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Thread: How to Build a Pipe Organ_Visiting Taylor & Boody Organbuilders

  1. #1

    How to Build a Pipe Organ_Visiting Taylor & Boody Organbuilders

    How to Build a Pipe Organ: Visiting Taylor & Boody Organbuilders > PART 1 of 6

    Since about the age of fourteen, I’ve been fascinated by the history of keyboard instruments, harpsichord, clavichord, organ, and piano. When I was fifteen, I assembled a harpsichord kit and without any special permission went after school to the workshop of George Wilson, who was working behind the scenes in Colonial Williamsburg in preparation to setting up the public Musical Instrument Maker’s shop. George was building a copy of a 1770's Kirckman single-manual harpsichord to be used in the Music Teachers shop. Just standing around watching Goerge work- whose work has been criticized as “too perfect” was a once in a lifetime education. It was in George;’s shop that I began to understand the essential connection between design and craft that shaped my architectural thinking and of course, to be able to distinguish levels of craftsmanship.

    Over the years I’ve visited quite a few harpsichord and clavichord makers’ shops in the US, England, France, and Italy, but when a friend mentioned there would be an open house at the pipe organ builders who had made a pipe organ for his home, I jumped at the chance to peer into that world where a musical instrument is the size of a house, has several thousand precision mechanical, electrical, structural, acoustic, and decorative parts in wood, metal, leather: fabricated, cast, and finished. Think of building a small ship but with the precision of a watch. From the 11th until the 19th Century, pipe organs were the most complex precision machines made in any number.

    Even more interesting to me, the pipe organ builders in question, Taylor & Boody Organbuilders, located in Staunton, Virginia, build pipe organs employing the traditional mechanical “tracker” action. Tracker action was used for the first 700-800 years of organ history until it was mostly supplanted by pneumatic and electrical action, which is far easier to connect to distant pipes.

    I drove to Staunton on May 12th to meet him and finally see organ building in it’s native habitat. The occasion of the open house was the public presentation of a work in progress, Opus 74, a three-manual (keyboards) plus pedal, tracker for the St. Paul University Catholic Center in Madison, Wisconsin:

    http://taylorandboody.com/opus_pages...o_gallery.html


    Creating, controlling the air pressure, and delivering the air pressure by a mechanical linkage to the intended pipe(s) that may be at a considerable and complex x, y, and z distance from the player requires a complex system:

    Tracker action diagram.jpg



    The key lever is connected to a rod (tracker) that pulls a lever attached to a rod called a roller so that it rotates a series of transverse rod (rollers) that transfers the action longitudinally. That may operate another lever at 90 degrees to again transfer motion to a rod that operates vertically. An additional lever vertical rod then pull open the pallet, the valve that allows the air to pressurize the pipe so that it sounds. Of course, an air pressure system can not have leakage and This mechanical system of control, a “tracker action” “trackers” requires careful calculation / design of the force/leverage of the tracker action and the construction necessitates extremely low tolerance in the control system. If there is friction in the system and the leverage is not properly calculated, the action is heavy and has a sluggish response. Also, thishas to be durable to hundreds of thousands of operations: if this action becomes worn, it can become quite noisy.

    Behind the keyboards of Taylor & Boody Opus 74 showing the complexity of this kind of action:

    T&B_OP74_Trackers rollers KB sys_P1050639_5.12.18.jpg

    Tracker action reached a level of very high refinement in the late 17th Century in German and Holland as did the acoustic refinement of pipes into categories of sounds that produce a particular effect and contribute to ensemble/combination sounds. It is a truism to state that the organ compositions of Buxtehude and J.S. Bach would not have possible if there were no instruments on which it was possible to play them

    Silbermann organ 2.jpg
    Gottfried Silbermann

    Schnittger organ.jpg
    Arp Schnittger

    ^ As Baroque as it gets!

