Pipe organ with trumpet pipes

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by ComeBackKid, Aug 5, 2009.

  1. ComeBackKid

    ComeBackKid Fortissimo User

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    I am starting this as a new thread though I suppose it could go under 'how does a trumpet work?; because it is a related question.

    A month or so ago, there was a thread titled "Hidden Slot" in which there was a great deal of discussion about partials, harmonics, overtones, open and closed tube standing waves, and other acoustic concepts. There was mention of the effect of conical bore vs cylindrical bore, and even the impedance that occurs at the bell outlet which contributes to the creation of the standing wave and the "equivalent" (my term) length of a piece of conical tubing to similar cylindrical tubing.

    The reason that I mention this is that the other night I saw a TV program about music around the world. There is a gal name Diane Bish who travels around the world playing different organs. On this program she was playing a new organ in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. In addition to the regular array of vertical pipes which have the slot at the base, there was another array of horizontal pipes that were used to simulate trumpet sounds. I noticed that when those pipes were played, they still had a distinctive organ sound - they did not really sound like trumpets. At the same time, I noticed that the pipes were purely conical - not cylindrical like the vertical pipes. Also, I did not notice a slot in them like the vertical ones have. I was wondering three things: (1) Was it a deliberate design feature to make the pipes so that they would retain the organ-like sound? (with just a hint of trumpet sound). If so, was it really necessary to add a whole set of special pipes for this sound? I have heard other organs that could produce a simulated trumpet sound without the extra pipes. Or, were these pipes just for show? Or (2), were they really trying for a trumpet-like sound and simply could not make it any closer? If this is the case, why would they keep the pipes purely conical and not form a bell at the end like a trumpet has? Also, I assume that these organs play using compressed air in some way but I would guess that they blow over the ends of the pipes like one would blow over a series of partially-filled bottles to make different tones. So, that action would not simulate the action of a mouthpiece, I would think - hence the lack of the trumpet tone. Would it not be possible to make a mechanical device to act like human lips on a mouthpiece to form the standing wave? Perhaps it would not be perfect but it should create a sound closer to a trumpet than this organ produced; and (3) in either case is the apparent number of pipes really required? The camera did not focus on the horizontal pipes long enough or close enough to actually count the number but my best guess is that there were close to 100 of those pipes. That is more than the keys on a piano. Are those pipes supposed to cover the entire range of all brass - or maybe all wind - instruments? If so, can they approximate the sounds of clarinets, saxophones, flutes, too? Maybe that is why they do not have bells on the ends. But that raises another question. Would it be possible to make the pipes each play more than one note but making them like the early trumpets - with either sliding bells or air holes that can be covered by "fingers"?

    So, since there are some here (Rowuk?) that have experience in organ design, are there any particular answers to these questions or is it like architecture - it is all in the eye of the designer? Just curious.
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2009
  2. Dupac

    Dupac Fortissimo User

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    Quote: "... to act like human lips on a mouthpiece ..."
    Is it exactly what does that "Toyota's trumpet playing robot" ? (Just google those words)
     
  3. nordlandstrompet

    nordlandstrompet Forte User

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  4. Lyndon

    Lyndon New Friend

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    There are quite a few questions wrapped up in your post - here's my attempt at answers to some of them (I'm an organist).

    A few organ facts first. There are two basic types of organ pipe, each having various sub-types (which I won't go into here). Flue pipes - which have mouths (slots) on the front - work like giant recorders. They're the kind that are usually on show on the front of the instrument. Reed pipes (associated with stops with names like Oboe, Clarinet, Trumpet etc.) work in a different way. The air enters the base of the pipe and sets a metal tongue vibrating. The metal tongue set-up is like a giant version of what you'll find inside a child's squeaky toy. Often, these are inside the instrument. In some cases, trumpet pipes are mounted horizontally, and are visible - in which case they often have copper or brass resonators (and even bells) - see http://www.wfu.edu/chaplain/tour/full/IMG_0527.jpg One organ pipe can only make one kind of sound at one pitch. A stop (a set of pipes with a particular kind of sound – trumpet, diapason, etc.) will in general have as many pipes as there are notes on the department of the organ from which it is played. Each stop on an organ manual (keyboard) having 61 notes (the usual number – 5 octaves) will have 61 pipes. A large concert or cathedral organ having 100 or so stops will have over 6000 pipes, mostly hidden inside. It may be that the trumpet pipes you saw belonged to two stops of different pitch, so there may have been 122 of them.

    It won't have been a design feature to retain the organ-like sound. Most horizontal trumpets on organs have a 'trumpetty' character, but don't (and aren't seriously intended to) sound like actual orchestral trumpets. They will be loud, and have a 'brassy' sound. The name 'Trumpet' on the stop knob is a guide (for the player) to the kind of sound the stop makes, as are the names on other imitative stops like 'Clarinet' or 'Oboe'. They won't have been 'trying for a trumpet-like sound' – they'll have been 'trying for an organ trumpet-like sound'. Obviously I'd have to hear the organ in question to know how good a job they made of that. They will have been reed pipes, though – that's certain - with the sound made as described above.

