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Specification Enhancement

Suggestions & Cost?

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#1 Tosher

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Posted 19 August 2015 - 06:45 PM

Dear all,

 

I wonder if those of you on the forum can assist me with some enquiries, based on the wealth of knowledge, experience or both that I know exists here.

 

Firstly, I regularly play an instrument in an average sized parish church, with a relatively dry acoustic, with the below specification. It has Hill origins of 1859 but is now more recognisably Compton of 1948.

 

Department and Stop list

Pedal

1 Bourdon 16 D             

2 Dulciana 16 A             

3 Flute 8 D             

4 Dulciana 8 A             

5 Dulcet 4 A             

6 Trombone 16 C             

7 Clarion 4 C, pitch as on survey form  

 

Great

8 Double Diapason 16 A             

9 Open Diapason I 8               

10 Open Diapason II 8 bass from A             

11 Gemshorn 8 A             

12 Claribel 8               

13 Octave 4               

14 Flute 4 TC             

15 Twelfth 2 2/3 B             

16 Fifteenth 2               

17 Larigot 1 1/3 B             

18 Trumpet 8 C  

 

Swell

19 Open Diapason 8               

20 Rohr Flute 8               

21 Muted Viola 8               

22 Viole Celeste 8 TC             

23 Principal 4               

24 Fifteenth 2               

25 Mixture II             

26 Trombone 16 C             

27 Trumpet 8 C             

28 Clarion 4 C

 

Console

Console type  detached   Stop type  stopkey  


Couplers

Swell to Pedal

Swell to Great

Swell octave

Swell suboctave

Great to Pedal

 

It is worth noting at this stage that at a previous time there was a 32' Sub Bass (polyphone), a Clarinet 8' on the Great and a Hautboy 8' on the Swell, up until the 1948 changes.

 

It is now being proposed that the following amendments will benefit the tonal palette, colour, dynamics and versatility of the instrument:

  • Addition of an 8' Oboe to the Swell, in order that a softer reed sound is available again after many years of being missed by successive Organists which should be useful for hymns, choir items and repertoire where at present the only reed sound is the rather larger Trumpet.
  • Changing of the 1 1/3 Larigot on the Great to a 3-rank Mixture, in order to better provide upperwork for congregational singing which helps in accompanying without having to resort to the largest diapasons/reeds constantly (we get some very large congregations and big events at this church).
  • Using the stop/slider occupied by the Dulcet 4' on the Pedal to set up a harmonic 32' Sub Bass once again, perhaps derived from one or both of the Pedal 16' flues.

 

Could I ask for advise on the following questions?

  1. What sort of cost might one expect to be associated with work like this, in particular the new rank?
  2. How easy is it to set up a 32' harmonic pedal flue?
  3. What permissions/process needs to be followed? Presumably we need to speak with the Diocesan Organ Advisor and would this work require the obtaining of a faculty to proceed? My intention was firstly, having floated the matter at a Standing Committee meeting and being met with unanimous approval there, to get some idea of the costs and feasibility to present to the PCC in September in order to get permission to put the wheels in to motion providing that the whole project is feasible.

 

All advise, specification comments and suggestions, and experiences would be welcome. This is potentially a good opportunity for the church and instrument that this matter concerns and financially we are in a fortunate place to be able to even consider it.

 

All the best,

 

AT



#2 David Drinkell

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Posted 20 August 2015 - 01:13 PM

It looks as thought you have, basically, a straight Hill Swell with added Trumpet unit (perhaps taking space formerly occupied by a 16. bourdon) and Great to Fifteenth with a few embellishments from units. 

 

Use of the term "Muted Viola" suggests a date earlier than 1948 for the original Comptonification.   If the original Clarinet and Hautboy were real ranks, and not derivations from flue stops (as they sometimes were in early Comptons), you would have to take something out in order to replace them.

 

Unless you already have empty slides, it would probably be prohibitively expensive to add extra ranks, especially in the Swell, where you would not only have to add new soundboards but probably also enlarge the swell-box.

 

Your best bet, IMHO, is to try for a straight Mixture on the Great, even if it means a new soundboard for itself.  Mixtures are often (not always) the weakest parts in extension schemes, although Philip Prosser produced a good one at Comber Parish Church, Co. Down, using a straight twelfth and a unit gemshorn.

 

You probably need an OK from the diocese.  If you can afford it, engage an accredited professional adviser.  Paul Hale has experience with the use of extension in small organs.



#3 Colin Harvey

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Posted 20 August 2015 - 02:13 PM

Generally agree with David Drinkell.

