Art of the Pipe Organ
Featured Concerts in the 2016-17 Season:
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Deemed one of the greatest horror movies of all time, Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror is a terrifying classic silent film from 1922 that set the standard for modern day vampire myths. Peter Richard Conte and the magnificent the magnificent Fred J. Cooper Memorial Organ brings to life the creepy spine-tingling tail of Orlok, a count from Transylvania who is believed to be a blood-sucking vampire. Don't miss the chance to see, hear, and feel the haunting film that inspired dozens of Dracula stories.
Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Christopher Rouse summons breathtaking texture, color, and volume—much like Verizon Hall’s 7,000-pipe Fred J. Cooper Memorial Organ. In celebration of the magnificent instrument’s 10th anniversary, Rouse has been commissioned to write a new concerto for the King of Instruments. Grammy Award-winning organist Paul Jacobs returns as Yannick leads the Philadelphians in this world premiere.
About the Organ
The Fred J. Cooper Memorial Organ, Dobson organ Op. 76, ranks as the largest mechanical-action concert hall organ in the United States. With its nearly 7,000 pipes, four blowers, 300 levels of memory, 111 stops, pipe sizes ranging from about the size of a drinking straw up to two feet square by 32 feet high, this is truly the King of Instruments!
- Largest Pipe: Built of wood, the largest pipe is approximately 2 feet square by 32 feet long.
- Smallest Pipe: Built of metal, the smallest pipe is the size of a drinking straw.
- Range of Wind Pressures: Three blowers totaling 25 horsepower supply the organ with air ranging in pressure from 4" to 25".
- Instrument Total Weight: The total weight of the organ and its structure is approximately 32 tons.
- Total Number of Pipes: 6,938
- Levels of Memory: 300 (meaning thousands of preset combinations can be stored for the organists' use during performance)
- Number of Combination Pistons: 48
- Number of Toe Pistons: 22
- Where does the Verizon Hall Organ rank in size?* 47th in the world (Interestingly, Philadelphia’s Wanamaker Organ is the largest fully functional pipe organ in the world.)
*Based on total number of ranks.
Click below to hear the different sounds of the pipes
1' C of Great Principal 8'
Glossary of Terms
The large unit where the organist sits to play and control the organ. This includes the keyboard or manuals, pedal board, pistons, and drawknobs or stops.
The pipes are grouped into several separate sections called divisions such as the Great, Swell, Solo, Positive, and Pedal. Each is controlled by its own manual or the pedal board.
Electric Key Action
In an electric key action, a wire, an electric circuit, and an electro-magnet cause the valve below each pipe to open and close. When you press the key, you close an electrical contact. Electricity flows to the circuit that causes an electro-magnet to open and close the valves under each pipe.
Mechanical Action (Tracker Action)
The key is connected to trackers (wooden, metal, or plastic strips or rods) that eventually connect to the valves that open to admit air from the wind chest into the pipe. When you press the key, you are physically opening the valve in the wind chest. In mechanical action, there is one valve for each note on the keyboard.
Note: The Verizon Hall organ has both electric and mechanical key action.
Organ pipes fall into one of four broad sound categories: principal, flute, string, and reed. The first three types are known as "flue" pipes and work like whistles. The majority of organ pipes are flue pipes. In contrast to the whistle-like flue pipes, the reed pipes work like clarinets or saxophones, but have a brass "tongue" instead of a cane reed. Some of the reed pipes are the loudest pipes in the organ.
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