Saturday, 17 February 2007

Dusting the Diapason - the Grand Organ Laid Bare

We recently undertook maintenance work on the Grand Organ, and I thank Simon, our organ scholar, for these revealing photographs. The work was undertaken to improve piston reliability by cleaning the metal contacts.

What sounds like a small job was increased by the fact that in order to gain access to the pistons each of the 244 keys had to be individually removed. These were (as the pictures show) very dusty, and need to be cleaned before being replaced.

The pistons had become unreliable over time because of the build up of dirt and dust interfering with metal contacts. The most surprising object found beneath the keys was a finger nail clipping!

It is about 20 years since the last major work on the Grand Organ, by Harrison and Harrison, when a similar cleaning would have been given.

The person in pictures is Andy Scott – Harrison and Harrison’s London tuner. He looks after the Cathedral's Grand Organ.


Simon was, however, pressed into service, and here he is cleaning one of the keys.

3 comments:

James Casey said...

Well, it was sounding terrific this afternoon for the Our Lady Of Lourdes Mass! Vidor's Toccato sounding particularly impressive.

Anonymous said...

It would be good if you could post a photo of the apse console !

st columba said...

As a church organist, I can attest that the interior of a pipe organ can be absolutely filthy. I can only imagine what 20 years of dust build up would be like!

On occasion, I have been "pressed into service" cleaning the keys. In so doing, I always feel as if I am atoning for any sins I may have committed on the keyboard.

Besides cleaning the keyboard and interior of the console, will the pipes be cleaned (washed)?