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Hartley's Hobby Barrel Organs

<What is a Barrel Organ> | <Barrel Organ Music> | <Pictures> | <Educational Page> | <Poem: The Organ Grinder> | <CDs for sale> | <The Hartley Handbells> | <Download Music Sample>

What is a Barrel Organ?

The original Fair Ground Barrel Organs (or Band Organs in the U.S.A) were first built around the early 1860's, and the sole purpose was to make a loud noise to attract the customers to rides. They were operated from a barrel that rotated that was covered in pins, which were 'read' by a row of metal keys that would have to lift themselves over the pins on the barrel as it rotated and thus pulling various rods to sound the pipes which received air from a set of bellows or steam from a boiler (Calliope).

The Carousel Organ used folded cardboard 'books', which were either embossed or perforated.

The Street (monkey) organ is different to its fairground sister, it is far quieter and has a more relaxed sound, but at the same time being cheerful. Ambient music researchers agree that the sound of wind-pipes has a soothing and stress-defusing effect.

The heavy wooden or zinc barrel was replaced by a perforated paper roll which was 'read' by air pressure being released through the holes.

Organs hobby built by Dr Lionel Hartley in Australia use digital MIDI or magnetic tape devices or an innovative original electronic technique where the paper roll is printed on a computer printer instead of being perforated. A row of 'optical cells' (one for each note) 'read' the dots and lines on the paper and relay this information to solenoids which operate the pipe valves.

Pictures of some of his organs appear below. <Click HERE>

<Home> ©2002, 2004 Lionel Hartley All Rights Reserved <Email>


It has been his pleasure, not only to build and play the organs, but also to complete the transposition of several hundred tunes; a selection of which has been recorded onto CDs byRed Range Radio

CDs are available online from the following Music Stores:

L&R Hartley Merchandising Online General Store

Click HERE for other music on CD & video

<Home> ©2002, 2004 Lionel Hartley All Rights Reserved <Email>

Sheet Music Catalog has thousands of sheet music and guitar tab titles. We have music for every instrument, every style! Safe shopping, fast delivery!

Pictures of reproduction organs built in Australia by Lionel Hartley

(Click on underlined link to see enlargements)

117 pipe Monkey Organ English design


20 pipe German design "Kinderflutenpipe"


38 pipe "Faque" midi organ


70 pipe "Faque" midi organ


1000 pipe, reed & percussion "Organmagnifique"

<Home> Copyright ©2002, 2004 Lionel Hartley All Rights Reserved <Email>

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