    As to a device that acts like human lips – well, as I've said, the intention is not really to create an imitation. The organ's an instrument in it's own right, and not a 'one-man band' (although I can see why people might think of it in that way). If your device existed, can you imagine how much it would cost?

    Moving to the part of your question

    'Are those pipes supposed to cover the entire range of all brass - or maybe all wind - instruments? If so, can they approximate the sounds of clarinets, saxophones, flutes, too?'

    No – each of those pipes is only capable of making one sound at one pitch. That's why there are so many of them. There may or may not have been a clarinet stop, with its own set of pipes. There will certainly have been flutes (found on just about all organs) – but again, this just describes their character (a bit like a recorder sound). They're not meant to be like orchestral flutes.

    Hope this goes some way to answering your questions. L
     
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  5. ComeBackKid

    ComeBackKid Fortissimo User

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    Lyndon -
    Wow. Thanks for the info. You covered every point very well. That is more in one post than I ever knew about organs before. Now when I hear one, I will have a better sense of what they are doing and how they are doing it. I certainly see your point about not trying to turn the organ into a "one-man band" - that's a good way to characterize that idea.

    Thanks again.

    BTW - Welcome to TM. Are you also a trumpet player?
    ================
    nordlandstrompet -
    Thanks for the links. They were very informative and interesting.
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2009
  6. Lyndon

    Lyndon New Friend

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    I've JUST started. I've worked with trumpeters for years, and written a fair number of fanfares (often with organ). One of them suggested I should learn. It's something I always wanted to do: as a child, I had a copy of 'A Tune A Day' for Trumpet - but no instrument.

    I'm finding learning the trumpet a) exhilarating and b) difficult, as I'd expected, particularly because I know how I WANT it to sound! I've had my trumpet for two weeks and can play comfortably between G below the stave and A on the stave. B and C are coming, but since I'm trying to play them with minimal pressure, I think it'll be some time before they happen naturally. But hey, what's two weeks? I want to be good, but expect it to take a long, long time to get there.

    I'm very lucky - being organist of two quite large churches with excellent acoustics, I take my trumpet when I go to do some organ practice and alternate between the two. Even simple long tone practice sounds wonderful in there! L
     
  7. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    CBK,
    this is actually a very interesting topic and I am surprised that Lyndon didn't touch on the British practice of voluntaries for the organ. These wre piece that were intended for playing on the organ, but used the partial series of the trumpet and trumpet stops to simulate the real thing.

    In any case, the re are som real interesting developments for the organ trumpet stops. Check these links out:

    Organs: function and technical details
    YouTube - David German: Festive Trumpet Tune
    YouTube - Entrada Brava - 17th Century Spanish Organ Trumpet Fanfare
    Iberian Organs

    as could be expected, the spanish trumpets have a much higher wind pressure. They are pretty cool in sound but very difficult in intonation.
     
  8. Pedal C

    Pedal C Mezzo Forte User

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    Here are some pictures of a couple of trumpet pipes. My grandfather owned a pipe organ company, so I have a few organ bits and pieces laying around!

    [​IMG]

    This is up close on the "mouthpiece" end of the small one:

    [​IMG]

    And this is with the cap removed. You can see the metal reed held in place with a wire. The wire lever slides up and down to tune (also, the bell can slide in and out a little to fine tune. I think these pipes were probably not meant to be visible, they aren't finished like a visible pipe would be. (Photographed on the back of my Arban's book!)

    [​IMG]

    They work pretty much like a "reedcap" instrument like a crumhorn or a bagpipe. The sound is...distinctive to say the least. Very effective when used well...obnoxious when used without restraint!

    Jason.
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2009
  9. ComeBackKid

    ComeBackKid Fortissimo User

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    Rowuk - The videos and the information links are great. I enjoyed them a lot. It is totally amazing to me that they can make something so complex actually work and sound as good as it does.

    Pedal C - The photos were very helpful. Although, it does raise a question - as I look at the shape of the bell and the fact that it is operated by a reed, does it not seem that the whole thing resembles a clarinet or a soprano saxophone more than a trumpet?
     
  10. Pedal C

    Pedal C Mezzo Forte User

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    You're right, the bell isn't flared like a trumpet would be. In terms of how the sound is made, it doen't work like a trumpet at all (nor does it really sound like a trumpet. Trumpet-like, maybe). The "bell" of the larger pipe in the first photo doesn't flare at all. It's shaped just like one of the huge visible pipes you'd see on most any organ.
     

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