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date: 20 January 2021

Cinema organlocked

  • David H. Fox


A type of pipe organ built between 1911 and 1940 specifically for the accompaniment of silent films and the performance of popular music. In the USA the term ‘theater organ’ is preferred (for earlier types of organ used in theatres, see Theatre organ). Many characteristics of the cinema organ can be traced to church organs built between 1895 and 1910 in the UK and USA by Robert Hope-Jones (1859–1914), a pioneer of the use of electricity in organs. These included the use of rapid electropneumatic action, remote consoles, numerous couplers and accessories and, in particular, unification. With this economical system, the effect of a 61-pipe rank of another octave was obtained by the addition of 12 pipes to a stop and appropriate electrical connections (see Extension organ and Organ, §VI, 4). ‘Double touch’ enabled the organist to play with a different stop arrangement when applying additional pressure to the keys. This permitted the playing of solo and accompaniment on the same manual, and other effects....

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