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Mander Organs

pwhodges

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About pwhodges

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  • Birthday 02/08/1946

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    http://cassland.org
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    Oxford, UK
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    See http://ambisonic.info

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  1. Amazing - at the end of the video of the service in which the rebuilt organ was dedicated, they cut the closing voluntary off before the end! Paul
  2. There are two ways to evaluate mics - subjective and objective. Objectively, it is possible to measure mics and get a good idea of how they will sound and how accurate they are. However, this is not trivial, because for any directional mic the bass response changes with distance, and with any mic at all it changes with direction. (Thus the effect of reverberation might be to make a mic with perfect on-axis response sound bad, because it (the reverb) is coloured by the off-axis response.) It requires a lot of knowledge and experience to assess a microphone usefully that way. If insufficient data is available to perform a suitably wide-ranging analysis, then only subjective assessment is possible. And experience has taught me that the touchstone of "quality" for nearly everyone is not the actual sound heard in a room or hall, but an idealised distortion of this designed as an improvement over nature by recording companies. And, of course, subjective assessments are not properly transferable. A corollary of my statement above is seen when one overhears less experienced concert-goers complaining that the sound in the hall isn't like a record, and they can't hear the same detail. For my part, I use a $999 microphone whose designer (with forty years experience) claims has the flattest overall (i.e. averaged over all directions) response of any mic made. If you saw graphs of it, you would not be impressed, because they are not smoothed and sanitised like manufacturers' graphs. I place the microphone where I would like to listen, or as close as practicable. This approach is panned by some as "idealistic", as if ideals are a bad thing; but there are a number of well-reviewed commercial recordings which I've made that way. As for the D202, I remember using that at the BBC in the late 1960s - only for speech, though. Paul
  3. The last sentence I quoted makes a doctrinaire bias clear, I think. Paul
  4. He wrote: "A 32-foot extension of these [Bishop 16'] open wood pipes - although judged unsuitable by Father Willis a few years earlier - was also inserted in 1921; and since there was no room for these huge pipes anywhere near the organ, they were carted off into the North triforium of the choir, East of the crossing! Only the sensitively reverberant acoustics of this remarkable building created the illusion that their sound belonged to the distant organ at all!" And later: "The 32-foot Open Wood was unceremoniously thrown out for the irrelevancy it was." "...the fullness of the 16-foot giant-scaled wooden pedal pipes (renamed Flute 16-feet) completely compensating the lack of a 32-foot register." "...only a few deplored (for sentimental, nostalgic reasons) the destruction of the vague, disembodied blandness of the previous rebuild with its honking Tuba, large woolly Great Diapason and booming 32-feet..." Paul
  5. There comes a point as you age when you realise that you no longer even have time to learn or listen again to all the music and recordings that you've accumulated over a lifetime. But there's still the feeling that you might still want to access any part of your collection, even if only a small proportion gets picked in the end. It's tricky... Paul
  6. Today I received the DVD of these organs, which contains the (re-)inaugural concert linked earlier and an hour-long documentary on the restoration. The DVD is at the back of a 64-page hardcover book (in Portuguese and English) with articles on the history of the basilica and its organs, full specifications, concert details, and copious colour photos, the whole printed on good quality gloss paper. The audio on the DVD is in PCM, not a compressed format. I bought it from here. It was a curious experience. The web site is in Portuguese, so I had to get the browser to translate, and there appears to be no easy way to pay. But I persevered, and completed the order, selecting an unintelligible payment method (which was the alternative which was not COD). I got no email to confirm the order, but if I tried to order it again, I could see the earlier one. I heard nothing for over two months, and presumed the enterprise was a failure; but then I got an email (in Portuguese) apologising for the delay, and giving me the bank details to make a transfer, after which it would be shipped. And now I have it! Highly recommended if you have the stamina... I learnt from the book that the total number of pipes is 11,444 - so in toto substantially more than the UK's largest organs (c 10,000). Paul
  7. The technically minded may be interested to know that the great computer scientist Donald Knuth had an organ built to his design. There is also a YouTube clip of him and a colleague playing a duet on it: Paul
  8. The 74' limit was part of the original "Red Book" specification for CDs. However, it pretty quickly became a dead letter... When twenty years ago I was mastering a few CDs, the CD pressing plant told me that the established practical requirement was to limit the length of the disk to 79'50" - and disks approaching that have been commonplace since around the millenium. I had a couple in the 1990s which skipped at about 78', but this was considered to be down to poor manufacturing. In the last ten years I have seen several published CDs of over 80', the longest being nearly 84'. I have myself (using special blanks) made CD-Rs approaching 90', and only once ever encountered a player that couldn't handle them. Blanks are available for 99' CD-Rs, but some players reject anything over 90' because the addressing of tracks beyond that is more complicated and requires extra non-standard handling in the firmware. I would treat a player that didn't handle 80' disks as simply faulty. Paul
  9. The Grant, Degens and Bradbeer at New College, Oxford has glass swell shutters. Paul
  10. For me it's not so much that the key fits my hands as that the music fits the key. For instance, I find Schubert's Impromptu in Gb, Op90/3, very comfortable to play because the hands are floating over the top of the black keys so much of the time. and my fat fingers rarely risk getting stuck between them. Paul
  11. Colin - I actually experience a sharpening, in the cases that I notice it at all; I was reporting that others say they perceive a flattening. Sharpening seems to be the commoner experience, though - and as you say, it's hugely variable between people and circumstances. The proposed pysical explanation wasn't suggesting that the frequencies changed, but that new resonances are started by the energy absorbed by resonant material from the original. I am not convinced though, any more than you are - some psychoacoustic explanation is more likely. Paul
  12. I expect very few on this board to be aware of the theme being played here... It's the start of the opening theme of an anime (Japanese animated TV show) from 1996, which was highly influential in that field of entertainment, and is iconic (in Japan) to this day. The original is here: https://youtu.be/t-QSmNReDyI Paul
  13. A fall in pitch may also be observed. I have always thought of this an an illusion, based on a change in pitch perception at different amplitudes. However, I have also seen an informal physical explanation based on the idea that the sound excites resonances which are near to but not quite at the pitch of the notes, and that these persist longer than the original, thus actually changing the pitch as the original fades. I do not know of any studies of this phenomenon, but I note that some electronic synthetic reverberation devices include a slight change of pitch in their algorithms to simulate this effect, so there must be a somewhat widespread awareness of it. Paul
  14. I loved how that starts with a mobile phone announcement! Paul
  15. Just so; the word is still used for the earth wall at the back of a rifle range. Paul
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