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Content archived on 2024-05-29

A challenge for materials science: bringing true baroque and medieval sound back to life in historic and new pipe organs

Objective

True Baroque and Medieval organ music can only come back to life in the 21st century by developing Cu-based alloys and implementing them in organ pipes. By providing the technology to rebuild and create instruments with tailored sound qualities, SME organ builders in EU will be increasing competitive in the world market for new instruments and uniquely qualified to secure contracts for the restoration of the 10000 historically valuable organs within Europe.

Achieving true Baroque or Medieval sound requires overcoming significant materials science challenges. An organ contains flue and reed pipes constructed of lead-tin alloys. There are no moving parts within a flue pipe. Reed pipes contain an additional vibrating part, the copper-alloy tongue that crucially influences its sound. Historically accurate lead-tin alloys characterized and reproduced by a previous Swedish project beautifully recreate the historic flue pipe sound. The reed pipes, however, are still acoustically inaccurate, since only conventional Cu-alloys were available to replace damaged reed pipe tongues.

This project aims to completely reproduce the beautiful warmth and blazing fanfare of Baroque and Medieval music by developing reed pipe tongues with appropriate acoustic properties. Historic pipe organs have regional sound qualities since they were constructed from locally available materials, however local restoration efforts would be redundant and expensive. This project will be effectively and efficiently carried out with SME organ builders from across Europe in conjunction with top quality research institutions, as the required technology development is far beyond of the SMEs capabilities.

The final project deliverables include
- identifying historically accurate alloy compositions
- developing the processes necessary to reproduce historically accurate material properties
- manufacturing tongues as replacement parts for historic reed pipes and as new reed pipe components with historic sound

Call for proposal

FP6-2002-SME-1
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Funding Scheme

Data not available

Coordinator

MAX-PLANCK-SOCIETY FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF SCIENCE, REPRESENTED BY MAX-PLANCK-INSTITUTE FOR METALS RESEARCH
EU contribution
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Address
Hofgartenstrasse 8
MUENCHEN
Germany

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Participants (8)