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Thread: Blasphemy Boxes

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    Admiral of Fugues Contratrombone64's Avatar
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    Blasphemy Boxes

    I paid a visit to the local church where I work (St. Paul's Anglican, Chatswood on the north shore of Sydney) ostensibly to see what it looks like inside ... rather splendid sandstone building. I discovered to my horror that there is no organ, hasn't been one there since the mid 70s and that they use a 1970s blasphemy box that is just horrendous. I passed when the clergyman asked if I wanted to play "a tune" ...

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    Admiral Honkenwheezenpooferspieler Corno Dolce's Avatar
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    Hi CT64,

    *Blasphemy Box* - ROTFLMAO!!!! Thats a keeper.

    Cheers,

    Cono Dolce
    *If a man wants God to hear his prayer quickly, then before he prays for anything else, even his own soul, when he stands and stretches out his hands towards God, he must pray with all his heart for his enemies. Through this action God will hear everything that he asks* -Abba Zeno-

    *Protagoras: "Truth is subjective. What is true for you, and what is true for me, is true for me. Your opinion is true by virtue of its being your opinion."

    *Socrates: "My opinion is: Truth is absolute, not opinion, and that you are in absolute error. Since this is my opinion, then according to your philosophy you must grant that it is true."

    "Improvisational Art": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qSxVO3EoCRM

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    Vice Admiral Virtuoso methodistgirl's Avatar
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    The last church I went to only had a piano and a drum set! Now just
    imagine how it sounded until the church got me a bass to play and then
    I was done dirty!
    judy tooley

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    Administrator Krummhorn's Avatar
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    I did substitute work in a church for several weeks on one of these blasphemy boxes ... it had wave sounds, train whistles, chiming gongs, and other wonderful sounds that every church needs for a church service ... just kidding!! I spent the better part of a half day just trying to figure out how to have a simple 8' and 4' flute sound. Had to push no less than 12 buttons which illuminated 15 lights just to have this simple sound ... Kept looking for the brake pedal!!

    It had the wildest vibrato that could not be turned off on flute stops ... The "organ" was at the rear of the church, speakers inside the console facing my knees ... so had to play it wide open all the time in order to be heard faintly at the front of the church ... it was a horrid experience.

    Love that term, CT ... blasphemy box ... rofl
    Kh ~~.
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    Admiral Honkenwheezenpooferspieler Corno Dolce's Avatar
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    Krummhorn - sometimes it seems like the congregation's idea of a pipe organ is a single rank of 37 metal pipes w/keyboard on one side and bellows on the other and the *organist* does both the *puffing* and the *spieling*.
    *If a man wants God to hear his prayer quickly, then before he prays for anything else, even his own soul, when he stands and stretches out his hands towards God, he must pray with all his heart for his enemies. Through this action God will hear everything that he asks* -Abba Zeno-

    *Protagoras: "Truth is subjective. What is true for you, and what is true for me, is true for me. Your opinion is true by virtue of its being your opinion."

    *Socrates: "My opinion is: Truth is absolute, not opinion, and that you are in absolute error. Since this is my opinion, then according to your philosophy you must grant that it is true."

    "Improvisational Art": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qSxVO3EoCRM

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    Administrator Krummhorn's Avatar
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    Touche', Corno Dolce ... Touche'.

    Unfortunately, money comes into play for church instruments. Luckily my church had the forsight to purchase a pipe organ in 1979 ... we couldn't afford this same instrument today. So far, my church is still the only Lutheran parish in this region with a 100% pipe organ for service use ... Of course, there are many pipe organs in other denominations about town, one of the two largest at 45 rks at St. Michael and All AngelsEpiscopal. Scroll down that page for the spec and pics of the pipework. The other is 46 rks at Northminster Pres, built by Quimby Organs in Warrensburg, MO. Quimby is the company I contract with for tuning/maintenance on our Möller Pipe at my church.
    Kh ~~.
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    Amateur musicians practice until they get it right ...
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    fessional musicians practice until they can't get it wrong ...


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    Admiral Honkenwheezenpooferspieler Corno Dolce's Avatar
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    Krummhorn - I'm only too aware of the expenses involved in the purchase of a pipe organ for a parish. Thanks for sharing the link about the Skinner in Tucson and for mentioning the Quimby at Northminster Pres.

    Corno Dolce
    *If a man wants God to hear his prayer quickly, then before he prays for anything else, even his own soul, when he stands and stretches out his hands towards God, he must pray with all his heart for his enemies. Through this action God will hear everything that he asks* -Abba Zeno-

    *Protagoras: "Truth is subjective. What is true for you, and what is true for me, is true for me. Your opinion is true by virtue of its being your opinion."

    *Socrates: "My opinion is: Truth is absolute, not opinion, and that you are in absolute error. Since this is my opinion, then according to your philosophy you must grant that it is true."

