on humidity causing the soundboard to expand/contract; organ flue pipes change pitch based on air temperature. In organ chambers with poor ventilation, it might take a long time after the heat is turned up (or down) for everything to equalize.

                        Just as piano strings can have false beats, organ pipes might not speak cleanly, making them hard to tune. Sometimes it is dirt or dust, dead bugs, etc. inside the pipe, sometimes there are other causes. You might be able to fix it easily, maybe not. Also an old slider chest (such as our instrument has, over 100 years old) might have air leaks that can confuse the tuning. This is not easily fixed and in many cases you will just have to live with it, barring funds for major renovation, though sometimes a professional can find ways to fix some of it.

                        As others have mentioned here, piano strings don't care where you are standing/sitting, or what is beside them. Organ flue pipes can be quite particular about such things. I find the wider-scaled flutes more susceptible to your hand being too close the top of the pipe or the mouth, or whether you are standing close by, or what direction the pipe is turned, or being drawn into the pitch another stop is playing. On our instrument, the Great 4' Octave is the reference rank and works fine for everything except the 4' Flute that is right beside it on the chest. The flute pipes can be way off pitch and if the octave is playing, you'd never know it. I tune that rank to the 8' Principal, which is safely distant.

                        Reed pipes are a whole different thing; for them, the pitch is mostly controlled by the vibrating length of the reed tongue, which is adjusted by moving the tuning wire up/down. The resonator pipe rarely needs adjustment in normal tuning. Dirt or corrosion on the tongue might cause problems with the speech. If you go in and play an organ in a cold room during the week, the reeds will sound out of tune with the flue pipes because the temperature is way off from when the organ was last tuned. If this is the case (all of the reeds at a different pitch from the flues), double check the room temperature and how long the heat/AC have been on.

                        I am not a real organ tuner; I used to tune pianos professionally, and do minor tuning on the church instrument I play and minor repairs on the mechanical action, if it is clear what is broken/out of adjustment/etc. If it is not clear, or I don't know how to do it, I call a professional. In some ways, organs are easier to tune than pianos, in some ways more difficult. Mixtures, for example.

                        One thing that is the same for piano and organ work: careful observation, listening, and patience are essential.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          " The mystery was solved when he pointed out that whoever tuned the organ last set the beating on t{he C side differently than the C# side!" That's a hack - and I do not mean that in the modern sense. A "real', classically trained organman knows how to tune a celeste so it's even from side to side and appropriate within each octave.

                          Comment

                          Working...
                          X