    There is a particular sensation to a tracker action as there is a direct mechanical feedback when the pallet opens the windchest air pressure to the pipe. This is not unlike the sensation of a harpsichord when the plectra plucks the string- the player knows by touch when the the note will sound. Likewise, if one presses a piano key very slowly, it’s possible to sense the escapement triggering. A tracker action has a sort of a very precise over-center feeling as if operating a very smooth lever-action latch and all the feedback through the direct mechanical linkage gives provides a sense of accurate control.

    T&B_OP74_Tracker rollers DET_P1050635_5.12.18.jpg

    I played a particular 18th C. organ quite a few times in England, and then when taking lessons on a large modern organ with 4 manuals and then 90+ ranks, now 105 (Aeolian Skinner), I enjoyed the extensive range of sounds, but the modern organ in my view, loses something with electric action- that sensation of precise control. Tracker action requires somewhat more effort, and a different hand position, but it was addictive once familiar with the particular instrument. I certainly never mastered the technique by any stretch, but it’s possible to quickly appreciate the potential artistic advantages. Once I’d spent time with a tracker action, modern electric action seemed a bit indistinct- mushy-not providing as much sense of when it would sound; there was a sense of control latency. In all the keyboard instruments I’ve played, harpsichord, clavichord, organ, piano, and synthesizer, an extreme lightness of touch- within reason, is not as desirable as a secure sense of control.

    Fortunately, parallel with the 1960's trend of period harpsichord building evolved from straight copying to highly refined instruments that delved the historic makers’ and composers’ intentions as to the sound, playing characteristics, and design/style, with such makers as Martin Skowroneck, William Hyman, Frank Hubbard, and William Dowd coincided with a similar trend in organ building and the tracker was back on track with builders such as Fritz Noack, C.B. Fisk, and Casavant Frčres.

    Taylor & Boody Organbuilders is located west of Staunton, Virginia, which is west of Charlottesville, Virginia.

    https://visitstaunton.com/

    Staunton’s setting is in the Shenadoah Mountains, not far from the Skyline Drive scenic parkway. And for a town of 24,000, not too near a large city, it’s a pleasant surprise to learn that there is a Presidential Library - Woodrow Wilson was born there, there is Mary Baldwin University, and the American Shakespeare Center, performs Shakespeare six days a week, for fifty-one weeks per year. Small towns with universities always seem to strike a good balance of cultural opportunities and bit more worldliness. I saw a slightly eccentric, quasi-comic rendition of MacBeth and also had one of the best Indian meals I’ve had in a long while. Plus, having a maker of tracker action organs, requiring a rare combination of scholarship, engineering, aesthetic sense, craft and business skills, in my view is another good sign of civic health- a level of positive, creative, and artistic environment.

    Taylor & Boody was founded in 1977 by George Taylor, who studied with Rudolph von Beckerath and John Boody,who had worked with Fritz Noack after a 1970-1977 collaboration with John Brombaugh in Middletown, OH. Both Rudolph von Beckerath in Hamburg, Germany and Fritz Noack in Georgetown, MA. were early exponents of the tracker organ revival.

    Whereas harpsichord builders have started out in a garage-sized workshop with very few specialized tools, organizing an organ building firm is complex and needs from the to start as a fairly large-scale process. First, one needs the vast skill set to design, build, and implement large and complex individually crafted systems, requiring a long devotion to study and analysis of historic instruments, understanding the aesthetic decisions that shape the instruments to the intended musical use, craft skills as well as the business and social components, clients with the resources to buy the instruments, a very large workshop with the necessary space, a vast array of tools both hand and powered having a wide range in scale, to dimension fabricate and finish components in every category and scale from tiny and huge, simple to complex at high precision: in wood and metal both cast, fabricated, and machined, and then assembling and refining a wide scale on instruments from a positive organ that could go in a small chapel, chamber or continuo organ for concert use, to an instrument for a house as was done for my friend, to a house-sized cathedral organ, and including sculptural and or painted decoration. < That is the most succinct description of organ building I could manage, but is still skipping over the parts of the work that is fundamental and prerequisite to all to it,.

