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Innovative devices for operation and interconnection of pipe organs The first patent I take up of this type is the Patent Specification No. 218.333, “Improvements in and Relating to Combined Piano and Organ Instruments.” (Figure 20), deposited at the beginning of 1923, regarding the connection systems between piano and pipe organ, devices that will be one of the strengths of future models “Barbieri Perfect Unit Organs”, marketed seven years after by the company “Barbieri Organs (Great Britain) Limited”. This invention relates to a combined musical instrument comprising a piano and organ electrically connected together. Musical instruments are already known comprising a pianoforte and an organ connected together in such a manner that, by playing the pianoforte, the organ is caused to play. [………] The present invention consist in a musical instrument formed by a piano and an organ electrically connected together, and provided with three different keyboards applied to the piano (that is, the keyboard of the piano proper, a manual keyboard only serving for playing the organ and a pedal keyboard for the organ) which are all connected to the valves of the pipes of the organ by means of a system of solenoids and movable contacts disposed in such a manner that, by closing by means of suitable stops the circuits of corresponding independent double solenoids designed to act upon said movable contact, it is possible to connect either all the keyboards or one or two of them, according to the playing effect desired, either to all the registers of the organ or only to a portion suitably chosen whereby a player is able to obtain by this musical instrument the effects of a small orchestra.

Figure 20. (Above left) Vertical section of an ordinary pianoforte connected electrically to an organ. (Above right) Separate view of one of the constructional forms of the electric mechanism with which every one of the keys carried by the pianoforte is provided. Patent Specification No. 218,333 (Application Date: January 2, 1923. Complete Accepted: July 2, 1924), “Improvements in and relating to Combined Pianoforte and Organ Instruments.”.

The second patent is the Patent Specification No. 271.126, “Improvements Relating to the Control of Electric Orchestral Instrument of the Organ Type.” (Figure 21), filed at the end of 1925, which relates to an improvement of the link between piano and pipe organ, described in previous Patent Specification No. 218.333, which are subsequently used in the production of “Barbieri Perfect Unit Organs”.

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This invention relates to improvements in electric orchestral instruments as described in Specification No. 218,333 which substantially consists in the combination of a piano and organ which are so connected together electrically that all the notes of the organ or some of them, according to choice, may be brought into play, optionally, either when the piano is played or when action is made on a second key-board which for better accommodation is mounted on the piano, for the purpose of controlling only the pipes of the organ; a corresponding pedal key-board, also disposed at the piano, being adapted to transmit electrically its movement to the pedal department of the organ.

Figure 21. (Above left) Front elevation partially in section of the mechanism of an organ taken away from the organ case or shell. (Above right) An elevation of a combination of solenoid controlled electric switch contacts. Patent Specification No. 271,126 (Application date: December 23, 1925. Complete Accepted: May 23, 1927), “Improvements relating to the Control of Electric Orchestral Instrument of the Organ Type.”.

The third and last of the patents is the Patent Specification No. 295.468, “Improvements in and Relating to a Combination of Musical Instruments Electrically Operated by Means of Keyboard and Pedals.” (Figure 22), filed in mid-1927, which concerns an invention relating to percussive sound effects, which will be equipped with the more complex “Barbieri Perfect Unit Organs” and the machine “Electrically Controlled Jazz Sets” (Figure 32). This invention relates to that type of apparatus comprising a combination of electrically operated percussion sound producers with a piano, which instruments are actuated from the keyboard or pedals, the movements of which close electric circuits whereby the particular instrument is directly struck through the attraction of the armature of an electromagnet. [……..] The operation of the jazz instruments is obtained as already proposed through a small system of pedals.30 Figure 22. Pratical embodiment of the electrical connections of apparatus comprising a combination of electrically operated percussion sound producers with a piano. Patent Specification No. 295,468 (Application date: June 10, 1927. Complete Accepted: August 16, 1928), “Improvements in and relating to a Combination of Musical Instruments Electrically Operated by Means of Keyboard and Pedals.”.

AMICA Bulletin - Nov/Dec 2013

The AMICA Bulletin - Angelo Barbieri Organs  

Volume 50, number 6. November-December 2013.

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