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Colin Pykett

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Everything posted by Colin Pykett

  1. I feel moved to say something in response to this. Although there are indeed acerbic members on this forum, I had not got you down as one of them, SL. Having said that, it's no particular sin and it doesn't matter to me as it's a trait which adds colour to the discourse in my view. And with Ph.D., M.A., B.Mus., F.R.S.A., A.R.C.M., yes, you are indeed 'slightly well qualified', which is one of the reasons I've enjoyed reading your posts, often learning something from them as well. I'm sorry we won't be 'seeing' you again. That's yet another of the losses of this sad situation. All goo
  2. It's a good question which I've been pondering on as well, doubtless like many other members. This is the only forum I belong to, so if I want to continue to air my views I'll have to find another I suppose, though this is an obvious opportunity to consider whether to join one at all. However, I like the ABRSM affiliation of their 'Viva Organ' forum, and have often wondered why it has been so little used for quite a long time. Some members here post on it occasionally. As far as I can see it also exists without having to rely on advertising, other than the ABRSM banners. The Magle forum is
  3. What a shocking thing it is whenever a source of any ancient craft disappears. Apart from anything else, its practitioners thereafter can rapidly cease to exist. Voicers and their incomparably skilled colleagues cannot just be brought off the street when required by placing ads in a local job centre. It's not unlike the almost complete disappearance of mechanical (clockwork) timepieces. Politely disregarding the output of the Beijing watch factory, a few of these are still made commercially at enormous cost for the more discerning super-wealthy, but mostly the art is kept alive within the
  4. I don't know which source(s) Cantoris had in mind, but one answer to Rowland's question is: https://religionmediacentre.org.uk/news-comment/religion-news-7-july-3-2/ I came across this a couple of weeks ago or so. It does seem that there is some basis for the story, though it doesn't mention the music specifically.
  5. The original and quite popular Compton Miniatura was later sold in two versions: an 'A' model and a 'B'. According to one advertisement the synoptic stop list of the 'A' was Ped 16.8; Great 16.8.8.4.2; Swell 8.8.4.2. That of the 'B' was Ped 16.8.4; Great 8.8.4.2 2/3.2; Solo 16.8.8.4.4.2 2/3.2. According to the makers, 'A' was intended for leading the worship of '150 voices', and 'B' for the 'practice and performance of polyphonic organ music'. The ads also said that it was 'more quietly voiced than Miniatura A and is therefore more suitable for practice rooms and private residences'. '
  6. I don't think I can add much to what I said previously, but would like to emphasise should there be any doubt that in no way was I intending to slight or criticise Professor Wilkes. In fact his lecture sounds very interesting and I wish I had been there to enjoy it.
  7. It's a book of two halves by two authors with two rather different perspectives. They make no secret of this, saying in the Preface that " ... we naturally do not see eye to eye on every detail. For instance, we differ somewhat on the merits of organs built before about 1850". They also say that "it may seem the height of presumption for the authors, neither of whom could, by any stretch of the imagination, be regarded as a competent organ player, to attempt to deal with Registration". Quite. But also honest. It does what it says on the tin. I enjoyed reading it the first time I came ac
  8. "One could ask 50 organists for their thoughts on any piece and probably get 51 opinions. It's a very interesting discussion though." Yes, it is interesting, and the same seems to apply to any other discipline. Physicists and mathematicians are regularly asked to vote for their most beautiful equation. (FWIW, Euler's identity often comes out top or very near to the top of the list ... ). 'Beauty' pervades all human experience. It's fascinating that even in something so apparently black-and-white as physics or maths, exactly the same emotions are aroused as they are in music and all ot
  9. Yes Stanley, I'm sorry, but I have to agree with SL here! But never having been one to let go once having got a rat between my teeth (a bit like Stanley in this respect I think, and I know he won't mind me having said so), how abouts a bit of the truth about at least some professional organists? I'm of an age when I was lucky enough to be have been able to attend the weekly organ recitals at the Royal Festival Hall on Wednesdays at 5:55 (because I spent 7 years at King's just across the river in the 1960s/70s). So twixt then and now I've attended an awful lot of them, and not only i
  10. I find it odd to hear the pejorative remarks aimed directly or indirectly at amateur organists. We've had quite a few of them on parallel threads recently, and there are hints on this one as well. It often seems that this breed of musician is thought to be uniquely associated with the instrument, and as though amateurs do not exist in connection with any other. It's nonsense of course. Of those who attempt to learn any instrument, how many become professional in the sense that they succeed in making a living by playing it? Surely the answer has to be only a minority in all cases? Therefo
  11. It's odd isn't it, the empty church syndrome, considering the number of people who nevertheless seem to have an interest in organ music as per my original post. There were 7530 downloads of my so-called Top 20 titles alone, which was just a small fraction of the total in the stats I analysed. And that's just for my humble minority-interest site buried within the detritus of the billions out there. But of course it's much more of a commitment to actually go to a venue and pay to hear the music. So why does live pop music attract such crowds? One reason might be that it costs money however
  12. Some recent posts have discussed things like youtube performances and various pieces of organ music. This has reminded me of a related topic I ponder about from time to time, which is how to construct a recital programme. There seem to be several aspects|: 1. Who are we playing to? Sometimes it might be an audience 'of the cloth' so to speak, in other words made up largely of organists. Such occasions will include recitals given to organists' associations. Compiling a recital programme for this sort of audience is probably not seen as particularly difficult by most players. But at
