This site strives for truth in a field where it is frequently obscured, even if the truths are unpalatable. It rejects the superficiality and intellectual flabbiness which sometimes passes as pipe organ scholarship. It rejects the meaningless posturings of some electronic organ manufacturers.
"Truth is not independent of Fact".
The site was founded in 1999, the year after Google was launched and two years before Wikipedia appeared. Thus it is now into its 21st year and by the ephemeral standards of the Internet it is therefore unusually mature, having been in existence longer than some of today's digital organ firms and pipe organ builders. Currently it attracts around one million hits a year. It has gained a reputation as a quality source of reference, and for stability of ethos, content and format when so many others have come and gone or changed beyond recognition. Its breadth of coverage of the subject is unmatched anywhere, with some topics also explored in considerable depth and detail. Many original data and results have been presented in the public domain for the first time. It is updated and expanded frequently and maintained continuously. Its availability has been very high, with negligible downtime. Few, if any, other organ-related sites can make these claims over this time frame. People can visit it secure in the knowledge that what they found previously will still be there for them insofar as the main articles are concerned, and knowing that they will not need to waste time constantly re-learning how to navigate around it.
This site first appeared in 1999 for two main reasons. Firstly I wanted to publish articles about my work and involvement with pipe organs and electronic organs extending (at that time) over some 40 years, because much of it debunks the myths and legends with which the organ world abounds. Secondly the Internet offered the opportunity to do this without the slowness of publishing via more traditional routes, and without the problems of dealing with the anonymous and often awkward referees which had bedevilled me during my professional scientific career. So it was not aimed at any particular readership; rather I simply wanted to assess the degree of interest the subject matter might arouse.
The outcome is that the site has become quite widely read and cited by a broadly-based readership. It attracts a monthly hit rate up to about 100,000, quite respectable for a minority interest site such as this, with around 4000 visitors per month spending half an hour or more browsing it. Monthly downloads of the music files sometimes exceed 10 GB. Its audience includes organ builders of both the pipe and electronic varieties, mainly in the English speaking countries and notably in the USA, organists and many amateur enthusiasts with a wide range of interests. I am flattered to sometimes meet people who carry the entire contents of the site around with them as hard copy in huge ring binders. Some articles have given rise to apparently interminable discussions on several Internet chat lists, and others have been quoted in more academic circles. Various digital organ builders use ideas from the site in their advertising blurb.
In terms of hits per day The Evolution of Electric Actions suddenly shot to prominence coinciding with the addition of an Appendix describing an example of commercial organ electrical equipment which is not only illegal but dangerous to the point of lethality. The End of the Pipe Organ has proved to be the most controversial article to date, so much so that one reader (a Rodgers organ enthusiast apparently) reported publicly "I have chewed my way through half a pack of cigarettes in rage and stupefaction"! (Oh dear - I always knew they were not good for one, but surely nobody actually eats them?). Another who seemed to be merely seeking advice on physical modelling turned out to be the Board chairman of a well known digital organ company. What a compliment! But it is the subject of tuning and temperament which stimulates some to an extent which must be bad for their well-being. In my experience they are usually harpsichordists (organists and pianists seem on the whole to be more equably-tempered), and of these that subset which claims a remarkable insight into the temperaments favoured by Bach appears to get excited most readily. One publicly wrote of Temperament - a study of anachronism and related articles as "a pile of bull s**t" (my asterisks). Perhaps such people should get out a bit more. Although trolls are more to be pitied than blamed, I am grateful for the extra site traffic they have generated.
Apart from one dealing with pallet design in pipe organs, the most consistently popular article over several years remains that dealing with a MIDI pedal board encoder. I must confess to some surprise at this as I only posted it because it had been previously published elsewhere, and in any case it describes a somewhat dated technical approach. Nevertheless it is an example of how important it is to give the customers what they want, if only because the encoder has now been put into production by at least two companies. The statistics relating to the article just mentioned on pallet design suggest at first sight it is hugely popular, although I suspect they are distorted because of its appearance on unrelated websites such as those dealing with trucking and transport! Even so, this and the similar articles on technical aspects of organ building have been cited in various masters' and doctors' dissertations on both sides of the Atlantic, so presumably they have filled a niche. They also appear in the proceedings of various conferences and symposia.
Almost anything on Robert Hope-Jones seems to attract a considerable following, and I am little short of amazed how popular the article Hope-Jones and the Dry Cell continues to be, several years after it first appeared. In dealing with Hope-Jones I have tried to steer an objective course between unjustified denigration and uncritical approval and this theme, dealing as far as possible only with facts rather than opinion and speculation, deliberately pervades the whole site. However it exposes me rather easily to criticism where I happen to be wrong, so I am always grateful to those who take the trouble to point out any errors. I am also grateful for the good humour and generally temperate nature of the overwhelming majority of the correspondence received to date, even from those who take issue with what they find here. But there is a lot of material here and it doesn't cost anything to use it. So those who don't like it should feel free to go some place that suits them better.
The music files account for the majority of the download bandwidth in terms of gigabytes. Sometimes I am asked why there are not more theatre organ items, given that several theatre - style organs are featured, but I'm afraid the reason is copyright. The majority of the light music written in the 1920's and 30's, and of course later, is still the subject of copyright, unfortunately. Many theatre organ websites offer a lot of such music, but I wonder whether they are aware of the legal risks they are taking unless they are paying the considerable royalties involved.
Major updates to this site take place every few months, generally in the form of a new article. A link to it appears on the home page until it is replaced. Other updates in the form of minor amendments, corrections, changes to sound files, etc occur as necessary and might not always be listed below. The most recent revision date of the site as a whole is shown on the home page, and the most recent significant updates in the list below are highlighted in red.
