A small pipe organ design.
  • hartleymartin
    Posts: 1,299
    I have identified that many churches are not able to afford large pipe organs, and so often opt for electronic instruments.

    I have been in discussions with a number of organists about what would be the bare minimum requirements for a small church instrument and using modern designs, it is possible to come up with a small instrument with a minimal number of pipes and made small enough to be cost and space-effective.

    The instrument would be built to a design thus:

    2 manuals, stop tabs above upper manual. 61-note manuals, 30-note AGO-spec pedalboard.

    Enclosed:
    Rank A 97 Pipes - Stopped Diapason/Flute to be made available at 16', 8', 4', 2-2/3', 2'
    Rank B 85 Pipes - String Diapason to be made available at 8', 4', 2-2/3', 2'

    Unenclosed (to be used as facade pipes):
    Rank C 61 Pipes - Open Diapason to be made available at 8'

    So an instrument with 243 pipes mounted on universal windchests and operating using direct electric action would provide the following stops through extention and unification:

    Upper Manual: (Man II)

    16' Bordone (A)
    8' Stopped Diapason (A)
    8' Gamba (B)
    4' Gemshorn (B)
    4' Flute (A)
    2-2/3' Soft Nazard (A)
    2' Piccolo (A)

    Lower Manual: (Man I)

    16' Double Diapason (A)
    8' Open Diapason (C)
    8' Stopped Diapason (A)
    8' Gamba (B)
    4' Flute (A)
    4' Gemshorn (B)
    2-2/3' Nazard (B)
    2' Super-Octave (B)

    Pedal Division:

    16' Bordone (A)
    8' Bass Flute (A)
    8' Gamba (B)
    4' Choral Bass (C)
    (Maybe an Acoustic 32' from Rank A?)

    Couplers:

    Man II 4' to Man I
    Man II 8' to Man I
    Man II 16' to Man I
    Man II to Ped
    Man I to Ped

    2nd Enclosed: (Optional Extra)
    Rank D 73 Pipes - Trompette or similar Reed Stop to be available at 8' and 4' (and maybe 16' from Tenor C) on the upper manual with the 8' reed also controlled from another stop on the lower manual.

    The two enclosed divisions would have their own swell pedals.

    So with the optional extra reed box, 316 pipes in the organ would make for a fairly versatile small instrument. Which could handle all the needs of a Parish church to accompany hymns, and would be capable of playing a reasonable selection of classical repertoire. It is estimated that such an instrument could be made in a case 8' tall, 10' wide and not more than 6' deep, not including the console which would normally be detached.

    What are your thoughts on such an instrument? I don't know what sort of price this could be built at. It would be concievably cheaper if an organ builder were able to create such an instrument able to using an old console and/or 2nd hand pipes as a starting point.
  • Protasius
    Posts: 337
    I use the bare minimum every friday and it consists of

    Upper Manual

    Quintade 8'
    Nachthorn 4'
    Oktave 2'
    Zimbel

    Lower Manual

    Gedackt 8'
    Prinzipal 4'
    Mixtur

    Pedal

    Subbaß 16'
    Flöte 4'

    This instrument is not ideal, IMO the Zimbel and Oktave 2' are too loud and I lament the absence of reeds, but it is possible to use far less registers than your proposal (manual 16' registers are rather rare in Germany, only the Hauptwerk has a Quintade or Bourdon 16' unless you have a cathedral organ).
  • A nice little organ, Protasuis. Who is the builder.
    I would rather have nine real stops such as you have
    than all the duplications, borrowings and false stops in the first example above.
    Where is your organ placed? What acoustics have you?
    Thanked by 3Gavin CHGiffen marajoy
  • redsox1
    Posts: 163
    These little instruments can be quite successful. A friend of mine is a Lutheran pastor in Indiana. They had one of the last Moller instruments that came from the factory as the company was closing. The instrument is 8-9 ranks, including mixture, so it's bigger than what is described above, but the concept is similiar. The organ was never really voiced when it was installed. Goulding and Wood came in and worked their magic. The instrument is very convincing. I'm glad this concept is being brought up!

    Here is my $.02 about the concept from hartleymartin:

    I would definitely extend the 8' Open Diapason (C) to 4'. The 2', being of smaller scale could come from the string, so that works. I just think one would need more than string pitch at 4'. The other question is this-is the string rank (B) really a string or a tapered rank? Either could work, but the nomenclature is confusing since a Gamba is a string rank, and a Gemshorn is a tapered, hybrid rank that can take on the characteristics of a flute or a string. One manual 16' would be appropriate. The bigger 16' would go to the pedal. Also, Double Diapason indicates a Principal rank, not a flute.

