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TitleManual Organista
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Total Pages27
Table of Contents
                            Table of Contents
Introduction
Chapter 1 – Physical Construction
	What Makes an Instrument an Organ
	Evolution of the Organ
	Modern Day Pipe Organs
Chapter 2 – Internal Operation
	Flue and Reed Pipes
	Sound Modifying Variables
	Ranks
	Wind Chest
	Blower
Chapter 3 – Operating the Console
	Console
	Organs within Organs
	Stops
	Percussion
	Pistons
	Pedal Board
	Crescendo and Swell Pedals
	Toe Studs
	Consoles From Organ to Organ
Summary
Index
                        
Document Text Contents
Page 1

The Organists’ Manual






Josh Robinson

Page 13

Chapter 2 13



Chapter 2 – Internal Operation

Flue and Reed Pipes
All pipes in an organ can be broken down into one of two
types—flue and reed. Each has a very different sound that can
even be detected by the untrained ear. While difficulty to
describe a ‘sound’ via a textual document, a flue pipe sound can
be described as a soft whistle, and most closely resembles the
sound of a flute. Reed pipes are much louder than flue pipes and
sound nasally. Imagine holding your nose while singing different
notes; this would sound close to the sound of a reed pipe. Reed
and flue pipes sound different, operating in entirely different
ways in terms of physical construction.

Flue pipes work in the same way that a whistle does: by moving
air across a slit surface to create a sound. Reed pipes create
sound by blowing air across a reed. A reed is an extremely thin
piece of material made of metal or wood that vibrates very
quickly back and forth when confronted with air. Reed pipes work in the same way that a kazoo toy
does. A reed pipe most closely resembles the sound of a saxophone. Flue pipes have a very simple
operation, while reed pipes are more complex in construction. In the drawing to the right, ‘a’ and ‘b’ are

flue pipes, and ‘c’ and‘d’ are reed pipes. ‘A’ is a metal flue pipe, and ‘b’ a wooden stopped-flue pipe.

Page 14

14 Organists’ Manual

Sound Modifying Variables
In addition to a pipe being a flue or reed pipe, the sound that a pipe produces can be further modified
with its material. For example, a wooden pipe creates a soft, mellow, warm sound, while metal pipes
create a bright, nasally, trumpet-like sound. Metals pipes can be made from lead, tin, copper, aluminum,
gold or silver. Each type of metal produces a different sound. Wooden pipes are generally expensive
nowadays, and are often made of whatever wood is readily available—most often mahogany or other
hardwood. Wooden pipes are squared and made from planks glued together on each side to form a
rectangular prism–shaped pipe.

Shape can also alter a pipe’s sound. Wooden pipes are usually square-shaped, while metal pipes can be
conical-, cylindrical- or triangular-shaped. Open and stopped pipes are other contributing factors to
altering a pipe’s sound. Open pipes have no covering on the top and the sound is free to leave the top of
the pipe and enter the surrounding air, while stopped pipes have a wooden or metal stopper on the top
that changes the sound and pitch of the pipe.

Ranks
Each row of pipes of a specific material, shape and size is referred to as a “rank.” Organs can quickly
build up to thousands of pipes with just a few ranks. For example, a single rank would consist of conical-
shaped, tin, metal flue pipes, with a pipe to represent each of the 61 keys on the keyboard. To change
the note (pitch) each ‘conical-shaped, tin, metal flue pipe’ produces, its size would be changed.
Increasing the size would be lowering the pitch (played by a key on the left side of the keyboard) while
decreasing the size would be raising the pitch (played by a key on right side of the keyboard).

The organ builder can then make a simple modification to that rank of pipes, such as changing the metal
to copper, which then creates an entirely new rank of pipes. Through these small modifications of
material, shape and size, several hundred ranks can exist in an organ. The name given to these specific
ranks usually corresponds to orchestral instruments to which they sound similar, such as the flute, tuba,
trombone, violin, cello, piccolo, and many more. Pipes with a certain set of characteristics (conical
shaped, tin, metal flue pipe) will be referred to by organ builders and organists as its orchestral match—
the Rohr Flute, which is a rank in the pipe
organ.

A snapshot of one of an organ’s chambers is
pictured to the right. This chamber hosts six
ranks. You can see how each rank of pipes
differs in shape, size and metal. The smallest
pipes in a rank can be as small as a pencil’s
width, only a few inches tall, and make high-
pitched whistle sounds. The largest of these
pipes that produce booming, wall-rattling
bass notes can be over 50 feet tall and
several feet in diameter.

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26 Organists’ Manual

Index
Console, 10, 19, 21
Manual, 1, v
metal, 13, 14
organist, v, 15, 21, 22, 23, 24
pipe, 9, 10, 13, 14, 15, 21, 22, 23, 24, 26, 28

reed, 13, 14
Sound, iii, 9, 10, 14
Stops, 23, 28
wood, 13, 14, 15

Page 27

Chapter 3 27

Works Cited

Images used from:

Harmony Central Forum

http://acapella.harmony-central.com/

The Variety of Organ Pipes and Stops

http://www.die-orgelseite.de/pfeifenarten_e.htm

Organists Blog Website

http://s0.geograph.org.uk/geophotos/02/98/36/2983606_f04c6b87.jpg

VillaNova

http://www41.homepage.villanova.edu/klaus.volpert/images/pipe_organs/sydney.jpg

N8RBB

http://www.n8rrb.com/pipeorgans/stagathacc/IMG_3679.jpg

Shaldon Church

http://www.shaldonchurches.org.uk/selfdestruct4.jpg

Dunne Music

http://dunnemusic.com/Portals/0/Gallery/Album/11/organwk06.jpg

Harvey MacKay

http://harveymackay.com/column/wp-content/uploads/dombedos1.jpeg



Console Data Sources:

AGO Website http://www.agohq.org/guide/pages/pages_9_10/console.html

http://www.lovingit.co.uk/images/2007-08_exeter-cathedral-
organ-pipes.jpg



http://acapella.harmony-central.com/
http://www.die-orgelseite.de/pfeifenarten_e.htm
http://s0.geograph.org.uk/geophotos/02/98/36/2983606_f04c6b87.jpg
http://www41.homepage.villanova.edu/klaus.volpert/images/pipe_organs/sydney.jpg
http://www.n8rrb.com/pipeorgans/stagathacc/IMG_3679.jpg
http://www.shaldonchurches.org.uk/selfdestruct4.jpg
http://dunnemusic.com/Portals/0/Gallery/Album/11/organwk06.jpg
http://www.lovingit.co.uk/images/2007-08_exeter-cathedral-organ-pipes.jpg
http://www.lovingit.co.uk/images/2007-08_exeter-cathedral-organ-pipes.jpg

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