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Presentation on theme: "Houston Theatre Organ HOUSTON COMMUNITY COLLEGE 1994 -Present USE ARROW BUTTONS OR PAGE UP/DOWN TO NAVIGATE 1/35."— Presentation transcript:


2 The HTOS Wurlitzer Date Built: 1926, Opus 1501, Shipped from North Tonawanda, NY on November 8, 1926. Original Location: The new Egyptian-themed Metropolitan Theatre in Houston was built by Jesse Jones for $2M. The organ was installed in time for the theatre’s opening on Christmas Day, 1926. It became unplayable around 1940 and remained in the theatre until it was removed in 1972. It was then restored and installed in a residence in the Memorial area. Acquisition by HTOS: The organ became available in the mid 1990s and was purchased by the late Dr. Tim Hastings and donated to the Houston Area Theatre Organ Society (HATOS, now HTOS). Installation of the organ in the HCC Auditorium was carried out from 1994 to 1997 by volunteers from HATOS and the San Jacinto High School Alumni Association under the direction of Richard Willson. Console: Horseshoe configuration, Three manuals and Pedal Ranks: Originally 11, now expanded to 17 with over 1100 pipes Chambers: Two – Solo (right) and Main (left) Blowers: Two 7.5 hp Spencer Orgoblo blowers. Control System: Uniflex 3000 relay and combination action controls the organ. It also incorporates record, playback, and MIDI capabilities. 2/35

3 Original Venue The original home of Wurlitzer 235 Opus 1501 in the Metropolitan Theatre in downtown Houston, Texas 3/35

4 Current Venue The Houston Community College Auditorium Central Campus 1300 Holman @ Alabama Houston, TX 77004 Phone: 713-718-6000 4/35

5 Console 5/35

6 Tonal Specification Solo Chamber Tibia Clausa 8’, 4’, 2’ Solo String 8’, 4’ Kinura 8’ Oboe 8’ Tuba 16’, 8’ Trumpet 8’ (beginning at tenor C*), 4’ English Post Horn 8’ Vox Humana 8’ *Tenor C = octave below middle C Tuned Sleigh Bells25 Straps Xylophone37 bars Marimba/Harp49 bars Chimes25 tubes Glockenspiel/Orchestral Bells30 bars Bass Drum 6/35

7 Solo Chamber 7/35

8 Tonal Specification Main Chamber Tibia Clausa 8’ Diapason 8’ Viol d’ Orchestre 8’, 4’, 2’ Viol d’ Orchestre Celeste 8’ Salicional/Cello 8’, 4’ Salicional Celeste 8’ (beginning at Tenor C*) Flute 8’ Bourdon 16’ Clarinet 8’ Diaphone 16’ *Tenor C = octave below middle C Toy Counter (See Main Chamber Layout for details) Vibraharp/Chrysoglott49 bars 8/35

9 Main Chamber 9/35

10 Layouts of Chambers MainSolo Console Stage As viewed from auditorium seating. 10/35

11 Solo Chamber – Pipe Layout S Solo String Offset T Tibia Offset Diapason Tuba Offset KinuraOboe TibiaTuba Solo StringTrumpetPost HornVox Humana Tibia Treble Offset S Swell Shades 11/35

12 Solo Chamber – Upper Level Percussions Tuned Sleigh Bells Xylophone Marimba/Harp Chimes 12/35

13 Solo Chamber – Lower Level Percussions Glockenspiel/Orchestral Bells Bass Drum 13/35

14 14/35 Solo Chamber – Reservoirs and Tremulants (Solo Blower located on top of Solo Chamber) (WP = Wind Pressure; WC = Water Column) Tibia Tremulant V VOX Tremulant Tuba Tremulant Solo* Tremulant *Solo Tremulant Affects: Trumpet Solo String Oboe Kinura Reservoir WP = 12” WC Tibia Reservoir WP = 10” WC Trumpet Solo String Oboe Kinura Reservoir WP = 6” WC Vox Humana Reservoir WP = 15” WC Static Reservoir WP = 15” WC Static Reservoir WP = 15” WC Tuba Reservoir WP = 15” WC Static 14/35

