Piano, Organ, and Keyboard/identity of organ stops

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Question
Dear Mr. Britanyak,

I emailed a question to you on 11/13/12 regarding identifying where organ stop labels belong.  Your input to that question helped in sorting some of their locations.  I have all of the labels and I have reinked them and they look good.

Since I emailed you, I have identified where three of the eleven labels go.  Bass Coupler goes on the extreme left of the stops, Treble Coupler goes on the extreme right, and Vox Humana goes in the middle.  That leaves four stops between Bass Coupler and Vox Humana and four between Vox Humana and Treble Coupler.

Now, for what I would like to ask you today.

Given:   
Diapason, Diapason Forte, Dolce, Dulciana, Echo, Melodia, Piano, and Viola as the remaining eight stop labels for which I don't know the locations...

Which four of the remaining eight stops would you believe to be Bass and which four of the remaining eight would you believe to be Treble?  In other words, which four labels do you believe go between Bass Coupler and Vox Humana and which four labels do you believe go between Vox Humana and Treble Coupler?  If you can give some input regarding these questions, I believe that will help significantly in solving the mystery.

Again, thanks in advance, for using your expertise in helping me to determine the answers.  Persistence will prevail and I will soon know the locations for all of the labels.

Ray Irwin
170 Applewood Dr.
Chillicothe, OH  45601-1946

Answer
Hello Ray,  We will need to use some simple logic to figure out the location of some of the stops.  The first step would be to determine the number of reed ranks the organ has, then make a list describing the function of each stop's linkage.  As I mentioned before, some stops will be speaking while other stops will be non-speaking.  Once this information is obtained, we can better determine which stop face goes where.

The most obvious stop is the Diapason Forte.  It is most likely a non-speaking stop.  That is, when pulled, it makes no sound on its own.  It's function is to open one of the volume shutters in front of the Diapason reed rank.  When you find which stop does this, you will be able to determine the location of the Diapason stop.

The other 6 stop names do not suggest their function outright other than to determine the following relative volume levels associated with their names:

Dolce - soft
Dulciana - soft
Echo - soft
Melodia - loud
Piano - loud (refers to the instrument and not a volume level)
Viola - loud

Your job will be to determine which speaking stops are loud and which are soft.  Then you will need to determine which speaking stops are affected by which non-speaking stops (if there are any more).

You will probably find some of the stop linkages open a reed mute rail only slightly for a softer sound while another stop linkage opens the same mute rail full open creating a louder sound from the same reed rank.  Therefore, you could assign Melodia to the loudest stop and assign one of the softer stops that causes the Melodia to play softer to one of the three soft stops.

My guess is the Melodia and Echo could go together.  The Viola and Dulciana could go together and the Piano and Dolce could go together.  

It all depends upon what the functions of the remaining stop linkages do. Bottom line, I do not have the information necessary to narrow the stop designations further.  

Piano, Organ, and Keyboard

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Thomas Britanyak

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I am a full time organ/piano technician who has been actively involved with the design, building, repair, maintenance and installation of organs and pianos for 35 years. I began as a keyboard instrument apprentice and hold degrees in music and electronics. If you need a piano's date of manufacture, please go to http://www.pianoexchange.com/howold.htm or http://www.bluebookofpianos.com/pianoage.html I am happy to answer musical or technical questions, however, I CANNOT offer appraisals on pianos or organs. Please do not ask what an instrument is worth. For this service please contact an experienced local appraiser or try the following links: https://mmm1100.verio-web.com/blueb1/appraisal.html or http://www.57piano.com/questions.htm

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I am a full time organ/piano technician who has been actively involved with the design, building, repair, maintenance and installation of organs and pianos for 35 years. I began as a keyboard instrument apprentice and hold degrees in music and electronics.

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I am a full time organ/piano technician who has been actively involved with the design, building, repair, maintenance and installation of organs and pianos for 35 years. I began as a keyboard instrument apprentice and hold degrees in music and electronics.

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