maandag 10 september 2012

Barrel organs

Last weekend at Dam square in Amsterdam was a barrel organ festival. From all over the country roller organ players had come to Amsterdam to show their mechanical musical instruments.

The instrument consists bellows and one or more ranks of pipes housed in a case, usually of wood and often higly decorated.
The basic principle is the same as a traditional pipe organ, but rather than being played by an organist
the barrel organ is activated either by a person turning a cranck, or by clockwork driven by weights or springs.
The pieces of music (or tunes) are encoded onto the barrel using metal pins ans staples. Pins are used for short notes and staples of varying lengths for longer notes. Each barrel usually carried several different tunes. Pinning such barrels was something of an art form, and the quality of the music produced by a barrel organ is lagely a function of the quality of its pinning. This complex encoding of music was an early form of programming.

To hear the sound of the organs watch this video.

12 opmerkingen:

  1. They are so pretty! Thanks for including the video. Such a festive sound!

  2. It's like visit a circus of 18th century, the sound and the curiosity belong to that time.

    Hugs and thank you so much for your kinds words. Your photoblog is nice and I enjoy visiting it.


    Barcelona Daily Photo

  3. Wat zijn ze prachtig Marian, ik blijf altijd even luisteren als ik ze tegen kom.

  4. Love the post and the video! Pictures of Dam square bring back so many wonderful memories!

  5. Meer typisch Nederlands kan toch niet. Lijken me originele stukken.


  6. ooh, thats so nice!
    i was already in the netherlands, very briefly... still need to post some pics.. :)

  7. Love the organ grinders...When I lived there in the seventies...they still had some of the hand crank ones.

  8. If there's anything like this in the U.S., I've yet to see it! Fascinating!


  9. Dat zal een gezellige kakofonie van verschillende orgelgeluiden zijn geweest! In de straat waar ik vroeger woonde kwam iedere zaterdagochtend de draai orgel door de straat, tot onze grote ergernis, want uitslapen was er dan niet meer bij, haha. Tegenwoordig vind ik ze een stuk leuker, die orgels.

  10. I do not think that I have ever seen one of these, only photos. These are spectacular and look like confections good enough to eat!


  11. This would be like me as a child in a candy store. They are wonderful and so beautiful. Would love to hear the music that comes out of them. Thanks for the little video. genie

  12. Oh that is wonderful - the barrel organs must be so much fun to listen to - if you could hear one at a time. The video was great. I've seen Player Pianos - powered by the feet on pedals - a punched paper roll determines the tune. I always loved to see one as a child, as the keys actually move up and down when the tune is played. I had never heard of barrel organs before - this was very interesting.