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MMD > Archives > May 1998 > 1998.05.04 > 18Prev  Next

Building A Barrel Organ
By John Kleinbauer

Hi All,  I just wanted to thank those of you who responded to my last
post.  Here is a little more info on the organ.  The organ is 18" high
with a 12" base.  It plays in the key of "C" and it has almost three
octaves.  This is because the organ uses the insides of a harmonica.
A harmonica is a wacky instrument at best.  The organ is in the monkey
or bird organ class.  More from the book follows....

  Why a Barrel Organ?

  It seems as though it was only yesterday!  Early one Thursday night
  I was at my friend's vacuum repair store.  We were talking about
  music while fixing vacuums.  My friend was voicing his displeasure
  about a magazine he purchased. They reviewed Carousel music.  I have
  always got a kick out of the sound that comes from a mechanical
  organ.  He just gave me a funny look when I asked if I could have
  the magazine.  Every time I dropped by the store he failed to bring
  in the magazine.  When I called him for the address of the company
  that recorded the music he said his wife threw out the magazine.
  Several weeks later I got a music CD in the mail for Christmas from
  him.  He only stalled in bringing in the magazine because he sent
  for the CD for me.  This started a period of my life where I started
  collecting barrel organ music.  During this time I loaned my
  neighbor some of the CDs I had collected.  He dropped by with a
  newspaper article about a man who owned a large barrel organ.  There
  he was in the paper smiling at me!  Did he build something? No!  Did
  he write music? No!  This sort of fluff article kills me. I could not
  let this challenge to my psyche go unanswered. In and around this
  time I found a book by Arthur ORG-Uume on repairing a player piano.
  In the back of the book there is a chapter on how a barrel organ
  works. The flap of the book said a new book on fixing barrel organs
  was coming out.  Since the book was old I figured the newer book
  must be finished by now. I was able to request the book from an
  other part of the state through my Library.  The book helped me to
  a point but without being able to buy the old parts I was stuck.
  I tried to stop thinking about building the barrel organ but the
  wheels in my mind started turning.  One year later I have the whole
  thing worked out and only the story needs to be told.  Hey where is
  that newspaper now?

Building a Barrel Organ, a step by step guide, 87 pages only $30 and
this includes free shipping.  A donation of $5 goes to MMD for every
copy sold from this post.  Send check to:

John Kleinbauer, 15 Fisher Place,
North Arlington, New Jersey 07031 U.S.A.

(Message sent Mon 4 May 1998, 13:32:45 GMT, from time zone GMT-0400.)

Key Words in Subject:  Barrel, Building, Organ

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