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Mander Organ Builders Forum


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    1. Welcome to the Mander Organ Builders Forum


      Updated 27th August 2020

      F H Browne & Sons ltd is delighted to announce that it has acquired the trading name and intellectual property rights of Mander Organs Ltd. From 1st October 2020 F H Browne (Organ Builders) Ltd will revert to trading under the name Mander Organ Builders for all current and future contracts.
      Both companies are based in South East England, and three of the current FHB employees (including myself) are former employees of Mander Organs, so there are immediate synergies.

      We are delighted to have made this transition and look forward to working with our present and future customers both in the UK and Internationally.

      It is also confirmed that his forum will continue as it is now.

      Stephen Bayley
      Managing Director


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      If your registration is successful, you will receive an email to say an account has been created for you. Go to the top right of the forum page and click Sign In. At the bottom of the login box, click Forgot your Password. Enter your email email address and you will be emailed a link to change your password. Then you can login in normally using your Display Name and your new password.

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    2. General discussion

      Use this forum for general discussion topics not covered by the fora below.

    3. The Organ

      Use this forum for discussion about the organ including specific organs, specifications and related topics.

    4. Organ Music

      Use this forum for discussion about organ music and related music topics.

    5. Nuts and bolts

      Use this forum for technical topics such as scaling, organ design, acoustics and voicing.

    6. LATEST from Mander Organs

      News of updates to the web site and other announcements from Mander Organs.

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    • Why are consecutive (parallel) fifths deprecated so strongly in 'classical' harmony (i.e. that from the common practice era)?  One often-quoted reason is that they undermine voice independence, though I've never really understood that since it would also seem to apply to consecutive fourths (wouldn't it?) yet they are allowed. A better reason to my simple mind is that there might have been a desire for music not to sound at all like the continuous parallel modal organum of former times - music was making a big break at that time and when that happens, haven't composers usually striven to remove the more obvious vestiges of former custom and usage?  As part of this transition, other intervals had become playable on the new and expanded keyboards with their 12 notes to the chromatic octave instead of the 7 to the diatonic octave used for the former modal music.  Thirds were of particular interest because harmony depends on triads which are built from 3rds as well as 5ths. But the introduction of a 12 note scale brought with it the bugbear of temperament, which basically boils down to trying to fit too many pure intervals into the octave.  Hence the arrival of quarter-comma meantone with its many pure thirds but no pure fifths at all - a very different kettle of fish to the previous era of modal music which was stuffed full of pure fifths.  In quarter-comma all the 5ths (besides the unusable Wolf) are not well in tune (getting on for three times worse than in equal temperament).  So is it possible that these out-of-tune fifths were put in there deliberately so that they became more noticeable and possibly objectionable when played consecutively, unlike in the modal era when they were all pure?  At the same time the many now-pure 3rds in quarter-comma were exactly what was wanted by composers who were developing the harmony we know and love.  Is this also why consecutive 3rds are fine even in conservatoires today? The fact that all keys could not be used in meantone might not have been seen as a major problem at first, since the concept of 'key' as opposed to 'mode' was perhaps still a novelty which was a rich source of exploration.  Perhaps only when that limited novelty wore off and yet greater opportunities for modulation became of more interest did other, less extreme, temperaments become desirable so that all 24 keys could be explored. So to summarise: 1. The introduction of keyboards with 12 notes to the octave necessarily arose at around the same time as composers wanted to use more intervals than the old modes allowed.  So to explore 'key' rather than 'mode' they had to invent temperament to enable all the new intervals to fit into the octave. 2. One of the earliest temperaments was quarter-comma meantone, in which all fifths were noticeably out of tune (quite apart from the unusable Wolf fifth which we can ignore here). 3. These impure fifths might have been deemed subjectively unattractive, particularly when used consecutively in harmony, unlike in fifth-dominated modal music where all fifths were pure.  Maybe the impurity was deliberate intent. So was the unavoidable introduction of keyboard temperaments a factor in the way that the rules of harmony necessarily had to evolve?    
    • Thanks! Already drove a similiar route years ago (no organs visited). And I think I just stop by if I see a small church open, by no means this is an "organ excursion". But if I have the chance.... Besides that I think that the organ (and the players) has a hard time there, similiar to the french landside... Already on the road, Martin
    • No suggestions, Martin, but you pass some interesting places: Messina - Napoli - Roma - Firenze - Bologna - Verona (it is only 100km from Verona to Padua!!!) - Innschbruck  Have a  safe journey!!  
    • Very short term I have to drive this route with a car (ca. 2000 km) tomorrow and thursday and could take some time (not too much more km) to get to know a few interesting organs. Any hints? (Germany not necessary, as I'm very well informed, contributing regularly  to https://organindex.de) Perhaps the small and unknown ones are even better to be able to get access (make fotos, perhaps play a bit). Any hints, sites welcome Martin
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