Talk:Electric organ

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History of Electric Organs[edit]

The history of electric organs (sections: 1.2 Early electric organs (1897–1930s); 1.3 Tonewheel organs (1930s–1975); 1.4 Electrostatic reed organs (1934–1964))) should/could be made into an individual wiki article - even though it fits to this page since it's part of the history of the electronic organ. SwA (talk) 10:20, 9 May 2017 (UTC)

@SwA: The whole set of redirects through various articles related to electronic / electric organs is a bit of a mess, probably because electric organ goes to a completely different topic. I think a more important task is to improve this article's prose and referencing, which is quite lacking. The Hammond organ article itself is not so bad as there are a couple of dedicated book sources to the instrument, and perhaps some of the citations there can be recycled for this article. Certainly Mark Vail's "Vintage Synthesizers" does cover a wide variety of non-Hammond electric and combo organs. Ritchie333 (talk) (cont) 10:53, 9 May 2017 (UTC)
@Ritchie333: Thanks for the quick reply and feedback. You are right, it's probably best to leave this section here. Also there is work to be done to the whole Electrophone category. I will try to add some information and sources in the future. Why did you delete the my redirect from the Hammond organ to the electric organ section of this page? To be more correct one would have to say that the hammond organ belongs to the electromechanical instruments group ( In general electrophones can be devided into electric and electronic instruments. Whereas electromechanical and electroacoustic instruments are belonging to the electric group. So the hammond organ is an electric organ! (Tone wheels produces an electric signal!) If you don't want an extra page for electronic organs shouldn't we then at least redirect to the subsection here? SwA (talk) 11:18, 9 May 2017 (UTC)
"Why did you delete the my redirect from the Hammond organ to the electric organ section of this page?" That was a mistake - sorry! I thought you were trying to change the lead to say the Hammond was an electronic organ (which it isn't), not trying to clean up the dogs' breakfast of redirects (which is fine). You are correct that as a general rule of thumb, if something has moving parts inside it, it's probably not "electronic", although things have recently got confusing as the Nord Electro, for example, is described as a "virtual electromechanical".
As for why electric organ doesn't come here, that's because it goes to the biology article. However, I think there's a good argument to be made that a typical reader wanting to read about the "electric organ" will be looking for the class of instruments. Ritchie333 (talk) (cont) 11:30, 9 May 2017 (UTC)
Yes, but the Nord Electro should be classified as an electronic instrument... I would like to see a separate article "Electric organ (music)" like there is for Electric piano and Electronic piano maybe someone has time and knowlage to create one. SwA (talk) 13:23, 10 May 2017 (UTC)
@Necrothesp: please read the discussion above before editing this article again! Actually some of the instruments (Tonewheel, Tellharmonium,...) in the history section of this page are not electronic but electric organs. In my opinion these should be moved to a separate page. --SwA (talk) 15:03, 18 May 2017 (UTC)

Requested move 18 May 2017[edit]

The following is a closed discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. Editors desiring to contest the closing decision should consider a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was: Moved to Electric organ, replacing the dab page per WP:TWODABS. Although not unanimous, having read the discussion I think there is a consensus that "Electric organ" is the common name for this instruments, and also that the instrument is primary topic for the term, when compared with the biological term.  — Amakuru (talk) 08:27, 13 June 2017 (UTC)

Electronic organElectric organ (music) – This is a procedural nomination following this discussion, which saw electric organ moved to electric organ (biology) and the former converted to a DAB. Concerns were raised that that discussion that some "electric organs" are not technically "electronic" and thus provided a misnomer. Primefac (talk) 19:41, 18 May 2017 (UTC)