    Really, this concept is what Moller did with the Artiste. These instruments have served well in many places, although the scaling and voicing were not always ideal! One of the things that made them economical is that they could be pretty much cranked off an assembly line-including pipework, which pre-determined the scaling, so some instruments were better suited to their acoustical environments than others. Casavant also had a line of unit organs. In the case of Casavant, I just don't think this was a profitable venture for them given the low cost expected by the client.

    Small instruments can work very well. I mentioned two builders in another post. I offer these names again for your consideration: Patrick J. Murphy from Stowe, PA and Kegg from Canton, OH. I would also add Muller Pipe Organ of Croton, OH. These guys have standardized console designs, utilize all-electric actions, and, in the case of Pat Murphy and Muller, can utilize repurposed pipework. I would strongly encourage people to contact builders such as these before considering the purchase of an electronic instrument. You might be pleasantly surprised!
  • Please do not post this information without also including factual pricing, to avoid people becoming enthralled with the idea that every church can afford these instruments.

    A 9 rank instrument from an adequate builder is beyond the ability of almost every parish to consider. And from an excellent builder, not affordable at all. Call Schoenstein and Casavant and ask them for a price. You get what you pay for.

    Having it cobbled together from left over parts of organs built and scaled for other buildings is also almost always a huge disaster unless designed, supervised and voiced by a recognized person like Daniel Angerstein, who was at A/S and Moller as a voicer. Once again, you get what you pay for.

    Give the prices quoted by Kegg, Murphy and Muller so people will know what they will need to spend on their dreams.
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 4,778
    Even a decent electric organ is out or range for many small parishes.

    If you're looking to manufacture something that would be useful, a kit-organ that comes with an onboard computer running Hauptwerk, excellent outboard speakers, and an IKEA-like assembly would be a godsend to hundreds (maybe thousands) of tiny parishes all over the country- not to mention students, schools, and people who want to be able to practice in their pajamas. If it could be easily assembled/disassembled (for parishes without their own buildings, for convention/events) that would be even better.

    There's no reason that such a thing, which is not drastically different than what "real" electric organ makers sell, could cost $3-$5,000 and still make a profit. If I knew a bit more about organs (and import law) I'd have a Kickstarter campaign up and running already.
    Thanked by 1ContraBombarde
  • AndrewK
    Posts: 29
    The Wicks Organ Company perfected this concept IMO. I know of several "large instruments", i.e. # of stops, in the St. Louis area that are really only 7-10 ranks max. They were relatively cheap, didn't look like much, but gave the impression that you had a large instrument and most didn't sound bad at all. What the company does now, is another story.
  • hartleymartin
    Posts: 1,299
    My nomencleture is somewhat archaic, since I base my ideas around late 19th century English Organs. Quite often the "Double Diapason" cheated with the bass octave by using what was really a bordone pipe, but since you would have normally been playing this with the 8' Open Diapason, it faked the sound well enough.

    I suppose what I am really doing is a copy of the concept that a 3 or 4-rank Moller Artiste would have done. Obviously, a good voicer would have to come in and make adjustments to make it suit the environs that it were situated.

    In a parish church situation where the organ is mainly called upon so support hymn singing and provide music for liturgies, and the organ solo music wouldn't be terribly demanding, such an instrument should prove adequate. Theatre Organs had completely unified ranks as a space-saving measure and worked reasonably well. Unification and borrowing if done with due consideration can prove very effective.

    I could always just wait for another Moller Artiste to come onto ebay and then import one to Australia.
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,672
    I agree with Jackson entirely: a 9-rank instrument, well-voiced and selected (even with one manual!) would be far superior to a "large" instrument, unified up and down!

    And, need I again recall my experience on a large-scale capital organ campaign? In a church which is small and poor by RC standards. I would say MOST parishes can tackle even a modest organ project. What's more, not only can they accomplish this goal - they SHOULD!
  • TCJ
    Posts: 413
    I used to use a six rank pipe organ for a fairly small (but not tiny) church. It was more than adequate the for job. The trumpet was great. The stops were something as follows, though I can't remember it exactly. I'm pretty sure I probably forgot something.



