To properly care for one of the oldest functioning pipe organs made in America, The Appleton Pipe Organ, The Metropolitan Museum of Art needed to dismantle, refurbish, and reassemble the piece. The time lapse video above reveals some of the fine details found within the organ as it’s put back together. But why did they take it apart in the first place?
Tiger Rag on a homemade Emphatic Chromatic Callioforte, The Great Stalacpipe Organ deep in Luray Caverns, and Morske Orgulje – The Sea Organ in Zadar, Croatia.
Inside The Met’s organ there are over 800 pipes! Each pipe needs to be tuned regularly, just like a guitar or piano. But sometimes there are problems that need to be fixed. If a valve doesn’t close tightly, then air leaks and the organ doesn’t play well—it gets out of breath. Sometimes air leaks can cause an extra note to play even though the musician didn’t press the key. These are called ghost notes. If all of the organ parts don’t move well or at the same time, then the organ doesn’t play well and can even get damaged. So every once in a while, these moving parts need adjustments to function properly.
We noticed many of these problems, so we knew it was time to give The Met’s organ our undivided attention. The first thing we did was take it apart. This was a big job, since our organ has over 1,000 pieces, some very big and others very small. We needed to keep track of them all. We took many photographs; labeled the pieces, and took very careful notes.