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  • Diaphragm stops

    Why don't pipe organs have stops operating by disk diaphragms?
    https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikiped...werchamber.JPGfor reference.
    What purpose would there be for diaphragm stops on pipe organs?

  • #2
    I believe that the diaphonic ranks of a theatre organ operate on a similar principle. They can actually sound quite nice, but they are also characteristically “theatre” sounding. They have the advantage that for the lower octaves, they take way less space.

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    • #3
      I didn't reply earlier because I thought there might be better informed answers coming. I believe a reason that diaphones or other VALVULAR stops are not widely used is that over the full compass of a stop they are not able to be made to be reliable and that critical voicing and reliable pitch adjustments can be nearly impossible to achieve. This is the reason that they are most always found in the lowest octaves of an organ for 12, or sometimes 24 pipes . They can be made to speak more promptly than any reed or languid stop greatly enhancing the pedal part. Most of the remaining rank can be made of languid pipes. As Audsley often states, the added cost...

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      • #4
        As I thought about it, Diaphones are most often on higher pressure and don't require the pneumatic motors for starting or muting of the reed as would be necessary for large reeds. Starters flick the reed into immediate motion and dampen the death rattle. We're not talking about Regals you realize.

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        • #5
          I'm talking about diaphragm stops like on a truck, bus, or train horn. Disk diaphragm. Not spring-loaded pallets.
          I heard that diaphragm horns operate on very high wind pressure of 60 psi, compared to the fraction of a psi typical for pipe organs or very rarely up to 3psi.
          Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think a diaphragm stop would sound broader and weightier and less reedy than a reed stop. I think that a "diaphragm horn" stop would be optimal for Tuba Mirabilis and Ophicleide stops which operate on higher wind pressure than other stops and have a very broad tone. Maybe not for Trompette En Chamade which has a more penetrating sound.

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          • #6
            From the diagram you posted, It doesn't look like it would possible to make a tuning adjustments.
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            • #7
              The picture brings up questions of tuning, pressure, and volume. Assuming that they could be tuned, horns such as these usually operate under much higher pressures than a pipe organ would (we're talking PSI vs inches). Both the pressure issue and the overall volume could be a barrier. From a tonal standpoint, what would the musical use case be other than perhaps as a novel sound on a theater organ?

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              • #8
                Originally posted by johnroper100 View Post
                The picture brings up questions of tuning, pressure, and volume. Assuming that they could be tuned, horns such as these usually operate under much higher pressures than a pipe organ would (we're talking PSI vs inches). Both the pressure issue and the overall volume could be a barrier. From a tonal standpoint, what would the musical use case be other than perhaps as a novel sound on a theater organ?
                That’s why I recommended it only for high pressure stops like Tuba and Ophicleide and not for, say, Oboe or even Trumpet or any stops that operate on lower wind pressure. Colorful solo reeds should have striking reeds, while ensemble reeds could be free reeds without an enclosed boot, but free reed pipes is a good topic for another thread.

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