Tuesday, October 9, 2007

"Organic" music

When the Schermerhorn Symphony Center opened last September, it was missing one major player - the $2.5 Martin Foundation Concert Organ. In the photo above, you can see some of the organ's pipes (and some of the additional on-stage seating).

The process of building, installing and tuning the organ, built by California-based Schoenstein & Company, took approximately two years (almost 14,000 man-hours). Once installed in the concert hall, the organ had to sit for a year to settle. . .get used to its environment, if you will. Tuning the massive instrument took almost seven months, and for eight weeks before the organ's September, 2007 debut, crew members worked 12-hour days to prepare it.

The organ's 3,568 pipes have lengths that vary from 3/4 inch to more than 32 feet. The length of the pipe determines the sound it produces. The shorter the pipe, the higher the note, and the longer the pipe, the lower the note. The smallest pipe produces a note two times higher than the orchestra's highest instrument. Likewise, the longest pipe produces a note two times lower than the orchestra's lowest instrument.

Only 20% of the organ's pipes are wood. The remaining 80% are a combination of tin, zinc and lead. There are three fan blowers (12.5 horsepower) in the Center's basement that push wind through the pipes, creating the sound. The organist sits at the console (not shown), which has three manual keyboards and one pedal keyboard and features over 250 pre-programmed settings. By playing the keys, stops and controls, the organist determines how much "wind" goes through which pipes and creates what and how much sound. (WHEW!! That's a lot of air!)

Join me tomorrow as we look at the Center's chandeliers and a few decorative accents that grace the Schermerhorn.

5 comments:

Jilly said...

Wow, that's an amazing organ and super photo. I love to hear organ music, well played.

Rambling Round said...

No that is what I call a musical instrument!

oldmanlincoln said...

That is a very nice photograph and the organ shows up really great. I can imagine the sound must raise the roof, literally.

QUINTARANTINO said...

Good old Bach must sound great on that organ...

Carlos Lorenzo said...

Now its my turn to notice that people really help to give an idea of proportions in the image :)Huge!