    Great:
    Dulciana 8'
    Principal 8'
    Principal 4'
    Principal 2'
    Mixture
    Nazard 2 2/3' (I think)
    Flute 8'
    Flute 4'
    Flute 2'
    Chimes

    Swell:
    Viola de Gamba 8'
    Viola Celeste 8'
    Flute 8'
    Flute 4'
    Flute 2'
    Bourdon 16'
    Trumpet 8'

    Pedal:
    Principal 16'
    Bourdon 16'
    Trumpet 16'

    Couplers:
    Swell to Great
    Great to Pedal
    Swell to Pedal



  • redsox1
    Posts: 163
    Noel,

    In no way do I imply that the purchase of a pipe organ is a minimal investment, and I certainly don't imply that it is not out of reach for some parishes. It is a huge undertaking, but it is more possible than you indicate and I reject the notion that even modest pipe instruments are out of reach for most parishes. We've had this exchange before. I don't know why you're so negative, but I think you're simply wrong on this. In many cases, it's a matter of priorities and effective long-term planning. I know of many small parishes that have gotten it done-I have been a part of some of these projects, as well as a current project for a large parish and a large cathedral project in the Northeast some years ago.

    I can't, and won't, directly quote a builder's work from my own dealings-that is not proper. Anyone can call one of the companies I listed above and get that information for themselves. I would say, though, that an instrument of this size might go for $150000-$200000. This is a sizable amount of money, but when you price a fairly decent digital organ, you're up at over $70000, over $100000 from a company like Walker. That pipe organ will last at least twice as long-it is a much better long-term investment. There are ways to save money. A good builder can rebuild an old console, and can use repurposed pipework. The savings come from reusing ranks that are 4' and larger. That savings quickly disappears when comparing new and used ranks at 2' pitch and smaller. There is a caveat-repurposed pipework can only be used if it is constructed and scaled appropriately to fit the tonal palette of a new instrument. It must be of good quality. I grew up in NE. There was a builder there that ALWAYS used at least some repurposed pipework in instruments that he built. He was passionate about his work, and unfortunately his profit margin wasn't always what it should have been. He worked magic, though. And, he was no slouch-he worked for Casavant and did a lot of voicing at St. Mary the Virgin in NYC. This guy is a legend.

    I wouldn't be so quick to rule out unit organs. Properly conceived with JUDICIOUS unification which allows for a COMPLETELY independent chorus, as well as variable scaling for stops that are unified, these instruments are very convincing. I have become a believer. A skilled builder is needed for such an instrument, though.

    The Organ Clearing House is another possible source for instruments. Organs can be and are regularly given new homes with excellent results.

    We are in the process of getting bids to restore/rebuild our chapel organ. All the builders I've spoken with have indicated that it is the Catholic parishes that are buying pipe organs these days. I have seen many exciting projects coming from Catholic parishes-both small and large instruments. Just look at the American Organist magazine. This is hardly a time for pessimism! With many parishes improving the quality of music, many with the help of this very organization, there is every reason to be
    optimistic.

    A pipe organ project is daunting, and in almost all cases it takes a lot of time and patience, but it is not impossible.

    My real point is this-actually take the time to call an organbuilder, particularly smaller but quality builders in your area. Don't just assume that this most worthy investment is out of reach. Talk to them, ask them questions, visit their shop. Go hear and play their instruments. Educate yourself. In the end, a pipe organ may not be possible for a particular parish, but if one doesn't even bother to investigate whether this is a realistic goal or not, then it is most certainly impossible.

    I have had extensive experience dealing with pipe organ projects. If anyone would like to email me privately with questions, I would be happy to help out in any way I can.

  • I would say, though, that an instrument of this size might go for $150000-$200000.

    That's what you have to say, thank you for doing so. There is a difference between being negative and being realistic. The worst pipe organs in Catholic (and Protestant) churches are ones that they thought that they could get cheap.

    Without the commitment to spending what it takes to get the organ completed with a competent tonal designer doing the design, especially when using used pipework, and a tonal voicing at the end....it's a waste of money.
    Thanked by 1E_A_Fulhorst
  • hartleymartin
    Posts: 1,299
    If I were shopping for a pipe organ for a church tomorrow, I'd be looking into restoring a redundant instrument before looking at a new build.

