Building a small Organ 

With the construction of several chamber organs, I learned what organ is best in a living room. The resonance in the environment is an important part of the sound. A living room has little acoustic and therefore, the response will be limited. If an organ has just few stops the lack of acoustics will be less important.

In the first place a stopped pipe 8' should be chosen, it has the perfect base sound. The sound could be supplemented with a four foot stop provided, that it has no flute sound. The Principal 4' is the ideal complement of the base sound. Both registers are described extensively in the book about the building of a small organ.

In the 19e century a Secretary organ was very popular. It took very little space in the living room, which today sometimes is the reason to choose a chest organ. The large Octave (C – H) will be built with stopped pipes. It has a sound like a Quintaton. The Principal 4’ should be made of organ metal. Lead a plumber is very suitable.

Although a Principal for a large organ cannot be made of wood, it is satisfactory to use wood for a small organ in the living room. Who wants to make all pipes made of wood, can do it, both structures are described and drawn extensively in the book. In addition to these two registers, there is still room for a treble Nasard 3'. The stop produces a beautiful coloring sound. The construction is described in the book, both made of metal as made of wood.

The sound of chamber organ can be improved with digitally stored acoustics of the churches. The Lexicon MX 300 is the latest development of digital reverberation. The organist can choose from churches of various sizes and so is his chamber pipe organ in a realistic space with natural acoustics.

                                                E-Mail:    John Boersma

Hauptwerk Practical Guide

New discovery leads to new book
What is a Hauptwerk Organ?

An pipe organ sounds best when the air around the organ comes in resonance. That is achieved by good acoustics and by the voicing of the pipes in this acoustic environment. Sound and space belong to each other and good acoustics makes it possible to bring the air of the entire room in motion. That's also what organist like at home: playing a pipe organ in the living room and undergo the same experience of sounds that resonate in the acoustics.                           
                                               Clicke on User Guide ---->

In a living room the acoustics are missing and therefore Hauptwerk has the advantage that both the sounds in the church as the acoustics of the large space are recorded in a sample set. Important condition is to adapt the sounds in the samples must be voiced to the speakers and the domestic environment. Hauptwerk has all the tools for it.

The selection of good sample set and the method of adjustment are explained in detail in the
                            Hauptwerk Practical Guide

Hauptwerk Practical Guide          
                    on request the book will be sent free
  see Practical Guide

The sample set made by Organ Art Media of the Arp Schnitger organ in Steinkirchen has two strong points. 

1. This organ is one of the best preserved Baroque organs with the      original sounds of 300 years old pipes  
2. The sounds are very detailed recorded in the samples

It was the reason to write the Hauptwerk Practical Guide once again with much attention for the special properties of this extraordinary sample set.

The pipes are over 300 years old and partially already 500 years. Pipes, which give the same sound for centuries, reach an unprecedented unsuspected beauty of sound. The transparent sound of the well-preserved old pipes have musical properties that do not match with new pipes. This is true for violin and organ pipes; what Stradivarius is for violins, is Arp Schnitger for organs.

The special sounds are transmitted well through the excellent quality of the samples. No sample set gives me more the feeling that I'm playing the real organ in my living room and hear the original sounds of the old pipes, as I heard them in the St. Nicolai and St. Martini Church in Steinkirchen. The image on the front of the book is a symbolic representation of this feeling.

So the samples sound similar to the pipes, they must be adapted to the speakers and to the environment. Because I can correct easily any deviation with an absolute pitch, I described a procedure in the new edition of the Hauptwerk Practical Guide that anyone, even without an absolute pitch, makes it possible to achieve the best sound. My corrections of the Schnitger organ serve as examples of the method.  Voicing is not an art form but a trade; by doing it more often is experience obtained. The articulation and the sounds don’t differ any more with the pipe sounds in the church.

