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Mander Organs

ajsphead

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About ajsphead

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  1. Voice and gesture commands already exist and are in mass production as part of the "infotainment" system in a number of premium German cars. A trawl of the internet suggests that they are still not entirely successful. With voice commands unless the organist was wearing a microphone i suspect that the sound of the instrument might corrupt the vocal data reading. An innocent conversation happening behind you could also lead to some very interesting registration changes.
  2. Whilst there are a number of aspects to consider within the debate, not least of which is a perception of musicality which is undoubtedly subjective but also emotional, one small but I think key factor was almost brushed over above. The comment about the Oxford college being unaware of it's use of an unequal temperament. When pinned down to absolute precision, equal temperament is a mathematical exercise, sometimes reached by accident when tuning but very regularly approximated to and identified as such, actually erroneously so. All temperaments are like this to some extent and by existence in the real world and the influencing factors found within it, are only as reliable in many instances for the duration in which they have been laid, and in some instances not even that long. Perhaps the debate leaves S_L cold because it is largely theoretical and at least with organs lacking in constancy. This in no way contradicts the amazing way in which some music comes alive when played on a period instrument with a period type temperament, and indeed the way some instruments themselves come alive when tuned as such.
  3. Not all congregations are as unaware as we might think. I recently transported my 1 rank 85 note continuo organ to our local catholic church which has never had an organ. It's a small building perhaps seating 120. There have been numerous electronic organ simulations there over the years but each person that spoke to me commented how different a real organ sounded and how much they preferred it, including one Polish lady, a trained pianist who believed she had an almost pathological hatred of the organ. She admitted that she would now have to re-appraise her position.
  4. Seeing this reminds me whether St Paul's is the only organ with an en chamade 32' reed on the pedals.
  5. Indeed. Having had the pleasure of playing and maintaining a couple of Comptons over the years, they are very cleverly and solidly manufactured. We should remember that in some of Compton's advertising literature the firm were proud to announce that Comptons were not cheap organs. The skill of those men has I think been tarnished by poor practitioners using the same principle but without an ounce of the ability. As a by the by, I recall reading that some of Compton's reeds were voiced by Billy Jones, and I agree that there are very fine. Having heard many of their instruments, I am yet to find a duff HP reed even if some of the Tubas are a bit close toned for my own liking. Playing one introduced me to some of the most ravishing soft combinations I have ever used. One favourite was Dulciana 8 Std Flute 4 Nazard (ind) 2 2/3 and Tremulant.
  6. My congregation although small, like about 5 mins but don't mind a bit more. What matters to them more is whether they can enjoy or appreciate the music. Sadly much of what I want to play doesn't fall into that category like a larger scale JSB Praeludium played on beautifully clean 8 & 4 Principals which just doesn't cut it for them. A corresponding Fugue delivered in the late 19th / early C20th style however goes down really well and coffee cups are always put down to give me a short show of appreciation. The congregation love their organ and are proud of it despite it not being very large or visually impressive and they want to hear it used.
  7. I believe that Compton's were chosen by the BBC for the installation in broadcasting house because of the luminous light touch stop controls. They create no noise when operated. I am struggling to understand the link between luminous stop heads and problems for partially sighted organists. Some help from partially sighted concert organists who have to familiarise themselves with a variety of instruments and would have a well established technique for doing so might be helpful. In short, it seems to me that if you can't see the stop heads then whether they are illuminated or not doesn't really matter. Therefore there must be another way that partially sighted organists manage the instrument.
  8. A single drawstop can draw whatever you want it to with electric stop action. With mechanical stop action, one drawstop can still be made to draw more than 1 slide. There are also many instances of the 2 main designated beating ranks being on adjacent slides and the effect working perfectly well. It does occasionally require a little more skill from the tuner.
  9. I think I have encoutered this and to English ears it doesn't sound very natural and is rather too fast to produce the type of effect we are used to. Again though, it depends on the tone of the string rank and the effect desired.
  10. Tuning undulants however is not always done mathematically - they are a stop solely for effect, not part of structured organ tone. The rate of beat should increase in the treble to maintain the shimmering effect, so they are tuned by ear. My preference is to set a beat at mid C slightly slower than an equal temp C-G interval so long as the ranks will take it. Most English Salicional/Dulciana type undulants I tend to find are too quick in the middle registers, however more biting strings can benefit from a quicker speed. It really is all done by ear.
  11. The little brother to Downside, apparently the church authorities visited Downside as part of their decision making process for a rebuilt organ. All Saints also has a straight Swell and a straight "solo".
  12. You shouldn't ever see any good organ builder blowing directly into any pipe tip particularly not with old pipes. You place your hand around the tip and blow into that. Well he would say that!
  13. Correct, to a point. As our hosts know only too well, the Bristol action, particularly the divisions using drum purse exhausters is very changeable. It can be made to repeat as quickly as any electric job at a given time on a given day preferably without an r in the month but with no guarantees for the next day. It could be made to work better and kept as t/pn but not without substantial redesign and hence is of questionable value and utility outside that of a museum piece. The additional maracas voice controlled directly from the Swell keys not relyant on a drawstop is also at best distracting unless Latin or Caribbean music is being performed.
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