  • Support. "Electronic" feels like an artificial attempt to move away from the ambiguous Electric organ (ambiguous with the organ of electric fish), but it doesn't quite work. Early organs didn't use electricity at all. Then there was a period of use of electricity for power, Pipe_organ#Wind_system in particular. These organs using electrical power were electric but not electronic. Subsequently, electronics was introduced, and for a period the "electronic organ" would have been used to distinguish synthesised organ music from a mere electrically powered organ. In modern times, the word "digital" has supplanted "electronic". Consequently, the "elecronic organ" best refers to a particular period of technological development. Better to call them simply "electric organs", a term that covers everything in the article, and to disambiguate from fish with "(music)". Also, keep well clear of the electronic heart and other biological organs that will become not just electric but electronic. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 01:33, 19 May 2017 (UTC)
    Having read everything below, I continue to Support the rename Electronic organElectric organ (music) as a definite improvement. I Oppose User:Andrewa's alternative proposal as the biological subject of the electric organ is too significant, too entrenched in its literature as "electric organ" for there to be another topic as PrimaryTopic. Electric organ (biology)/Electric organ (anatomy) used to be at the base name, I agreed it is not PrimaryTopic, but it has strong enough claims to prevent the other topic. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 03:34, 29 May 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose. The musical instruments are the primary topic of both electric organ and electronic organ, and they are different topics. This is a bit tricky, as all electric organs are arguably electronic, as are all electric guitars. But in common use, in both guitars and keyboards, if the electronics generate the tone the instrument is electronic, while if they just amplify it (as in for example the Fender Rhodes, tonewheel organ and Gibson SG), the instrument is electric. Andrewa (talk) 22:08, 19 May 2017 (UTC)
    • Andrewa, just to double check - you know that electric organ is a disambiguation page, and the majority of your argument makes it sound like you support moving from "electronic" to "electric"? Primefac (talk) 02:30, 20 May 2017 (UTC)
    • Support (change of !vote). This discussion has grown too messy for any better proposal to be properly discussed. This is at least an improvement, and addresses the most important issue. Andrewa (talk) 23:47, 29 May 2017 (UTC)
  • Ping @Ritchie333, Laurdecl, Plantdrew, BD2412, and Necrothesp: you participated in the previous RM, so your thoughts here are appreciated. Primefac (talk) 14:27, 21 May 2017 (UTC)
  • Support, per SmokeyJoe's cogent argument. bd2412 T 03:19, 23 May 2017 (UTC)
    • Relisting comment: I agree that this move would be an improvement, in that the scope of the article is greater than just electronic organs. But I don't think we have justified the two-way DAB, and in that it may be a step backward, see #Primary topic below. And there's lots of room for discussion still about just what the scope of the article is or should be, by whatever name. Andrewa (talk) 15:44, 23 May 2017 (UTC)
      • I object to your relisting and undid it. Relisting is an administrative function, and involved parties should not do it. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 00:45, 25 May 2017 (UTC)
        • I will not object to that, but strongly suggest that some other party might now relist. It has not been previously relisted, and discussion has not yet concluded. Andrewa (talk) 01:17, 26 May 2017 (UTC)
          • Relisting just removes it from the backlog and, contrary to common expectations, reduces exposure and makes it more likely for the discussion to be closed with no new participation. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 02:31, 26 May 2017 (UTC)
            • Agree this is contrary to common expectations, and possibly to reason as well... evidence? Andrewa (talk) 14:28, 27 May 2017 (UTC)
  • Alternative proposal: Electronic organ -> Electric organ, over the two-way DAB, with a hatnote to the article on the biological/anatomical usage. The primary topics of both electric organ and electronic organ are the musical instruments, in fact even SmokeyJoe was surprised to discover the other use of electric organ. The non-musical sense of electronic organ is as yet esoteric, and unattested in sources. This article deals with all electric organs including electronic, tone wheel, frequency divider, digital and any others, and should continue to cover this topic (ongoing discussion on whether that includes some pipe organs and if so which does not affect this RM). Discussion on whether a more specialised article is needed at electronic organ or digital organ or both can also continue and does not affect this RM. Andrewa (talk) 01:17, 26 May 2017 (UTC)
    I was surprised, yes, and having got over the surprise, I cannot deny that there is extensive reputable reliably sourced literature on the biological electric organ. It appears to be an entire field of research. In contrast, the music "electric organ" is a narrow subtopic of Organ (music), with Organ_(music)#Electric combined Organ_(music)#Electronic having small coverage, and the content of this article, Electronic organ, gives very little coverage to the "electric organ", it is instead a historical list of many types of organs, most not well described as either "electric" nor "electrical". --SmokeyJoe (talk) 03:34, 29 May 2017 (UTC)
    Agree that this RM as it stands, moving to electric organ (music), is an improvement on the current setup. Andrewa (talk) 08:33, 29 May 2017 (UTC)
    • Alternative proposal withdrawn to support original RM. Andrewa (talk) 23:47, 29 May 2017 (UTC)
  • Support move to Electric organ, with a hatnote to the other meaning. Common name and primary topic. -- Necrothesp (talk) 08:06, 1 June 2017 (UTC)
Agree --SwA (talk) 10:00, 1 June 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose as proposed. I've read through as much of the below back-and-forth as I can, and I don't see evidence that "electric organ" is a more WP:COMMONNAME than "electronic organ", or that there's distinction in the sources between organs that are "electric" and those that are "electronic". They both seem to be terms for the same things, and "electronic organ" is somewhat more common on Google Books ([1] vs. [2]) and JSTOR ([3] vs. [4]). Without more evidence that "electric organ" is preferable, I don't see the point of moving, especially as the current title is WP:NATURALDIS and thus avoids a parentheses.
That said, this subject does seem to be the WP:PRIMARYTOPIC of the term "electric organ" in a WP:TWODABS situation. Since the biology article was moved to electric organ (biology), this article has gotten 72.4% of the page views.[5] It also appears to be far more common on Google Books and JSTOR. As such, I'd support redirecting Electric organ here, with a hat note pointing to the biological organ.--Cúchullain t/c 15:50, 6 June 2017 (UTC)
Acceptable. See #Is usage changing below. Andrewa (talk) 19:38, 6 June 2017 (UTC)


Electric organ is a two-way DAB, the other topic being electric organ (biology). Does anyone really question that the musical instrument is the primary topic for electric organ? I'm fascinated.

But there's another issue which should be taken up at talk:electronic musical instrument. That article, like this one, includes the Hammond for example as electronic. That is contrary to the usage with which I'm familiar, and not consistent with usage regarding the electric guitar... but English is not always logically consistent!

Similar points were made at Talk:Electric_organ_(biology)#Requested_move_9_May_2017, and also some rather bizarre claims... a pipe organ with an electric pump is not an "electric organ". (Any more than one with electro-pneumatic action is, but that would come closer.)

We badly need to consult some reliable sources, and will probably need to clean up our terminology quite a lot as a result. Andrewa (talk) 03:18, 20 May 2017 (UTC)

