Gary Blaise Early Keyboard Instruments
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  the voice:

The sound-producing portion of the instrument is a small, narrowly scaled positif of flute stops. Like the wind system, it is entirely made of wood with only the most judicious pieces of hand-made metal hardware and requisite bits of leather. The pipes decline in scale quickly towards the treble, halving in their internal width every 17 chromatic notes. That is, they are reduced in area at the octave by a factor equal to the square root of 8. I used a small scale, and one which declines quickly towards the treble, because I had imagined this instrument would end up in a room of very modest size and, consequently, did not want to make the treble pipes seem too screechy.

The keyboard range is 51 notes, C - d"', divided at c'/c#'. There is no pedal. Consequently, the instrument finds its musical limitations in the purely keyboard literature for which it is more than amply disposed with seven stops. Five of these are currently playing and the remaining two treble half-stops have been 'prepared'; that is, the windchest has been prepared to receive them once they are built. The current stops include an 8' gedeckt which is twice it's width in depth, a 4' chimney flute with wooden chimneys, a 4' labial quintadena. a 2 2/3' open, a 2' open, and a 1 3/5' open half-stop. The inside dimension of the largest 8' pipe is only 48mm x 96mm while the inside of the eventual tiniest 1' pipe is only 2.5mm square by 30mm tall! Magnifiers were required to build the smallest pipes and I now wear glasses from the experience. The stops are changed by sliders which protrude from the windchest.

Despite the range of stops, the instrument itself is only one foot deep and five feet wide with a narrow waist barely more than the width of the keyboard. It is nearly ten feet tall with an exposed, mitered pipe design, and somewhat symmetrical due to the simple roller board, the device which reconciles the regular spacing of the keytails with the irregular spacing of the pallets and thereby distributes action from the keylevers to the pallet valves. The rollers themselves are hexagonal wooden dowels pinned into wooden pivot blocks. Very minimal handmade wire hardware for the rollers, trackers, and pallet pulls is all visible. Metal parts are separated from each other by handmade leather bushings so that the action is absolutely quiet.


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