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date: 22 November 2019

Alley, Joseph locked

  • Barbara Owen


(b Kennebunk, ME, March 4, 1804; d Newburyport, MA, March 8, 1880). American organ builder. He is said to have learnt about organbuilding from a Dr Furbush in Kennebunk, and began making reed organs at the age of 18. In 1826 he moved to Newburyport, where he eventually built 37 church organs, the largest in 1834 for the Unitarian Church in Newburyport. His fame, however, derives from the experimental ‘euharmonic’ (enharmonic) organs built between 1849 and 1851 in conjunction with Henry Ward Poole (1826–90) and Henry James Hudson (b 1821). These organs, while having a normal keyboard, had more than one pipe for each black key (e.g. both C♯ and D♭ pipes), and the intervals were tuned pure rather than tempered. To bring the proper pipes into operation the player depressed a selector pedal for the desired tonality. Alley and Poole patented the device on ...

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