    I suppose that I was really taking something of an academic exercise, on the assumption that used instruments were not readily available.
  • Protasius
    Posts: 337
    The small organ I posted above is located in the Stadtkapelle St. Georg in Arnsberg, Germany and was built by Rohlfing, Natbergen. I have no idea about the price.
  • redsox1
    Posts: 163
    Noel-I completely agree that there are many churches with bad pipe organs because they thought they could get by on the cheap. In those cases, a digital organ would have been vastly superior. Part of the challenge is educating people about the cost and why it such a considerable sum, and also why it is well worth it in the long run. I think there are many people out there who think you can simply look in the phone book and have a pipe organ delivered in a week or two!

    Hartley-used instruments are out there. I would consult with a builder. The builder would need to size up the space for an instrument and the acoustical properties of the building. Then, I would look into the Organ Clearing House to see if an appropriately sized and scaled instrument is available. One could also check with their local diocese to see if any appropriate instruments are available through church closure. Again, one would need to check with a builder first. An organ built for a church that seats 1500 with a case containing a 16' Double Open Diapason in the facade might not be best suited for a church seating 300 people with a choir loft with a 10' ceiling clearance! Also, condition is going to be important. While there are savings in procuring such an instrument, the cost to refurbish the instrument could be quite considerable. On the other hand, to have a vintage pipe organ of historical significance could be quite something.

    Check out this link: http://www.czelusniakdugal.com/instruments/westfield-casavant.php
    This parish is not particulary wealthy, though they did save considerable funds since the organ came from another church in the diocese. This is one of the real success stories out there about finding a new home for a historically significant pipe organ. It is absolutely stunning!
  • hartleymartin
    Posts: 1,299
    Being in Sydney, Australia my situation is a little different. Organs are few and far between. In Australia, Anglican Churches tended to have more money since the wealthier middle and upper classes tended to be Protestant, whilst Catholics in Australia were typically Irish working class, and then later on were filled out by migrants from various predominantly Catholic countries.

    From my old Parish church (which had an okay 14-rank instrument), it was about a 35-minute drive to the next parish which had a pipe organ and that was in suburban Sydney!

    We're lucky to have only a small number of organ builders in this country, which are all very high quality and know each other quite well.
  • hartleymartin
    Posts: 1,299
    Would such an instrument be good a a household practice instrument instead of being used in a parish church?

    Let us say that we could build a "cabinet organ" as a small instrument for home practice but only have the 3 ranks, built like a Moller Organ.

    Much smaller instruments are already in use in various chapels around the world:

    http://www.ohta.org.au/organs/organs/BrisbaneRCCathPugin.html

    Even my own college chapel organ is a small instrument of 3 ranks: 8' stopped diapason, 4' wald flute (stopped bass octave) and 8' Keraulophone (shared bass octave with stopped diapason) with a grand total of 156 pipes. (56-note manual, 20-note flat-paralell pedalboard, permanently coupled)
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,672
    Looks like a great instrument for church, depending on the size of the building. Such an instrument can lead chorale singing effectively, accompany chant, if used with discretion, and play some good repertoire - especially if one had divided ranks at the tenor (which this does not, unfortunately).

    Far better than something big to make noise.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 5,267
    I don't know why some companies only seem to want to build large instruments. Moller had gotten like that in their later days. When you think about it, it doesn't take substantially more time to build a large console than a small one. If you only build large ones, the crew will be standing idle a good bit of the time. A now deceased Schantz rep for 50 years, once said that you have to build the small instruments to get to build the larger ones. I know the economies of scale have been lost with current market demand, which pushes organ prices way too high. However, it would seem that a market is out there for small, mass-produced organ models for small churches and even homes. Maybe, prices could be held in a range that could compete with large digital instruments.
  • hartleymartin
    Posts: 1,299
    I think organ builders should have a small instrument in their workshop as a project on the go whilst they might be waiting for contracts for big jobs. That way they can have something ready to sell if they are approached by a church for an instrument to accompany their hymn singing.

    However, being neither an organ builder or operating my own business I'll leave it up to their better knowledge of the realities of being an organ builder.
  • hartleymartin
    Posts: 1,299
    On an earlier post, it is possible to create a kit organ?

    Let us say for example a couple of keyboards, a row of stop-tab switches, the case, a bench and a pedalboard.

    Midi Works will provide you with 2 keyboards, a pedalboard and a bench for just under US$4,900: http://www.midiworks.ca/index.php/products/details/239/18/bundles/2-keyboard-bundle

    I suppose then it is up to you to build the console casework, obtain stop tab switches (although with 20 pistons on each manual, you might not bother) and then set up a computer with Hauptwerk or similar.

