Magazine article The American Organist

Apoba

Magazine article The American Organist

Apoba

Article excerpt

Luxury

Most musical instruments (violin, clarinet, trombone, guitar, et al.) are capable of wide variations in the sound they produce - several octaves of pitch change, range of dynamics, and changes of tonal character depending on the ability of the performer and the style of the instrument. Pipe organs are also capable of such variations, and this can range far beyond what other musical instruments are capable of. But an individual organ pipe is not capable of such changes. Any given organ pipe is of fixed pitch, unchanging volume of sound, and unvarying tonal character. I know of no other musical instrument so devoid of expression as is a single organ pipe - it does not change.

The job of an organbuilder is to take several hundred or several thousand unchangeable and unchanging organ pipes and fashion them into an organ in which change is both possible and necessary for good musical results. Can you imagine a complete pipe organ that could not vary in pitch, volume, or tonal character? It is an amazing result that an array of individual organ pipes, each of which cannot change, can be played by an organist with the result that the pitch ranges wider than an orchestra, and with prodigious changes in volume of sound and tonal character. The larger the pipe organ, the wider the possible range of sound that it can produce - all from individually unchanging pipes.

The pipe organ is certainly a luxurious musical instrument. It uses thousands of discreet unchanging pipes to make a changing sound. …

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