Theatre Organ 101 Registration
By Don Springer All Rights Reserved.
Overview of Course
The Primary Topic is REGISTRATION
Musical Tastes
General Advice on Registrations
Learn by Listening
Warn on Some Pitfalls
Some Words to the Wise
Actual Registrations You May Not Know
Great Music Is In The Ear of The
Inspiration Does not Come From Worrying
About What People will Think
No One Has a Monopoly on Creativity
It is Easy to be a Critic
Do YOU Enjoy It
Paint Your Own Picture
George Wright
Jesse Crawford
Leon Berry
Sidney Torch
Kay McAbee
Al Melgard
GW Quote “Less is More”
Use Stops Like Spending Money
Only Spend as Much as You Have To
Save as Much as You Can
So That You Have More Options for
Subsequent Registrations
Shutters Mostly Open Fewer Ranks
The Loudest Organist Does Not Win
The Cleverest One Does!
More Advice - LISTEN
Plan Your Arrangements
Record Yourself and LISTEN
LISTEN to GW, Jessie and Compare to
Your Arrangement
LISTEN to EVERY RANK on an Organ
Before Formulating Registrations
LISTEN to Your Registrations Is There
Room for Improvement
General Advice
Never Use Tuba Mirabilis or Solo
Diaphonic Diapason in Full Organ
Never Use Glockenspiel in Chords with
Full Organ
Save Post Horn for Accents, 2
and single note melody w/ full organ
On Organs with 2 Tibias, Reserve the Use
of “Both at Once” for Special Occasions
Good Ideas
Wood Harp in Accompaniment
Fewer Stops, Shutters More Open
Plan Your Program - Vary Between Bright -
Melo, Loud Soft, Novelty - Ballad
Imagine That You Are Trying to “Sell” the
Sounds of the Organ
Variety is the “Spice of Life” and Music
Special Considerations for Analog
Electronic Organs
Electronic Organs Start with a Tone
Makes a Broad Sound Many Harmonics
Each Stop “Filters” Unneeded Sound
Turn On All Stops, You Hear the Tone
How Allen GWs Are Different
Actually Based on Samples of Every Pipe
Not Based on a Single Oscillator and
True Pipe Organ Voicing and Ensemble
Outstanding Specification Makes You Play
No Rotating Speakers No Mangled
Combination Pistons
God’s Gift to Theatre Organists
General Pistons Set the Whole Organ at
Divisional or Manual Pistons Set Only One
Keyboard or Division
Second Touch Pistons Usually on Great,
First Touch Sets One Manual, Second
Sets Pedal and Accom, or General
Combination Pistons
“Organize Your Pistons”
A Good Test Could Another Organist
Use Them
Use Solo Manual for Solo Combinations
Bombard Accents, and Contrasts to
Great Registrations you Use the Most
Suitable Accompaniment Selections
Two Similar Ranks Slightly out of Tune
Usually Almost Identical Sound
Adds Motion
Celeste Rank Usually Slightly Quieter
String Celeste
Flute Celeste
Horn Diapason Celeste
Common Ranks
Their Uses
Broad Wooden Stopped Flute
Strong Lyrical Trem
Tapered at the Top to avoid Screeching
Foundation of the Theatre Organ