Pianella / PianOrchestra
Musical and Pipework Terminology
Glossary of Common Musical and Pipework Terms
- Bassoon (Fagott, German):
- A small-scaled reed pipe
voiced to imitate the tone of an orchestral bassoon. The resonators,
when using the striking reed format, are of inverted conical form,
small-scaled and made of either metal or wood. Some builders use free
reeds, using comparatively short resonators formed out of two cones,
joined at their bases, with the upper cone truncated, so as to leave a
small opening for the emission of sound.
- Brass Trombones (Posaune, German):
- The only noted
listing for a brass trombone is for the immense style 43 Concert
PianOrchestra. But no matter what Wurlitzer advertised, due to their
great propensity to embellish pipework descriptions, it is probably safe
to say that there were no pipes with brass resonators, as might be
implied. Philipps mentions a Posaune register in some large instruments,
which is a reed pipe imitative of an orchestral trombone, and may be
what Wurlitzer termed a Brass Trombone.
- Wurlitzer's description for a set of
thirteen tuned metal bars, commonly known as "orchestra bells."
- A free reed pipe voiced in imitation of
the orchestral clarinet. Its resonator tube can be made of metal or
wood, and are cylindrical and connected to the reed block by a short
conical piece. In Philipps machines, the clarinet consists of a metal
boot, with a metal resonator tube.
- A small metal reed pipe with a bright
intonation, with resonator tubes similar to that of a trumpet pipe. Its
voice imparts richness and brilliancy without unduly asserting itself.
The term clarionet has been "incorrectly" used to denote clarinet pipes,
according to one prominent circa 1905 organ reference. Although the term
clarionet has been noted on a Philipps Pianella PM scale stick, its
intended use still remains a mystery.
- Compound Rank:
- Two or more ranks of similar pipes
that act or operate as a single rank, i.e., turned on or off
simultaneously. Compound ranks tend to reinforce the overall loudness
(as opposed to a single rank), while building up the tonal richness due
to minute differences in the various pipes (rather than relying on
"slightly dissimilar celeste tuning"). Art Reblitz is adamantly of the
opinion that the Melodie Violin ranks in an orchestrion were never
intended to be tuned in celeste, i.e., each rank tuned slightly
differently to produce a "beat" frequency or wavering sound. The same
applies to the Melodie Violin violin ranks in a dance organ or
fairground organ, too, even when there were 8 or 10 ranks of them. In
the Melodie Violin division of a dance organ only the unda maris should be tuned celeste. The reason Art Reblitz does not advise celeste
tuning in the Melodie Violin violins is because doing so makes them
sound less like a clear violin voice, and more like an accordion.
- Generally a small wood or cylindrical
metal pipe, of 2 ft. or 1 ft. pitch. The tone is bright and penetrating,
in imitation of the old English Flageolet. In the Philipps Paganini,
wooden flageolets (perhaps more correctly called Flageolet Harmonique)
appear very similar to a regular violin pipe, having a brass frein, but
also having a nodule hole (harmonic perforation) mid way in the
resonator section, as with usual harmonic pipes.
- An open pipe made of wood or metal. The
mouth can be cut to various heights and the proportions of the resonator
varied, thereby producing several qualities of flute like tone. In
Philipps machines, the flute is usually made of wood, with a square
cross section and an adjustable slider in the top for tuning. When a
harmonic flute is used, a harmonic perforation or nodule hole will be
noted approximately midway in the body of the pipe.
- French horn:
- A term used by Wurlitzer to describe a
rank of Gedeckt pipes. With some imagination, one could possibly say
that it has a soft, horn-like quality. but certainly not that produced
by a true reed type of pipe. See Gedeckt, below. In pipe organs, the
term French Horn has been used to describe a reed pipe, which is
supposed to imitate that of the orchestral instrument of the same name.
- Gamba (Voile de Gambe, German):
- This is an open
metal pipe, cylindrical and of small scale, producing a refined
string-tone more or less imitative of that of the old orchestral Viola
da Gamba. In Philipps machines, the true Gamba is metal, although the
term may have been applied to wood violin pipes, too.
- Applied generally to a covered pipe of
wood or metal of any scale. In Philipps machines, it is a wood pipe,
square in cross-section, heavy and rugged looking, with an adjustable
wood stopper. It can be found in the bass compass of a Caecilia (Concert
PianOrchestra) series machine. It produces a hollow, foundational, flute
like tone, which is soft and indistinct when played alone, but that,
when combined with other pipe registers, augments and enhances the
overall color and fullness.
