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  1. Greetings, I have a silly question. On several occasions when talking with those across the pond from the USA, I have experienced several individuals from that category using pronunciations of the letter I that were not expected by my American ears. A great example of this would be the 1989 television production of Agatha Christie's A Caribbean Mystery (Miss Marple of course) in which Major Palgrave says the words "Albino Tiger"; pronouncing the word "Albeeno". What rule governs the use of this particular puzzling phonetic? - Nathan, E.B.B. (English by blood)
  2. Good morning/afternoon/evening wherever we all are... When this thread re-activated I thought or a moment that it was a new one. I am however reassured that I was at least about to give the precise answer that I gave in 2009! By way of adding to the previous answer, the finest Tuba stop to have met my ears resides in the Skinner organ installed in the Peristyle at the Toledo Museum of Art, Ohio. Not only does this particular stop have a magnificent presence and pleasing vowel sound, but the voicing is absolutely bang on with regard to the purity of the tone. With the Toledo Tuba, there is total lack of extraneous noise so often attendant with such stops, which, while an attribute that is often found to be perversely enjoyable by any admirer of the pipe organ, still serve to distract attention away from the "musical" part of the show. This stop can be heard in all its glory on the JAV CD The Art of the Symphonic Organist, Volume 3, playing the Cook Fanfare as directed by the blessed fingers of Thomas Murray. Best, - Nathan
  3. I was a "sharpie" until arriving at West Point, which favors the flat celestes by design by carrying those down to 8' C - even though the availability of both sharps and flats as stops is nearly equal. There is something hauntingly beautiful about a flat celeste with a very slow beat. The sharp celestes tend to be tuned a bit wider/faster than the flats there. For instance, the point of departure for the Viol division is +7 cents for the sharps, and -5 for the flats - the result is most beautiful. The Choir organ features a quartet of Unda Maris ranks, three of them tapered, which are double-flat, flat, sharp, and double-sharp respectively, and are used with the Keraulophone. The general rules of thumb that have come to me from my time at Thompson-Allen are: 1. Wider scales are set to beat slower, narrower ones faster. 2. All celestes are tuned (and tempered when convenient) to beat in ascending speed from bottom up. 3. Wider scales need to be placed further apart to beat properly, narrower ones are more forgiving. I think there is something to said for a nexus between celestes, tremulants, the vibrato of orchestral instruments and that of vocalists. I haven't explored the subject in sufficient detail to add much further than that thought, except to say that only moving to either positive or negative territory exclusively would seem to me unnatural in these other musical situations. My recollection is that Mr. Skinner favored sharps, although the double-sharp celestes in the Newberry were under his protest retained at the direction of the organist who served through all stages of development for that instrument, Harry Jepson. Still, Mr. Skinner gave a nod to the flats with the First Orchestral II, and First Muted II celestes in the String division, which have no unison rank but are Flat/Sharp. - Nathan
  4. Very true. My own opinion on organs of 10 ranks or less is largely in agreement with the full complement of couplers such as with the Casavant you have cited. However, I would be inclined to make the Great intra-manual couplers function as "radio buttons" so as to provide an octave transposer; which is to say one coupler at-a-time. There is a tendency around here for full registrations with every stop and coupler active (including celestes) that needs to be addressed! Best, - Nathan
  5. Good Evening. I have with great interest been following the various discussions here concerning small instruments. I believe that as the nature of the "average" American suburban and rural parish has changed from the organ-building "boom" era, these sorts of specifications should be considered again. Around the turn of the 20th century, nearly every first and second-tier builder in the US produced vast quantities of instruments with a specification identical to or closely adapted from the following: Great Organ 8' Open Diapason 8' Melodia 8' Dulciana Swell Organ 8' Stopped Diapason 8' Salicional 4' Harmonic Flute 8' Oboe (often of the flue-gamba variety) Pedal Organ 16' Bourdon For my part, I consider the above specification to be the ideal "core" specification for an American Church organ; at least a point of departure towards specializing the instrument to suit the liturgy and literature that it will be called to serve. We have always had lots of wood-and-plaster buildings with dead acoustics, and I believe the organ-builders of the previous century understood this. What has changed is that today, average attendance here for a suburban or rural parish is about 70 (120 is considered the practical cut-off for acquiring or sustaining any sort of pipe organ). I have always loved octopods, and I play one of 8 ranks every Sunday which is nearly all-duplexed save for the Great Diapason and Swell Trumpet. However, I also know that octopods are decidedly not popular in my particular corner of the country. My personal preference would be to preserve at least a minimal commitment to the above specification. However, I came up with the stoplist below as an olive branch. The primary stops are listed in bold whereas the derived stops are not; with their parent stop indicated in parenthesis: Great Organ 8' Open Diapason 8' Spire Flute 4' Octave 2' Flute (Spire Flute) Swell Organ 8' Viola 8' Unda Maris 8' Lieblich Gedeckt 4' Harmonic Flute 2 2/3' Twelfth (Unda Maris) 2' Fifteenth (Viola) Pedal Organ 16' SubBass 8' Bass Flute (SubBass) - Nathan
