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Adjusting Overall Volume of Pipe Organ

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  • #16
    From an organ builder's point of view, any particular flue stop that sounds too loud or soft within the ensemble can be regulated by adjusting the size of the pipe foot by opening or closing it slightly, usually with a male/female tuning cone. However, I would not recommend anyone who has no experience in doing this should attempt it because this kind or regulation is very difficult because if it's not done properly can seriously affect the intonation of the entire rank. For this reason every pipe within the rank needs to be regulated so it doesn't sound either too loud or too soft throughout the compass. Sometimes, however, this may well be the problem, that the treble may need to be increased whereas the bass does not or vice versa. At any rate, if any regulation of the rank in question needs to be adjusted, I would suggest that the organ tuner be requested to do it. As regards regulating the reeds, then to attempt such an exercise should always be left to a competent professional.

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    • #17
      Swell shade usage may be a simpler solution if available. I have seen many organist that use the shades wide open and never adjust them throughout the piece.

      Michael

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      • #18
        Originally posted by Pipeorganbuilder View Post
        I have seen many organist that use the shades wide open and never adjust them throughout the piece.
        Michael,

        That's actually much like how I was taught.

        In my training, the organ was supposed to be voiced so it would support a full congregation (if in a church), or orchestra (if in a Symphony Hall), with a full house plus a little extra. For those organs, one can register a Diapason Chorus on the Great, and that would support most average singing/playing.

        To wit, the boxes would be opened completely, and stop changes would provide the variation in volume. It was not until the Romantic era, the use of the Swell boxes to control volume came into more popular use.

        Unfortunately, there are several schools of thought on the above amongst organ builders. The result is that moving from one organ to another sometimes results in consternation when registering in a new venue. One pipe organ I play regularly has more than enough volume with only Principal 8' and 4' on the Great, and anything additional (i.e. Mixtures, Mutations, Reeds, etc.) overpower the listeners. Just a week ago, I accompanied the final hymn on 8' & 4' Principal with 2' Gedeckt, and there were observations the organ was too loud for all 400+ parishioners singing heartily. Personally, I think the organ would be more useful if voiced softer, but . . . .

        If you've made it this far...I agree with Michael's assessment. Definitely use the Swell shades rather than messing with the pipe work. That's a recipe for disaster–though tempting sometimes!

        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)
        • 9 Pump Organs, 1 Pipe Organ & 6 Pianos

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        • #19
          Michael,

          I agree with everything you said. My teachers taught me the same. Then I got worked for Moller and was surprised to find so many different organs that were voiced either so loud or too soft across all of the stops that you had to decide to use the swell shoes.

          Michael 2

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          • #20
            It could be that the blower was installed incorrectly. The organ that I play on recently had the polarity of the blower input reversed after the new tuner discovered that it had been running the wrong way since about 2007. The Great Claribel is sounding a lot less airy now, which is very nice.

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            • #21
              Originally posted by APipeOrganist View Post
              It could be that the blower was installed incorrectly. The organ that I play on recently had the polarity of the blower input reversed after the new tuner discovered that it had been running the wrong way since about 2007. The Great Claribel is sounding a lot less airy now, which is very nice.
              So ... in other words, the organ doesn't suck anymore?

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