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MMD > Archives > January 2008 > 2008.01.04 > 12Prev  Next

Aeolian 116-note Player Pipe Organ Console Tabs
By David Sharpe

This is to complement the postings in 080101 MMDigest about playing
58-note rolls on the 116-note Aeolian organs.  I would be curious to
hear the Opus number of Howard Towlson's Aeolian console.  I assumed
all the 116-note players had the "58-note Music" tabs.  The two or
three I have seen all had it.  Smith's book says the 58-note rolls
continued to be made well into the Duo-Art pipe organ era.  I wonder
if Howard's console is so late that they had stopped producing 58-note
rolls, or were there just variations all along the history of the
Aeolian organs.

My console does have the "58-Note Music" tab.   This tab does several
things.  I  believe it connects the lower row of tracker bar holes to
both manuals of the organ so that stops from either manual can be
played by the roll.  It also disables the switches connecting the upper
tracker bar to the chests, avoiding the extra, early, notes when the
upper row of holes are opened by the big 58-note roll holes.

The third thing which I believe no one has mentioned is that it
activates a set of larger bleeds for the lower stack.  Since the holes
in a 58-note roll are so much larger than those in the 116-note rolls,
Aeolian apparently felt that repetition would be improved by the larger
bleeds when playing 58-note rolls.  (This sounds like a major project
to add if it is really necessary.)

This console has a set of large bleeds permanently installed in the
contact chest for the lower holes and a hinged strip covering these
bleeds with another set of small bleeds in series with the large ones
when the strip is closed.  When the 58-Note Music tab is pressed the
strip pivots away from the large bleeds exposing them to the

My Aeolian organ is Opus 903, but the 116-note console was added
several years after the original organ which was installed as a roll
player without keyboards.  I am sure Aeolian made many variations,
but on mine the "Pedal Augment" affects only the playing from the roll.
As others have said, there are 13 extra contacts on the chest for the
lower row of holes and these lead to the "Pedal Augment" switch, which,
when closed, couples the pedal stops up an octave so two pedal notes
play for each open hole.  The octaves are not added when playing the
organ by hand (or should I say by foot?) so mine is apparently
different from Bob Taylor's.

As evidence that Aeolian often changed things, my console has a switch
marked PED RELEASE which, if opened, would prevent the normal pedal
stops from playing either from the pedal keyboard or from the roll
although he manual to pedal couplers and the Ped Augment would still
work.  There is no PED RELEASE stop tab and the switch was permanently
wedged on.

David Sharpe
Western Massachusetts

(Message sent Fri 4 Jan 2008, 23:10:13 GMT, from time zone GMT-0500.)

Key Words in Subject:  116-note, Aeolian, Console, Organ, Pipe, Player, Tabs

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