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Does Anyone On Here Play An Old Pipe Organ?

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jourdain2 | 22:57 Sat 28th Oct 2023 | Music
9 Answers

I know it's a long shot, but a year ago-ish I found myself inthe default position of church orgaanist (1901 pipe organ. 2 keyboards).

Our dear, professional, organist Pat died quite suddenly.  It seems that I am the  only personin the village who has any keyboard skills at all. - I had piano lessons until 1963 (I was 14).

I've learnt how to make this wonderful  machine make a  sound and have soldiered on, quite enjoying re-discovering an old skill reall although it's hard to get hand/brain/eye co-ordination going.

I'd like to learn how to get different sounds and use thisincredible  machine rather better.  Is  there anyone I can  chat with?




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A specialist forum might be a good place to start:

If your organ has two manuals (keyboards) it probably has a set of "Great" pipes and a set of "Swell" pipes. The latter are containing in a box with shutters. These are operated by the "swell" pedal (a large pivoted pedal above the main set of foot pedals), so that you can open and close them and adjust the volume. The Great pipes are exposed. In most small small organs the foot pedals operate the lower pitch Great pipes. 

The Swell and Great sections should have a separate set of "stops" (usually one each side of the keyboards). Each of these provides air to a different set of pipes, producing different sounds. You can experiment with these stops to see what sound they produce. You should also be able to link the "Swell" to the "Great" manuals so that the same notes are played by both sets of pipes if appropriate.

We had a pipe organ in my school hall (bought, along with a country house in Sussex for "Outward Bound" type purposes, with the proceeds of our 350th Anniversary appeal). I wasn't very proficient (and I cannot read music) but one of my mates was the school organist and I "dabbled" from time to time whilst he was taking a break from his practice.

Just typed a really long reply, then lost it!

Bottom line, local church open day, allowed me to have a go on the organ. Split keyboard, foot pedals and stops. Like this...;p=39756&pn=1&searchId=cdd8cf785b2eefa56b378f795dfcc34e&searchtype=0

Can't play split keyboard. Pulled out all the stops, didn't touch foot pedals. Played on one level (like a piano), played a hymn I knew, no sheet music.   Had a great time! (The stop selection played the top keyboard).



Is there nobody from the church that can help you?

Perhaps ask the vicar to mention it to the congregation?

Don't know what the village church has, but I know the organist, so can ask him next time I see him and point him in your direction if relevant.

This may give you some idea:

You could also look for Organ Societies in your area.

Question Author

I can't believe so many helpful replies.  Thank you all very much indeed.

I'll read them more carefully when I have a little time and hopefully manage to reply to you all.  Yesterday was hectic and stressful so I was still struggling with  adrenaline draining away by evening.

Basically, it was our Harvest Festival.  All I was asked to  do was play 2 of the hymns (Come ye thankful people and We plough the fields) because I was wanted to read the psalm.  Churchwarden J, (technologically able) was going to download the other 2.  Other churchwarden had done the  organising, b ut was actually on holiday (booked months ago).  CWden J had all details, baskets of veg etc., etc. - she rang me at 8 p.m. Sat. to say she was ill.  No way she could get there.

Over to me, so I'd to learn 2 new hymns and walk into and pull the service together.  It want brilliantly as it happens - but I was shattered.  Now recovered and started learning all 4 for next week in case!!!  

I'll get back, promise.  Some great info and help.  😀

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