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Thread: Smallest and Biggest you've played?

  1. #31
    Administrator Krummhorn's Avatar
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    Smile Smallest and Largest

    The smallest pipe organ I have played was in Assisi, Italy - a one manual 3 rank organ with an electrified blower. The stops were labeled with paper clips attached to wooden dowels. The top and front opened completely allowing the maximum sound to be heard. The chapel was all stone and quite live acoustically, so this little organ really sounded quite well.

    The largest pipe organ I played was the very famous Mormom Tabernacle Organ in Salt Lake City. A wonderful instrument in many ways - I had about 30 minutes at a seminar after John Longhurst played a private program.

    The pipe instrument I play every week on at church is a 9 rk Moller (1979) operating on 3" wind. The Swell is enclosed, the Great exposed. The church has pews for 252 people, so this organ does a rather nice job in accompanying and solo performance. I had the reeds voiced so that they "bight" a little with the shades open - closed, the reed is very mellow.

  2. #32
    Apprentice, Piano musanim's Avatar
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    The smallest organ I ever played was at the shop/studio of instrument-maker Gary Blaise in San Francisco. It was pedal-powered, with a single 8 foot stop (stopped wooden pipes). I found it surprisingly distracting to pump it, even though I'd played reed organs and pumped player pianos before without trouble. Lovely sound, though. He makes a smaller instrument now (which he sells; the one I played was more for his own amusement), but I haven't visited him since he completed the first of those.

    The biggest organ was undoubtedly one I played in Lincoln, England. When I visited my first-cousin-once-removed there in 1981, her husband took me around to the organs in the area. I don't remember much about the instruments, but I took pictures of the stops and pedalboard of the one that was the biggest:

    http://www.musanim.com/misc/LincolnOrganStops.jpg
    http://www.musanim.com/misc/LincolnOrganPedals.jpg

    Maybe somebody here will recognize it.

  3. #33
    Seaman, Mezzoforte
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    I'm Alexander. The smallest organ i've played is a reed organ, [ I'll try to remember all the stops, they were principal, dipasion, vox-humania, treble and bass couplers. I am going to play the Tannenberg at Old Salem.

  4. #34
    Administrator Krummhorn's Avatar
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    I was intrigued to find out more about the Tannenberg ... found this website:
    Tannenberg Organ - Background

    Great info and pictures of some pipes before and after restoration.
    Kh ~~.
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    Amateur musicians practice until they get it right ...
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  5. #35
    Apprentice, Piano
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    Possibly taking the price.

    Except for the user who told about using a book-sized organ, I might take the price.

    In 2003, I was visiting on the Faroe Islands with a group of scouts - far before my love affair with Organs, but back then I had already played the psalms in church for five years. On an island called "Fugloy", the Bird Island - way out in the Atlantic and with an population of ca. 20 - something went awry with the timing and the boat didnt show up on time - and, we were told, might first show up the next day. Which meant we needed something to do. A kind person let us into the charming and absolutely beautifull, little, old church. Up beside the altar was the tiniest pipe organ I have ever seen, with only one stop. Curiously, I asked if I might play it - which was of course allowed.

    Sitting there, flipping through the Faroese Hymn Book and playing a few familiar hymns while looking out on the beautifull Atlantic Sea - oh man. Everyone was gripped by the feeling of the moment, and when I intonated a morning psalm, everyone burst out in song. (We were a group of about 10 grownups and a few children)

    The biggest organ I have played was the organ in the Church of Saint Mary, in S√łnderborg, Denmark. Seeing as I have only played organ (earnestly and willingly) for three months, it was a great thing when I was allowed to sit down at the Three-manual instrument built by Marcussen. My best guess is that it had 50+ stops - I did not count them, but there were two 16" trumpet stops - both of which resembled huge farts (Sorry if I am offending anyone)


    Lene, in Denmark

  6. #36
    Seaman, Mezzoforte
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    Hi it's me again. The largest organ I ever played was at Saint Lukes Methodist church, this organ had three manuels and a whole barrage of stops for me to choose from so it was wonderfull!!!

  7. #37
    Seaman, Mezzoforte Diaphone Profundo 64's Avatar
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    Westminster Cathedral

    Hi everybody!!!!

    The smallest organ I have played is a small positiv organ with 3 stops, and the biggest is the big organ of Westminster Cathedral, London. The Westminster Cathedral has a magnificinet organ!!! But no facade at all! . Its sound is unique. The Cathedral has a very good acoustic and provides at the organ a very nice feature!

