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Thomas Dressler

New member
Spent a terrific week down south, practicing on the 1800 Tannenberg in Winston-Salem, North Carolina! What a wonderful instrument! I think what I like best about it is its winding system, and it's one of the few instruments from that era that still has its original system. It is very flexible, so easy to make sound bad if you're not careful how you release notes, but also capable of making very musical sounds, trios sound like you're playing 3 different instruments as far as inflection goes! I've played a number of modern instruments with flexible winding, but this beats them all in my opinion. Not exactly sure how to describe it, but its reactions seem more smooth than the modern ones I have played. This truly is my favorite instrument of those I have played!

I'll be performing there on October 7th, and it would be really nice to meet any members who are in the southeastern US!

Alexander smith

New member
Hi Tom, I live about an hour away from Winston-Salem, and have played the Tannenburg 2 times. I was playing Bach's invention in C-major ( I am a beginner ) and I released the note too fast and it sounded horrid! It would be very nice to meet another member from this forum and if I can make it out there it would be a very good birthday present! (my birthday is October 3) Alexander.

Arvin B

New member
Thomas, what gave the winding it's characteristics? Did it have wedge bellows? Hand pumped?

Also, why does the key release sound bad so easily? I know you're probably thinking that it happens because it's a tracker, but I play a tracker every Sunday and unless I'm just so used to playing it that I don't encounter the problem, there must be some design improvement over the years. I also haven't encountered the problem on historic American organs I've played (Johnson, Kilgen, Hook, etc.), so I am curious about this phenomenon.

Thomas Dressler

New member
Hi Alexander and Arvin! Sorry it's taking me awhile to respond. I am a bit overwhelmed at the moment because the Tannenberg program is not the only one I will be doing in October. I have four programs on very different instruments in the span of about a month, and I am a bit harried with trying to manage this amount of repertoire.

Alexander, lucky you living so close to Old Salem! I love visiting there, and I really love the Tannenberg. It would be really nice to actually meet someone from the forum!

Arvin, there's been a lot of debate about what gives old instruments their winding characteristics. I believe nowadays people attribute it to the wind trunk. This makes sense because the Tannenberg can be either hand pumped or blown with an electric motor, and it still retains its flexibility when motor blown. No, I don't say it's simply because it's a tracker, because I've played a lot of trackers over the years.

It is important not to see steadier wind solely as an "improvement." There is a difference between an instrument with out-of-control, shaky wind, and one with a pleasant flexibility that can be controlled by the organist. The winding of the Tannenberg is very flexible, and it takes skill to control it, but when you do it sounds incredibly musical. It adds the note inflection that is impossible on an instrument with very steady wind. Later historic American instruments like Hooks, etc, are more steady than the older ones, yes. Romantic repertoire pretty much assumes this kind of steadiness and makes demands on the wind supply that older composers did not make. It's not that one is better than the other, but that they are different. Composers and performers use what is available, and an instrument with wind like the Tannenberg brings out wonderful characteristics in older music that is lost when played on more steadily winded instruments.

Arvin B

New member
Thanks for the reply. Don't worry about the delay.

Can you think of any modern builders that are using flexible wind like you describe?