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MMD > Archives > February 1999 > 1999.02.23 > 04Prev  Next

Hupfeld Pan Orchestra & Hupfeld Harmonium
By Art Reblitz

The Hupfeld Pan Orchestra, Philipps Paganini orchestrion and certain
other orchestrions were designed to imitate the playing of a real salon
orchestra as closely as possible.

The smallest salon orchestras include a small string ensemble with
piano accompaniment.  Somewhat larger salon orchestras add clarinet,
flute, reed organ, and percussion accompaniment to the piano and
strings.  The reed organ fills in tenor background chords that the
French horns, trombones, baritones, or saxophones play in larger

All but the very largest Hupfeld Pan orchestras, and all Philipps
Paganini orchestrions, include reed organs as part of their instrumen-
tation.  The largest Pans have certain ranks of free reed pipes in
place of the harmoniums.

The use of harmoniums was not a case of the manufacturer trying to save
money by using fewer pipes, but rather a design that would reproduce
the music of the small salon orchestra as closely as possible.  Indeed,
the Pan and Paganini were the most expensive orchestrions ever made.

The Hupfeld Phonoliszt-Violina Orchestra, another very costly orches-
trion with piano, three real violins, ranks of clarinet and flute
pipes, and percussions, also included a harmonium.

Each lever on the outside of the harmonium box has a pallet valve on
one end, covering a hole in the box.  The hole leads to one reed.  A
rod connects the other end of each lever to an actuating pneumatic.
Hupfeld harmoniums are typically pressure-operated, so each lever also
has a spring, which holds the pallet valve shut against the pressure.
When a pneumatic pushes on a lever, the valve opens and air rushes out
of the box through the reed, sounding the note.

My new book, "The Golden Age of Automatic Musical Instruments", will
include detailed color photographs of the inside of several Hupfeld Pan
orchestras, showing many "secrets" that Hupfeld never published in
their catalogs, including one of the reed organ units in place.  It
also includes an in-depth discussion of salon orchestras, salon music,
and the orchestrions that were designed to play it.

Art Reblitz

(Message sent Tue 23 Feb 1999, 03:52:16 GMT, from time zone GMT-0700.)

Key Words in Subject:  Harmonium, Hupfeld, Orchestra, Pan

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