Electronic Organ

   A keyboard instrument designed to simulate the pipe organ in respect of timbre, polyphonic facility, and sustaining power but whose tones are synthesized electronically and projected through loudspeakers. Laurens Hammond founded the Hammond Instrument Co. of Chicago in 1929, but the first instrument designed for church was built in 1930 by Armand Givelet and Eduard Coupleaux of France. In 1937 Jerome Markowitz (1917– 1991), founder of the Allen Organ Co., patented the stable valve oscillator. A bank of 12 such oscillators, one for each pitch class, became the standard technology before the advent of the digital organ. Outputs are manipulated and combined with one another electronically to produce the range of pitch and timbre required. The principal advantage over the pipe organ is lower cost and maintenance, especially since the introduction of transistors in 1958; the principal disadvantage has been an artificial sounding timbre. It is extremely difficult to make an electronic device reproduce the irregularities of the pipe sound wave that give it particular character and, in any case, the quality is dependent upon an electronic speaker in a single location.
   See also ORGAN.

Historical dictionary of sacred music. . 2006.

Look at other dictionaries:

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