Marcel Dupré's House
Plaque by the road: “From 1925 to 1971, the composer Marcel Dupré, organist at St. Sulpice, lived here.”
His house has an organ in it. The organ originally belonged to Alexandre Guilmant, whose house used to be a little ways down the road from this one.
But first, I got to take a look inside the organ.
I took this picture at a weird angle, but those are bellows in the middle. They’re black with white leather at the hinges.
The first row of pipes are reed pipes. They make sound with a metal reed. They have a brassy sound and have names like Trumpet, Vox Humana, Oboe, Bassoon, and Bombard. They’re lots of fun, but they easily go out of tune with temperature changes and humidity. Behind that are some flue pipes. They have a whistle hole at the bottom to make sound. Usually they are open at the top, but these ones have a cap on. Stopped pipes sound an octave lower than what their length suggest. That is, their pitch is the same as an open pipe that’s twice as long. Narrow pipes have lots of overtones in the sound (but not as many as reed pipes) and are called strings. Wide pipes have the clearest sound (fewer overtones) and are called flutes. Average width pipes make the typical organ sound. Those are called things like Principal, Diapason, and Montre and they’re usually the ones that show up on organ facades.
Some parts of the organ are inside a box with shutters. That’s a swell box, and the shutters open and close with a pedal. That provides a little bit of volume control.
The console on this organ is a bit weird because the keyboards are really long. There’s an entire extra octave at the top. The top rows of white stops are pretty normal, but I’d never seen something like all the little green ones on the sides. Those were apparently an innovation at the time, and they are for setting preset combinations of stops. I think there were 8 combinations available on this one. Nowadays, presets are controlled by a computer, and there are usually hundreds of them.
At the end, I asked if I could play a bit, and I did. I should have gotten somebody else to take a picture of me playing, but all I ended up with was this selfie squinting into the sunlight.