    I personally wonder if organ builders just buy this bundle to build consoles for direct electric action and then construct the organ itself.

  • CharlesW
    Posts: 5,267
    I don't see why the mass-produced, small pipe organ isn't more common. Electronic switching and controls are certainly cheaper than some mechanical and pneumatic systems. Properly designed and marketed, it could even be profitable for builders.
  • hartleymartin
    Posts: 1,299
    Unfortunately, I think that a lot of parishes get conned into the features. The fact is that they need an isntrument capable of accompanying hymns, supporting liturgy, and some classical repertoire for use as postludes and interludes. A 3 or 4 rank instrument like the one I have described will probably do all that.
  • hartleymartin
    Posts: 1,299
    I just went over the Midiworks website.

    You cn get the pedalboard, one manual (no pistons) and one manual (with 20x pistons) and one swell shoe for just under $3,750. You would have to make your own bench (or retrieve an old one) and set them up on a table of some sort.

    It all looks rather attractive, but I managed to by an old Baldwin Cinema II 214DR for $305 cash, a tank of diesel fuel and a carton of beer.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 5,267
    An organist told me, with delight, he had a new Allen with 105 digital ranks. All this in a church that seats 200, at most. I wondered what he needed all that for. A small pipe instrument voiced to the space might have been better.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 5,267
    ...
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,672
    Not a word about voicing? The reason there isn't a mass-produced organ is because it needs to fit the space. I don't know that there's one specification or voicing style which works for 95%, 75%, or even 50% of churches. Even fitting in an electronic organ can be a very difficult process.

    The Artiste was a good concept for practice or perhaps a chapel, but never really produced a satisfactory sound in a church. I know of a few small churches with them, and one is too loud, the other barely speaks.
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,672
    What Charles just said.
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,672
    My piece having been said about the unification issue, I'll at least say I favor an electronic over a unit organ. Though again, far better than both would be a modest pipe organ.

    One of my first jobs as a music director was playing on a Kney of about 10 ranks, no unification. I had learned on a 73 rank Schantz. Playing on an instrument that small taught me a lot about subtlety and taste that was impossible to learn on the Schantz.

    Those small organs really can do a lot. Even with 10 stops, you still have a marvelous range of possibilities.
  • redsox1
    Posts: 163
    It is possible to crank out consoles using a certain template-Patrick Murphy is doing that. He has templates for two and three manual consoles, both dropped-jams and terraced. They are beautifully made and very comfortable. All-electric chests are easy for a builder to produce, or can be built to spec. by OSI. The difficulty comes when dealing with pipework. Gavin nails it about the Artiste. Moller used to simply pull pipes off the shelves, not only for the Artiste but for the largest of instruments as well. During my time at the Shrine, I was amazed at the underscaling of pipework for that vast space. That space requires huge scales-much larger than a builder would usually use, especially in the 1960's. I was told that was pretty much standard operating procedure at Moller. I played a production Moller organ in PA from 1972. It was barely adequate. You had to use full organ most of the time, and with a large diocesan liturgy the organ would be buried by a large singing congregation. We also had an Artiste in a chapel at the diocesan conference center. It was very underwhelming for a space that seats several hundred people. Again, the company had pretty much pulled things off the shelf and did little in the way of final voicing. Unfortunately, there is really no way to mass-produce pipework that will be satisfactory for all installations.
  • Because his work has been mentioned a few times on this thread, I thought I'd chime in regarding Patrick Murphy. He just built and installed a 3m 26r instrument in our church (2,000 family, largely working-class suburban Pittsburgh parish), and we are very, very pleased with the results.

    As redsox1 stated, Patrick has wisely been able to streamline production of his consoles. Ours is built from quarter-sawn oak, cherry, and fine hardware from OSI. The detail is elegant, and has no hint of an "assembly line" appearance.

    Much of our pipework is new, while some is repurposed. All ranks were carefully voiced, and any repurposed ranks were rescaled if necessary. There is judicious unification, but nothing like Moller or Wicks were doing in their heyday. The result is a remarkably versatile instrument for 26 ranks, with plenty of color (4 reed ranks with two 16' extensions) and power, mostly coming from the 8' and 4' ranks. In short, this is definitely no Artiste. It would certainly require more of an investment than would a digital organ, but is, in my opinion, a model of efficiency, and is attainable by more parishes than one might think.

