Wednesday, February 11, 2015

The Organ of the Mormon Tabernacle

We had a great trip to Park City, Utah last week!  We've never been there before and we were really surprised at how beautiful it was.  The main reason for the trip was to ski but unfortunately there wasn't a lot of snow as there normally is this time of year.  It was still ski-able, but it could've been better.  As a matter of fact, we took a tour of Salt Lake City and our guide told us that normally SLC gets 50-60 inches of snow per year and when we were there they had only gotten a total of 5-6 inches.  He said usually there's 6 inches on the ground at the time we were touring, but there was no snow and the temps were in the 60s.  It was colder in Austin, TX than SLC, UT!  Amazing!

Speaking of touring SLC, we learned everything there is to know about how the Mormons settled into the area.  We even got to tour the Mormon Tabernacle where this great organ sits.  Everyday there is a recital by one of the organists.  There are 5 organists in total and we got to see the number one or "principal" organist play for about 30 minutes.  He was great!  So was the organ!  And, the Tabernacle has these great acoustics... Before he played for us, the organist showed us the "pin-drop test", basically showing that you can hear a pin drop throughout the Tabernacle without any electronic amplification via microphone and speaker.  He took out three pins and dropped them on a wooden box of some sort and then he took out a nail and dropped it on the same box.  Sure enough!  We could hear those pins and the nail clear as if we were dropping them ourselves!

Anyway, here is some more info on the organ from the Mormon Tabernacle Choir's website:

  • ​The present instrument was built in 1948 by the Aeolian-Skinner Company of Boston, Massachusetts, under the direction of G. Donald Harrison, president and tonal director of the firm.
  • The organ now has 11,623 pipes organized into 147 voices (tone colors) and 206 ranks (rows of pipes).
  • The pipes are made of wood, zinc, and various alloys of tin and lead.
  • The pipes are controlled from a console with five 61-note manuals (keyboards) and a 32-note pedal board.
  • Some of the famous gilded cylindrical pipes in the organ's facade are made of wood staves fashioned of native Utah pine, retained from the original pioneer organ built in the 1860s.
  • The longest pipe has a speaking length of 32 feet.
  • The shortest pipe has a speaking length of three-quarters of an inch.
  • Two technicians are employed full time to maintain this and other musical instruments on Temple Square.

If you would like to purchase a print or digital copy of this image, please contact me or visit my on-line gallery.
Exif data:

Camera - Fujifilm X-T1
Lens - Fujinon XF18-55mmF2.8-4 R LM OIS
Focal Length - 30mm
Aperture - f3.6
Exposure - 1/80
Exposure program - Aperture priority AE
ISO speed - 1250
Exposure bias - -0.67
Tripod - No
HDR - No
# of brackets - NA

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