Hmm... good point. This might be bigger than one RM. Either an RFC or a multi-page RM might be in order, just to sort everything out at once rather than piecemeal. Primefac (talk) 13:03, 20 May 2017 (UTC)
Andrewa, "claims... a pipe organ with an electric pump is not an "electric organ", not sure what you are quoting, but I suspect either a misreading or a miswriting. A pipe organ with an electric powered pneumatic pump (the usual kind in the 20th century) would be an "electric organ" but not an "electronic organ". Also, I do dispute that the musical device is the primary-topic because the fish organ is treated as primary within the field of biology. Both terms are derivative of "organ", and that has no primary topic. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 13:35, 20 May 2017 (UTC)
As I indicated above, I'm basing this on my experience as a long-time enthusiast (and I'll add sometimes even maintainer and even builder) of pipe and electric and electronic organs, and suggest again we all badly need to consult some reliable sources, and I'm having a look. The Wiktionary entry is not a reliable source of course, it still seemed worth a look but it repeats the same (IMO) mistake. It's possible I am out of date, but I found your claim that an electric blower turns a pipe organ into an electric organ rather startling. Very interested in your sources. Andrewa (talk) 18:52, 20 May 2017 (UTC)
I too have helped build (rebuild and refurbish), and played a pipe organ. And pumped the belles, fun for a few minutes, not fun thereafter. Also the pipeless pipe organ. My point is that attempting to slot all electric organs at "electronic organ" is a clumsy, artificial, sometimes faulty, action, and that the fish electric organ disrupts all claims for PT. I actually find it grating to see "pipe organ" lumped with electric organs, but if I had someone point to the pipe organ and ask "is that electric" I'm afraid a simple "no" would mislead. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 21:51, 20 May 2017 (UTC)--SmokeyJoe (talk) 21:51, 20 May 2017 (UTC)
True, if you were to say of an electrically blown organ "it's not electric" in many contexts it would be misleading. "The power is off, can we have the service by candlelight?" "No, the organ is electric." But I have sat in massage chairs that were electrically powered, and (thankfully) none of them were electric chairs. Similarly, not all electrically powered organs are electric organs.
Pipeless pipe organ and pipeless organ are sales jive IMO, that describe a particular style of electronic organ which is not a pipe organ but sounds and looks and plays (increasingly) like one. But if the terms are in common use we use them of course. It still doesn't make them pipe organs, except in a very specialised context.
Mechanical blowers came into widespread use at about the same time that couplers became common, for obvious reasons!
Agree that attempting to slot all electric organs at "electronic organ" is a clumsy, artificial, sometimes faulty, action and that it is grating to see "pipe organ" lumped with electric organs, in fact it it just plain wrong IMO.
But disagree that the fish electric organ disrupts all claims for PT. It only does this if it's a likely search term or is of long-term significance (or both), both relatively speaking. And it is neither. Andrewa (talk) 03:27, 21 May 2017 (UTC)
I am quite curious, even though it strays off-topic, but why do you say grating to see "pipe organ" lumped with electric organs is wrong? It is because pipe organs are actually not lumped into this article (I think I mistaken thought there was more pipe organ content in this article, but I had mixed it up with the Organ (music) article).
I think that in practice that post is unsigned, suggest you sign it with three tildes so as not to put a misleading timestamp on it. And I do not say that grating to see "pipe organ" lumped with electric organs is wrong. I say that I agree with it. It's seeing "pipe organ" lumped with electric organs that is wrong. They are different instruments. Andrewa (talk) 11:36, 21 May 2017 (UTC)
the fish electric organ disrupts all claims for PT. This is central to the question. I was somewhat surprised that sources on aquatic biological electric organs used, very predominantly, the simple term "electric organ", somewhat counter-intuitively, even contrary to my understanding of an anatomical organ (the current generating tissues appears to be specialized cells, specialized from a wide variety of normal cells, and not an anatomical Organ (anatomy), it seems to me that electric organs lack the structural features of an organ). Very interesting, and I find my self searching for "electric organ" to try to understand it more. Obviously, it is a viable search term. Long term significance? Obviously it is. Considerable scientific research has gone into it, it is common in the natural world, and may well be primordial. That is more long term significance than a thousand years of a single species' music making, depending very much on how you look it at. But most importantly, the reason for alleging a disruption of PT, is that both sorts of readers (fish anatomy vs music), are prone to astonishment on discovering their jump to their presumed primary "electric organ" sees them download a page on the other. I wrote on this at Wikipedia_talk:Disambiguation/Archive_41#Astonishment. You may or may not find that interesting, but I would be interested in hearing your response.
Note the separate problem with this status quo, that organs using electrons are not well distinguished from other electric organs as well as they are under the title "digital organ". Could we re-title this article as Digital organ? — Preceding unsigned comment added by SmokeyJoe (talkcontribs) 05:12, 21 May 2017 (UTC)
The question regarding primary topic is not whether the biological term is used, or is a likely term, or is of significance. The question is whether, to the general reader (we are a general encyclopedia), the biological sense is as relatively common or relatively significant. I don't think the average reader even realises that numbfish etc (the numbfish is the only one of which I have experience in the wild) have anything called an electric organ even if they realise that they produce electric shocks. Again we need to look for evidence.
I don't think organs using electrons is a particularly helpful phrase, even worse than organs using electricity would be. Is it attested anywhere?
Not all electronic organs are digital. The frequency divider organ is electronic but not digital. Andrewa (talk) 11:53, 21 May 2017 (UTC)
I think I need to stop editing from the phone. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 13:14, 21 May 2017 (UTC)
Please don't stop! You are as always making relevant and valid points. No contribution is perfect (any more than any article ever is... that's an article (;-> of faith here). I do not always agree with you but always value your contributions... and that is the very essence of collaboration. Fewer, more cautious contributions from yourself would I suppose be less stressful on us all, but IMO the project would be the poorer for it. But up to you of course.
This is far more complicated than I ever dreamed, see User talk:Andrewa/Pipe vs electric organ#Hornbostel–Sachs. Andrewa (talk) 22:49, 22 May 2017 (UTC)

Are some pipe organs electric organs too[edit]

That is, there are hybrids that use both pipes and electronics to produce different sounds, and Rodgers organs (now owned by Roland Corporation which makes them one of the largest manufacturers of pipe organs in the world by the count of instruments sold) have produced some brilliant hybrids. This is not about those. It's originally about organs which produce their sound principally by pipes, in the traditional manner, but which are assisted by electricity to provide the wind pressure.

And I've suggested that organs that use electro-pneumatic action (once quite common and there are still lots around) and more recent hybrid actions such as on the Sydney Opera House Grand Organ should be added to the discussion, as they are even more electric.

I'm hoping this can be settled quite quickly one way or another. So as not to clutter this page with interesting external links that fail wp:RS, see User:Andrewa/Pipe vs electric organ and feel free to add to it. Andrewa (talk) 19:22, 20 May 2017 (UTC)

What is the difference between "electric" and "electronic"?[edit]

To clean up some misunderstandings and help you here is a citation from the Article about electric and electronic instruments from Grove Music Online:

"To the layman the terms ‘electric’ and ‘electronic’ are often not clearly distinguishable; since both electric and electronic devices clearly function by means of electricity, one is apt to use the words interchangeably or with only an imprecise notion of where the distinction between them lies. Technically, electronic devices form a subset of all electric devices, being those, broadly speaking, that incorporate thermionic valves or semiconductors. In common usage, however, ‘electric’ is normally applied not to the whole range of electrically powered devices, but simply to those that are not electronic.

