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Palestrina

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  1. I am doing some research at the moment for a thesis. An article I read in a local newspaper (outside the UK!) refers to a violin maker who ordered wood from Hill and Son for an instrument he was making. I assumed that the article was referring to Hill and Son the organbuilders. Organ builders, after all, are known for stocking large quantites of seasoned wood. Does anyone know of any other Hill and Son companies operating in London? I guess what would be ideal would be to find out what woods Hill and Son stocked around 1923, and which of these would have been suitable for violin making. Does anyone have access to records which could shed some light on this? I tried BIOS but to be honest, I don't really know what I'm doing. Are the order books of Hill and Son from this period archived anywhere? Why all this fuss? I'm trying to locate the violin and the type of wood used may help to identify it, in absence of a maker's mark.
  2. If I was to have a house organ, it would be used primarily as a practise instrument, as a practise instrument my FIRST requirement would be the ability to practise Bach's Trio Sonatas. To some extent, I consider the ability to play these on an instrument a test of its versatility: if all three voices of the textures of Bach's trio sonatas can be heard, then there is hope for much other repertoire too. For me, it's all about clarity. A 4' stop comes in handy on my proposed organ for solo lines. I don't even have a proposed specification. All that I require is two manuals and pedal. All three divisions to have a contrasting (and clear) flute stop, and one of the manual divisions to also have a 4' flute stop, so that this can be added to the 8' stop to provide a solo line. To make things more versatile, I would opt for the Italian stop lever system, whereby the stops were selectable on either manual. This is particularly useful where the solo line is designed with the higher or lower manual in mind (e.g. some solo lines are obviously written with "thumbing" up or down in mind, so I would like the organ to be versatile enough to play music with these sorts of possibilities in mind). Either manual (or both) should be able to be coupled to the pedal, thus making that 4' stop available there, which is useful for some music.
  3. Funny you should mention pedalling, because that is where I had some difficulties applying the technique this afternoon! Has anybody overcome these difficulties? Are there other aspects of the Alexander Technique that organists can still use?
  4. Has anybody on this forum been taught the Alexander Technique and applied it to playing the organ? I'd be most grateful for any advice...
  5. The other question that arises in my mind is this: We have the possibility of registering a Cornet on the Choir. What do we balance it against, if we intend to use it for a solo line? The Celeste would be a little weak, and the Great Open Diapason would probably be too strong. Of course, one could argue that one shouldn't be using the Cornet in this manner, given the availability of the Trumpet on the Swell, which could be accompanied on the Choir with the Flutes...
  6. I don't know about the Mixture on the Swell. A Mixture is supposed to crown a principal chorus. I'm wondering how successful such a stop would sound on top of a Celeste.
  7. This topic is becoming even more interesting now that more schemes are being proposed. For those of you who have added more schemes recently, could you tell me what sort of combinations you envision from the stops that you've specified? ie. What sort of pieces do you envision that an organist would be able to play on the instruments that you've designed, and how? I forgot to mention that my own scheme is to be voiced in the Dutch Classical style. So in reply to pcnd5584, if you would prefer a reed other than the Krummhorn, it would have to be something that was being used by Dutch builders of the Classical period.
  8. I think that a nice balance between divisions is essential. While I agree that it is not the first role of an instrument in a church of moderate size to be able to do these things, I think that it would be useful for it to have this capability nonetheless, especially since this would probably not compromise the organ's usefulness in a hymn-playing (etc) context. I've been thinking a little more about my own scheme, especially in light of Pierre's comments. Refinement in voicing is essential. It goes hand-in-hand with scaling, and can make or break an organ. I'd like to explain my now-revised scheme in terms of voicing, so that people can see how it is supposed to work... Hauptwerk: Rohrflute 8' - This stop should be quite bright, voiced to sound as if it has a 4' stop speaking with it. It should balance against the Oberwerk 8' and 4' flutes when used together. Octav 4' - Quite bright and clear, with a definite chiff. Octav 2' - Much the same as the 4' Octav, perhaps even a little bright. Mixture IV - My knowledge of mixture compostions is quite limited, so this is what this mixture is supposed to do: Compensate for the lack of an 8' Diapason by lending a little more clarity to the lower octaves, and cap the chorus with a certain brightness without being shrill. Oberwerk: Viola da Gamba 8' - A "thick" string stop, which, when drawn with the Gedackt 8', should be usable as Principal of sorts. Gedackt 8' - A contrast to the Hauptwerk flute (quite "dull" in sound). To be used for accompanying chant and soloists in a soft and unobtrusive manner. Rohrflute 4' - Adds brightness and definition to the Gedackt to balance against the Hauptwerk Rohrflute. Gemshorn 2' - Caps the chorus on this manual well, without being overly bright. Capable of being used with the Gedackt 8' only for a different tone colour against the Rohrflute on the Hauptwerk. Krummhorn 8' - Useable as either a solo reed or a chorus reed. The other two 8' stops on this manual should be designed to work with the reed, so as to create subtle changes in the tone colour. Pedalwerk: Subbass 16' - Clear, without sound overly principal-like. The Pedalwerk is a little undernourished, I know, and could clearly benefit from an extension of the 16' rank to 8'. So after all this, what are the possibilites? Solo-Accompaniment: Hauptwerk - Use the 4' Octav as a solo stop, against the Oberwerk 8' Gedackt. There are more possibilites for the solo line on the Oberwerk, which are easy to spot by looking at the specification. Both manuals have their own choruses, so these could be used against one another, in pieces like Menuet Gothique. The Krummhorn can be accompanied on the Hauptwerk using the 8' Rohrflute. The Viola da Gamba is handy for incidental music in a liturgical context. I can also imagine using it for the first part of Vierne's lovely little Berceuse before moving to the Rohrflute on the Hauptwerk. There are more possibilites - I've just mentioned a few to let you know what I expect this organ to be able to do.
  9. Perhaps we're looking at this problem the wrong way. Rather than giving a specification and justifying it, why don't we start by looking at what we would like the organ to "do", and then designing a specification that meets these needs in the best possible way? I would suggest that small organ in a church should be able to "do" the following: 1. Lead hymn singing in a convincing manner, and provide some variety in timbres to maintain interest. 2. Accompany solo singing, especially chant and suchlike. 3. Be balanced between divisions, enabling the organist to play trios convincingly. 4. Have a well developed chorus for Bach chorales etc. I also think that the potential of the instrument to be used for teaching purposes should not be overlooked. If anybody has any other ideas about what this organ should be able to be used for, please mention them! I think that it is probably better to have an organ that follows one particular national style and voicing than to have something more eclectic. That said, I think that it should be possible to play music from a variety of different periods on the instrument in a "musically convincing" manner (as opposed to an "authentic" manner).
  10. I think that this topic is fascinating, and particularly relevant in today's context, where there are many churches that cannot afford large instruments. My suggested specification: Hauptwerk: Praestant 8' Rohrflote 8' Octav 4' Octav 2' Mixtur IV Oberwerk (expressive): Viola Da Gamba 8' Gedackt 8' Rohrflute 4' Krummhorn 8' Pedalwerk: Subbass 16' If a little extension was permissible, I would extend to an 8' on the pedal.
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