MIDI-Controlled Chamber Organ by David Leach
by Phil Dayson (050426 MMDigest)

dayson_Bellini.jpg (35 kb)

I have sent to the MMD Gallery a couple of photos of the new David Leach organ which I recently purchased.  David is one the prime builders of mechanical organs in the UK.  He has been building fair and band organs and residential mechanical organs since 1977.  Not only is he a master craftsman but he is a superb arranger of music for his organs.

The organ that I purchased from David is his Bellini model.  The organ has the following pipes giving a range of 61 notes:

 (1) 53 notes of wooden Harmonika from G 5-1/3' pitch.
 (2) 49 notes of Wald Flute / Vienna Flute from G 2-2/3' pitch.
 (3) 49 notes of pewter Salicional / Dulciana from G 2-2/3' pitch.
 (4) 18 Notes of Stopped Basses from 8 foot C.
 (5) 11 Notes of bass Cello from G 5-1/3' pitch.

Total pipes = 180.  Additionally there is a triangle and a cymbal.

The organ is MIDI-controlled on four channels using a separate solenoid for each pipe.  The pressure is provided by an integral blower operating at about 1-3/4 inches of water pressure.  Without a case the organ stands about 81" high with a footprint about 21" deep by 42" wide.

The organ, I would say, sounds very much like a 19th century Welte or Imhoff.  Quietly voiced but with a good dynamic range, it is very well suited for the light classical repertoire of opera, waltzes, polkas, etc.  In point of fact, because of the very fast acting MIDI/solenoid interface, the quality of the music is probably much superior to a 19th century roll or barrel operated organ.  For example, by opening and closing a pipe solenoid very quickly, a very good tremolo can be achieved on any note or notes selected.

I am at a slight loss as what to call the organ.  About 120 years ago it would have been called an orchestrion.  Today the term orchestrion conjures up a different picture.  The other names that come to mind are "concert organ", "cabinet organ" and "chamber organ".  Any other ideas for names would be appreciated

Phil Dayson
25 Apr 2005 20:33:07 -0700

26 April 2005