In discussing musical instruments it is useful to make a similar distinction between ‘electric’ and ‘electronic’ instruments: this article does so on the basis of the method of sound generation. The term ‘electric’ is used of two types of instruments: electroacoustic instruments, which produce sounds, albeit often virtually inaudible, by acoustic methods, and incorporate builtin microphones, pickups or transducers by means of which these vibrations are amplified; and electromechanical instruments, in which the mechanism itself produces no sound but creates a regular fluctuation in an electrical circuit which can be converted into an audio signal. The term ‘electronic’ is used of instruments in which the sound is generated by means of electronic oscillators or digital circuitry." [1]

Reading the above text I think it should be clear to everybody that there should be two pages: One for Electric Organ (music) and one for Electronic Organ (Please delete the above citation if it's a copyright violation!)--SwA (talk) 12:30, 23 May 2017 (UTC)

Agree and thanks for a great source!
This would mean that an electric guitar and a hammond organ were both electric, as opposed to electronic, devices, as neither uses valves or transistors to create the sound. I use the subjunctive would because unfortunately I don't completely agree with Groves! The conclusion is fine but the logic is faulty. Essentially they are saying that an electric guitar would become electronic if it used active electrics (as many modern guitars do). Not so so far as common use goes. The potentiometers in virtually all electric guitars are electronic components, albeit passive ones. In that sense all electric guitars are electronic. But they are not typically electronic instruments.
Curiouser and curiouser, Fender do make at least one MIJ bass that incorporates a passive fuzz box. That is borderline to being an electronic instrument... but with passive electrics! Andrewa (talk) 15:44, 23 May 2017 (UTC)

Part of our problem is that English is not entirely logical. The difference between electric and electronic is context-dependent.

In general an electronic device is also electric, but not conversely. Most electric toasters are not electronic.

Some have tried (as Groves above) to distinguish on the grounds of whether there are electrical amplification circuits present, but this does not always work. An electric guitar with active electrics has such circuits but is not an electronic guitar. All musical instrument amplifiers are electronic devices, but their use is not restricted to electronic music.

And on the other hand, potentiometers such as are used in almost all electric instruments, whether electronic or not, to control the volume (and often other parameters as well) are sold as electronic components. Andrewa (talk) 22:28, 23 May 2017 (UTC)

@Andrewa: Yes, an electric guitar is an electric instrument. Your argument is reasonable but the distinction mentioned above is made because of the source of sound (cf. Hornbostel-Sachs): The parts involved with creating the original sound wave of a traditional electric guitar are all electric (pickup and strings). In electric instruments electronic parts can be involved at a later stage (for example for amplification) but the distinction is made at the level of sound production! If however there really are electronic parts involved with the sound production in a specific electric guitar one could consider this specific instrument electronic... In musicological literature the above mentioned classification of electrophones is usually used so I would recommend using it also on wikipedia. --SwA (talk) 06:14, 29 May 2017 (UTC)
Thank you SwA. Yes, this is an excellent point, as H-S is widely adopted in Wikipedia, see User talk:Andrewa/Pipe vs electric organ#Hornbostel–Sachs.
But as I note there, our article on Hornbostel–Sachs currently reads in part:
Present-day ethnomusicologists, such as Margaret Kartomi (page 173), and Ellingson (PhD dissertation, 1979, p. 544) suggest that, in keeping with the spirit of the original Hornbostel Sachs classification scheme, of categorization by what first produces the initial sound in the instrument, that only subcategory 53 should remain in the electrophones category. Thus it has been more recently proposed that, for example, the pipe organ (even if it uses electric key action to control solenoid valves) remain in the aerophones category, and that the electric guitar remain in the chordophones category, etc.. [6]
So it seems that more recent sources do not support the simplistic classification currently used by H-S for category 5 (electronic) instruments, and also by online Groves (as described in your previous post above). This attempt at classification has been overtaken by more recent events. It would, for example, see the Fender Jaguar Bass (introduced 2006) classified as an electronic musical instrument.
The Fender Jaguar Bass is typical of modern guitars using active electronics (commonly in my experience referred to in this context as active electrics to contrast with passive electrics). I own two such myself, one an acoustic 12 string guitar and the other an acoustic bass guitar. Neither of my guitars would be appropriate for inclusion in our article on electronic musical instruments, nor would current musicologists include either of them in H-S category 5, despite the official H-S classification as it currently stands. Andrewa (talk) 08:24, 29 May 2017 (UTC)
@Andrewa: Yes, I'm with you speaking about the Fender Jaguar Bass - I also wouldn't classify it as an electronic instrument but an electroacoustic instrument. My personal opinion is that the distinction between electroacoustic, electromechanic and electronic (= 3 categories of electrophones) would be the best. But then we would need three articles to cover all the organs out there. So for instruments like organ and piano the distinction between electric (=electroacoustic and electromechanic) and electronic might be enough for the article pages... About the “Present-day ethnomusicologists” – the source mentioned in the article is a 1979 dissertation, so it's actually outdated. However the most up to date H-S classification can be found here: Revision of the Hornbostel–Sachs Classification of Musical Instruments by the MIMO Consortium, 8 July 2011
The Fender Jaguar Bass is a solid body guitar. If it's electroacoustic... the mind boggles.
I'm coming to the view that, while H-S is useful in infoboxes, it has no relevance at all when it comes to Wikipedia article titles. It seems to regularly be counter to common usage, despite recent attempts. See User:Andrewa/Hornbostel Sux. Andrewa (talk) 22:24, 29 May 2017 (UTC)
Well yes, according to H-S the Fender Jaguar Bass actually is electroacoustic like every other electric guitar: "513 Electro-acoustic chordophones Electric guitar, Neo-Bechstein electric piano, Yamaha Electric Grand, electric violin" - There is just some mixup of terminology in common usage... and I also agree, you may be right that the H-S classification isn’t always good to use for wikipedia headings since its made for an ethnomusicology approach (comparing instruments all over the world) and also widely used by museums and organologists to classify instruments by their method of sound production (you also wouldn’t use the heading “box zither” for the page about early pianos, haha). But yes, it would be very useful to be used in infoboxes! I think we agree in most of our points. And I’d still suggest to make a distinction between “electric” and “electronic” organ like there is between Electric_piano and Electronic_piano... thanks for the discussion! :-) --SwA (talk) 05:46, 30 May 2017 (UTC)

Primary topic[edit]

I propose that this sense of electric organ is the primary topic by reason of common usage. Most people would have some awareness of these electric organs, while only a few would realise that this is what the shock-producing tissues found in some animals are called. Searching on "Electric organ" music -Wikipedia gave me more than twice the number of ghits as "Electric organ" animal -Wikipedia.

