Details of Scribner-Keeble Memorial Pipe Organ:
at Duncan Memorial UMC
Finest Pipe Organ In Ashland
Significant underwriting for the pipe organ at Duncan Memorial United Methodist Church in Ashland, Virginia was provided by the Scribner and Keeble families. The Scribner-Keeble Memorial pipe organ was installed in 1989 by the Schantz Pipe Organ Company of Orrville, Ohio.
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According to Dr. Doering, who has holds the chair for Pope Organ Professor at Randolph Macon College, the Scribner-Keeble Memorial pipe organ at Duncan Memorial United Methodist Church used on this recording, is the finest pipe organ in Ashland, VA. (To find a finer instrument you'd need to go to Fredericksburg or Richmond.)
Conventional pipe organs consist of four main parts:
The keyboard or keyboards and other controls that collectively are called the console,
The pipes that produce the tone,
The mechanism, or action, and
The wind generator.
Installation of the Pipe Organ
Schantz Organ Company's engineering staff oversaw every detail from initial design to installation.
The physical layout of the organ was designed by Wilbur Herr.
Installation of the organ was headed by Elmer Gable.
The organ is electrically controlled by a computerized piston system, including four levels of memory.
Because the organ is electrically controlled, the console/keyboard is only attached by a cable, allowing the console to be moved about in the chancel area depending on what type of performance setup is being used in a particular service.
Layout of the pipes is distributed high around the Chancel.
Pipes for the Swell Division are located in the enclosed space high above the lectern side, behind shutters to control the amount of swell/expression. (From the congregation perspective facing the Chancel from the Nave, that is to the right of the congregation).
Pipes for the Great Division and other Non-sub-bass Pedal pipes are exposed high at the back of the chancel directly facing the congregation down the nave.
Pipes for the Positive Division and Pedal Sub-bass are located in the enclosed space high above the pulpit side of the Chancel. (From the congregation perspective facing the Chancel from the Nave, that is to the left of the congregation).
Organ pipes are divided into two basic types – Flue and Reed.
Flue pipes create their sound by setting the column of air in the body of the pipe in motion. Each pipe is like a simple whistle, with each being a different pitch and timbre.
The tone/timbre of a pipe is determined by many factors, including the pressure of the wind supply, the size of the foot hole, the width of the flue, the height and width of the mouth, and the scale, or the diameter of the pipe relative to its speaking length. The material of which the pipe is made also exerts an influence; it may be an alloy of lead and tin, wood, or, more rarely, pure tin or copper, and for the bass pipes zinc.
The pipes may also vary in shape, a common variant being an upward taper in which the pipe is smaller in diameter at the top than at the mouth. Or, the top of the pipe may be completely closed by a stopper. Such a pipe is said to be stopped; a stopped pipe sounds an octave lower in pitch than an open pipe of the same speaking length.
Voicing adjustments direct the airflow through the pipe to create the proper speech and tone. The voicer is the artist upon whom the ultimate success of any organ depends.(1)
Reed pipes create their sound by setting a vibrating reed or tongue in motion. Commonly reed tongues are made of brass. The reed tongue must be of precise thickness and properly curved to create the desired tone.
(These are not the "free" reeds as used in instruments like accordians. Free reeds were used in older pipe organs.)
Reed pipes are tuned by moving the tuning wire, thus shortening or lengthening the reed/tongue. As in flue pipes, the scale and shape of the resonator largely determine the quality of tone to be produced; but the wind pressure, the shape and size of the shallot against which the reed vibrates, and the thickness and curvature of the tongue also have important influence. The tongues may also be weighted with brass or felt; this weighting produces a smoother quality of tone, especially in the bass notes.
Voicing an organ pipe involves the adjustment of two main parameters:
The tone quality or timbre (resonance), and
The voicing of each type of pipe (Flue or Reed) is dramatically different.
The voicing of Flue pipes is done by adjusting the airflow through the pipe to create the proper speech and tone.
The voicing of Reed pipes is done by adjusting the vibrating brass reed tongue to be properly curved to create the desired tone.
These critical voicing adjustments take hours of time by craftsmen with years of experience. This process is to assure each instrument's voice has maximum impact – both dramatic and subtle – within the room in which it is installed.
A team of Schantz voicers traveled to Duncan Memorial United Methodist Church to complete the meticulous task of final tonal regulation for each pipe in the instrument. Final voicing at the church was by Burton K. Tidwell, Associate Tonal Director, assisted by Lee Singleton.
A set of pipes of either type producing the same timbre (resonance) for each different note is called a Rank. The Scribner-Keeble Memorial pipe organ at Duncan Memorial United Methodist Church has 35 Ranks, with 2,086 pipes. The combination of flue and reed pipes creates a combination of Classic and Romantic pipe voicing capabilities that allows it to perform a wider repertoire of musical selections.
Schantz Pipe Organ Company
The Schantz Pipe Organ company was founded in 1873 by A.J. Tschantz. (The family later dropped the initial T to become Schantz). It is the largest and oldest American pipe organ builder of electro-pneumatic pipe organs in North America that is still under management by the founding family.
Like many pipe organ builders, initially most of their early instruments were modest in size and were found within two-hundred miles of the Orrville, Ohio workshop. It was under leadership of the third generation (following World War II) that the company developed a national reputation.
Today work continues under the management of the fourth generation of the Schantz family. Commissions for the firm include projects ranging in scope from restoration of existing instruments to the construction of entirely new pipe organs. The new organs range in size from modest with a few ranks of pipes, to complex designs for some of the largest churches, cathedrals, and public spaces in the world.
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