    Taylor & Boody is properly housed and equipped off to the west of Staunton, Virginia a few miles and housed in a converted 1920's Colonial /Federal style school building. This setting in rolling hills with distant mountain views and in this very civilized building out in a farming country-side seems to be a perfect working environment. The only workshops I’ve visited as inspiring in space and light are the ones in Colonial Williamsburg.

    This is a large rear gallery organ having some elements corresponding to the works of Arp Schnitger and perhaps moreso of Gottfried Silbermann, who was an almost exact contemporary of J.S. Bach. I might incur the wrath of more knowledgeable organ enthusiasts when I over-simplify the general characterization of Schnitgers as having a kind of clean, articulate power and Silbermann’s as more refined and singing having to a wider range of contrasting voice-types. Contrapuntal music has one set of requirements, but as musical lines became longer, more vertical- chords, and the music introduces more expressive qualities, the voices interact differently. A concert hall instrument will oten by “synphonic”, and include stops- sounds- that are 18th C. German .Dutch s That makes the Silbermann approach in general more versatile over a wider range of musical styles. There are organs that are grouped together as “romantic”, adapted to the needs of the highly textured music of the ate 19th century, particularly in France and “symphonic” instruments that attempt capability to play music from every period and of every scale, intimate to well, symphonic.

    I find I’m very sympathetic to the Taylor & Boody approach to specification of every organ in the T&B catalog that I’ve seen. The specification of organ stops is an essential art that is akin to designing a new, highly versatile orchestra every time, but focusing on retaining a particular character, a personality and suiting the exact use and location. I’ve designed a lot of houses, that have in some ways similar design parameters, but these did not have to correspond to the needs of music from c.1500 to 2018, and be made as precisely as a chronograph watch, plus accomplish the voicing and tuning of thousands of parts voiced, and tuned to act as an ensemble.

    Immediately entering into the main T&B assembly workshop- originally the basketball court of the school, the product becomes evident:

    T&B_OP74_Facade_P1050668_5.12.18.jpg

    Taylor & Boody Opus 74 in progress

    If I mention that this photo of Opus 74 was made with a 24mm lens and I could only photograph about 2/3 of the width, that will make obvious the size of this instrument. The center section of the roof is raised to accommodate the height.

    It must be clear already how difficult and complex organ design and construction is and if I show you the engine room of Opus 74, that will drive home the point:
    T&B_OP74_Structure Bellows_Back_P1050611_5.12.18..jpg

    The visitors standing nearby provide a sense of the scale.

    At the lower left are the bellows, originally foot or arm lever-powered, and today by electric blowers. The wind supply of Opus 74 will be housed in a separate room to avoid noise. The windchests of some organs are referred to as “walk in” and the world’s largest organ Convention Hall, Atlantic city N.J, is said to have the wind supplied by eight blowers totaling 600HP.

    Taylor and Boody use a well-thought out mixture of the traditional- the tracker action, pipe, and case design, and where it makes engineering and working efficiency sense: modern materials, tools, and components.

    For example, the tracker rods, which are traditionally bars of wood are here carbon fiber- extremely rigid, amazingly lightweight, and immune to warping or swelling /shrinking. These characteristics will all contribute a light, precise, and stable action.

    Also, the stop control- which moves sliding registers that expose the pallets- hinged flaps to the pressurized air so to enable a set to pipes to sound- are controlled by solenoids that can accomplish this very quickly and with low effort, In this mechanism, as opposed to the keyboard there is no usefulness in having a “feel” to the control- the critical factor is speed.
    Last edited by Alan Caro; 06-23-2018 at 7:50 AM.

