David M. Macdonald and also Dr. Harrison Powley, institution of Music

The ancient Hydraulis

The old hydraulis is the faster precursor come the contemporary pipe organ and the very first keyboard instrument. Words hydraulis originates from the Greek words for water (hydro) and pipe or room (aulos). The hydraulis was developed in the third century B.C. By Ctesibius, an engineer from Alexandria, Egypt. A hydraulis creates pressurized air making use of the load of water. The pressurized air is ceded by a crucial mechanism to pipes which develop an audible sound.

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How the Works

A hydraulis is an aerophone, an tool that utilizes standing waiting waves. First, air is pumped into the waiting reservoir using a hand pump. This air is held at a constant pressure through the load of water that it displaces. The pressurized wait is piped into a wind chest whereby keys direct the air to pipes of varying lengths. Once the pressurized air enters a pipe it creates a standing wave inside the pipe. Vibrations created by this standing wave are heard together an audible pitch, because of the length and also size the the pipe. Each pipe sounds only one key at a fixed volume unless there is a change in the air push (Fig. 1).

Recent Discovery

In 1992, archeologists from the college of Thessaloniki uncovered the continues to be of a first century B.C. Hydraulis in ~ the Greek city that Dion (at the foot of mountain Olympus). In 1999 the European social Centre that Delphi perfect a 4 year task of reconstructing a hydraulis using the uncovered remains and also documented explanation as proof (Fig. 2).

Modern Church Organ

The hydraulis has progressed over countless centuries to become the contemporary church body organ of today. The first modification the the hydraulis to be to replace the water regulation pressure device with a load bellows. A weighted bellows is favor a huge leather sack through weights on optimal so that the air inside maintains a continuous pressure. This pneumatic system was helpful to the hydraulis due to the fact that it was easier to make and also maintain. This change is tape-recorded as early on as A.D. 100 and organs were practically entirely the this form by the fifth and 6th century. After ~ this time the organ underwent a significant expansion and also found a permanent house in church of the West by the 9th century.

Building a working Model

When I first learned around the ancient hydraulis I believed it would be practiced to do one. I taken the principles of exactly how it operated yet knew small else about how to develop one. After researching as lot as i could around the hydraulis, I chose to experiment and also see if my idea because that making one would certainly work. First I made a monometer, a an equipment that would measure the waiting pressure essential to make the pipe sound. I discovered that I could easily obtain four or five inches of press which is common for modern-day organ pipes. Following I began looking because that pipes and spent some time looking for pipes that the appropriate size. I made a tiny test model with only one pipeline fed straight from the waiting reservoir. It seemed to work fine however I quiet didn’t have the pipes ns needed. I continued to search for pipes till I ultimately purchased some on eBay.

When ns knew what size pipes I would be making use of I to buy wood and rented a witnessed from home Depot to start building. All the work-related so far has been done in the basement that the Wells hall dormitory. Several of the an obstacle in completing the project has been the minimal tools and also lack that a hardwood shop. I had actually to be an innovative in creating the hydraulis to be functional and also historical but additionally so that i could finish the work with the tools and also materials the were easily accessible to me. In developing the design I talked to M.L. Bigelow and Co., organ contractors of American Fork, Utah.

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They showed me a modern an essential mechanism which ns modified and also used, along with modern-day organ tube which space not true to the initial hydraulis however serve the function of mine model. My function in creating a hydraulis to be to display how the old hydraulis worked rather than to make a perfect historic replica. I have succeeded in doing for this reason by utilizing glass and Plexiglas to do the inner components of the organ visible and the hydraulic air pressure system. My model is not fully completed. I am currently in the process of finishing the wood and also assembling the various parts. Ns am planning the the finished design will it is in on display at Brigham Young university campus start winter semester 2004 (Fig. 3).