  13. David, your question is interesting though as I said in my post above, everyone's preferences for audio equipment are heavily subjective, so I would not wish to impose mine on you or anyone else who reads this. But as you are seeking opinions ... Having listened to the multi-mic clip in your initial post, it did sort of confirm what I would have expected from dynamic and capacitor mics, and it was an interesting listening opportunity - thank you. Dynamic mics seem to me to have noticeably lower bass compared with their mid-range, but this makes them good for vocals which they are often
  14. Mention of curtained organists brought to mind John Betjeman's description of St Enodoc's church in Cornwall: ... "A rattle as red baize is drawn aside, Miss Rhoda Poulden pulls the tremolo, The oboe, flute and vox humana stops; A Village Voluntary fills the air And ceases suddenly as it began, Save for one oboe faintly humming on" ... I think she was playing a reed organ, as the poem ends with: ... "The Lord's name by harmonium be praised" ... To me this is particularly and sadly evocative at a time when it's next to imp
  15. Like any other component in the recording and reproduction chains, one's choice of mics is as much subjective as anything else. I'm wary of posting on this topic because one can so easily sound preachy on audio matters, which isn't my intention at all. And David has probably at least as much if not more experience as anyone else. However, here goes. Steve makes some valid points with which I agree. One is that the inbuilt mics which come with the little Zoom, Tascam, etc recorder products are really quite good both for the modest financial outlay and for many recording situations. Bu
  16. I agree with this sentiment Stanley. Even ordinary age related hearing loss (presbyacusis) is so gradual that it comes upon you almost unnoticed over decades, often starting in the late 40s. Yet unless one has an audiometry test done and sees the resulting audiogram (which can be a shocking experience the first time round - take my word for it!), many people won't even know they have it. The consequences can be profound, especially for those whose professions involve their ears such as tuners, voicers and sundry 'organ experts'. Consequently some of them blithely continue to do what they h
  17. Yes, this is a commonly-performed demo, but of itself it doesn't mean that more sound is emitted from the mouth than the top. I obviously cannot know what Prof Wilkes intended or said at his lecture though. However the air flow through a pipe consists of two components: the bulk unidirectional flow of air coming up the pipe foot from the chest and through the flue slit formed by the lower lip and languid, plus the vibratory (to and fro) component starting at the mouth and going into the resonator which results in the sound. It might be easier to comprehend by taking an electrical analogy i
  18. OK Stanley, since you asked so nicely, and because it's far too hot to think of going outside, here goes (with apologies to John if he thinks I'm paddling in his pond) ... Avoiding comment on your criticisms of specific organs and instead taking your words generically at face value, one which is 'hopelessly inadequate in the nave' is by definition unfit for purpose. It simply cannot be loud enough, because if it was loud enough then it would be heard better. But loudness is not simply a matter of making the pipes louder e.g. by increasing the wind pressure, although this can work after
  19. As usual, it doesn't look like an organ builder is going to be bothered to respond to this so you'll have to put up with my purple prose. Answer to Q1 above: from the apertures at the mouth and top if not stopped. There is some radiation from the body but it's less. Uniform mouth orientation - not so much because it looks good as for convenience for the voicer, but sometimes nearby pipes have to be rotated to prevent acoustic interaction such as pipes 'pulling' each other in frequency. Sometimes ranks are made with staggered mouth heights for similar interaction reasons when planted on
  20. But if merely playing it at sight as written isn't demanding enough, how about transposing it at sight as well (one or two semitones up or down, I don't care - the student may choose), and for good measure carry on extemporising at the end in the same manner for another couple of pages' worth? Why keep life simple when it can be made more difficult?
  21. There's an entire 2-page exercise entitled 'Thumbs on a separate manual' on pp. 93/94 of W G Alcock's organ tutor ('The Organ'), originally published by Novello but now available on IMSLP when I looked recently. It's quite interesting, euphemistically speaking, to attempt it as written as Allegretto in 6/8 ... A diploma-level sight reading exercise perhaps, anyone?
  22. Rather more than two months later I've succeeded in getting hold of this book which I had not come across before. However I really wouldn't recommend it to anyone who wants to augment their knowledge of the physics of music as it's pretty hopelessly out of date. Mine is the first edition (1969), published in the UK in 1970, thus 50 years ago now. Consequently it does not (because it could not) address a lot of the research into musical instruments which has been done since. For instance the explanation of how organ flue pipes work is now quite wrong and merely repeats what was currently u
  23. This week we did some decluttering as it's now getting easier to get to the council tip (though you still have to book your visit two days in advance). So among other stuff I just picked up from my shelves, without going through it in detail, some substantial piles of sheet music I hadn't played, not only for some years, but for decades. Most of it was light music including a multi-volume set of G&S piano scores (I can't abide it anyway but used to play it to satisfy certain audiences in the distant past). The other numbers were mainly what I used to play occasionally on theatre pipe/di
  24. Thank you for this, Tony. The NPOR entry mentions a 2M&P reed organ which was displaced by this new pipe organ. Although this thread only has 'pipe organ' in its title, a large-ish reed organ can also make for an attractive house organ, which is what the OP seems to be mainly interested in. At least, some people think so, and although I'm not completely sold on them as a rule, I do find the larger ones worth considering compared to digitals in that they are aerophones in the same way that pipe organs are. Therefore their sounds have a 'liveness' in the sense that they are generated dir
  25. I am quite sure the instrument is a work of art, design and craftsmanship of the highest order. But an alternative approach might be to increase the utilisation of the limited amount of pipework by using electric action to provide as much or as little borrowing/duplication as the client wishes, together with octave couplers if desired. With the addition of a little more pipework at the top and bottom (if there is the space) of that already existing, a modicum (again, as much or as little as might be desired) of extension could also be applied to provide additional pitches. The resulting in
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