FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
How to Decide on the Right Pipe Organ for You?
"When a church or organization decides to purchase a pipe organ, we know that a lot of thought and many hours of work have preceded the moment you make contact with a pipe organ company. You need a builder who will work with you as a team, listening to your ideas, your musical needs, and assisting you in creating the instrument perfectly suited to your church or hall." Piero Ruffatti
What Distinguishes a Ruffatti Pipe Organ?
"We take great pride in the fact that we manufacture all of our own pipes. This process gives us complete aesthetic control over the tonal quality of the pipe. This is the only way to create an instrument that sounds the way you want it to sound. The metal pipes are all crafted by hand, from the pouring of molten alloy to the planning and polishing; the critical task is awarded only to workers who have apprenticed for five years or more. We also want people to notice the wood we use for the windchests. It is 'Sipo' mahogany, imported into Italy from Africa, and the reason we feel this element is critical is that the strength of the grain permits the organ to endure widely fluctuating temperatures and humidity... a common problem in air-conditioned rooms." Francesco Ruffatti
What Determines the Character of a Pipe?
"The basic variables that determine sound quality from pipes are: 1) the composition of the materials, 2) the shape and scaling of the pipe, and 3) the voicing. Part of the tonal character of metal pipes is determined by the thickness of the metal and by the ratio of tin to lead in the alloy. Our tin content varies according to the size of the organ, the characteristics of your room, and the stop composition of each division. By melting and rolling our own metal sheets and by soldering and polishing our own pipes inside and out, we make the instrument uniquely yours. Another advantage in making our own pipes is that we can adapt our pipes to the American 'slide-tuning' system, therefore simplifying maintenance for our North American customers." Francesco Ruffatti
What Role Does the Scaling and Voicing Play?
"Ruffatti scalings are a marriage of our Italian heritage and current acoustical research. Like the composition of metal alloys, scalings vary according to the acoustical nature of your room and the way you want your instrument to sound. Thus, we have no standard scaling for each stop. We feel strongly that to create truly individual pipe organs, a builder must combine proven theory with his own artistic judgement. Our approach to voicing is that of making each pipe produce a natural sound as possible. Great care is exercised in balancing the tonal quality between ranks. Although we generally use the 'open toe' system, the 'romantic' stops are all voiced in a typically romantic way. Thus, the sound of a Ruffatti pipe organ is an example of art and science blending together, each discipline enhancing the other." Francesco Ruffatti
What About the Size of the Sound?
"There is a difference between loudness and volume. Loudness is obtained by raising the wind pressure going into the pipe. But volume is obtained by lowering the pressure, since the column of air, not forced to whistle through the pipe toe, distributes itself equally over the surface of the sound-producing languid, and the whole pipe is allowed to resonate. Except for solo stops like the En-chamade Trompette, none of the stops in our organs can be called 'loud.' Each stop is perfectly balanced with every other stop in its division. For example, a four-rank Mixture can be played with and eight-foot Bourdon without standing out. When the rest of the division is added, the Mixture is still clearly heard, resulting in additional brilliance and power. So, the free-style approach to voicing creates an exciting acoustical phenomenon for the creative player: an apparently variable 'loudness' of each stop determined by the overall volume of the ensemble. Individual stops seem to get louder or softer, depending on the combination in which they are played. Thus, each stop has greater value since each can be used in many different combinations. It is like having an organ twice the size." Francesco Ruffatti
Will Maintenance Be Difficult If We Choose a European Instrument?
"It has become our practice over the past two decades to employ local installers to assist my brother and me with installations. This has proven to be extremely successful for two reasons: 1) the local company gets to know your instrument thoroughly, and 2) this intimate involvement with the construction process creates a sense of ownership for that company. Building a pipe organ is different from other construction jobs because we're not just building a new high rise or a grocery store. We're creating a musical instrument. It's an emotional endeavor. So by teaming up with your local installer, you have a committed maintenance team - and a thoroughly rewarding experience." Piero Ruffatti
How Will You Decide on the Design of Our Organ?
"It would be impossible to create an instrument without first examining the space for which the organ is being created. Thus, each Ruffatti Pipe Organ is one-of-a-kind. We encourage your participation in this process and in fact enjoy working with the architects who designed your church or hall. The best instrument will come from a team effort. Wherever possible, we suggest that the organ be encased, since it is the case that enables the sounds to blend and to project properly." Piero Ruffatti
"Immortality is not a gift, it is an achievement, and
only those who strive mightily shall possess it."
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