    Although there are yet no recordings available, I'll attach the stoplist for your perusal. Feel free to send me a message if you have any questions. If you're within a drive of Pittsburgh, I'd love to show you the instrument in person. We're also finalizing a great dedication series for 2012-13.
    Thanked by 1Gavin
  • redsox1
    Posts: 163
    Congratulations on the new instrument, njgw! I spoke with Pat about your project. I am very intrigued and I hope to see it sometime. If you're looking for any guest recitalists...
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 4,778
    A parish of 2000 families can afford a nice organ, even if it means a bit of a stretch and a campaign and a whatever...

    Do you know how many parishes (both Catholic and other) have 100 members?
    I work at one.

    Given that even electric organs are priced like luxury cars, the best I think we can hope for in the short term is good baby grand piano.

    The "kit organ" idea- which, given Hauptwerk's software and modern speaker technology, can actually sound pretty damn decent IMHO - would be perfect for thousands of parishes.

    Midiworks is so close to having the right idea, but they need to make it easier to purchase a whole set, and also include IKEA-like ready-to-assemble case and bench and also a variety of outboard speakers, the computer, etc...

    I'd really like to know where they get their parts manufactured. I'm sure wholesale for the entire setup could be around a grand if manufactured overseas. I really think a price point of 4-5,000 retail would be reasonable and profitable, and give a lot of parishes (like mine, for example) something better than a crummy old Hammond salvaged from a funeral parlor.
    Thanked by 1Gavin
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 5,267
    Guys, I get by with 13 Schantz ranks in a church half a block long every Sunday. The instrument is voiced for the space. Do I have every stop I would like to have? No. But it works for Sunday liturgy. I have even knocked out a little Vierne for concerts with it.
    Thanked by 1Gavin
  • Adam,

    Yes, I'm well aware that an instrument like ours would be out of reach for very small parishes. I've heard great things about Hauptwerk, and I think it would be a creative way for parishes with limited funds to achieve something of quality.

    Honestly, though, I think that there are a lot of mid-large sized parishes out there for which this type of instrument is feasible. I think a lot of these places compare the cost rank-for-rank: "Well, a 75 rank pipe organ costs $1.2M, but a 75 rank digital organ only costs $60K," when really all they need is a good, solid 25 ranks. Thankfully, many builders are picking up on the trend of building smaller, more efficient instruments.
    Thanked by 2Gavin BruceL
  • hartleymartin
    Posts: 1,299
    So perhaps the idea of the stock instrument isn't so bad as is the issue of the instrument not being properly scaled and voiced for an acoustic space.

    Perhaps this idea could be made to work with a little less use of unification, and the pipework being properly scaled and voiced for particular acoustic spaces.

    But we could retain the idea of using an all direct-electric action on a universal windchest. This would mean that consoles could be more cheaply assembled from stock components (such as the midiworks keyboards and pedalboards) or that the money can be better spent on quality pipework and voicing.

    I know that we all have our ideas on action. I like tracker action to an extent, but I feel very comfortable on an instrument with direct electric action or even tracker-touch electric action keyboards.

    So let us have say:

    Stopped Diapason Rank A - 97 Pipes - 16', 4', 2-2/3', 2'
    Stopped Diapason Rank B - 61 Pipes - 8'
    String Rank C - 61 Pipes 8'
    String Rank D - 73 Pipes - 4', 2-2/3', 2' (or perhaps a Gemshorn?)
    Diapason Rank E - 73 Pipes - 8', 4'
    Reed Rank F - 73 Pipes - 8', 4'

    So out of 6 Ranks, totalling 438 pipes, we would have a better instrument than say a Moller Artiste, but something more affordable for a Parish Church.
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 4,778
    As Noel pointed out, and I don't want to harp on it too much, you can't just say "affordable." You're talking like an organ salesman. What do you mean by affordable?

    A manual here and a manual there and pretty soon you're talking about real money.
  • hartleymartin
    Posts: 1,299
    I'm note a salesman.

    Basically I'm a frustrated organist. I go to many churches which have bought synthesisers or electric pianos or cheap and nasty electronic organs.

    I'm trying to see if we can find a design for a proper pipe organ which might be within the realistic budgets of parish churches. It is perhaps something of an academic exercise.

