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MMD > Archives > February 2001 > 2001.02.24 > 03Prev  Next

Tuning 81-Key Wilhelm Bruder Sohne Organ
By Bob Conant

John Kadlec wrote in 010221 MMDigest:

> Included with the organ was a small book which plays all notes of
> the scale in sequence, and then plays various octaves and intervals.

This book is for tuning and other diagnostic purposes much like a
player piano test roll.  I have towed my 81-key Wilhelm Bruder Sohne
organ on a trailer for the past 8 years and the basic organ rarely goes
out of tune.  I have had two or three stopped flues go out because of
loose stoppers and the reed trombones go out regularly with vibration
and temperature.  Twice I had to tune a reed trumpet.  Otherwise, the
rest of the organ stays pretty much in tune over time.

With my organ, I received a book with a punch for each key in the
scale including percussion and registers.  I use this for verifying
and testing notes for ciphers and that sort of thing.  I have made up
a special small book with a combination of trombones and bass notes so
that I can quickly tune the trombones when we set up at a site.

Since the organ itself is fully chromatic and can play in a variety
of keys, it is tuned to the equal temperament tuning.  This was done,
I confess, by the use of an electronic tuning device and it sounds very
good.  There is no need to "stretch" the tuning as one would do with
a piano so the procedure is laborious (371 pipes) but straightforward.
Once a fairground organ is tuned, there is not much need for further
tuning except as noted above, so a big complicated tuning book would
not need to be carried if the organ is trailered.

> Is there any book or publication available which covers the
> procedures for tuning a band organ?

There are three books which are useful specifically to people wanting
to understand fair organs.  The first is Eric Cockayne's book "The Fair
Organ".  I understand that efforts are being made to publish an updated
version of the late Mr. Cockayne's book but older versions will have to
be sought out through places like eBay and other collectors.

A second book that has much insight, especially into the Dutch street
organs, is Romke de Waard's book "Het Draaiorgel".  A third book is
Arthur Ord Hume's "The Barrel Organ", which covers many types of
organs, not just barrel organs.  The last I knew, Marty Roenigk still
had a couple copies of this book left.

I can't remember if any of these books give direct instructions for
tuning but all of them contain much information about mechanics,
construction, operation, pipe voicing and all the neat stuff we like
to know about our favorite instruments.  I hope the above information
is useful.

Bob Conant
Endicott, NY

 [ A nice description of the Carl Frei organs is in MMD 970419,
 [ "Dutch Street Organ Pipes", by Jan Kijlstra.  -- Robbie

(Message sent Sat 24 Feb 2001, 14:10:35 GMT, from time zone GMT-0500.)

Key Words in Subject:  81-Key, Bruder, Organ, Sohne, Tuning, Wilhelm

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