Hammond Organ
Hammond Organ
Here we take a look at the Hammond organ with Leslie speakers and drawbars, and associated music...

Brochure: Hammond Organ - a new dimension in sound.
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Hammond organs have been making music since 1934 and have influenced popular and classical music ever since.

During the 1970s, Hammonds made numerous appearances on Top of the Pops, but were also renowned for being part of cheesy humour, in Monty Python sketches. They were the mainstay of Holiday Camp orchestras, a solidly made instrument with a unique sound...

Hammond Organ

Hammonds were famous for the 'tonewheel generator' which produced the unique sound and 'drawbars' - a pull out plastic slider which increased or decreased the volume of the selected instrument/effect.
Hammond Organs
In the 70s, Hammond organs were 'state of the art' in both home and professional playing circles. A special innovation was the Leslie speaker system, which was (in the early models) simply a speaker held in a rotating drum (made of a moulded fibre). Later models produced the effect electronically.

See also www.hammond-organ.com
The year 2004 saw the 70th anniversary of Hammond Organs (1934 -2004). And it also paid tribute to Donald James Leslie (13 April 1911 - 3 September 2004) who invented the unique Leslie speaker system. "The Hammond tone wheel organ, first introduced by Laurens Hammond in April 1935, is the one against which all contenders are measured."

Associated Music

In an Eighteenth Century Drawing Room

A whimsical composition which sounds great when played on a Hammond organ. This was an instrumental written by Raymond Scott and performed by his quintet. It was adapted from Mozart's Piano Sonata K545 in C Major (Movement 1 Allegro). This also referred to as Sonata No. 15 or 16 depending upon the source.

Jack Lawrence invented a story to fit the period and wrote the lyrics:

I found an old musty book,
Long lost in some far forgotten nook.

In the book a faded picture,
And the scent of faint perfume,
Two old-fashioned lovers,
In an Eighteenth Century Drawing Room.

Nothing is ever new,
Ever since love began,
See her two eyes of blue,
Flirting behind her fan.

Look at his silk and lace,
Isn't he debonair?
And the smile on his face,
Tells of the love they share.

Hear their two hearts softly beat,
One moment more and their lips will meet.

What a sweet and charming picture,
Love in glory, love in bloom,
Don't you wish that we were,
In an Eighteenth Century Drawing Room.

Mozart's Sonata Facile - Sonata No. 16 in C Major K545.

"Universally known as the 'Sonata facile (or semplice)' the relative ease of K545 has ensured that it has become the most of famous of all Mozart's piano sonatas."

There are three short movements:

Sonata No. 16 In C Major, K545 'Sonata Facile': I. Allegro
Sonata No. 16 In C Major, K545 'Sonata Facile': II. Andante
Sonata No. 16 In C Major, K545 'Sonata Facile': III. Rondo. Allegretto

Mock Mozart
Mock Mozart includes Sonata No 16 in C Major K545 Movement I Allegro as adapted by Raymond Scott under the title "In an Eighteenth Century Drawing Room".

Track 1 played by Raymond Scott and his Quintet (1939) and Track 12 played by organist Ken Griffin (1952). [Mock Mozart compilation CD was released in the UK in August 2006]
Ken Griffin
Ken Griffin
In an Eighteenth Century Drawing Room (instrumental) was popularised by Ken Griffin at the organ. I first heard it on 'Melody Time with Ken Griffin at the organ'. This is played very much like a march. In comparison, Raymond Scott's rendition is far more whimsical and playful.

Melody Time was a vinyl LP record which is no longer available.
At Butlin's Clacton
alt : 18c1973.wma
A live version, which was performed at 'Butlin's Clacton' by the resident Hammond organist and orchestra, was even more upbeat and captured the fun nature of the piece. The clip was recorded on a Philips cassette tape machine seated amongst the audience, so the quality of the original sound is less than perfect.

Design, images and text compiled by Light-Straw. Page last updated 8th June 2011.

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