It seems very appropriate that in this series of tech articles that we are publishing in the NSHOS web site that we should devote some time and space to the pipe organ, for it is really from the pipe organ that all subsequent electronic organs were developed. All the basic ideas that apply to the fundamental designing of electronic organs come from the pipe organ, and in particular, the special class of pipe organs known as theater organs which were developed for the accompaniment of silent movies. In many ways, the theater organ is the ultimate one person orchestra, and as we look at pipe organs in general and specifically theater organs, you'll see how much of what we associate with electronic organs came from ideas and concepts that apply to pipe organs. From a mechanical standpoint, the pipe organ, more than anything else can be considered a machine, or even a "factory" of sorts, whose product is music.
First we'll look at general concepts and ideas, for there are several different classifications for pipe organs. After that we'll look at the various subsystems that comprise a modern pipe organ and also the tonal schemes that differentiate the church, concert and theater organ and we'll also explore in some general detail how the pipe organ works. What happens in a typical pipe organ when you turn on a stop and play keys. How can pipe organ consoles sometimes be several hundred feet away from the pipes and still control them? Welcome, then, to the fascinating world of the pipe organ!