By significance I would call either a tie or a slight advantage to music again. The electric organ was an enormously significant part of 20th century music, leading to the synthesizer, midi interface and electronic music. Is music as significant as biology? If so we have another win for the musical sense.

Comments welcome. If there is no consensus that there is a primary topic, or if there is no consensus as to what it is, then I'd support assuming that there is no primary topic and in this case that means keeping the two-way DAB at the base name. But I think it's worth having a go at building consensus that the musical instrument is the primary topic. Andrewa (talk) 12:01, 24 May 2017 (UTC)

  • No primary topic. Let the result of Talk:Electric_organ_(biology)#Requested_move_9_May_2017 stand. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 12:36, 24 May 2017 (UTC)
    • That RM did not resolve the question of whether there is a PT, you were in fact the only participant in it to express that view. Several others expressed doubt, one said there is a clear primary topic but did not say what it is, one supported a DAB but did not say why, and the closer supported a DAB for practical reasons and foreshadowed this RM. Andrewa (talk) 20:36, 24 May 2017 (UTC)
      • I do definitely hold the view. Attempting to slot all things biological into "electric organ" and all things musical into "electronic organ" is flawed. The technical distinction between electric and electronic is too technical, and even if accepted, there is still cross-over both ways, at least one kind of musical organ is electric but not electronic, and at least one artificial biological organ is electronic. Looking forward, it only gets worse. New music organs are no long electronic, but "digital", and artificial biological "electronic organs" are increasingly coming. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 21:44, 24 May 2017 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Agree with some of this, but... some of it is a bit strange...

Attempting to slot all things biological into "electric organ" and all things musical into "electronic organ" is flawed. Agree

The technical distinction between electric and electronic is too technical Rubbish. Too technical for what? Yes, it's tricky, but we have clear naming conventions that work well when they are followed, and here is no exception.

Too technical for the readership. Using this fine distinction will confuse many readers. Better to parenthetically disambiguate with "(music)" or "(anatomy)", consistent with the disambigiation of Organ (music) from Organ (anatomy). For both, the electrical kinds are subtopics, and generally speaking a subtopic should maintain consistency in titling with the parent topic, for the sake of the readership. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 00:41, 25 May 2017 (UTC)
The consistency with organ {music) and organ (anatomy) is a valid argument, but it would be far stronger if our article was at organ (biology), that's currently a redirect... should we fix that? I think not, that sort of consistency is not a terribly strong argument. But more important, it's not the argument I was criticising at all. We do sometimes need to be aware of technical subtleties in our article titling. To ignore them or get them just plain wrong (as for example implying that the Sydney Town Hall pipe organ is an electric organ) is far more confusing. Andrewa (talk) 12:13, 25 May 2017 (UTC)

and even if accepted, there is still cross-over both ways Agree

at least one kind of musical organ is electric but not electronic Agree

and at least one artificial biological organ is electronic Agree

Looking forward, it only gets worse. Agree. Important to get it right.

New music organs are no long electronic, but "digital" Rubbish. All digital organs (musical and otherwise) so far and foreseeably are electronic (but I could design and build you one using only fluidics and maybe someone already has). Non-digital electronic organs are important historically, so we need to cover them. I think you mean we could cover the musical topic with two articles, one on electric organs and the other specifically on digital organs, and have no article on the topic of electronic organs but just cover the topic in those two. I don't think that helps.

Rephrasing with new characters underlined: New music organs are no longer commonly described and advertised as electronic, but "digital"
Agree. Actually they were never widely advertised as electronic in this country. They went straight from electric to digital in sales literature. Andrewa (talk) 03:07, 25 May 2017 (UTC)

and artificial biological "electronic organs" are increasingly coming Agree

But I really don't see where this is heading. Arguments on PT generally revolve around common use and/or cultural significance. Are you suggesting that in medicine, artificial electric organs and/or artificial electronic organs are relevant to this discussion? What about wp:ball? Andrewa (talk) 23:42, 24 May 2017 (UTC)

Two interspersed comments added above in blue. Where this is heading? You are taking this backwards and forwards. The question is whether to disambiguate organs with "(music)" and "(anatomy)", or to attempt natural disambiguation using the difference between "electric" and "electronic". In the middle of this, you have posed a new question on whether electric organs (music) have PrimaryTopic status over biological electric organs. By doing this, you risk obfuscating the question. I disagree with your position on primary topic, and think that if you want to pursue it, do so AFTER the close of this "Electronic organ" → "Electric organ (music)" question. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 00:41, 25 May 2017 (UTC)
Please, stick to the issues rather than making personal comments.
No, the choice is nothing like that. There are two unrelated issues. It would be better surely to sort both out now rather than need a second RM?
This subsection (which I started) is on the question of primary topic. There is another section above #What is the difference between "electric" and "electronic"? which I did not start that deals with that issue. And we seem to me to agree on it, whether or not it is too technical, but take that up in that section please.
I strongly suggest we keep the focus of these sections, to best avoid taking this backwards and forwards. Andrewa (talk) 17:49, 25 May 2017 (UTC)
How about your try explicitly scoring options? For me, it would be:
--SmokeyJoe (talk) 10:23, 26 May 2017 (UTC)
That again confuses the two issues, but if you think it helps I'll have a go at #Explicitly scoring options. Andrewa (talk) 14:50, 27 May 2017 (UTC)

I just noticed that electronic instrument currently is a primary redirect to electronic musical instrument and has been since January 2003, despite there being many non-musical electronic instruments, see electronic instrumentation. That again underlines the long-term significance of the topic areas of electric and electronic musical instruments. Andrewa (talk) 08:48, 29 May 2017 (UTC)

Explicitly scoring options[edit]

As suggested above.

