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  • What Makes an Organ Builder



    Recently there has been heated discussions about what makes a true organ builder. Many have voiced their opinion that the only true organ builder is one that makes his own pipes. I would like to pose the following scenarios




    What if a builder makes his own pipes but subcontracts everything else... chests, casework, expressions enclosures, racking, ext...




    There are well known companies that do this....




    What if a builder makes all wooden parts, chests, action, racks, enclosures, ext... but orders pipes from a supplier per spec unvoiced, then voices them themselves.




    There are many well known companies from past to present that do this....




    Some companies subcontract everything out then assemble them in their shop. However they were designed by the contractor.




    Do any of these really makeone more of an organ builder than another?




    The same mystique that shrouds the organ also seems to blind its patrons to the realities of the organ building world. Often we pontificate on some hypothetical ten commandments of organ building when in reality trends, fads, budgets, and "agendas" dictate the whys and hows of organ building.


  • #2
    Re: What Makes an Organ Builder

    An excellent post.

    I personally do not believe in any hard and fast rules - you might have all the right stuff and stillnot have the best results. Part of the difficulty comes from the fact that pipe organsare so complex- there are so many variables.

    At the root I believe it is important to have quality parts that will last, an intelligent, experiencedbuilderto mastermindthe whole project, and a talented voicer. A good acoustic and a nice budget help too. [:)]

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    • #3
      Re: What Makes an Organ Builder



      Well said! I would only add what I feel keeps me from claiming myself as a "Builder". That is the ability to walk into a sanctuary, do a few sound tests, look at the acoustical situation, and declare what the scales are going to be.




      Also, having a complete and comfortable feel for voicing.The scaling and voicing are, in my opinion, the most challenging part of organbuilding, especially in cases of extremely GOOD, and extremely BAD acoustical settings.

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      • #4
        Re: What Makes an Organ Builder



        [quote user="soubasse32"]An excellent post.

        I personally do not believe in any hard and fast rules - you might have all the right stuff and stillnot have the best results. Part of the difficulty comes from the fact that pipe organsare so complex- there are so many variables.

        At the root I believe it is important to have quality parts that will last, an intelligent, experiencedbuilderto mastermindthe whole project, and a talented voicer. A good acoustic and a nice budget help too. [:)][/quote]




        The statement here is generalized but what prey tell is the ''right'' stuff and what pray tell are the ''best'' results?




        There is a great amount of subjectivity when it come even to materials let alone final assessment of the success of a job. So to even begin to talk about a good organbuilder or even any organbuilder there should be at least minimal standards that must be adhered to. Herein lies the difficulty. Client A doesnt like Builder B or his product and so forth and so on. A committee that is lay as to organs will be hard pressed to determine with other than a few business level criteria or their own ears eyes what is best for them. A builder is such if he build an organ period. In Holland they are called Organmaker. Maybe because they do rely on other sources for many components.




        A mainline builder used the make your own pipes thing for an ad. They knocked those that didnt. A noted builder in Europe states on the web that they do so for quality controll. In all likelyhood that making part may be more a sales pitch to the uninitiated. Not sure what the motive is.

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        • #5
          Re: What Makes an Organ Builder



          Scaling is important BUT voicing can compensate for some scaling deficiencies. The problem is if pipes are forced rather than allowed to speak. The 1949 Southeast Quarter Gallery Dome Diapason Chorus at St Paul in London was pipework salvaged from a bombed-out place and built with 2/7 mouths by TC Lewis. I asked Manders about the mouth treatment of the new Dome Chorus in the Northeast Quarter Gallery and they replied that they are 1/4 mouth BUT louder than the 2/7 mouth Lewis work. Somebody on the Mander Forum said that the 1949 pipes were blown hard since they were scaled for a much much smaller space so that the pipes sounded like they were shouting.




          I suspect builders that are seasoned rely on intuitive knowledge as to scaling based on long years of in the trenches experience.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: What Makes an Organ Builder

            [quote user="sesquialtera16"]


            Scaling is important BUT voicing can compensate for some scaling deficiencies. The problem is if pipes are forced rather than allowed to speak. The 1949 Southeast Quarter Gallery Dome Diapason Chorus at St Paul in London was pipework salvaged from a bombed-out place and built with 2/7 mouths by TC Lewis. I asked Manders about the mouth treatment of the new Dome Chorus in the Northeast Quarter Gallery and they replied that they are 1/4 mouth BUT louder than the 2/7 mouth Lewis work. Somebody on the Mander Forum said that the 1949 pipes were blown hard since they were scaled for a much much smaller space so that the pipes sounded like they were shouting.




            I suspect builders that are seasoned rely on intuitive knowledge as to scaling based on long years of in the trenches experience.




            [/quote]




            It is also possible to go the other way on scaling, i.e. pipes that are toolarge (although that may not happen as often nowadays). Too big scaling will result in pipes that are closed down, to the point of not giving their best tone. After all, large scales are intended for higher pressure in large buildings, to give the same tone quality but more volume, and, as I understand it, the wind pressure really does not have to be much higher, and indeed shouldn't be, to give a nice full and unforced sound.

            Mike

            My home organ is a Theatre III with an MDS II MIDI Expander.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: What Makes an Organ Builder



              It is also possible to go the other way on scaling, i.e. pipes that are toolarge (although that may not happen as often nowadays). Too big scaling will result in pipes that are closed down, to the point of not giving their best tone. After all, large scales are intended for higher pressure in large buildings, to give the same tone quality but more volume, and, as I understand it, the wind pressure really does not have to be much higher, and indeed shouldn't be, to give a nice full and unforced sound.




              large scales is a relative matter




              i did a 62 rank job




              i used a 43 scale 8 principal on the great on 2-1/2'' wind




              the octave 4 was 56 scale and the 2' was 68 scale and the mixture based on 47 scale




              the diapason 8 on the great was revoiced from 4ft c on 2-1/2'' while the bass was unrevoiced and on 5-1/2''




              the 3rd principal 8 was 47 scale on 2-1/2'' and the 4th principal 8 likewise




              the effect is power and fullness but no tubbyness

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