  2. #2
    How to Build a Pipe Organ: Visiting Taylor & Boody Organbuilders > PART 2


    As mentioned, there is a complex sequence to organ building:

    1. Client consultation, site visit,
    2. Design/specification/
    3. Presentation
    4. Design Development
    5. Proposal, contract
    6. Drafting/ shop drawings,
    7. Fabrication: wood, metal
    8. Assembly
    9. Initial refinement
    10. Disassembly and packing: preparation for transport of the organ to the place of installation
    11. Transportation
    12. Reassembly and refinement of the instrument in place.

    The total sequence may be measured in years: 2-4, Given the high cost of a pipe organ- they are by far the most expensive new musical instrument, there may be years of funding preceding the project.

    Design:

    The design of any musical instrument is complex as there are: structural mechanical, acoustic, and aesthetic elements to be considered.

    Specification: the first design aspect is to evaluate the installation space as the location affects the ability for the instrument sound cohesiveness, articulation, and balance of the various division. Fitting all the components and musical requirements so as to derive a specification, is complex as is creating the list of stops and deciding on the number of manuals. A home, chapel, church cathedral, or concert hall instrument will be very different, and there will be distinct variation in client preferences as to case style, materials, decoration, and finish.

    It’s safe to say that no two pipes organs can ever be exactly the same. Not only are organs, more than other instrument affected by the acoustic interactions of the particular space they occupy, the organ has far more variation in specification possible than any other instrument. There must be on the order of 100 pipe voices, those voices may be made in a large range of octave-sounding: octave 128', 64', and more commonly 32',16', 8',4',2',1' plus several interval sounding: 2-2/3', 1-3/5'. All of these may be combined into mixture stops that sound e together and these may be principals, flutes, strings, and reed. Each pipe is differently set in internal volume which establishes the pitch and the relative proportions of width /diameter to length and the relative position of the openings are different for every pipe. The minuscule differences of the voicing and various tuning systems add to the infinite possibilities.

    Some examples of pipe forms:

    Various organ pipes types.jpg

    The specification of Taylor & Boody Opus 74 illuminates the number of judgements /decisions necessary:

    Taylor & Boody_Opus 74_Spec_5.12.18.jpg

    The layout of the mechanical action, the windchests, and the air supply is complex and detailed, and requires an intimate understanding of the construction and ensuring making all the parts fit within the allowed volume, align and have clearances and may be both assembled and maintained is a complex and precise task,

    The machine needs a structure, and protective covering of the various systems and protection against dust and rapid changes in temperature and humidity.

    Organ cases may also be a strong expression of the contemporary artistic trends:

    The fashions of 1500 in Sion Switzerland. this is the oldest playable organ in thre world, having some pipes fro about 1435.
    Organ_c 1435_Basilica of Valčre in Sion, Switzerland.jpg

    Excessive Baroque in Vilnius, Lithuania:

    church-st-johns-vilnius-organ-john-baptist-john-apostle-evangelist-located-old-town-lithuania.jpg

    French romanticism by Aristide Cavaile-Coll:

    Cavaille-Coll-Buffet_grand-orgue.jpg

    Modernity at Disney Hall, Los Angeles:

    Organ Disney Hall.jpg
    The "bunch of French fries" organ,..

    The protective aspect is more important than it may at first seem. But it is essential for the longevity of the most expensive and complex instrument. And the techniques that have evolved over the 900-1,000 years of organ history have proven successful; the oldest playable instrument has parts dating to c. 1435 and quite a bit of it is c.1500.

    The oldest surviving music that was supposed to have been composed specifically for a keyboard instrument, The Robertsbridge Codex is from c. 1360:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RFiZQsBrBD4


    The complex design and shop drawings at Taylor & Boody are done on a computer using CAD.

    T&B_CAD Stn_P1050615_5.12.18.jpg

    Aaron Reichert of Taylor & Boody, who is the CAD draftsman, very kindly sent me some of the drawing for Opus 74. And these are among the highest-density CAD drawings I've ever seen. I’d never seen organ plans at this level of detail and this is, of course, educational.
    Last edited by Alan Caro; 06-23-2018 at 7:44 AM.

