Michael McNeil The Sound of Pipe Organs

ISBN 13: 9780972038652

The Sound of Pipe Organs

9780972038652: The Sound of Pipe Organs
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Reviewed by Peter Jewkes, The Sydney Organ Journal, Sydney, Australia. This excellent and lavishly presented book is perhaps the most detailed analysis of what actually physically "makes" the sound of an organ, with 191 large pages of data, tables, and innumerable photographs. It is beautifully bound, the print is very easy to read, and the price seems extremely good value, especially given the small print run involved (my copy was hand-marked 14/500). An early warning however is given to prospective purchasers that its intended readership is comprised of professional organbuilders, tonal designers and pipe voicers. (I think "consultants and anyone else professionally involved with the organ" could well also be added to this list). Its high level of technical detail and documentation does rather preclude it from being of general interest to performers (unless they have a very keen interest in the physical aspects of their instrument's tone), and it's certainly never going to make a good coffee table book! This however is no criticism of what has obviously involved a staggering amount of research.... The book focuses for its examples on several well known instruments, including the famous 1774 Isnard at St Maximin (extensively documented here), the 1750 Gabler at Weingarten..., with Romantic voicing being represented by the American Hook firm and more modern work by Flentrop. Analytical charts, scaling graphs and other data abound, as well as a great deal of information on that often over-looked aspect of an organ's tonal quality - its wind system. A complimentary DVD is included with the book, containing even more material, including sound clips of some of the organs, and indeed a pdf version of the entire book - no doubt a very useful tool. ...This book will not be for everyone, but for those to whom it appeals, it will be a very welcome acquisition, and is an amazing achievement in any case.

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