my new practice organ

my new practice organ

I thought I'd share a short little post today to show the practice organ here at the University of Minnesota!

It's what's called a "tracker organ." If it were a car, we'd call it a "manual." The only electronic parts on this organ are the blower (to push air through the pipes), and the light (to let you see your music while you play). Everything else is controlled by physically pulling knobs and pressing keys.

In brief, the "tracker system" works like this:

  1. You press a key. The key acts as a lever.
  2. The back of the key pushes or pulls on a stick (called a tracker) that pushes or pulls on another stick (also called a tracker) that pushes or pulls on another stick...
  3. Once all the trackers are pushed/pulled into their new position, the last tracker opens a valve that allows air to go through a pipe.

Think that's complicated? Try building an organ using only tools available 1500 years ago.

Here's the best freely available image I could find showing the inside of a tracker organ:

And here's a really nice one on someone else's site (you have to click the link to see it since it's a stock image that I don't want to pay for):

Organ building - Stock Image - C009/3782
Organ building. Organ builder assembling the tracker action of a pipe organ. PATRICK LANDMANN/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Here's a gallery of some hand-drawn diagrams of a tracker action organ:

Orgelbau Krawinkel - General Information
Work we carry out for you includes: Building new organs, organ restoration, organ renovation, organ rebuilding, organ maintenance, organ relocation and organ tuning. We perform these tasks on organs, pipe organs, church organs, small organs and home organs.

And here's someone else's blog post that tries to explain the tracker action:

Music Mechanics Series - Tracker Organ
The organ is a fascinating mechanical contraption. Along with the clock, it was considered one of the most complex human-made mechanical c...

I'm sorry this post was so short, but I really didn't have much to say! I'm having fun learning in a new school.

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