  8. #38
    Recruit, Pianissimo
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    The smallest organ I have played, not including things such as a single stop tuning bench instrument, would be a two and a half stop instrument in a Derbyshire church, whose maker I forget. Manual compass was F to f3, four octaves, possibly one octave of coupled pedals. Stops were an Open Diapason 8' and a Salicional 8'. Both shared a stopped lower octave. There was also a 16' Bourdon acting on the lowest octave alone. So the longest open pipes would have been about 3 feet long, and the longest Bourdon pipes would have been about 6 feet long. Remarkably effective in a tiny stone church seating all of 25 or so (not very reverberant either). With only a couple of stops, you have to find other ways to add musical expression. It even has a slight celebrity link - the organist is, or was, mother of a well-known Blue Peter presenter of a few years back. For the uninitiated, Blue Peter is a very long-running children's TV programme, presented live several times a week in a magazine format.

  9. #39
    Lieutenant Commander, Concertmaster
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    The biggest organ I have played in is the organ in Hallgrimskirkja which is located in the capital of Iceland Reykjavik. That organ is a 72 stops tracker. See the specs. See picture here.

  10. #40
    Administrator Krummhorn's Avatar
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    Hi falcon1 ...

    Wow - that's one impressive facade, case and pipe display. When was this organ built and/or installed? Hopefully this is in a good acoustic environment.

    KH

  11. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by Krummhorn View Post
    Hi falcon1 ...

    Wow - that's one impressive facade, case and pipe display. When was this organ built and/or installed? Hopefully this is in a good acoustic environment.

    KH
    Hi Krummhorn,

    it was installed 1992 and is build by Klais. The acoustic is very good for this big organ. Maybe I will try to record some performance by me on that organ this summer or fall and post it here.
    Btw. it has also a moveable console on the floor. But the "attached" console is located under the Chamade's, so you really need some airplugs if you're gona use that stop there. hehehe...

    We Icelanders are also going to get another big organ in next few years because we are finally building a big concert hall and that will include a big organ. But organ builder hasn't been choosed yet.

  12. #42
    Administrator Krummhorn's Avatar
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    Falcon1, being the curious person I am, I have done some reading about Reykjavic on the internet (wikipedia has some of the best info) and in particular it's weather. How on earth does one keep an organ of this magnitude in tune all year round? I would think the great temperature variations would certainly wreak havok with the reeds, especially.

    Kh
    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 ...


  13. #43
    Lieutenant Commander, Concertmaster
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    Quote Originally Posted by Krummhorn View Post
    Falcon1, being the curious person I am, I have done some reading about Reykjavic on the internet (wikipedia has some of the best info) and in particular it's weather. How on earth does one keep an organ of this magnitude in tune all year round? I would think the great temperature variations would certainly wreak havok with the reeds, especially.

    Kh
    Krummhorn, our churches are warmed up with heating utility just like normal homes in Reykjavik. So we can keep the temperature stable. But certainly if that fails then the reeds are gone hehehe...

  14. #44
    Commodore con Forza Soubasse's Avatar
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    Good thread. I'm with giovanni in terms of favourites - I very much doubt anything will better St Sulpice. And it's also the largest I've played. The largest I've played publicly (ie, recital or mass) would most likely be Durham Cathedral.

    The smallest would be a locally made continuo organ (chap named Roger Jones). 1-manual with 8, 8, 4, 2 (or it may have been 8, 8, 4, 1 1/3, can't quite remember).

    Matt
    Music is made to transform the states of the soul, for an hour or an instant (J. Alain)

  15. #45
    Apprentice, Piano AeroScore's Avatar
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    My smallest: a 2 manual, 13 stop Williams & Sons in St James Episcopal, Oakland CA. I played there for a year in the late 80's. This organ is historic in that Williams & Sons built several well-regarded instruments in the San Francisco Bay Area, all of which were destroyed by the 1906 earthquake...except for this one; Shoenstein came and "modernised" it in the middle 50's, electrifying it, and removing the Trumpet (which Father Jim described as sounding like "a herd of angry Buicks").

    Largest: the 4/38 (at the time I recorded it, now a 4/40) Wurlitzer at the Berkeley Community Theatre, belonging to the Nor-Cal Chapter of ATOS.

    38 ranks may not seem like much, but the principle of unification (thank you, Robert Hope-Jones) provides a 4 manual console with over 350 stops. In a 3500 seat theatre, the sound just cascades down from heaven, thanks to a chamber layout that has all three chambers in a row far above the stage...glorious! Here's a pic...

    Dean

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