Author Topic: The history of the organ  (Read 2867 times)

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David Pinnegar

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The history of the organ
« on: March 25, 2012, 08:29:51 AM »
One of my sons sent me the following link:
http://theracemusic.net/the-history-of-electronic-music/part3-the-secret-sound-of-water
which includes details of the most original of inspirational instruments!

Best wishes

David P
David Pinnegar, BSc ARCS

revtonynewnham

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Re: The history of the organ
« Reply #1 on: March 25, 2012, 09:34:05 AM »
Hi

Yes - the Hydraulus.  There was a review of a concert on the working reconstruction in "The Organ" magazine a while back.

Interesting that the Hydraulus was thought to have been used by the Romans to accompany gladiatorial games - including Christians thrown to lions, etc, and yet it came to be the most common instrument in Western Christian worship.  A story of redemption in there somewhere?

Every Blessing

Tony

MusingMuso

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Re: The history of the organ
« Reply #2 on: March 25, 2012, 01:34:48 PM »
Why couldn't we make a wine powered hydraulus?

We'd have a never-ending source lucrative employment, like ice-cream vendors in their vans. A quick burst of BWV565 and a thousand alcoholics would rush out to greet us.

More seriously, wasn't a hydraulus recreated in Pecs, (Hungary), where the remains of a Roman hydralus were discovered in the foundations of  what had been the  Roman city of Aquincum?

MM
« Last Edit: March 25, 2012, 04:10:21 PM by MusingMuso »

David Pinnegar

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Re: The history of the organ
« Reply #3 on: March 25, 2012, 03:44:12 PM »
Barber Ktesilbios,  . . .
“.. succeeded in making a machine consisting of a hollow vase inverted, with an opening on the top, to which was attached a trumpet, and, on water being pumped into the vase the air was driven forcibly through the trumpet, producing a very powerful sound; and the machine caused so much admiration that it was consecrated in the temple of Venus.”
Charles Francis Abdy Williams The Story of the Organ, 1903

“…The writings speak of water-blown pipes, which were used to simulate the singing of birds and the sound of a trumpet blown by a statue of Memnon in Thebes. This statue has been called one of the world’s wonders. When the sun shone upon the statue from a certain angle (particular time of day), an awe-inspiring sound was emitted, according to Tacitus, Pausanius and other writers. They compared the sound, produced by two organ pipes, to the sound of the bursting strings of a lyre or harp. The sun’s rays fell onto a sealed tank, which was partially filled with water. When the water was heated and had expanded sufficiently, it was forced through a siphon into a second tank. The air, which was displaced from the second tank, blew the two pipes. During the cooler night, a vacuum was created in the first tank causing water to be drawn in from a reservoir thus making the instrument ready for the next day. The tank was shielded from the sun so that the sun’s energy would warm it only at a very specific time of day. In another Greek example, a pipe or whistle was blown to imitate the chirping of a bird. An artificial bird was placed on top of an artificial tree on top of a mechanism similar to the one described above. The warbling of the bird was imitated by the inversion of the sounding pipe into a tank filled with water. This instrument was not solar-powered, and had to be activated by turning on a tap. It could only play until all of the water had flowed from the first tank into the second one. Aristokles (second-century BC) speaks of an instrument he calls the organon referring to a water organ, which made figures play wind, string and percussion instruments.”

Best wishes

David P
David Pinnegar, BSc ARCS

David Drinkell

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Re: The history of the organ
« Reply #4 on: March 25, 2012, 06:44:15 PM »
Rodney Briscoe, the organ-builder who succeeded Bill Boggis of Diss, Norfolk, has a particular interest in water organs and has built at least one hydraulus.

http://www.waboggis.co.uk/waterOrgans.htm

revtonynewnham

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Re: The history of the organ
« Reply #5 on: March 25, 2012, 08:30:03 PM »
Hi

I'm not convinced that Briscoe's instrument is an hydraulus in the sense of the ancient instrument, but more a water-powered barrel organ, with some sort of hydraulic pressure stabilising system, which could be- and probably is - derived from the ancient ideas.  Certainly from the descriptions I've seen, Rodney's instruments are far less raucous than the Hydraulus!  Perhaps Mmre a development than a reconstruction.

Every Blessing

Tony

 


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