  • Electronic organ (status quo) 4.5/10. Not absurd, but ambiguous with Electric organ.
    • Not ambiguous with "electric organ" at all, that just confuses the issues. Fails to cover the scope of the article, which includes tone-wheel organs for example. 1/10 as it's not completely absurd.
      • Ambiguous with the biological electrical organ, the primary topic for some people. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 12:52, 28 May 2017 (UTC)
        • If we were to allow that argument, we could retire the (disambiguation) suffix. Every DAB would be at its base name, as every line in it is likely to be the primary topic for some people. Andrewa (talk) 11:34, 29 May 2017 (UTC)
          • Not really. The assumption is that a large number of people aware aware of the biological electric organs, and not aware of musical electric organs. Maybe I am not completely convinced of this. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 13:30, 29 May 2017 (UTC)
            • That's not at all what I understood the primary topic for some people to mean. It seems you mean the primary topic for many people. And again I ask, evidence? The first statement was trivial, the revised one is a lot stronger. But there's another problem... PT is one of Wikipedia's most important technical terms. We evaluate PT according to our own criteria. We very much consider other people's usage in doing this, but the PT criteria themselves are decided and interpreted by the Wikipedia community. Andrewa (talk) 20:04, 29 May 2017 (UTC)
              • Andrewa. No no no. I have written some things poorly, and you have misconstrued them worse, and attempting to get back on track from here looks hopeless. Can we just agree to move this page to Electric organ (music), wrap this whole mess up, and then start a fresh RM on the question of Electric organ (music)Electric organ, and start again on the question of PrimaryTopic of "Electric organ". Do a proper, logical PT review based on the guideline. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 23:30, 29 May 2017 (UTC)
                • Agree that is now the best way forward. !vote will be updated accordingly. Andrewa (talk) 23:42, 29 May 2017 (UTC)
  • Electric organ (music) 8/10. Consistent with Organ (music).
    • 9/10. Unnecessary disambiguation. The musical use is the PT by both normal criteria. But not a big issue.
  • Electric organ 3/10. Highly ambiguous with biological electric organs.
    • 10/10. The ambiguity is perfectly resolved by disambiguating the esoteric use of the term, as per our normal practice and guidelines. There is no reason to deviate from them.

Does that help? It seems rather subjective to me. Andrewa (talk) 14:50, 27 May 2017 (UTC)

  • I think it helps. It tells me we are just wasting time talking about what is wrong with the status quo, in the end we neither support the status quo. The disagreement is about electric organ. That question is out of scope for this RM. This RM should be closed (somehow), and later you can start a RM at Talk:Electric organ. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 23:03, 27 May 2017 (UTC)
    • I think there is consensus to move, and we are working towards consensus on the destination. That seems a good reason to relist rather than close the RM to me. Not to you? Andrewa (talk) 00:00, 28 May 2017 (UTC)
      • Relisting is weird and useless. When participants start relisting, it resembles a WP:GAME. This is the wrong location, with inadequate notifications, to displace Electric organ, and I will oppose for reasons already stated. I support the proposal as stated, and on it your position is unclear. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 01:38, 28 May 2017 (UTC)
        • What exactly is unclear about my position?

Your non-answer to Primefac (talk) 02:30, 20 May 2017 (UTC). --SmokeyJoe (talk) 12:34, 28 May 2017 (UTC)

What a mess your mixed indents make!
Primefac, do you know what the problem is here? I am keen to answer clearly. Andrewa (talk) 19:46, 28 May 2017 (UTC)
Andrewa, I honestly have no idea what's going on in this discussion between you two. I stopped paying attention once the discussion hit its third subsection. Primefac (talk) 19:58, 28 May 2017 (UTC)
Fair enough, and thanks for the reply. SmokeyJoe, can you be specific on the important question for which I have given a non-answer that makes my position unclear? Andrewa (talk) 20:50, 28 May 2017 (UTC)
        • If you wish to raise a behavioural issue please do so on my talk page. Andrewa (talk) 12:16, 28 May 2017 (UTC)
          • It's nothing "behavioural" as such, but extensive comment on tangential questions, without addressing the central question. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 12:34, 28 May 2017 (UTC)
            • Fascinating... And that is not a behavioural issue? And you linked to WP:gaming the system above... Why? Andrewa (talk) 19:46, 28 May 2017 (UTC)
              • Because participants relisting looks like gaming, not because I seriously think you are intentionally gaming. I actually think you mistakenly believe that relisting attracts wider attention. If you want wider attention, I suggest inviting the list of authors of the article, from top down. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 03:40, 29 May 2017 (UTC)
                • Support inviting authors from that list. (Suggest also relisting (;-> to give them a chance - pointless otherwise.) Suggest that we restrict to signed-in editors with more than 1 non-minor edit, and exclude bots, but not all that important. Any other appropriate filters you'd suggest? Just need to avoid canvassing of course, that's why I seek comments here rather than just doing it. Andrewa (talk) 09:24, 29 May 2017 (UTC)
                  • We might want to simplify the question before they arrive cold to find all this? --SmokeyJoe (talk) 09:43, 29 May 2017 (UTC)
        • I didn't think that a notification at the recently created two-way DAB currently at electric organ was really necessary, but technically you are right, it should be there and is now. Another reason to relist, surely? It may save some time later on, and costs very little. Andrewa (talk) 12:30, 28 May 2017 (UTC)

Where we are[edit]

Assessing consensus is of course for the closer (or relister). But here is why I think discussion should continue, and along which lines. Andrewa (talk) 19:46, 28 May 2017 (UTC)


A move is required.

There is no need to disambiguate electronic organ, as non-musical electronic organs are rare and largely speculative. The musical use is the primary topic, in fact trivially so, as there are no other articles that could be titled electronic organ.

The term electric organ includes some musical instruments that are not electronic organs, but does not include all pipe organs that are electrically assisted, any more than the term electric chair includes electrically operated massage chairs.