15 Main Chamber – Pipe Layout Diapason Offset Diaphone Bourdon Flute Offset Viol d’Orchestre Offset Cello ClarinetDiapasonViol d’OrchestreSalicionalViol d’Orchestre CelesteFluteSalicional CelesteTibia Swell Shades 15/35

16 Main Chamber – Traps & Percussion Toy Counter* Vibraharp/Chrysoglott Klaxon *Includes: Triangle Castanets Steamboat Whistle Snare Drum Tambourine Auto Horn Bird Whistle Crash Cymbal Cymbal Siren Surf 16/35

17 Main Chamber & Main Blower Room Reservoirs & Tremulants (WP = Wind Pressure; WC = Water Column) Blower Tremulant* (Upper) Tremulant** (Lower) Reservoir WP = 10” WC Tibia Flute Strings Reservoir WP = 10” WC Clarinet/Diapason Reservoir WP = 15” WC Static *(Flute/String Tab) Tibia Flute Strings **(Clarinet/Diapason Tab) Diapason Clarinet 17/35

18 Mechanism Console Blower Windchest Reservoir Tremulant (for some stops) Electrical Signals Pipes Wind Trunks 18/35

19 Wurlitzer Windchest 12 34 Sequence of Operation 1.Not activated. All areas (in blue) are at windchest pressure of about 15” of water (~0.6 psi). 2.A keypress activates an electromagnet which lifts an armature, opening a small air channel to atmospheric pressure (in white). This allows a small primary pneumatic to evacuate (collapse). 3.Primary pneumatic opens a valve allowing a secondary pneumatic to evacuate (collapse). 4.Secondary pneumatic pulls a Pallet valve open, admitting air to the foot of a pipe causing it to speak. 19/35

20 Cutaways of Pneumatic Action 20/35

21 Pneumatic Components Reservoir Primary Pneumatics Secondary Pneumatics and Pallet Valves 21/35

22 Wurlitzer Magnet 22/35

23 Main Chamber Tremulants 23/35

24 Main Chamber Blower 24/35

25 Pipe Families Flues: Sound produced by wind impinging on pipe lip Diapasons Flutes Strings Reeds: Sound produced by metal reed vibrating against a shallot; timbre controlled by resonator Trumpet Oboe Clarinet Tuba Post horn Vox Humana Kinura Diaphone: Low frequency sound produced by pneumatic oscillator; used in theatre organs and foghorns 25/35

26 Pipe Types Reed Diaphone Flue 26/35

27 Organ Pipes (left to right, Solo) Tuba, Tibia, Oboe 27/35

28 Organ Pipes (left to right, Solo) Vox Humana, English Post Horn, Trumpet, Solo String 28/35

29 Organ Pipes(2) (left to right, Main) Diapason, Viol d’Orchestre, Viol d’Orchestre Celeste, Salicional, Flute, Salicional Celeste, Tibia, Diapason offset seen on back wall 29/35

30 Percussions Toy Counter MarimbaXylophone 30/35

31 Percussions(2) Bass Drum Chimes Glockenspiel Klaxon 31/35

32 Organ Glossary Celeste: A rank tuned slightly sharp to its accompanying rank in order to produce an undulating sound. Classical Organ: An organ based upon the Diapason chorus. Chorus: A selection of stops at various pitches and timbres within a given pipe family which are voiced for blending together. Ex: A diapason chorus consisting of 8’, 4’, 2 2/3’, 2’ stops. Diapason: A flue pipe with a rich harmonic composition. English Post Horn: A theatre organ chorus reed used to simulate orchestral brass. Flue Pipe: A pipe which produces sound by directing wind against the upper lip of the pipe mouth. Flute: A large family of flue pipes with limited harmonic development and strong fundamental tone. Harmonics: The overtones or multiples of frequency produced by the pipe. Mutation: A stop which is voiced to produce a harmonic not at octave multiples of the base pitch. Ex: A 2 2/3’ stop produces the twelfth harmonic (a G twelve notes above C) when C is pressed. It is called the Twelfth when voiced as a Diapason or a Nazard when voiced as a Flute. Pipe Length: The length in feet of the pipe at the low C of the organ keyboard. An 8’ pipe produces the same pitch as a piano key at a similar point on the keyboard. A 16’ pipe produces the note an octave below, a 4’ pipe produces the note an octave above, etc. 32/35

