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Derby and District Organists’ Association Children and the Organ Project The Organ What you see and what the player does what the player does What you.

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Presentation on theme: "Derby and District Organists’ Association Children and the Organ Project The Organ What you see and what the player does what the player does What you."— Presentation transcript:

1 Derby and District Organists’ Association Children and the Organ Project The Organ What you see and what the player does what the player does What you see and what the player does what the player does

2 Here are some of their names Leipzig Gwandhaus A pipe organ has many parts. Console Great Swell Pedal PipesRanksStopsManualsKeysPistonsBellowsWindchestTrackersPallets Swell box

3 Here are some of their names Let’s start with the console. Here is the console of a much smaller organ than the one in Leipzig. Whether an organ is large or small, it always has a console where the organist sits to play. Console Great Swell Pedal PipesRanksStopsManualsKeysPistonsBellowsWindchestTrackersPallets Swell box

4 ♪ How many keyboards does it have? The correct answer is three. Two are played with the hands, and one with the feet. We call these the manuals, because they are played manually – that is, by the hands. And these are called the pedals, because they are played with the feet.

5 Notice the knobs on the panels on the left and right hand side of the manuals. In order to change the sound the organ makes, the player pulls out a selection of these knobs. They are called stops.

6 To understand how stops work, we must look inside the organ. Each stop switches on a particular row of pipes. We call these rows ranks of pipes. In this picture of the inside of an organ, you can see six ranks of pipes. Each rank has a distinct sound, which you hear only if the player pulls the stop which operates it.

7 Stops all have different names. You can sometimes tell roughly what they will sound like by looking at the names: Flute Trumpet Oboe But often you have to learn new words: Diapason, Principal, Fifteenth. (You do not need to worry about these words. If you learn to play the organ, you will discover their meaning.)

8 But you should know that the stops are always labelled 16, 8, 4, or 2. 8 foot stops sound at normal pitch 16 foot stops sound deeper 4 foot stops sound higher, and 2 foot stops sound higher still. ♪ Do you remember why? The stops are labelled by the length of the longest pipe in the rank. You can select more than one of these types of stop together to produce different sounds.

9 But the pipes can only sound if wind gets into them. Now, if you play the recorder, flute, oboe, clarinet, or any other wind instrument, you supply the wind from your own lungs, through your mouth, into the instrument. But you could never do this for an organ, or if you tried, you would find you would never have enough ‘puff’! Until 60 or 70 years ago, a man had to pump air into the organ so it could be played (and he had to be paid to do so). But now we have electric blowers.

10 The electric blower pumps air into the bellows and then into the wind chest, so that when the organist draws the stops and presses the keys, the instrument sounds. This picture shows the bellows.

11 Can you understand this picture? It’s difficult. But the white parts are the sheepskin which makes the bellows airtight, keeping the wind in until it is needed for the organ to play. The bellows are underneath the wind chest, so the air is ready to blow through the pipes when needed.

12 But there is a little more to it than that. When you pull out a stop you do not want every pipe to sound at once. Each pipe is closed off by a wooden flap called a pallet until the organist presses down one or more of the keys in order to open the pallets.

13 But there is a little more to it than that. When you pull out a stop you do not want every pipe to sound at once. Each pipe is closed off by a wooden flap called a pallet until the organist presses down one or more of the keys in order to open the pallets.

14 The keys operate levers which connect the keys with the pallets. The connecting rods are called trackers. Here you can see the levers which are normally hidden. The keys The pallets are up here, but you cannot see them without taking the organ mechanism apart.

15 Now something new: Did you notice this extra pedal? It helps the player to play more loudly or softly. ♪ How do you think it does that?

16 To explain this, You need first to look again at these pipes inside the organ. If you were to shut them up in a box, they would sound much less loud. What a good idea! It occurred to someone to try this. Look at the next slide...

17 Here you see pipes almost hidden in a box. If you look carefully and think hard, you may understand why the light grey slats are there. They can be open (as shown) or closed. When the box is closed, you cannot hear the pipes so well, so the sound is softer.

18 And it is a pedal like this which enables the organist to open and close the box. It is called the SWELL PEDAL and we call the box where the pipes live the SWELL BOX Heel down – box closed. Toe down – box open.

19 Another clever idea: You may have noticed some other little buttons on the pictures of organs. For the thumb For the toes

20 Not all organs have these. They are to help the player when he or she wants to change the stops quickly, when there is not enough time to do so. They are called combination pistons as they bring into play combinations of stops without the player having to pull out or push in every stop separately.

21 So now we know the words for many parts of the organ: Try to remember them. ConsoleKeys ManualsPallets PedalsTrackers PipesSwell pedal Ranks (of pipes)Swell box StopsCombination pistons Wind chest Bellows Blower

22 What the player does No organist, no musician, just sits down and plays. The organist must study the music and prepare to play as well as possible. The organist may be playing a solo accompanying a choir playing for a congregation to sing a hymn playing with other musicians in a band, orchestra, or group

23 The organist may have music like this to play from. This is the beginning of a solo:

24 If the organist is accompanying a choir, the page may look like this: Choir sings: Organ is silent Choir sings and organist plays, together. Choir Organ

25 So the music on the desk tells the player what to play and how to play it. What does the organist do with her or his hands? 1. Plays on the manuals...

26 The organist can even play on two manuals at once! This is done by using a special stop called a coupler. What else are the hands used for?

27 The player 2. draws and cancels the stops 3. operates the combination pistons and (of course) 4. turns the pages of the music.

28 And what are the feet used for? 1. Playing the pedals.

29 2. Operating the swell pedal. 3. And the combination pistons for the feet.

30 The player must also use his eyes and ears when playing. Why?(There are many very good blind organists who can usually manage very well.) Those who can see must... ● read the music (obviously!) (A blind player will learn it in advance.) ● keep an eye on the mirror sometimes Why does he/she need to do that?

31 The player …watches the conductor …looks towards the choir or soloist …keeps an eye on the vicar, minister, preacher and notes what is going on in a church service …in a wedding service, watches for the entry of the bride

32 The organist, like any good musician, must listen carefully all the time to all others who are making music as the same time. These might be the congregation a soloist the choir perhaps, an orchestra or ‘group’ but most of all, to him/herself (“Am I making a nice sound?”)

33 The organist has to do a lot of things with hands, feet, eyes, ears and do them all at the same time. People call this ‘multi-tasking’. It’s like flying a jet plane! In fact, the RAF say that organists make good pilots, because they are used to ‘multi-tasking’.

34 Now, if you can learn to do all these things at once: read the music, play with your your hands and feet and use your eyes and ears, when you can do all that, you will be an organist. Cartoon by Gerard Hoffnung

35 Materials prepared by James Muckle for the Children and the Organ Project Team: Stephen Johns James Muckle Edmund Stow Gillian Chatto Laurence Rogers John Forster Chris Darrall Sponsored by Derby and District Organists’ Association

36 Children and the Organ Project The project aims to introduce young children to the fascinating world of pipe organs through practical workshops and fun activities. The building and playing of organs being such multi- disciplinary activities, their study has numerous spin-offs for the school curriculum. For more information, visit our website:

37 Copyright notice Copyright owner:Derby & District Organists’ Association This PowerPoint presentation and the accompanying worksheets are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Licence The work may be copied by not-for-profit organisations for educational use, provided due attribution to the copyright owner is given. Commercial use of the materials is prohibited. To view a copy of the licence, visit:

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