Blackstone Pipe Organ: Instructions for Organists
Whether you are a visiting organist or an organ student, these are orientation and
operating instructions for the Blackstone Residence Pipe Organ.
From the first image, you see that the house is organized vertically on 4 levels, each
roughly 10' high: the entry level, the main level, the den/office/bedroom area, and the
organ loft level. The second figure shows layout of the entry level. The main entrance is
through the gallery in the center of the building. However, you will generally enter through
the side entry to the right (north end) of the image where alarm control is located.
You reach the main second floor via the curved steps in the gallery (3rd image). The organ
console is just to the north (your left) of the landing of these steps. Facing the front of the
console, the South Organ is to your left and occupies the south end of this floor. To your
right is the North Organ which occupies the north end of this floor. In this figure, you also
see what appears to be 3 towers on the east wall at the north end. In the small tower is
located the "command control" for the organ. The 4th image shows the third level and
location of office/den and bedroom.
Layout of the instrument is as follows. The GREAT division is on the 4th loft level in the
southwest corner. The SWELL division is on two levels behind swell shades on the west
side of the PEDAL tower. Along the east wall is the BAROQUE division on the 3rd level and
Two chests of the SOUTH PEDAL.
Turning the organ on
"Command Control" for the organ is in the closet in the tower just to the right of the main
kitchen glass doors. A light switch is on the left as you enter. The computer that controls
the organ is beneath the shelves to the right; the ONbutton is the top of the computer at
the right front corner. Press the ON button and the system will automatically boot up,
including bringing up the Uniflex Relay Systems application that controls the organ.
Just to the right of the door as you enter the closet are two banks of switches. The organ is controlled by the bank of switches closest to
the door (with red indicator lights). The top set of 2 switches is for CONSOLE and SOUTH BLOWERS. The middle set of 2 switches is for
SOUTH POWER and NORTH POWER. The lowest set of 2 switches is for NORTH BLOWER and ANCILLARY (carillon). (The switches are in
straight lines, not as is distorted in the photo!). Note that the CONSOLE switch must be on before the organ control system will work.
In addition, if you are only playing on the South Organ, you need only switch on the South switches, and similarly for the North Organ.
The organ bench top has an electrical lift. UP and DOWN buttons are located about a quarter of the way in from the right on the front of
Starting from the bottom of the console, the manuals are Baroque, Great, Swell, and Solo.
The north Antiphonal and north Echo divisions are floating and must be coupled to one of
the 4 manuals.
From left to right, the expression shoes are Echo, Solo, and Swell. Each control both upper
and lower sets of expression shades in the Swell and Solo chambers.
To the right of the expression 3 expression shows, and slightly elevated, is the
Crescendo shoe. It lights the lamps beneath the music rack green, yellow, and red for softer,
louder, and loudest stops. The crescendo pedal has been programmed with all divisions
coupled to the Great manual.
The left bank of drawknobs control the South Organ: South Pedal, Baroque, Great, and Swell.
The right bank of drawknobs control the North Pedal, Antiphonal, Echo, Solo and Echo
divisions (from front to rear).
There are two rows of couplers above the Solo (IV) manual below the music rack. The top row
consists of couplers to the Baroque, Swell, and Solo keyboards, and the bottom row couplers
to the Pedal and Great keyboards. Specifics can be found under Console under Specifications.
In addition to these 58 couplers, there is a manual transfer between keyboards I and II and
Baroque unison off.
Beneath each keyboard is a manual to pedal reversibles, and the first row of foot pistons to
the right consist of manual to pedal reversibles.
Combination action pistons
Foot pistons on the left consist of 10 GENERALs. They do not duplicate the 10 general
pistons beneath the Great manual. Foot pistons on the bottom row on the right consist of
pistons for the North Pedal Division.
Beneath the Solo manual, from left to right, are 5 coupler pistons, 5 Solopistons, and 5
Beneath the Swell manual, from left to right, are 5 Swell pistons and 5 Antiphonal pistons.
Beneath the Great manual, from left to right, are GENERAL pistons 1-5, 5 Great pistons, and GENERAL pistons 6-10.
Beneath the Baroque manual, from left to right, are 5 North Pedal pistons and 5 Baroque pistons.