  3. #3
    How to Build a Pipe Organ: Visiting Taylor & Boody Organbuilders > PART 3

    Wood Fabrication Shop:

    By weight, an organ is a high proportion wood. There are many and wide ranging tasks for wood fabrication: the structure / case, the decorative elements, the action, and the windchest and registers that mount the pipes.

    The main wood fabrication room is one of the most pleasant working environments I know; plenty of natural light, high-quality industrial tools in an orderly and very generous layout, and good dust filtration:

    T&B_Wood fabrication shop_P1050617_5.12.18.jpg

    The Drill press:

    T&B_wood fabrn shop_Drill press 3_P1050630_5.12.18.jpg

    The Planer:

    T&B_Wood fabrn shop_Planer go bar deck_P1050627_5.12.18.jpg

    Behind is a Go-Bar deck. This is used for gluing up odd shaped components or that can not be conventional clamped with C- or bar clamps. Thin flexible wood strips, longer than the distance between the deck and an overhead platform, bend against the “roof” so as to apply an equally distributed pressure to components that are impossible to reach and /or to clamp uniformly. Harpsichord builders use this typically to mount the bridge(s) and ribs to the soundboard.

    The Radial arm saw:

    T&B_wood fabrn shop_Radial saw_P1050633_5.12.18.jpg

    The large and extremely solid CNC:

    T&B_Wood fabrn shop_CNC 2_P10506223.12.18.jpg


    Wood pipes in the white:

    T&B_wood fabrn shop_wood pipes_P1050631_5.12.18.jpg

    There is considerable hand work in fitting and finishing wood components and T&B have very solid- and well-used traditional benches.

    T&B_Workbench Kelley Blanton_P1050642_5.12.18.jpg

    And here is Kelley Blanton, who worked in the Anthony Hay cabinet shop in Colonial Williamsburg. That shop was adjacent until the early 80's to the Musical Instrument Makers’ shop in which forum friend George Wilson was the Master. George made a small square for Kelley who still uses it nearly forty years later:

    T&B_Kelley Blanton w Geo Wilson square_P1050641_5.12.18.jpg
    Last edited by Alan Caro; 06-22-2018 at 5:22 PM.

  4. #4
    How to Build a Pipe Organ: Visiting Taylor & Boody Organbuilders > PART 4

    Wood Carving:

    Traditional organ cases typically have facade pipes that are symmetrically grouped by height for visual balance- and consequently in a distinctly difficult order difficult order for mechanical action. In these facades, the spaces around the facade pipes and various panelled areas often have pierced decoration. These are 3D sculptures that may also on a curved surface, so carving is a large quantity of necessarily large carding is extremely time-consuming.

    However, a highly precisely-controller and stable rigid platform CNC mill/router may be controlled by an STP file to make the rough carving, saving considerable handwork.

    One of the amazing outputs of the very large T&B CNC are the sculptural decorations for the organ facades:

    T&B_Wood carving bench_Curved panel_Refining_P1050663_5.12.18.jpg

    T&B_Wood carving bench_Curved panel_Refining_P1050664_5.12.18.jpg

    T&B_Wood carving bench_Panels various states_P1050659_5.12.18.jpg

    T&B_Wood carving bench_Finial_Raw from CNC_P1050662_5.12.18.jpg

    These are refined by hand, but I find the texture of raw output very interesting - it resembles hand gouge marks and gives the forms an interesting sense of strength. If I were designing an organ, I’d be tempted to use the raw CNC output

    T&B_Wood carving bench_Finial_Raw from CNC_P1050661_5.12.18.jpg
    Last edited by Alan Caro; 06-22-2018 at 5:25 PM.

  5. #5
    How to Build a Pipe Organ: Visiting Taylor & Boody Organbuilders > PART 5

    Metal Fabrication

    There are a of course a lot of metal parts in a pipe organ in terms of hardware for the trackers, rollers, keyboard, and etc, but the most prominent metal parts are the probability of quite a number of metal pipes.

