AEOLIAN PIPE ORGAN OPUS 1280
This site will give you a glimpse into the past. Featured here is the
1914 Player Pipe Organ that
provided home entertainment in Jay Gould’s 5th Avenue New York home.
once the largest music company in America, built residence, self playing
organs as well as many other instruments.. During an era that had no
radio or television, and only primitive record players, home music came in
the form of several self playing devises. Pianos and reed organs were
the more common forms.
Robert W. Taylor has restored and installed this historic Aeolian Organ known
as Opus 1280 ( history and specification) in a specially constructed music room. The organ console
has three manuals that control 34 ranks of pipes, a 20 note set of chimes,
and an organ harp. Paper rolls that can play the organ are placed in
the spool box which is located above the keys on the console.
The organ player rolls require user participation. As the paper roll
passes by, printed instructions are seen on the roll. The stop selections
and other controls are set according to these instructions. This is
simplified by using non technical nomenclature for some stop names.
As an example, the “Salicional” is called “String P”.
In 1915, Aeolian started selling player pipe organs that were fully automatic
in which the user no longer had to set the stops. These organs are
known as Duo Art Reproducing Pipe Organs. The system was designed to
be backward compatible with organs built prior to 1915. The upgrade
process could be accomplished is several ways. The most elaborate upgrade
was to attach a fully automatic roll player, called a Concertola,. located
in its own cabinet
The Concertola came in two general styles, the single roll, manual load,
or the fully automatic ten roll changer. The ten roll changer Concertola
now attached to Opus 1280 has a remote operators’ tablet with a push button
for each roll. Pushing a button causes the roll changer mechanism to
select one of the rolls to load and play. The user need only
to listen as the roll will set all stops and other controls, and at the conclusion
of the music, the roll rewinds and the mechanism shuts off.
Now, the obvious question is, "What does this organ sound like?" In
its current setting, the separation of the two main divisions in front with
the echo in the rear offer a "surround" sound experience as good as any modern
theater. The pedal division can shake the room and the trumpets in
two divisions can offer resounding power and clarity. In more
delicate passages, the strings can sound distant yet clear. The full
organ has an overall sweet sound that is powerful, yet refined. This
organ has the Aeolian blend, which is heavily romantic in nature. The free
reed clarinet is awesome. The orchestral oboe is unique. And
the vox humana blends with the multiple string ranks. Effective swell
shutters can reduce the softer stops to an almost inaudible level while the
louder stops seem to be attenuated by at least 50%. The numerous transcription
rolls bring forth orchestral music that must have totally overwhelmed the
patrons in 1915 since today the effect, competing with modern electronics,
is no less. Without question, The Aeolian Pipe Organ was the ultimate
home music system of the early twentieth century. It still is.
Visit the pictures on this site to learn more. Many of the pictures have explanatory notes. The pictures are:
1. Original installation showing organ under stairway 17. Unrestored relay pouches
1a Gould House, 47th Street and 5th Avenue, New York 18. Tracing main junction and relay wiring
2. Current music room
19. Tracing jackbox wiring (player stop control unit)
3. Opus 1280 restored
20. Rewiring jackbox
4. Echo chest interior
21. Completed jackbox toggle junctions
5. Unrestored keyboards
Restored jackbox being installed
6. Restored keyboards
23. Installing new silver key contacts
7. Aeolian Harp
24. Looking inside the compound chest bottom
8. Diapason in front
9. Diapason behind harp
10. Echo being installed
11. Burnishing toe holes
12. Punch down wiring
13. Recording Laboratory
15. Archer Gibson sends Greetings
16. Leather Bound Aeolian Sales Brochure
There is another site which offers "Sights and Sounds" of the Aeolian Organ
to visit that site, click here
You Tube and search for Aeolian Opus 1280
SAVING THE MUSIC ON THE ROLLS
The rolls are read into a computer MIDI file
. The roll reader is from
another Aeolian Console and has dual roll size capability. Pictured
is the smaller 116 note roll. The larger Duo Art roll covers all the holes in the
tracker bar (picture 13 )
of the tracker hole assignments for Duo Art Organ rolls.
In 1963 a group of enthusiasts formed an organization promoting the preservation
of mechanical music machines that are operated by paper rolls.. That
group is known as AMICA, Automatic Musical Instrument Collector's Association.
A Web site maintained by that group explains more and gives details
on becoming a member. Visit http://www.amica.org/index.htm
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contact for Robert W. Taylor firstname.lastname@example.orgSeptember 20, 2007