- Mixture Rank:
- The traditional pipe organ use of the
term mixture refers to "two or more ranks of pipes drawn by a
single stop control, in which the ranks break in pitch one or more times
as the scale is ascended." (Dictionary of Pipe Organ Stops by
Stevens Irwin.) In a mixture, the pipes are very small and high-pitched,
and reinforce the upper harmonics of the fundamental note with which
they are associated. The only actual mixture commonly seen in an
automatic musical instrument is the two- or three-rank group of pipes
found in many German fairground organs connected to the forte register. The smallest of these pipes speak in the octave above the
notes of a piano, with a speaking length of less than one inch!
In another form of mixture, each rank continues without breaking back in
pitch all the way to the top of the scale. The pipe organ term for this is
"cornet;" the carillon in a Th. Mortier dance organ is an example.
- Designed to imitate the orchestral oboe, it
is, in its common form, a small-scaled striking reed, with the resonant
tube being formed of a slender tapered body, carrying at its upper and
larger end a long conical bell. This bell is sometimes open, and at
other times constructed with a shade, which can be partly closed for the
purpose of regulating and modifying the tone of the pipe.
- A small scaled open pipe made of wood or
metal, usually with a harmonic perforation or nodule hole approximately
midway in the body of the pipe. In Philipps machines, the piccolo is
made of wood, with an adjustable slider in the top for tuning. If a
harmonic flute register is also used, the difference between the flute
and piccolo section appears to be scaling, the piccolo being of smaller
size and scale.
- Posaune (Trombone):
- A striking reed pipe of
powerful intonation, imitating more or less closely the tone of an
orchestral Trombone. Of the Trumpet family, its resonator tubes
(properly metal, but can be of wood) are of large scale and are of an
inverted conical form.
- Cylindrical tin metal pipe, with
adjustable stopper, producing a rich, full bodied flute-like tone. It
yields a compound tone in which the twelfth or second upper partial tone
is present in a pronounced manner, along with the prime or fundamental
- Wurlitzer's terminology for a free reed
bassoon (or fagott), using wood boots and metal resonators formed out of
two cones, joined at their bases, with the upper cone truncated, so as
to leave a small opening for the emission of sound. See Bassoon.
- Viola (Bratschen or Viola da Gamba, German):
open wood or metal "string" pipe. In Philipps machines, the Viola pipes
(Bratschen) are wood, with an adjustable brass frein and an adjustable
slider in the top for tuning. They are of a larger scale than the
aforementioned violin pipe, and are very often used to extend the
30-note "violin range" down into the bass. Confusingly, Violoncello
pipes (with wood harmonic bridges instead of freins) have also been used
to extend the "violin range," giving rise to some confusion as to
exactly what Philipps and Wurlitzer considered to be a Viola pipe. For
myself, and Art Reblitz apparently concurs, to arbitrarily clear up this
puzzlement, wood string pipes with a brass frein sounding any note below
the top 30-note "violin compass" is to be considered a Viola pipe. If a
pipe has a wooden harmonic bridge (roller), instead of a brass frein, it
is a Violoncello pipe.
- An open wood or metal "string" pipe, more
or less imitative of the richly harmonic orchestral violin. In Philipps
machines, wood violin pipes are generally used, probably due to their
rugged durability. Each pipe is fitted with an adjustable brass frein
(literally a bridle or curb), with an adjustable slider in the top for
tuning. The entire rank is usually coupled to the uppermost 30-notes of
the musical scale. If the "violin" register is of a 42 or 49-note
compass, for instance, Violas or Violoncellos extend the "violin" range.
- An open wood or metal "string" pipe
imitative of the orchestral Violoncello. In Philipps machines, the
Violoncello is wood, with an adjustable slider in the top for tuning.
The harmonic-bridge assembly uses a "non-adjustable" wooden roller,
instead of the easily adjusted brass frein. It is generally an octave
lower than the above mentioned violin pipe rank, and, as a stand alone
Melodie Violin rank of pipes it generally occupies the uppermost 30-note
compass of the musical scale.
Information provided by Terry Hathaway and Art Reblitz.
The Art of Organ Building, by George Ashdown
Dover Publications, Inc., New York, 1965
Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 64-18839/MN
Dictionary of Pipe Organ Stops, by Stevens