Chamber organ or Hauptwerk organ

The Hauptwerk organ is currently more popular than a chamber pipe organ. From the point of view of sound and acoustics, the Hauptwerk organ has great advantages. You can build a pipe organ by a professional expert, then it takes much time and for this reason, the organ was expensive. Amateur organ builder must only consider the time, but material costs are relatively low. A Hauptwerk organ is always more expensive.

The described chamber organ I've built 30 years ago and proved to provide the finest, overtone-rich sound is to reach with wooden pipes. In the book Building a small Organ I described completely the construction of metal pipes, both with wooden pipes and mainly with perspective drawings, so that the various structures look as if they were photographed.

New:Table positive with bellows

I have equipped now the Table positive with blower bellows which are operated by hand. This gives great advantages compared to a wind engine.    

1. The sound is more beautiful, no whirls of a wind engine
2. The sound comes from the silence, as any music instrument
3. A blower plus magazine bellows are easy to produce
4. There are no cost for a wind engine

The construction of a blower plus magazine bellows is more sinple than the bellow of a Portative with his many folds, that just provides wind in the downward movement.  

The blower bellows causes that the magazine can deliver a constant wind flow. Also, the wind chest is easier to construct because no regulated pressure bellows is required.
                        See:        Building a Table Positive
mouse over bellows     

Quality of the Samples

1. The sample manufacturers are largely responsible for the quality, but just in a single sample set the pipe sounds are so close to the pipes recorded, that the musical phenomena at the start of the tone are well audible stored.

2. If a well recorded sample set is installed, the audio system should be well thought out. At the left and the right side an active speaker box of impeccable quality must be set at ear level. If there are multiple speakers, they blur the ideal sound reproduction. With a good subwoofer the bass tones of a 16-foot register can be produced. A 32-foot register is impossible in the living room.

3. If all conditions are fulfilled, the sample set must be adapted to the living room. This is an act that will be skipped often, but who has heard the differences in my house, understands that voicing is necessary. In addition to my Hauptwerk organ, a large chamber pipe organ with excellent voiced metal pipes is present. It can be used to compare it with the Hauptwerk organ, but then it turns out that real pipes sound less realistic than the sounds from a good sample set.

The Hauptwerk Practical Guide is sent now in three languages 500 times to all parts of the world and my request to inform me about the results has given a stream of reactions. It gave me a better insight into the mindset of the other organists. My texts are adapted accordingly. Organists have understand how to get more beautiful sounds from the samples.

To request the Hauptwerk Practical Guide,
                please send an email with your complete postdates to:  John Boersma

Sounds of a Bader Organ in Zutphen (Nld)

A church organ cannot be placed in a living room, the size, but above all the powerful sounds make it impossible. However, Hauptwerk is meant to play a church organ in a living room.

As an example the Henrich Bader organ in Zutphen. If there is one organ where Hauptwerk had to be invented for, it is this magnificent 350 year old organ made by Henrich Bader for the Walburgis Church in Zutphen. In the practice of the organ playing, this sample set proves to be best to be able to transmit the sounds of the church to the living room. It is my most favorite organ, which sounds can be heard realistically through a good voicing of the samples. The Hauptwerk organ sounds more natural than a chamber pipe organ. The choice is genuine sounds of a church organ or real pipe sounds in an acoustically dead space. Prerequisites are:

1. The samples must be recorded close to the pipes to save all the essential details of the sound.

2. The samples have to be voiced in the Hauptwerk organ, so that all details of the sound are completely audible.

3. Well targeted speakers must transfer the sounds from a short distance to the organist.

If all conditions are fulfilled, the sound experience for the organist corresponds with playing the organ in the church.

Het WELLENBORD  verbindt toetsen en ventielen
Das WELLENBRETT  verbindet Tasten und Ventilen
A  ROLLERBOARD  connects keys with the valves
tekeningen van bouw klein Huisorgel
zeichnungen der Aufbau Kleinorgel
drawings of building up small Organ
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