Magazine article The American Organist

Emerging Trends in Organbuilding

Magazine article The American Organist

Emerging Trends in Organbuilding

Article excerpt

A while back, a nearby colleague had taken on an apprentice of sorts. A high-school student interested in organbuilding, she enrolled in a program that allowed her to work outside the school several afternoons a week, to learn more about her chosen field. Our own firm has had good experience with a similar program in years past.

He sent an email asking if I had any ideas for a research paper the student needed to write about "emerging trends" in the field. Arguing that trends develop slowly in the pipe organ realm failed to convince educators of her need to write on a different topic.

One idea was the use of solid-state control-not only in organs with electric action, but also in tracker instruments. However, despite the fact that new developments occur with regularity, solid state has been around for more than 40 years. Hardly emergent.

The Blackinton-style electropneumatic slider chest was another possibility, but Lyle Blackinton introduced that concept to his colleagues at the 1992 American Institute of Organbuilders' Convention in Hartford. Although difficult to imagine, the system has been around for more than 20 years, and many firms now have their own adaptation of this fine chest action.

Having recently written a published article about the demise of the Möller Company, I asked if they had considered writing about the trend toward smaller shops. My colleague agreed that might be relevant.

It did not occur to me until after the spring APOBA meeting that the real trend in organbuilding may be toward use of "existing equipment" in otherwise new organs. …

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