    "Improvisational Art": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qSxVO3EoCRM

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    Admiral of Fugues Contratrombone64's Avatar
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    Hey - you know what - blasphemy boxes need not be horrendous. I was in country NSW last Easter and their organ was in bits and pieces in preparation for extensive overhaul. Anyway, St. John the Baptist's kind local, lady named Mrs Hulme (and a good friend of mine) donated her Makin organ for use. This instrument has no bells and whilstles, just two manual of standard traditional church style organ stops - very difficult to tell the difference between it and a modest sized pipe organ.

    If you're interested, you can find a picture of the St. John's pipe organ here: http://www.ohta.org.au/organs/organs/MudgeeAng.html. Only thing missing is a decent reed on the Pedals, shame, but not a bad little instrument really.

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    Vice Admiral Virtuoso methodistgirl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Contratrombone64 View Post
    Hey - you know what - blasphemy boxes need not be horrendous. I was in country NSW last Easter and their organ was in bits and pieces in preparation for extensive overhaul. Anyway, St. John the Baptist's kind local, lady named Mrs Hulme (and a good friend of mine) donated her Makin organ for use. This instrument has no bells and whilstles, just two manual of standard traditional church style organ stops - very difficult to tell the difference between it and a modest sized pipe organ.

    If you're interested, you can find a picture of the St. John's pipe organ here: http://www.ohta.org.au/organs/organs/MudgeeAng.html. Only thing missing is a decent reed on the Pedals, shame, but not a bad little instrument really.
    That is the cutest church I ever saw! It looks like a gingerbread house
    on the outside. The inside is reminds me of my church. See the avatar!
    It's adorable!
    judy tooley
    Last edited by methodistgirl; Dec-12-2007 at 23:06.

  10. #10
    Admiral of Fugues Contratrombone64's Avatar
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    Thanks Judy - yes, St. John the Baptist Mudgee is an historic building (at least as far as Australian European history goes). For such a small church so far from Sydney (basically in the middle of know where) it boasts a fine organ. In fact, this organ (being restored) is so "unchanged" that a lot of new English builders come to see it because of it's almost pristine condition. The current overhaul is to give the old wind bag a good old clean, tidy up her bits and pieces and replace worn out tongues etc.

  11. #11
    Rear Admiral Appassionata
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    Hi CT64,

    Not entirely sure Brindley and Foster particularly distinguished themselves as organ builders. There's dozens of their examples round here, and very few of them are particularly good. Almost without exception they are completely dull and uninteresting. Few if any are particularly well built either. Inherant problems include, poor actions, cheap mixtures of metals used for pipe construction, shodily constructed woods, inadequate winding systems, poorly voiced. We seem to be littered with not very good organs round here, probably paid for and donated by the local pit or the steel works or whatever (depending on which town or village) and built to the lowest possible specification...

    Sad really..

    NEB

  12. #12
    Admiral of Fugues Contratrombone64's Avatar
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    NEB - i find most church organs in Australia (with the exception of the capital city cathedrals) on the whole dull and uninteresting, there are the occasional little gems of course such as the one in St Peter's Cremorne (Sydney), or Christ Church St Laurence (Sydney city), it seems Melbourne has some fine parish organs: I've heard Malvern Presbyterian Church (splendid in my opinion) and St George's Uniting. Oh to have one like the Basilica of St Patrick (Freemantle) where I live.

    My comment really wasn't on the quality of the voicing of St John's Mudgee rather the fact that it's basically survived the rigorous updating that happened to a lot of Australian organs.

    The organ historic society is an interesting creature ... all they seem to do is provide funding for pretty colour schemes for facade pipes ... (I jest, somewhat)

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    Rear Admiral Appassionata
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    I don't mind organs with not much on them (i.e. half a dozen or so stops - single manual plus peds) If they have something that distinguishes them and makes the interesting and pleasant.

    There a 9 stop beauty not 500 yds from my home. The diapasons are bright and chiffy, the flute are rich, and the upperwork has 2 2/3 and 2' which even allow for a sort of Cornet to be constructed. A pretty dulciana kinda completes the set. Pedals is a single 16' stopped wood but more than adequate to balance out with the couple pulled and on it's own gives a lovely foundation for lighter playing above...

    Now obviously you can't play an awful lot of rep on it, but this organ gives a good account of itself in the services, manages many of the toccatas, and earlier music allows a beautiful sonority.

    Small cheaper organs don't have to be poor quality, but sadly so many of them are...

  15. #14
    Rear Admiral Appassionata
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    Added - the organ I'm talking about in my last post isn't a B&F special. I don't know who made it but it wasn't them...

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    Captain of Water Music jvhldb's Avatar
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    Can anybody tell me why the manuals are switched round between pipe organs and appliances? On our church organ the great is the front most manual and the swell above that (only two manuals), on all electronic organs I came accros what equals the great is the top most/furthest back manual on the organ which means you have to lean forward the whole time you're playing, not a very comfortable position.

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