    I want to see if we can steer churches towards buying a small pipe organ rather than an electronic instrument loaded with features that will never be used.
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 4,778
    I know you aren't a salesman- but the whole issue lack context. When you say affordable, do you mean $5000? $50000? $500000?

    And are you suggesting all this is currently doable? Or that someone should set up manufacturing operations? Or what?

    I mean, it seems like a reasonable intellectual game to play- how few pipes can we get away with? But I guess I just don't see the point.

    Not that I think pointlessness is a good reason to avoid starting/continuing a thread, mind you. I'm just curious if there actually is one (a point, that is). How do you think "we" (the 0.00001%) are supposed to use this conversation/idea as a jumping off point to encourage parishes to get better instruments. I imagine the organists among us already do the best they can to encourage good instrument-purchasing decisions whenever the opportunity arises.

    But, honestly- if you think there is a viable business model for what you are talking about, get on the phone with some organists and some Chinese manufacturers and set up a Kickstarter campaign to raise funding through pre-sales.
    Thanked by 1E_A_Fulhorst
  • I asked an organist friend and he said that it's a decision that's best made when the parish church building is built. He gave the rule of thumb that a pipe organ should be about 10 percent of the cost of the building, at least.

    Does this work?
    Thanked by 2ryand BruceL
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,672
    I think some of the better instruments I've heard have been installed into long extant buildings. Perhaps it's best to make sure to include chambers, and then set aside money in a fund as a seed to a later capital campaign.
  • Most Odd, or Most Unique Installation?
    Perhaps Bruton Parish Church in Colonial Williamsburg Virginia attended by many colonial notables. The present organ of considerable ranks is installed above the entire ceiling, giving something of a comical 'cathedral sound' to a small colonial church. (Oh! and it's an Aeolian Skinner of '30s vintage - Rather fun to play. Not a recommended installation to emulate.)

    Any other candidates?
  • hartleymartin
    Posts: 1,299
    Speaking as someone sitting at a computer on the far side of the world, I suppose "affordable" would have to be defined as being the price of a mid-range electronic organ. Prices vary considerably between different markets and so it is hard to place an exact dollar-figure on prices.

    I suppose the next set of logical questions are:

    What is considered a reasonable budget for an organ? (Say for a typical Catholic Parish)

    How can we convince parishes that a real pipe organ of fewer ranks is preferable to an electronic instrument with more ranks and whizz-bang features?


    Perhaps where the design ideas need to head are towards cabinet organs - an instrument with the pipes mounted on a universal windchest, and remotely controlled by an electronic console which might be an old electronic organ. The builder would focus on building the "organ" section and then put together a console from midiworks components or even an old electronic organ.

    It isn't too far removed from a project that I already have going. I am midifying an old clapped-out Conn Organ, and have a long-term project idea to purchase used pipes and creating a pipe-cabinet which can be controlled by the midi console.

    I'm fielding ideas for discussion, with not exact aim in mind other than seeing if it is possible to get churches to head for real pipe organs instead of electronic instruments.
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,672
    "What is considered a reasonable budget for an organ?"

    I think $500-$2000 per family.

    WAIT! Don't run me out yet!

    If one pledges over 5 years, this is less than $10/week! It's true that most will not give, but many will give more than this. Some of it will come from events. And you may have that huge donor in your church or community who will take care of a huge chunk. Mind you, you should probably budget 10+ years to the whole project.


    "How can we convince parishes that a real pipe organ of fewer ranks is preferable to an electronic instrument with more ranks and whizz-bang features?"

    That's easy, as I've come up across that issue in my own work: obsolescence. You point out that, no matter how fancy or accurate an emulation you get, it will be yesterday's news in 10 years. Everyone understands that from their computer and cell phone. I've seen otherwise uninterested people respond with shock and derision to the "why don't we just give in and get an electric organ" question. This answer really appeals to people. They feel like they "get it".
    Thanked by 2BruceL E_A_Fulhorst
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 5,267
    Granted, I have little use for trackers, along with kerosene lanterns or horse-drawn carriages. I like all my modern conveniences. I don't like being "in" the organ, as with a tracker, but prefer to be at a distance where I can actually hear what the congregation is hearing.

    Given that, however, I have mentioned an installation in my city that I think is a workable ideal for any parish. A Lutheran church in town had the Andover Co. develop a design for an instrument with provisions for future additions. It started as a very small organ. Over time, with memorial donations and gifts, more ranks were added. It took 18 years to finish the organ. It is now complete, and a pretty nice instrument. It can be done. What it takes is a parish that plans ahead and doesn't operate in only the current moment.

