Maintenance and Tuning

Periodical maintenance can significantly extend an organ’s life and thereby longer give pleasure to both the organist while playing and the congregation while listening. And all this for a low price, as compared to the cost of acquiring an organ. In fact, every organ is a complex work and always expensive, often even the most valuable piece of equipment in many a church..

Organ, from the Greek organon, means tool in English. It is a small step from a tool to a machine. And anyone with the opportunity to take a look into an organ or take a “walk” through a large instrument’s fascinating innards will happily confirm that an organ is a mixture of musical instrument and machine, even without the Barker-machine, which is hardly ever used anymore.

As is the case with every musical instrument, such as pianos, and every machine, such as a car, an organ should receive maintenance in certain intervals; yearly or biyearly.

Maintenance can be very different from one instrument to another. It can be as simple as filling up oil for a blower, include a technological action-checkup (regardless of whether it be mechanic, pneumatic or electronic) or the removal of minor disturbances, or go as far as re-regulating couplings, for instance, or re-tuning auditorially unsatisfactory sounds.

A prerequisite for the re-tuning of pipes are a constant temperature, ideally a temperature from a heating-free period in the summer months, and the instrument’s good general and relatively dust-free condition.

If all these requirements are fulfilled, re-tuning should not be a problem apart from choosing whether to ask for a general tuning, during which all voices are re-tuned, or a partial tuning, during which only single pipes and the reed voices are re-tuned.