  6. By the way... The idea that music needs to be louder for our (post)modern ears also intrigues me, as it has been both explained and demonstrated to me many times that people in the pews detest loud organ music! - Nathan
  7. Interesting indeed. I would be very curious to hear such an instrument restored, regulated, and on-speech, and indeed played with the prevailing technique of the time. Otherwise, it would seem difficult to judge. This also seems to beg the question as to whether our predecessors were in rebellion 100 years ago, or were exhibiting a natural progress in a position closer to the source to where we now reach back. - Nathan
  8. Here in the US, the smallest available digital organ today from the most popular manufacturer is 23 stops. Just after the turn of the 20th century however, a spate of 7-stop pipe organs were sold with specifications either identical or very similar to this: Great Organ 8' Open Diapason 8' Melodia 8' Dulciana Swell Organ 8' Stopped Diapason 8' Salicional 4' Harmonic Flute Pedal Organ 16' Bourdon I don't know whether or not this is also the case in the UK, but I am curious to know what has changed about the literature, and perhaps more importantly the way it is listened to, that makes these small pipe organs viewed as inadequate to the task. Moreover, I should think that in the USA, congregational singing was much more robust 100 years ago than it is today. - Nathan
  9. Just remember the head of the ACCHOS isn't from America! (C: - Nathan
  10. Recently, quite by accident, I acquired what turns out to be the playing mechanism and several ranks of pipes from an early Hope-Jones instrument here in the U.S.A. I am of course curious to know more about the specification of the instrument and how to figure out where it came from. I'd also like to find out when Mr. Hope-Jones started developing his unit actions with relation to his having moved across the puddle; especially those that resemble the form that they ultimately took with Wurlitzer as these do. - Nathan
  11. How does MDF or similar matierial fare with regard to the burnishing of the toe holes? Does it emit a foul odour/toxic fume? - Nathan
  12. As you may know, Girard College chapel is shaped rather like a stylized slice of pie. The entire chapel organ is located in a ceiling chamber, and speaks out through a tone opening of roughly the same shape as the building. The organ is spaciously huddled around all sides of the opening and so everything gets an equal opportunity to speak down into the chapel proper. The echo has it's own separate chamber "cube" about 40-50 feet away from the giant main organ "cube" - both made of cast blocks covered with Keene's cement on the inside. Originally, the Tuba Mirabilis at Girard was located on its own windchest parallel to the upper-range chest of the Pedal Bombarde right next to the tone opening. In addition to being revoiced to scream bloody murder, all sorts of hooks, loops, and braces were soldered to the rank, which in turn attached each pipe to the chest and attendant racking with springs and turn-buckles - so it could then be suspended upside-down over the tone opening. In an act of merciful compromise, the rank was later positioned horizontal at the opposite end of the opening from its original position; skimming perilously over the said opening. In addition to the unenclosed stop, there is also a 16-8-4 chorus of enclosed Solo tubas that were also significantly revoiced. At some point, the tuning scrolls of these Tubas were removed in favor of spring-loaded slides on the resonators. These slides have a tendency to fall down to the bottom of the pipe when disturbed, which I always felt looked like they had their pants down around their ankles. Highly appropriate. Best, Nathan
  13. The loudest Tuba that I can remember having encountered is the significantly-revoiced Tuba Mirabilis at Girard College, Philadelphia, PA, which can be heard in the first chord of the following video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dBoChtXOpAo...feature=related Aside from that, the large Tuba, sometimes known as "Big Louie" behind the reredos at St. Paul's, Akron, Ohio, is perhaps even more deafeningly loud. - Nate
  14. Greetings, I am wholly in agreement with the reasoning behind your thread MM, and later today, after I am finished working on the "sacrilegious" unit organ that I am installing for my Church, I will bring forth and post my philistine, overweight, cavalier, oil-loving, war-mongering American perspective on this issue. - Nathan "How can it be called a soundboard if it doesn't make any sound?"
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