Sunday, November 12, 2017

Pipe Organ cleaning

How much dirt accumulates in 30 years?
My answer is generally so much that it can be ignored.  You know, usually up on top of surfaces that are difficult to reach.  And for short people, there are a lot of high surfaces that can be easily ignored.  
At church, we have an area that no one wants to access except for one person, twice a year. That's the organ tuner, and for about five years he has told me how much dirt is accumulating around and on the pipes.  

 Now it's cleaned, and what a job. Each of the approximately 3,000 pipes have been removed, cleaned, and replaced.  Even the hidden white wall at the top got a face lift.  It took almost 200 man hours of work, but I can breathe easier now!  Literally...
Pipes are removed from the top center and right side.

Pipes are up to 16 feet long, and kept in order of placement.
Many MANY are the size of a pencil.
For anyone who cares, the tiny pencil sized pipes are grouped into fours because all four sound at the same time, played by one key.  That gives the buzzy sound of acoustical overtones... like when a dish or bell vibrates because it receives vibrations from an alternate source.  The four are meant to sound like several things vibrating.

Here are a whole set of one sound,
one for each key on the keyboard
Pipes are removed from the dirty/dusty board.
And pipes are replaced in the same order as before,
after being vacuumed (both the boards and pipes).

In August, all of the pipes of this organ were removed, and cleaned. It took exactly one week, and though it won't make a difference in sound, it will prevent problems. It hasn't been done in 35 years, so the amount of dirt, dust and insects removed was amazing. It's a wonder we could breathe!

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