 

What's possible will very much depend on the available space on the soundboards. The return of an Hautboy/Oboe would be very sensible on the Swell (if there's space). Reed stops tend to be expensive but definitely worth it. You might be able to source a vintage Hill rank which might sit better if it's still pretty much a Hill Swell organ.

 

Agree about the Great mixture - if there's space. Again, if the Great is Hill, it would make sense to add a Hill style stop - a replica or a very close copy. I hope the days of sticking a modern IV rank mixture to standard scale on top of an 1859 Hill chorus are long gone!!

It would be nice to re-instate the Great Clarionet too...

 

When you say "It is now being proposed that the following amendments will benefit..." who is proposing it?

 

The pedal Dulcet 4 probably takes up little space in the organ - just 12 pipes little pipes starting at about 1 1/2 feet if it's an extension. 32fts take a lot more space... A Polyphone is a Compton invention - if it arrived, it would have arrived with the Compton work. Hill never used them. To be honest a 32ft is of questionable value on a 2 manual parish organ (as is a Pedal Dulcet 4ft on any organ) - they're frequently more a vanity stop. Especially in this case where there's no sizeable 16 ft Open rank.

 

I would work on ensuring the 16 and 8 foot foundations have enough space to speak properly and are sensibly sited than trying to squeeze in a 32ft. Polyphones are extremely difficult things to work with and aren't always that reliable getting good notes. There are good examples about - but don't count on being able to recreate it today.

I went from a pedal organ of 32.16.16.8.8.4.4.16 derived from a right hotchpotch to a carefully designed and well sited 16.8.16 for 10 years and I never missed the extra stops... If you're clever you can do lots of 32 effects with a good manual double (flue) and a 16ft pedal.

 

Just wanted to check - are the Great Trumpet, Pedal Trombone and Swell reed rank one and the same? is it enclosed?

 

In terms of approach, yes, go to your standing committee and get their approval. The next stage would either be to get a consultant in to look at the organ (there's quite a few about - William McVicker is liked by many), then to select up to 3 organ builders to inspect and give an estimate for the work. Once you've selected your preferred bid (based on suitability of the scheme to the church, organ, liturgy, etc - and only finally cost), then you set your fundraising project - you'll have a clear target you need to achieve and a clear vision of what it is you're getting. Fundraising is so much easier if there's a clear vision and target to achieve, otherwise it feels like a never-ending struggle.

 

You'll need a faculty from the DAC. I would warm up your Diocesan organ advisor now about the idea and get his support. The formal faculty will need the quote from the organ builder as part of the submission. I've known work start on a 4 manual H&H without a faculty and it was only later when the oversight became apparent...

 

The key thing with any work is to ensure that the main mechanics of the organ - winding, frame, soundboards, actions, pipework, etc - are all kept maintained and remain with a viable long-term future.



#4 JGM

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Posted 20 August 2015 - 02:52 PM

If you use one or both of your existing 16' ranks for an harmonic 32' then it should just be a wiring job.  If using two ranks, it's usually better if the softer stop provides the quint so as to avoid a "boomy" sound as you get higher up the bottom octave.  Not quite sure what you mean by "stop/slider occupied by the Dulcet 4' on the pedal" - if you mean the control on the console then that shouldn't be a problem.  If you are referring to the inner workings of the organ then it would be rather more complicated!



#5 Colin Pykett

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Posted 21 August 2015 - 07:30 AM

I agree that it is important to consider retaining a consultant.  Those mentioned in previous posts are members of the AIOA (the Association of Independent Organ Advisers) whose website is at:

 

http://www.aioa.org.uk/index.htm

 

The Association itself might suggest which of its members would be best suited to your job, which is clearly a substantial one.  You also indicated that you are in a fortunate position regarding funding (if I understood what you said correctly), so perhaps you might decide this is one of your early priorities.

 

Also as mentioned previously, it is necessary to bring the local Diocesan Organs Adviser (DOA) on board at an early opportunity - assuming yours is an Anglican parish church.  I expect you are aware, however, that their job is not to advise you (even though some let their enthusiasm run away with them!) but to advise the Diocese.  This underlines the need for an independent consultant who will act for your church.  It's a bit like extending your house - you need to inform the local authority and get their approval, but their officers, however helpful, do not act for you.  Hence the need to retain your own architect.

 

Best wishes with the project.

