Antique Organs
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Antique Organs
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Slide 32
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Typically there are 61 keys on a pump organ and about 122 reeds. However, there can be a much greater number of reeds. The more banks of reeds you have the more sound variations you can produce. This photo shows both the construction and various sizes of reeds. Reeds are made of brass and, if kept clean, can be made to look like gold (they'll also play a lot better). The largest reeds are from the bass end and get progessively smaller as they go up to the upper treble.

There are two parts to a reed, the case and the tongue. The case and the tongue are aligned next to one another in a very precise way. If they're off by just the slightest amount they will produce no sound. The tongue is held tightly in place by two brass rivets. When air is drawn between the case and tongue a vibration is created and we have the sound of a note. These reeds are in need of a careful cleaning. It is very easy to damage a tongue.

Various Sizes of Reeds


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