    Gavin and I must have been posting at the same time, so I just saw his last post. Obsolescence is a great point to make. How many electronics can you even get parts for 25 years later? My 60-year-old Schantz has been rebuilt and is chugging away toward its next 60 years of use. It may last even longer than that, since we cleaned the blower room, installed air intake filters, and started maintaining a minimum constant temperature in the building. Economically, I don't think electronics are a good long term investment.
    Thanked by 1E_A_Fulhorst
  • redsox1
    Posts: 163
    I know of at least a couple of situations where replacing components for Allen organs was VERY expensive. Eventually, the whole organ will fail and will need to be replaced. On the other hand, I know of a pipe organ builder who inspected a Wicks organ from the 30's. The chest magnets were in great shape for the most part. A few were burned out and needed to be replaced but most were in good condition. The all-electric action is reliable, space efficient, long-lasting, and cheaper to build than mechanical action or pitman action. Speech issues caused by the quick attack can be overcome with good voicing and expansion chambers under each pipe. And, of course, they allow the flexibility of judicious unification. Here is an interesting example of a small organ that is very flexible and can fill the space. There is also a link to an mp3 recording. I think the results are impressive:

    http://www.keggorgan.com/ProjectDetail.cfm?yJNum=1102

    Kegg also has examples of instruments of 7 and 8 ranks.

  • CharlesW
    Posts: 5,267
    I really like the one at the Episcopal church in Ohio. I had not heard that Thewes piece before, and will be rushing to order the sheet music.
  • BruceL
    Posts: 599
    Folks, there is a lot of conjecture here, and frankly there are advantages to many types of everything. You can't argue that a (good, properly regulated) tracker action has any peer regarding touch and control. You can't argue that that will quickly disappear if there are long tracker runs! You also can't argue that EP/DE action has advantages (console placement/weird chambers/etc.) in overcoming physical limitations.

    There is one thing, though, that I want to say without equivocation about unit organs/unification in general. It is absolutely NOT good to derive non-unison ranks from unison ranks! The tuning is horrible and of course there are limitations with that which cannot be overcome! Better to spend a few more $k and have a real nazard/tierce/etc. The other thing to keep in mind with unification (especially in upperwork) is that your 4-5rk/20 stop unit organ will lack a tremendous amount of carrying power compared to a "straight" organ. In a big room, this is very important. This is also very different than unifying a pedal reed, etc., wherein it is as much a space/money saving device as anything else. Anyhow, rant ended, but I grew up on so many little organs that had unified mutations that sounded horrible and unmusical!

    Finally, keep in mind when installing a new organ that it is always essential that the installation have a consultant who is familiar with organbuilding and the needs of the church. They must be sure the work is executed at a high level, and must also be sure that things don't happen like the stories above of Moller et. al putting improperly matched pipework into the installation. If the voicing is bad, the builder is obligated to fix it. If they charge for new pipes, but are really recycling the 1' trechterregal celeste from their last great opus, they need to fix it, etc. So many bad installations could have been avoided by the appointment of a knowledgeable consultation.

    By the same token, organists should all know enough about their instrument that they can catch this stuff, too. Every trumpet or clarinet player knows how to take care of their instrument, so organists should be no different.
  • Don't overlook resources like the Organ Clearing House or watching for an older organ
    that might be "rescued." It is imperative to have a technician who knows his/her stuff
    to advise and assist. We recently found a 13 rank Holtkamp designed by Walter S. Sr.
    It was in a church that was being remodelled. The new powers-that-be wanted more
    room for an extra traps set. It is all straight, 2 mixtures, a little reed and a very sweet
    Silbermann-like plenum. One of our tenors, who is a top-notch pipe organ technician,
    learned of the organ. We ended up getting it for free, if we hauled out before the
    remodellers came in the next week. The technician and his wife supervised the dis-
    mantling and packing; and the men of the choir provided the muscle-power. I hope to
    have it up-and-running by Christmas!
    Thanked by 3BruceL redsox1 CHGiffen
  • BruceL
    Posts: 599
    Very nice, Samuel! Might want to repitch the inevitable Zimbel down, though! ;-)
  • marajoymarajoy
    Posts: 762
    Still not sure what the point of this thread is, but yes, I definitely concur... "derived" ranks ought to be avoided at all costs.