Wednesday, November 13, 2013
So, nobody was able to guess what the object was in the last post! I kinda figured that might stump ya'll. Many, many years ago (another lifetime almost) I used to work on pipe organs and the object is one of the larger wooden pipes from one of the organs we took care of. (If you enlarge the photo in my last post you can see the stopper in the top and the mouth of the pipe down near the plants) You can see smaller versions in the photo above. For each key on the keyboard there is a corresponding pipe and they descend in size according to the note. Each set of pipes is called a "rank" and they each are tuned and voiced to a certain sound, such as the 8' trumpet, viola, etc. And, the largest pipe of, say, the 8' trumpet, really is 8' tall. Now, some ranks go all the way up to 32' but those pipes are normally not really 32'. They will use electronics or other techniques to get that sound out of a smaller pipe. As I said though, the pipe in my house is about 10' long, which was actually one of the smaller pipes in that rank we took out. If I remember correctly the largest pipe in that rank was about 18'. The pipes go from this size all the way down to teeny, weeny ranks where the pipes are about the size of a pencil. Most of the pipes are lead or zinc or a combination of the two but about 1/3 of an organ will be wood pipes. You occasionally see copper pipes but not often.
The pipe came out of this very church in Birmingham, although the pipes you see there are part of a new organ that was installed last year. The guy I worked for maintained this organ and we had to restore it after a large fire destroyed everything but the sanctuary. Supposedly, the large wooden pipes had cracked after being soaked by the fire hoses and so were replaced. Unfortunately, the rank was replaced electronically, not with real wooden pipes. The pipes are somewhere around 75 years old and of such beautiful wood a number of us saved all we could. I only ended up with one but I guess that's better than none. Of course, it's a challenge to come up with room for them. Anyway, back then the pipe organ was valued at over $1 million: I'm not sure what this new one goes for.
The job didn't pay too well but it was interesting for sure and we had a lot of fun. The guy I worked for was a good friend, and a unique fellow to say the least. Sadly, he passed away a number of years ago at only 49. A bad heart and drug use will do that sometimes. He was a good guy though and I miss Howard. But, as I said, that was a lifetime ago.
And did you know where the old saying, "pulling out all the stops" comes from? Well, from pipe organs of course! Each of those white knobs you see on the sides of the keyboards controls one rank of pipes and is referred to as a "stop". When you pull a knob out it activates power to the air and valves of that rank, allowing it to speak and the organist can thus control the sound and fullness of the music. So, if you pull out all the stops, the whole organ is playing and that is usually an astounding sound!
See, ya'll just learn all kinds of interesting crap on my blog. And, as ol' Howard used to say, you know what's better than roses on your piano?..........tulips on your organ of course!
Another update: all my bloodwork has come back at this point and of course..it is all perfectly normal. According to the numbers, not a damn thing wrong with me.