 

CEP


"You can never know everything about something. But you can always know something about everything" - Amit Kumar

 

www.pykett.org.uk


#6 Phoneuma

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Posted 21 August 2015 - 01:23 PM

Would this be at All Saints in Mickleover by any chance, it looks like it in which case I played it last year for a funeral, I was very impressed with it indeed, a powerful instrument indeed!

#7 pcnd5584

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Posted 21 August 2015 - 04:01 PM

...What's possible will very much depend on the available space on the soundboards. The return of an Hautboy/Oboe would be very sensible on the Swell (if there's space). Reed stops tend to be expensive but definitely worth it. You might be able to source a vintage Hill rank which might sit better if it's still pretty much a Hill Swell organ.

 

Agree about the Great mixture - if there's space. Again, if the Great is Hill, it would make sense to add a Hill style stop - a replica or a very close copy. I hope the days of sticking a modern IV rank mixture to standard scale on top of an 1859 Hill chorus are long gone!!

It would be nice to re-instate the Great Clarionet too...

 

The pedal Dulcet 4 probably takes up little space in the organ - just 12 pipes little pipes starting at about 1 1/2 feet if it's an extension. 32fts take a lot more space... A Polyphone is a Compton invention - if it arrived, it would have arrived with the Compton work. Hill never used them. To be honest a 32ft is of questionable value on a 2 manual parish organ (as is a Pedal Dulcet 4ft on any organ) - they're frequently more a vanity stop. Especially in this case where there's no sizeable 16 ft Open rank. ...

 

 

Re-instating an Oboe or Hautboy is indeed a very good idea - this stop, if well voiced, is one of the most useful registers in a Swell Organ.

 

Again, a separate G.O. Mixture will be useful, although care should be taken when planning the breaks and the scale will of course need to take into account the size and acoustic ambiance of the building. It also depends on what is meant by a Hill-style stop. He did occasionally place a IV-rank Mixture (19-22-26-29)* at the top of his G.O. choruses, although there are also examples of three-rank mixtures, which commence at 17-19-22 (but with the tierce rank dropping out around C13, or G20 or so), and the rest of the mixture being composed of quints and unisons. Clearly in a scheme of this size, splitting the compound stop as III (15-19-22) and II (26-29) - as was also done occasionally - would be unnecessary. Remember that the Larigot is extended from the twelfth, so whilst one could re-engrave the stop-key, the pipes would require a new chest. Depending on the composition and effect of the Swell compound stop, a G.O. Mixture could usefully start at 15-19-22 - or perhaps even 22-26-29. I dislike a 19-22-26 composition, partly because of the uncovered quint rank.

 

I can see no harm in the Pedal Dulcet remaining - it depends on how it is voiced. If it is a little stronger than its name might otherwise suggest, it could be helpful in providing clarity and a little brightness to the Pedal Organ. It could also be more useful than the usual, anaemic 4ft. flue extension of the Bourdon rank. I would not bother with the 32ft. Harmonic Bass. Perhaps the best compromise (without having a Polyphone made - Nicholson's have done one or two), is to have the Pedal Bourdon connected at 16ft pitch to the middle C of the Pedal-board, with the bottom octave quinted on itself. However, depending on the acoustic properties of the church, this may not be worth the fuss.

With regard to the Pedal 16ft. reed (which is borrowed from the Swell reed unit); I wonder what the scaling of this is like. This can be an difficult thing to get right - in fact, a good compromise is probably a better way of expressing it. It has probably been scaled with a view to providing the most appropriate scale (and voicing) for the 8ft. pitch - which probably means that the 16ft. and 4ft. pitches are compromised with regard to their scaling, and the bass is likely to be smaller in scale than is desirable for a Pedal reed. It would be helpful to have some description of the aural effect of this rank (including the relative volume to the rest of the Swell chorus).

 

David and Colin both suggest retaining the services of a good consultant - which is sensible (although there have been a few occasions when the end result would have been better without the services of the person engaged; a few instances spring to mind which, for obvious reasons, I shall not detail here). However, generally, this is likely to be beneficial. Again, William McVicker is extremely knowledgeable and experienced.

 

Other than this, for an extension scheme, what you already have is quite sensible.

 

It would also be worth getting prospective organ builders to check that the blower and wind system will be adequate for any planned additions. It would also be advisable to ascertain the wind pressures for each rank/chest before beginning work. (This was overlooked at a church in this locality a few years ago - with unfortunate results.)

 

 

 

* Although Lichfield Cathedral (a rather larger instrument, it is true) has 15-19-22-26 as the starting composition of the G.O. IV-rank Mixture.


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