Any dissent from these? Andrewa (talk) 23:39, 28 May 2017 (UTC)

It now also seems agreed that the move should be to the base name electric organ, see #Analysis by another editor below. Andrewa (talk) 22:01, 31 May 2017 (UTC)

Not agreed[edit]

I believe that the musical use of electric organ is its primary topic. This is disputed.

It may be that this is now accepted, see #Analysis by another editor below. Andrewa (talk) 22:04, 31 May 2017 (UTC)

Are any others relevant?

I also think we badly need more input on this. The rambling and messy discussion above has (predictably) discouraged others from participating. Andrewa (talk) 01:11, 29 May 2017 (UTC)

Analysis by another editor[edit]

I've chosen to approach this from first principles, rather than to comment on the existing debate.

  1. I had never heard of an "electronic organ" before I came across this article. I had to read some of it to assure myself that it's about what for over 50 years I have called "electric organs". I found the title confusing.
  2. "A topic is primary for a term with respect to usage if it is highly likely—much more likely than any other topic, and more likely than all the other topics combined—to be the topic sought when a reader searches for that term" (from WP:PRIMARYTOPIC).
  3. I find it difficult to believe that anyone who knows the meaning of "electric organ" in biology does not also know its meaning in music. I find it easy to believe that many people who know the musical meaning do not know the biological one.
  4. Page views aren't everything, but the figures for the last 30 days are 4850 for music and 657 for biology.
  5. "If there are only two topics to which a given title might refer, and one is the primary topic, then a disambiguation page is not needed" (from WP:TWODABS).
  6. My opinion. The musical meaning is the primary topic, and this article should be moved to Electric organ. An {{about}} hatnote should be added linking it to the biological article. Narky Blert (talk) 10:35, 30 May 2017 (UTC)
I think Narky is right. The page views I was not sure about, they show near zero before recently, there might be a mistake. I think I can agree, the biological electric organ is the subject of scientists, and all of them know about music. When things are confusing, I sometimes resort to a google image search. The google image search for "electric organ" shows 80 musical organs before the first biology image. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 11:12, 30 May 2017 (UTC)
I agree about the biology/music question. But I don't agree about the "electronic" vs. "electric" - yes, it's reasonable that one might not know the difference of the two terms. But from a musicology/technical point of few calling a tonewheel organ (like the Hammond organ) an electronic organ is just simply wrong (I know that the term is used anyway). Isn’t a platform like wikipedia ment to educate people? So why not handle it like on the pages for Electric_piano and Electronic_piano (they even reference to each other with “Not to be confused with”). The problem at the moment is that this article handles the history of the electronic organ including its predecessor the electric organ. Because of that I can only suggest to leave the title electronic organ as long as there is no second article about electric organs in detail. --SwA (talk) 05:56, 31 May 2017 (UTC)
The impression I get is that musicologists (as represented by H-S) are completely out of touch with common usage on the matter of electric versus electronic instruments... and not for the first time, castenets are still described as concussive rather than percussive, and the term percussion appears nowhere above castanets in the classification tree, while the clarinet was until recently described as a percussive reed. It's not their fault, rather organology is a specialised field with its own jargon which is not terribly useful in describing the instruments used by Booker T etc. in article titles for a general encyclopeda. Nor are they even consistent... I keep coming back to the Fender Jaguar Bass, which is no more part of electronic music than is the Fender Precision Bass, yet H-S regards one as electronic and the other as electric. Common usage (as exemplified in our own article which describes the Jaguar as an electric bass guitar, my emphasis added) is even a lot more logical in this case! Andrewa (talk) 16:35, 31 May 2017 (UTC)
PS: There is a similar problem in the German article about the electronic/electric piano. The terms are also mixed. But in the top section there is a short sentence describing the technical meaning of the terms. Maybe directing both electronic and electric organ to this article and explaining the difference in the top section would be a solution? What do you think? (Sorry, I’m kind of opening a new topic here...) --SwA (talk) 06:03, 31 May 2017 (UTC)
This suggests to me that unless (or perhaps until) we have two articles, the title should be electric organ (the broader term) and electronic organ should redirect to a section of it. And the point has been made elsewhere, the term electronic organ was relatively shortlived in sales literature (if it appeared at all)... it went from being electric organ to digital organ (a still narrower term). Andrewa (talk) 16:20, 31 May 2017 (UTC)
Alternative proposal revisited[edit]

Consensus is of course assessed by the closer, not by an involved party like me. But I think we could and should help them a bit.

Narky Blert's proposal (their 6 above) seems to me to have consensus support in the discussion section they started. However this is not at all reflected in the poll above.

SmokeyJoe, SwA, Primefac, bd2412, I think you should revisit your !votes. Andrewa (talk) 21:53, 31 May 2017 (UTC)

