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Pipes with valves, tone holes and caps, and slides to vary pitch

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  • Pipes with valves, tone holes and caps, and slides to vary pitch

    Does any pipe organ have pipes with valves (like a Trumpet, horn, or tuba), slides (like a trombone or slide whistle), and tone holes (like a saxophone, flute, or clarinet) to vary pitch?
    What about a stopped flute with a cap that can be opened to change to an octave higher and closed to change to an octave lower? What about a Krummhorn, Cor Anglais, Oboe, or string (e.g. Gamba or Salicional) with valves and slides, or a Tuba, Ophicleide, Dulzian, Clarinet, or flute with tone holes? Or Harmonic flute where the hole can be opened and covered to change octave?
    Why don’t pipe organs have such features? Wouldn’t they pipes (at the cost of not as many notes being playable at once), or would that cost benefit be outweighed by the complexity of the mechanism of valves, slides, and tone holes?

  • #2
    I may be wrong, and please correct me if that is the case, but I think I recall an organ builder telling me of organs sharing some of the low pedal pipes. E.g., C and C# are the same pipe. A moveable slide, at the top of the pipe, determines which note is played. The slide's position in turn is determined by which pedal note is being played. Since C and C# are never played simultaneously, and since large pedal pipes can be prohibitively expensive, this is obviously a cost saving measure.

    But otherwise the rule is, one note, one pipe.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Coenraads View Post
      I may be wrong, and please correct me if that is the case, but I think I recall an organ builder telling me of organs sharing some of the low pedal pipes. E.g., C and C# are the same pipe. A moveable slide, at the top of the pipe, determines which note is played. The slide's position in turn is determined by which pedal note is being played. Since C and C# are never played simultaneously, and since large pedal pipes can be prohibitively expensive, this is obviously a cost saving measure.

      But otherwise the rule is, one note, one pipe.
      Ever heard of trapdoor diaphones? They have trapdoors to spare six of the pipes of the lowest octave. I guess that counts.
      I guess things like the ability for a single pipe to play multiple notes (but maybe one note a time), is better for the bass pipes, because each individual bass pipe is more expensive than each individual treble pipe therefore it is more important to spare bass pipes than to spare treble pipes. Additionally, multiple bass notes (e.g. C1 and C#1, three octaves below middle C, or even C1 D1) are less likely to be played together than multiple treble notes (e.g. C5 and C#5, an octave above middle C, or C5 and D5), whether on piano or on organ.


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      • #4
        A lot of pipes have a sliding cap used to tune it, as well as a tuning slot. As for the rest, not really. The problem with these tricks is they compromise tuning stability. The problem with a cap that blows the octave is that you need a different pressure, toe hole size, and voicing to make the octave note sound good compared to the base note. Then, making the mechanism for a valve would be almost as much work as just making a new pipe! It also complicates the key mechanism, since the tracker or sticker has to go to the same spot.

        Current: Allen 225 RTC, W. Bell reed organ, Lowrey TGS, Singer upright grand
        Former: Yamaha E3R
        https://www.exercisesincatholicmythology.com

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        • #5
          Don't forget the Compton Cubes. Many Victorian examples. One organ built buy Skinner had a large open wood, the lowest C did not fit in the chamber. Solution, saw the mouth off and connect it to the remainder of the resonator with flexible tube. Believe it or not it actually worked. The heck with nodes.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Larason2 View Post
            A lot of pipes have a sliding cap used to tune it, as well as a tuning slot. As for the rest, not really. The problem with these tricks is they compromise tuning stability. The problem with a cap that blows the octave is that you need a different pressure, toe hole size, and voicing to make the octave note sound good compared to the base note.
            True. What about varying wind pressure according to the sliding cap?
            Then, making the mechanism for a valve would be almost as much work as just making a new pipe! It also complicates the key mechanism, since the tracker or sticker has to go to the same spot.
            Not if the organ has electric action.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by aeolian pat View Post
              Don't forget the Compton Cubes. Many Victorian examples. One organ built buy Skinner had a large open wood, the lowest C did not fit in the chamber. Solution, saw the mouth off and connect it to the remainder of the resonator with flexible tube. Believe it or not it actually worked. The heck with nodes.
              What about Polyphone pipes? And what about Oberlinger’s Cubus patent at http://www.organstops.org/c/Cubus.gif?

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              • #8
                We had a thread on this topic approximately 2 years ago. Pipes producing 2 notes have been created, but as I understand it, with varying amounts of success. Tuning slides are employed on pipes, and I'd think it would create more noise to move the slide than to have two separate pipes. I understand keeping the costs down, but I'd imagine a bi-tonal pipe would end up costing more in the long run.

                Then there's what has already been mentioned about the physics properties of the toe, mouth, foot, in relation to the length.

                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

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by myorgan View Post
                  We had a thread on this topic approximately 2 years ago. Pipes producing 2 notes have been created, but as I understand it, with varying amounts of success. Tuning slides are employed on pipes, and I'd think it would create more noise to move the slide than to have two separate pipes. I understand keeping the costs down, but I'd imagine a bi-tonal pipe would end up costing more in the long run.

                  Then there's what has already been mentioned about the physics properties of the toe, mouth, foot, in relation to the length.

                  Michael
                  Can you give a link to that thread?

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                  • myorgan
                    myorgan commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Let me search for it when I get out of Nutcracker rehearsal. Please get my attention if I don't remember.

                    Michael

                • #10
                  Here's a thread similar to what I was describing:Hope that helps.

                  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


                  • #11
                    Originally posted by myorgan View Post
                    Here's a thread similar to what I was describing:Hope that helps.

                    Michael
                    That’s about something different. It’s not about multi-note pipes.

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                    • myorgan
                      myorgan commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Oh, look! You started that one too!

                      Why the fascination with alternate means of creating/controlling pipe sound?

                      Michael

                  • #12
                    If it were possible, it would probably only be feasible on very low notes.

                    Once you reach a certain pitch, there can already be enough trouble tuning a pipe with a single sleeve, stopper, cap or tuning wire. If you allowed for a second mechanism to tune a pipe for two distinct pitches, you would probably drive your tuner crazy, and your tuner/organ tech would likely start to use words to describe you that would not be very flattering.

                    The ideas mentioned in earlier replies are limited to bass notes that are not normally played together. Depending on the mechanism involved, they would probably also not allow for fast notes, since there would be too much mechanism to move quickly.

                    As in unit organs, asking a pipe to do more than one thing requires compromise. It's possible, but while gaining one thing, you lose another.

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