    T&B_OP74_Pipes various_P1050658_5.12.18.jpg

    A word about the design of pipes. The pipes in organs, in order to be able to sound at all, working at a particular air pressure without sounding artifacts, bloops, whistles, stutters, wind sound, and etc., capable of voicing to achieve and refine the intended character of their voice, and be tuneable and durable is an extremely complex art- one of the most difficult in musical instrument making that I know.

    Working out the stringing in a clavichord, harpsichord and a piano is difficult, but experimentation is much less expensive. Also, setting the proportions and carving the tops for the violin family is close, but each violin has only one top interacting with a limited number of parts, whereas an organ may have thousands of pipes making 100+ distinct sounds and in even and odd multiples of the fundamental note that controls it.

    Metal organ pipes are made from sheet metal containing: tin, lead, zinc, copper, and antimony. Typical proportions:

    Common metal: 30% tin, 70% lead,
    Spotted metal: 50% tin, 50% lead,
    Plain tin: 75% tin, 25% lead,
    Antimonial lead: 94% lead, 6% antimony
    Copper: 100% copper

    As one can imagine, pipes include materials that require extremely careful handling.

    The thickness of the Metal varies according to the size of the pipe for structural reasons. Organ pipes can be from a couple of inches to a few examples that are 64' long.

    By the way, the pipe organ with the greatest number of pipes is the Midmer-Losh, Opus 5550 of 1929 in Convention Hall, Atlantic City, N.J. having seven manuals and 33,114 pipes., including a 64' diaphone with full length pipes.

    It may be a surprise to many that the sheet material used for metal pipes is not purchased, but made in-house. And even more surprising is that a better method for making the sheets has not been devised since 1500 or so.

    The Material:

    T&B_Pipe casting shop_materials_P1050650_5.12.18.jpg
    The making of the sheet materials for organ pipes is beautifully simple: Melt to liquid the ingots and scraps of material in the desired proportion in a crucible. Ladle the liquid into a movable tray with a kind of sluice gate. This tray is mounted at one end of a very flat, smooth, and level platform:

    T&B_Pipe casting sequence_1 Ladeling_P1050651_5.12.18.jpg

    The sluice gate is opened and the metal-filled tray is drawn along the platform, which is edged with guide rails.

    T&B_Pipe casting sequence_3 Screeding_P1050653_5.12.18.jpg

    The speed of the drawing determines the thickness- a faster draw equals a thinner sheet. With a good setup, this drawing method produces very consistent sheets requiring relatively superficial finishing:

    T&B_Pipe casting sequence_4 Sheet completed_P1050654_5.12.18.jpg

    Besides, natural, highly polished, brushed another metal pipe finish is a kind of pebbly, rough-planish looking surface and this is accomplished using a power hammer:

    T&B_Pipe finishing bench_Blu Max 110 power hammer_P1050657_5.12.18.jpg

    The sheets are then graded for thickness as the larger pipes will require a thicker wall so as to support the weight:

    Graded sheets in the green

    T&B_Pipe casting shop_Lead Tin sheet green_P1050650_5.12.18.jpg
    These sheets are left to age.
    Scraps left over from cutting and fabrication are recycled to the next batch of sheet material.

    Finished large polished metal Pipes:

    T&B_Open House_Visitors w pipes_P1050666_5.12.18.jpg

    The fellow with the glasses center rear is John Boody, founding partner
    Last edited by Alan Caro; 06-22-2018 at 5:38 PM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Norway
    Posts
    176
    Very interesting thread, Alan! The organ has been one of my favourite instruments for many years. Unfortunately we don't have many of the real ones around where I live, but for several years I frequently visited the Nidaros Dome in Trondheim, Norway, which houses one of the largest romantic organs in northern Europe, the 125 rank Steinmeyer. Originally built in 1930, and surviving several small disasters until a full and major restoration finished in 2014. I have had the opportunity so visit a few concerts both before and after the restoration, and it is a truly amazing instrument....

    https://www.nidarosdomen.no/en/

  7. #7
    How to Build a Pipe Organ: Visiting Taylor & Boody Organbuilders > PART 6

    Assembly:

    As one may imagine, the assembly of the organ involves erection of the structure and this is done on a meticulously leveled surface.