I'll support any route which ends in WP:CONSENSUS (preferably quickly), leaves as many people as possible happy, and makes life easy for the closer - and, most importantly of all, makes life easy for the readers. That said: (1) SwA makes a good point: "electronic organ" should perhaps be split out of "electric organ" as a sufficiently different topic. (2) @Andrewa: - Digital organ??? Pass me the smelling salts! Those have been around since C16 or earlier. Digital/pedal organs came later. (3) <senile cackle>From memory, an early term was "Hammond organ" or just "Hammond" (as on e.g. "Green Onions" (1962)). By 1965, it had been shortened to "organ" (The One in the Middle - "Manfred Mann plays the organ"). It may then have got expanded to "electric organ" to include things like the Moog (the article mentions an "organ-style keyboard")</senile cackle>.
A certain class of musicologist might try to prescribe "correct" names for instruments - but how many of them can stick a harp in their shirt pocket? If a reader comes across a technical term somewhere and wants to learn more, Wiki should make it as easy as possible for them to get to the right place. Narky Blert (talk) 22:57, 31 May 2017 (UTC)
Agree except digital organ is actually a likely search term and common name for a (relatively) recently developed class of instruments enjoying a great deal of current popularity. When I Google "digital organ" church choir I get 36,800 ghits, and all of the first few pages are relevant. And not sure the Moog was ever described as electric, I think it was always electronic, it is on the cover notes of my (vinyl!) copy of Switched-On Bach. But for the rest, exactly, and well put. The tone-wheel organ was indeed often just called the Hammond, as in Hammond for Dancing (hmmm, redlink, another of my vinyl archives see here for the cover and youtube). Andrewa (talk) 01:38, 1 June 2017 (UTC)
I think a link from digital organ to this article would also make sense as long as there is no separate article.. --SwA (talk) 05:39, 1 June 2017 (UTC)
I agree that digital organ is a plausible search term and should redirect somewhere useful (e.g. here). My Inner Pedant was only objecting to its coinage. If it's in current use, readers need to be able to find it. (The liner notes to Switched-On Bach II as well (yep, vinyl! and Wendy Carlos was still Walter when I bought my copy) say "electronic" and "synthesizer", not "electric", and don't mention organs.) Narky Blert (talk) 19:51, 1 June 2017 (UTC)
Which further supports the view that the Moog is an electronic instrument, but that it's not any kind of organ despite what our article currently says, so relevant to the wider discussion but not to this particular RM. Andrewa (talk) 03:19, 2 June 2017 (UTC)
Agree. Andrewa (talk) 03:19, 2 June 2017 (UTC)
  • My Opinion: (1) redirect all terms to this article and add terminology explanation: From a musicology/organology point of view the terms electric organ (electroacoustic, electromechanic) and electronic organ (analog, digital) point to specific features (sound generating mechanisms). Helping to systematically order and distinguish these instruments. For the common reader it may make no difference which term is used when they just want to find out something about these organs. So I think it’s a good idea to link all those (or some of them) to the already existing article, which summarizes/includes the history of all kinds of electro-organs (=my new term creation, haha). (2) maybe create two separate articles in the future for electric and electronic: If anybody finds time to create separate articles in the future it would be a valuable addition. But then it would be useful to link these two articles in the top section. (compare: Electronic_piano and Electric_piano) --SwA (talk) 05:59, 1 June 2017 (UTC)
    • Support both stages of this proposal. But I note it doesn't say what this article should be called.
      • Oh, sorry - about the title: I’m not sure about if “electronic” or “electric” organ is the most common or most known term. I think it’s best to use the more common. But then in the current state a title like “Electric and Electronic Organs” would suit it the best... --SwA (talk) 05:22, 2 June 2017 (UTC)
        • I would prefer to go with electric organ as the more general term. AFAIK there are no non-digital electric (or electronic) organs still in production, even the latest Hammond (brand) organs are digital. So in that sense, the others are obsolete; Collectors, enthusiasts and museums only. But the generic term is electric organ. The problem is, the web is clogged with sales jive from people who want to sell pipeless organs, digital organs, etc.. And the sales commissions on some of these instruments are a significant part of their cost, so there's lots of incentive to jive! Andrewa (talk) 09:31, 2 June 2017 (UTC)
    • We may as well look at the problematical article at electronic keyboard while we're at it... lots of good stuff there, well written but poorly sourced and rightly flagged with multiple issues since 2009. And there may be others, see Category:Electric and electronic keyboard instruments. Andrewa (talk) 03:19, 2 June 2017 (UTC)
      • Yes, interesting situation. Well we could open a discussion there about the subcategories... feel free to mention/tag me wherever you want to discuss. --SwA (talk) 05:22, 2 June 2017 (UTC)
        • Wikipedia:WikiProject Musical Instruments looks moderately active, and I notice they have demoted me from member to honoured guest, presumably for inactivity. Perhaps we could organise an electric and electronic instruments working bee. Andrewa (talk) 10:07, 2 June 2017 (UTC)
  • I still support the original proposal. I am much, but not entirely, weakened on opinion about the PrimaryTopic for "electric organ". Music appears much bigger, but within the biological literature, "electric organ" is never disambiguated from music, which leaves open a small concern of astonishment. I find myself wishing for more clarity on the music subjects of "electric organ" vs "electronic organ" vs "digital organ" vs keyboard synthesizers that can include organ music amongst everything else. I am definitely not as far into this as Andrewa or Swa. I grew up familiar with "pipe organs" vs "electric organs", as found, one or the other or both, in churches and halls. An "electronic organ" sounds like a reference to more modern synthesised music, and I understood to have transitioned sometime since the 1970s into "digital music". --SmokeyJoe (talk) 06:06, 1 June 2017 (UTC)
    • I rather like the phrasing of Narky Blert point 3 above: I find it difficult to believe that anyone who knows the meaning of "electric organ" in biology does not also know its meaning in music. I find it easy to believe that many people who know the musical meaning do not know the biological one. Perhaps this could even be a third primary topic criterion, I think we already apply it from time to time but I've never seen it as well expressed before. Of course it relates to usage, but it's a different and I think helpful way of looking at usage. Their point 4 regarding page views (of which I am not normally a fan) is relevant too IMO, 4850 for music and 657 for biology looks significant. Andrewa (talk) 03:40, 2 June 2017 (UTC)

Is usage changing[edit]

The latest analysis by Cuchullain makes me wonder whether part of the problem here is that usage is changing.

The tonewheel hammond was in its day certainly called an electric organ, and never an electronic organ. Similarly, the frequency divider organ was in its day always called electronic, it was also electric but the distinction between electric and electronic was universally understood and important both to the fans and to the salespeople of both instruments.

But today's Hammonds (capital to indicate brand) are electronic, and perhaps the distinction between electric and electronic is blurring in common use. (And the Hammond Organ Company would certainly now like it forgotten, in the interests of their current sales objectives!)

There is a grating inconsistency between this usage for keyboard instruments and that with regard to electric guitar, which I would argue is the most significant electric or electronic instrument so far (with the electric/electronic keyboard a close second). But English is not always logical, and it is not our quest here to reform it. Andrewa (talk) 20:14, 6 June 2017 (UTC)

The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page or in a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.


  1. ^ Hugh Davies. ‘Electronic Instruments’ and ‘Electrophones’. New Grove Dictionary of Musical Instruments ed. S. Sadie. London and New York: Macmillan 1984, i, pp.657-690, pp.694-695