Unlike just about everything else in the world today, changes are not made merely for the sake of it. I am grateful to those who visit this site, and do not wish to make their repeat visits more difficult by continually changing its format or layout for no reason. However if you feel any aspect of it is uncomfortable or inconvenient please do not hesitate to say so via the Contact me page.
Significant updates over the previous 12 months :
Complete Articles page:
Other Publications page :
Contact Me page:
About the Author page:
About this Website page (this page) :
Prog Organ page :
What they say page:
Conditions of Use, Copyright, Trademarks, Patents, IPR
All material on this website is copyright, and unless indicated otherwise the copyright is owned by Colin Pykett. All trademarks are acknowledged, but some might not always be identified as such in cases where they are so well known as to be household words.
Consent for the use of material whose copyright belongs to others must be obtained directly from them.
Much effort has been devoted to seeking permission to include all material that may attract copyright, and therefore any possible infringement of copyright owned by other parties is inadvertent and unintentional. Should such matters arise please send details to the e-mail address found under Contact Me above.
Limited use of the material is permitted for reasonable educational purposes, private study, research and similar not-for-profit activities. Following normal academic conventions, if you use or refer to any information from this site in class tutorials, research papers, dissertations, etc please acknowledge its source and myself by name. If you feel unable to adhere to the usual norms of civilised and objective discourse in relation to anything found on this website, please do not trouble yourself to quote or use it.
Material may not be lifted from this site, posted elsewhere, offered for sale nor used for any commercial purpose.
No responsibility can be accepted for any unwanted consequences of using material found on this site. The material is offered in good faith but on an "as is" basis only.
Note that certain information may be the subject of patents or other forms of intellectual property protection.
Note the name Prog Organ is a trademark owned by Colin Pykett.
The site is tested using Firefox and Internet Explorer. It is no longer tested with Chrome because it apparently has the significant disadvantage, as far as this website is concerned, that its native mp3 player cannot easily be replaced by Windows Media Player or similar applications. Among other things this means that pages on the site cannot be browsed while listening to the music tracks - as soon as you navigate away from the player page the music ceases.
Although 100% compatibility between these browsers seems unachievable there should be little difference between them. No advanced features are used by the site, but minor formatting problems might sometimes occur. Bulleted or indented paragraphs and tables seem to be the worst affected. However with today's wide variety of graphics adapters and screen formats (aspect ratio, resolution, etc) it seems virtually impossible to predict in detail how pages will appear, such as how text wraps around pictures, etc.
A shortcoming of Firefox is that it does not always seem to display the latest version of certain web pages on Windows PC's - this can affect any page of any web, not just those belonging to this site. In this circumstance Firefox seems to be pulling an old version of the page from the "Temporary Internet Files" folder of your computer, and it is not always obvious this is happening. The latest version of any page can of course be viewed by hitting Firefox's Reload (refresh) button, but this is inconvenient. Therefore, when corresponding with me about the contents of the site, please check beforehand that you are actually viewing the latest version of the page in question!
No bugs have been observed in Internet Explorer 8 and later though it seems slower than some other browsers. Other than this it seems to render the pages of this site very well.
As well as these occasional problems, some users have also reported legibility issues owing to text and diagrams occupying more than the full width of their monitor. This can sometimes be resolved if other items such as views bars, favorites lists, etc are removed from the screen. Even so, some material might be difficult to read if viewed on small monitors because of the horizontal extent of the diagrams, and a 15 inch (38 cm) diagonal dimension is the recommended minimum if this problem is to be avoided. However some formatting changes applied to the web pages should have rendered this problem less noticeable.
Some people have reported difficulty in printing certain pages, again because of their width which does not fit on their printers. This can be overcome in two ways: either reduce the left and right hand paper margins to zero, or simply print in landscape mode. Both adjustments can be made from File/Page Setup in Internet Explorer, and the result can be assessed by going to File/Print Preview before printing.
Having set text size to 'medium' in any browser, legibility can then be adjusted to taste using the 'zoom' facility.
To protect visitors to this site from the potential harm and loss of privacy which can result from cookies, I have now withdrawn the site from membership of organisations such as the Organ WebRing. Unfortunately, these seem to use one's site to enable unrelated organisations to gain access to your computer, let alone mine, and it is the price one pays for the additional site publicity. With the current unhappy state of the Internet through its use for an increasing number of malevolent purposes, it no longer seems proper to expose visitors to my site to this danger.
The site does not host advertisements. Please do not ask. It does not seek nor accept sponsorship. It does not beg for money just for being here, as do so many others.
The site no longer routinely hosts hyperlinks except as references in the articles or in return for assistance received. In view of the importance placed on backlinks (links to your site from mine) by search engines they are high value commodities in cyberspace nowadays. Consequently I inform the webmaster of the target website that I have placed a link to it on mine and politely request that the owner might do the same for me. If a refusal or no reply is received, the reference will normally be allowed to remain but it will be downgraded to plain text rather than a hyperlink. In this case search engines will not assign any page ranking weight to the target site. Note that links are not hosted to any site such as Wikipedia which operates a no-follow policy for theirs, and in these cases only the plain text reference will appear on this site. Currently a few exceptions to this policy apply, such as unsolicited links to the National Pipe Organ Register and similar bodies in view of the service they perform to the organ community. Having read this, if you feel a link to your site would be helpful please feel free to contact me.
A new website is now available which is a mirror of this one. It was set up in January 2010 and currently the two sites are identical in terms of content, although the look of each site is different so you will easily be reminded which one you are browsing. Therefore, if one or the other goes down for some reason, you should still be able to access the alternative one. Thus you might like to bookmark both (in Firefox terminology), or add both to your Favorites list (in Internet Explorer terminology). In due course the contents of the two sites might diverge to prevent either of them getting too unwieldy.