33 Organ Glossary (2) Pipe Scale: The relative diameter of a pipe which affects the harmonic development and power. Reed Pipe: The reed pipe consists of two parts, the short lower part or ‘boot’ which contains the sound producing parts and the tall resonator. A thin metal reed vibrates against a metal channel, the shallot, which transmits the air to the resonator. A tuning wire adjusts the free length of the reed. String: A narrow scale flue pipe with accentuated development of the upper harmonics. Ex: Viole d’Orchestre, Cello, Salicional, etc. Stop: A rank of pipes of identical tone color played as a group and having a dedicated switch (Stop) on the console. Stopped Pipe: A pipe with a cap which causes it to sound only odd-numbered harmonics and to sound the fundamental of a pipe that would be physically twice as tall. (An 8’ stopped pipe is only 4’ tall.) Ex: Bourdon, Gedackt, Tibia, etc. Theatre Organ: An organ based upon Tibias with a collection of strong reeds and also with percussions and sound effects to enable simulation of an orchestra – a “one man” unit orchestra. Tibia Clausa: A large scale, powerful, stopped, wood Flute with little harmonic development, usually used with a strong tremulant. 33/35

34 Organ Glossary (3) Timbre: Tone color resulting from the mixture of harmonics produced by the pipe. Tremulant: A device for introducing a regular variation into the wind supply to produce a wavering sound. Trumpet: A reed pipe with a tapered resonator flared at the top producing a sound reminiscent of the orchestral instrument of the same name. Toy Counter: A collection of percussion and special effects items on theatre organs. Tuba: A powerful chorus reed with a conical resonator. Unification: The practice of using a rank of pipes at many pitches and across divisions of the organ. Ex.: A Tibia may be used at 16’, 8’, 4’, 2’, 2 2/3’, 1’ with stops located on several manuals. This practice was widely used by Robert Hope- Jones, the father of the modern theatre organ. Vox Humana: A reed stop of the Regal class (meaning with a short resonator). It uses a short, cylindrical, capped resonator. As the name implies, it was originally developed in an attempt to imitate the human voice in the late 1500’s. It is usually used with a Tremulant. Wind Chest: The box upon which the pipes sit. It contains the wind channels and valve mechanisms for operating the pipes. 34/35

35 Online References *Audsley, George Ashdown, The Art of Organ Building, 2 vols, 1965, Dover, New York. *Sumner, William Leslie, The Organ, 544 pp, 1962, Macdonald, London. *Barnes, William H., The Contemporary American Organ, 389 pp, 1964, J. Fischer & Bro., Glen Rock, NJ. *Jamison, James Blaine, Organ Design and Appraisal, 165 pp, 1959, H. W. Gray Co., New York. *Audsley, George Ashdown, The Organ of the Twentieth Century, 519 pp, 1970, Dover, New York. *Goode, Jack C., Pipe Organ Registration, 208 pp, 1964, Abingdon Press, New York. *Audsley, George Ashdown, Organ Stops and Their Artistic Registration, 294 pp,2002, Dover, New York. *Shannon, John R., Understanding the Pipe Organ, 192 pp, 2009, McFarland & Co., Jefferson, North Carolina & London. *Eddington, Jelani, The Art of Theatre Organ Arranging, 125 pp, Vol. 1, 2009, RJE Publications, Racine, WI. *The Encylopedia of Organ Stops Compiled 2015 by Dr. Kenneth Warren 35/35


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