"Oldest surviving organ built in the colonies."
Built by David Tannenberg. Its restoration was just completed a few weeks ago.
While there's not much to add to Philip T.D. Cooper's masterful site
on Tannenberg and his organs, here are a few side notes that may prove helpful to non-musicians.
One might otherwise think that U.S. organbuilding begins and ends with Aeolian-Skinner symphonic organs (Woolsey Hall
) and 20th-century period organs in the North German style (Flentrop at Harvard
). But you can hear from the sound files on the site that Tannenberg is something else entirely.
When you listen to the Tannenberg instruments, you might think, "whoa, that is one whistly organ," for lack of a more technical term. But keep in mind he was not going for the "North German" Schnitger sound (Groningen, 1730-ish
), but instead for the more woodwindy Thuringian sound (Trost at Waltershausen, 1741
A complete collection of sound files and still pictures is already on Cooper's site, but here are some movies, which for me add a lot.
1770, Zion Moselem. Interview and playing during (not after) the restoration.
1793, Lititz Moravian. This is how the bellows work.
1798, Old Salem Single Brothers' House. Music and explanation from the organist.
1800, Old Salem Visitors' Center.
1804, York, PA. Interview and music.
You also don't have to be a musician to hear that the 1770 Tannenberg (and others) is at a higher pitch than your average modern organ. Leaving aside questions of temperament
that I am in no way qualified to discuss, the A above middle C on most modern instruments (organ and not) is set at 440 Hertz
. The A on the 1770 Tannenberg is set at 458.2 Hz, or between A and A sharp on a modern instrument.
Times were different then; Cooper's site reports
that "it was decided [during the restoration] to tune the Tannenberg in one of the temperaments designed by
Georg Andreas Sorge and given in a table in his treatise that he sent to Tannenberg." Sorge was a musician and music theorist; the treatise
that Tannenberg had isn't available online, but another book with his observations on theory, which appears to be geared to the general musician because I can make some sense of it, is here