Special action pistons
The right-most foot piston on the upper of the two rows is Tutti 3. It is at present linked to the highest level of the crescendo pedal sequence. Tutti 1 and Tutti 2 are also, at the moment, linked to levels within the combination action, f and ff. Tutti 1 lights the green lamp beneath the music rack, Tutti 2 lights the yellow light, and Tutti 3 lights both. The crescendo sequence to which these are linked also shows in the crescendo lamps.
As shown in the diagram, next to Baroque piston 5 is a +, -, and N. These control combination action sequencing, + taking you up a level, - taking you down a level, and N taking you to a neutral level.
To the right of the combination sequencer is another +, -, 0, and KEY. This is the transposer controller (which can transpose, theoretically, any number of steps upward or downward from the home key. + takes you up a half-step, 1 takes you down a half step, 0 returns you to the home key from wherever you were. There is also an indicator light beneath the music rack to tell you the transposer is on. KEY is such that when you press it an any key on the keyboard, the transposer immediately places middle C at that location; it is a reversible, so a second push takes you to the home key.
To the extreme right is general cancel. To the extreme left is the SET piston--press it and the appropriate piston, and the combination is set. To the immediate right of the set piston is the RANGE piston. It is used to change the range of any piston on the console.
The console and chambers are controlled by a Uniflex
Relay Systems software and hardware system. Every key,
drawknob, coupler, piston, and expression shoe is
connected to INPUT "boards". All drawknobs, couplers,
lamps, and pipe magnets are connected to OUTPUT
boards. In turn, these a cabled in daisy-chain style to
INTERFACE boards in the console, two in the South Organ, and two in the North Organ. These interface boards are connected to a router by an Ethernet cable that runs under the floor in a conduit from north to south ends of the building. An Ethernet cable from the router runs to the computer in the "Command Control" closet.
Documentation for operating the organ control system
Detailed instructions for every aspect of the operation of the system are on-line at the Uniflex Relay System web site (see System Operation .pdf here). The detailed instructions apply to the Uniflex 2000, but the important aspects of operating the system are the same for the Uniflex 3000. In the material below, you will find essential instructions, taken for the most part from the documentation on the Uniflex Relay Systems web site, tailored for the Blackstone Residence Pipe Organ installation.
Wireless control pad
A white Samsung Galaxy (android) tablet is located in the organ closet, generally plugged into the charging cluster. Unplug the pad (for concerts or prolonged practice times, plug this into the battery pack which should also be charging--at least until we figure out why the charging device built into the console is not working!). This pad must become a "remote desktop" for the main computer. This is accomplished as follows (see picture strip at bottom of screen).
Image 1: Turn on tablet. After swiping in (no password is needed), you will find this screen. Note the yellow icon labeled iDisplay. Touch iDisplay icon.
Image 2: As iDisplay connects with the organ computer, it displays a "blank" screen. It is neccesaary to now find the screen on which the organ application is displaying.
Image 3: Press menu button on the tablet. This is the lighted "stack" icon shown above the home bar. It will bring up a menu. Select "Show Window."
Image 4: A selection will come up, "Uniflex 3000 Organ Control System -- Version XXXX, Date; touch this line.
Image 5: You will see this menu. It is somewhat different from the Uniflex 2000 menu that you will find in the more detailed operations manual on the Uniflex web site. Note the bar called "Select An Organist". Press this bar.
Image 6: A list of organists will be displayed. Your name should appear here; we would have made an "organist" folder for you before you arrived. Press your name.
Image 7: Now let's use the combination action menu. In image 5 you see the combination action level that is loaded. Press this button, and the Combination Action
Keybpad will display on top of the main application. If you want to load level 3, press 3 and the Load button. If you then make changes in your combinations, when you
are finished, press Save. You can return to the menu of the main application by pressing Close.
Image 8: You may wish to record your keystrokes. From either the main application or the Combination Action Keypad, press Record. Press a number (e.g. 1) and Record. When you first start to play, your keystrokes will be saved. When you finish what you want to record, press Finish.
Image 9: To play back what you recorded, press Play. That will bring up the Playback Keypad. Press the number of the track you recorded and press Play Track. When you finish, press Finish. Pressing close takes you back to the set of menus you have opened. NOTE: for the swell shoes to work properly on playback, you must close them completely before playing the track. (You don't want to know this, but this is necessary to allow you to accompany yourself on the instrument as you play back--it gives you control of the swell shade position.)
More advanced features, such as setting up a Piston Sequencer are shown in the Uniflex operations manual.