PLAYING THE WORLD’S LARGEST PIPE ORGAN

Joseph Bertolozzi had the singular experience of playing the great pipe organ at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, NJ, the largest pipe organ in the world. Yes, that’s seven keyboards!

Joseph Bertolozzi, composer & organist, demonstrating the largest pipe organ in the world at Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City, NJ, January 16, 2020

Thanks to Nathan Bryson, Curator of Organs and Scott D Banks, Event Coordinator.

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January 20, 2020

Powerful, yes; smooth, yes; versatile, yes. But there was an unexpected phenomenon (N.B. this gets pretty technical, so you can skip it and go to the other images below):

Says Bertolozzi:

“At one point I played a solo line using a combination starting at 8′, climbing through all the mutations from 6 2/5′, 5 1/3′, 4 4/7′, elevenths at every octave (that’s sounding an “F” when one plays a “C” key!), right on up through the highest septiemes, nones, and octaves (including 1 1/7′, 8/11′, 4/5′, 8/9, 1/2′ 1/3′, 1/4′ and others!) .

HERE’S THE THING
When the melody descended down to the lowest keys, there was a clearly audible resultant of 16′ in the tenor range that increased to a 32′ resultant in the lowest octave. Remember, the lowest pitched stop I had drawn was at 8′!

I drew the combination to hear the “weirdness” of all those mutations and as I played lower, James W. Martin, shop apprentice, pointed out that if I went even lower we’d hear this phenomenon. Thanks to him for suggesting it; it did not disappoint.”

ON A RELATED NOTE…

Not that I was aiming for this goal, but I have now played the three largest organs in the world:

#2 – The Wanamaker Organ in Philadelphia, in July, 1983

#3 The Cadet Chapel at The US Military Academy, West Point in October, 1982