I've collected a few funny tidbits over the last four years as an organist.
For those unfamiliar, the organ can play many different sounds. Depending on the buttons I push and the knobs I pull, I can play the trumpet or the flute, the oboe or the tuba, the violin or the cello. But some organs go even further than that!
For example, lots of organs have a set of percussion instruments built-in. Many have chimes (like you hear in an old grandfather clock) while others may have xylophones, harps, or even entire pianos built in!
Some organs also have what essentially amount to "sound effects." One of my favorites is the Zimbelstern, which essentially amounts to a bunch of bells getting hit by rotating clappers (or vice versa). Take a listen to a Zimbelstern here:
Another one of these noisemakers I encountered at Rice was labeled "Rossignol," I think. It can best be described as a bird whistle. Here's a video I took of it in action (back when Snapchat was still cool):
Moving on from that, it's a sad truth that many organ get neglected, especially if they're not huge showpieces. I was asked to play for a Sunday school class at my church that has a small electric organ. Turns out the "springs" on the pedals were worn out, so I strengthened them with some Kleenex!
This is not my photo. I don't remember exactly who I got it from, but it was sent to me on Facebook a couple years ago!
The legend that was passed on to me is that the donors who gave money to pay for the organ got their faces carved into these stop knobs. The only other trace of this organ I can find is the background picture of a YouTube video that provides no context or even claims to be playing this organ. If you have any idea where this organ is, please let me know by clicking the button below!
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This was a short fun post to offset the more serious posts I've been making recently and plan to make in the near future. If you liked it, go ahead and subscribe!
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