    The structure is quite like a building with framing, that creates the support for the windchests with pipes and the action

    T&B_OP74_Structure Bellows_Back_P1050611_5.12.18..jpg

    The structure is then clad in panel and gradually, the various moldings and decorative elements are fitted:

    T&B_OP74_Facade DET_Kelley Blanton_P1050634_5.12.18.jpg

    Installation:

    After a full assembly, testing, and first refinements, voicing and tuning, checking the consistency and feel of the action, and etc., the instrument has to be dismantled into sections that may be transported- often hundreds of miles to the church, concert hall, or university, and then reassembled. This as you might image as it involves thousands of parts- each of the hundreds of pipes is seated- they’re not actually attached- into the exact windchest Besides fitting all the subassemblies together- keeping in mind how easy it would be for the mechanical action to have mechanical action connection that would bind if any assembly was not perfectly aligned.. If a windchest was put into enough torsion, the registers would balk in operation, and the pallets might not seal or open and close cleanly. A mechanical action is a good as it’s weakest link

    The refinement of the instrument in situ appears another difficult and to me- mysterious art. As pipes are in general akin to a flute or reed instrument such as aa clarinet, the creation of a clear and stable sound depends on careful voicing- the proportions, the location and shape of the sounding components, and the operating air pressure is set in the design, but the refinement requires great patience and experimentation involving more than one person- only possible with experience and an understanding of the tonal aspirations of the particular organ. The voicing of harpsichords- which involves cutting the plectra to a shape and length is very subtle as well, and voicing a piano properly, shaping and varying the surface density of the hammer are very subtle as well, but in those examples, the component in question, is of a unitary mechanical function;- it plucks or hits a string only one general type and material, and quite consistent in size. Every organ pipe in an organ is unique, and has an extremely complex sounding response that relies on complex control and consistent air pressure.

    It's worth having a look through the finished Taylor & Boody Organbuilders finished instruments and restoration projects:

    http://taylorandboody.com/instruments.html

    Their's is a beautiful, varied body of work.

    Taylor and Boody by the nature of the instrument share the many typical elements of their work, and use many traditional hand tools and techniques, such as in the making of pipes, but the thoughtful addition of modern materials- the unique use of carbon fiber trackers- a perfect choice for that use, mechanisms such as solenoid register control, and tooling such as the CNC are in my view are interesting and healthy signs of adopting the best of modern technology while preserving the essential and particular characteristics of the mechanical action organ. I’ve not heard a finished Taylor and Boody instrument in person, but from the list of finished instruments and tapping out a couple of bars on the unfinished Opus 74, the care and expertise in design, fabrication, assembly, and refinement is extraordinary.

    And, their shop is such a pleasant place to be, the staff so engaged, knowledgeable, and enthusiastic, I instantly wanted to work there myself!

    Special thanks to Aaron Reichert and Kelley Blanton for a spectacular tour and putting up with my many naive questions. Aaron and I had an interesting discussion of organ tuning and his is an infectious enthusiasm.

    Taylor & Boody, are doing fantastic work, in the perfect environment, and by skilled and enthusiastic colleagues. And how refreshing it is, to see this level of design and craftsmanship as comfortable in a modern commercial context. I’m very much looking forward to trying the organ that my friend commissioned for his home.

    Alan Caro
    Last edited by Alan Caro; 06-23-2018 at 7:46 AM.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
    Location
    Central PA
    Posts
    214
    VERY interesting Alan. I played organ for several years so know a fair amount from the "front end" but I knew very little of the background info. Thanks again!

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