Rieger Tour - Voicing

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46.jpg (19599 bytes) A special enclosed room within the factory is used for voicing metal pipes. Not only does this make the area quieter, but it is also climate controlled as the pipes are voiced and tuned for a particular temperature.
47.jpg (24227 bytes) Voicing is the process of adjusting the parts of the pipe to produce the desired tone. Here we see the workbench at the left and a small "voicing organ" at the right. This instrument has two small keyboards and open wind chests above.
48.jpg (27532 bytes) A closer view of the "voicing organ". Notice the little green felt covered work surface above the keyboards. The thermometer at the right is used to ensure that the pipes are being adjusted at the right temperature. The large shiny pipe at the extreme right supplies wind to this voicing organ. On the wall are pictures and posters of instruments which the company has installed.

 

49.jpg (23403 bytes) Some pipes in various stages of work in progress. The workbench is covered with soft foam plastic. The voicer's tool box can be seen at the end of the bench. He uses these tools both here at the factory, and also out in the field where the final voicing and tuning is done at installation time. In the background we see another worker preparing some reeds. See the Reeds Page, next, for more pictures.
50.jpg (12213 bytes) The voicer actually cuts the mouth opening into the new pipes.  This is a very complex combination of art and science and is an integral part of voicing which ultimately determines the character of the instrument and the reputation of the firm.
51.jpg (14161 bytes) After cutting the mouth, it is further shaped, shaved, and adjusted. This is the essence of voicing. After the pipe is voiced, tuning is mainly a matter of adjusting the length of the resonator.
52.jpg (22005 bytes) The voicer blows into the foot of the pipe to make it speak while adjusting the mouth with a very tiny hammer.
53.jpg (26564 bytes) The voicer continues to adjust the pipe. Manually blowing into it helps him determine if the pipe is adjusted properly. He can tell how much wind it takes to start it speaking and many other properties of the individual pipe.
54.jpg (22436 bytes) The lip is further adjusted with a small chisel and hammer. There are many adjustments that can be made here. Some disreputable voicers (or firms) take shortcuts like "knicking" the lips to make the pipe speak instead of taking the time to adjust them properly. Of course, that is not done here.
55.jpg (25122 bytes) The voicer places the pipes into the chest and uses the keyboard to run up and down the scale of the pipes to adjust them so that they match each other.

Virtual Tour of Rieger Orgelbau 1999 Richard Crowley