[Harp-L] pipes and organs

With all the discussion of adding pipes to harmonicas and so forth I think one thing is being overlooked: the difference between Eastern and Western free-reeds. Taking a look at something like Pat Missin's harmonica history website (http://www.patmissin.com/history/ history.html) and you'll notice that most of the Asian free-reeds have pipes, while most of the European ones don't. The main reason for this is that the construction of the reed is different. Western free-reeds are made separate from the reed-plate and have a distinct offset. Most Eastern reeds were/are cut-out from the reed-plate and have little to no offset. Thus, they often need a resonant tube in order to speak at all. In this instance, with the zero-offset, idioglottal (IIRC) Asian free-reed you can adjust the pitch by shortening or lengthening the resonator, to a small degree, usually not as much as with a beating reed.

Attaching a Western style free-reed to a specific resonant chamber can get massive results tonally (this was the case for the Vocalion, a very high-end reed organ where each reed had it's own resonant chamber, these can sound remarkably un-reed like). However, you need to match pitch and size quite well, and I would bet the results would not be as significant for a harmonica type instrument (where the player can already do this using their hands, as Doug Tate showed so often and well) compared to a reed-organ, where many types of qualifying chambers, pipes and the likes were experimented with over the years (culminating in the Vocalion).

As for organs, well, an all free-reed instrument is usually thought of as a reed-organ or harmonium (depending on the type of instrument) rather than a proper organ. While some organs do have a few free- reed stops (usually with full-sized resonators as would be used on beating reed stops), these are exceptions to the general rule.

Vern writes:

"I think that some organ pipes have a sleeve that clamps on at the tip that can be moved up and down to change the effective length. First you will tune the reed to the correct pitch and then tune the pipe for maximum response."

Flue pipes in organs are tuned in several ways, one of which is to put a tuning sleeve around the end of the pipe to change length (these are called by many names: tuning sleeves, tuning collars, slide tuners, tuning slides, etc...). Other ways are to either cone in or flare out the end of the pipe itself as needed or having a slot cut in the pipe which can be opened or closed. All these set the functional length of the pipe and thus alter the pitch.

Reed pipes are usually first tuned by setting pitch at the reed itself. Most tend to then have a slot cut into their resonator (though some cylindrical resonators use collars) which is used primarily to regulate the timbre and volume of the pipe, though this does effect tuning as well (though not as easily or as much as by tuning the reed itself).

I am a pipe-organ expert, but reserve the right to be wrong or not say what I want accurately and clearly.

 ()()    JR "Bulldogge" Ross
()  ()   & Snuffy, too:)

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