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OwenTurner

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  1. I think a Butts is a medieval archery field. In St Andrews there is a “Butts Wynd” which is all the more amusing before you realise wynd should be pronounced “wined”.
  2. 2009 newspaper article "A FUNDRAISING drive to pay for the restoration of one of the finest pipe organs in the UK will be launched tomorrow." https://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/local-news/funds-drive-restore-unique-coats-2611428 See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saxhorn for more on Saxhorn. Note the conical bore which would put it into the mellower brass instruments, the brighter ones having cylindrical bores (compare a cornet (single rank, not a quintet of parallel players [joke]) with a trumpet). There must be someone in this forum who has played it? I've also stumbled on this: "Con Spirito! CD £11.00 Recorded in Autumn 2015, Matt Edwards plays the historic four manual Hill pipe organ of Thomas Coats Memorial" here: http://www.mattedwards.org.uk/, so it must have been in decent playing condition very recently.
  3. It has always sounded good in recordings, eg Priory PRCD805 - Victorian Organ Sonatas - Vol 2, with a good coverage on Youtube too which is more recent.
  4. See here for an interesting talk about the creation of Blackburn Walker.
  5. If you remove the words I've put in brackets then this is a very common cause of business failure or winding up, and has been particularly common in UK manufacturing companies, such that they are an ever diminishing number. A company with a product that used to be popular and sell well which becomes less desirable due to fashion, price or competition will too frequently not spot the need to change their course until too late. In my 30 year career in business finance and business systems it is something I've seen time again, but those in a position to make change are too busy in the day to day to spot it, or are too emotionally involved to make the bold decisions necessary and at the right time to remain vital.
  6. Probably you all know, but I remember getting very confused when studying acoustics at university; attenuation is a measure of sound energy loss, so higher attenuation means more loss at a given distance. I thought of it the opposite way for quite a while. Hopefully I've got it right now!
  7. I live 40 mins away. Presuming you are the Mr Farr I last heard in Westminster Cath a year or so and player on one of my favourite CDs (of Nicholson organs), I would jump at the opportunity ordinarily but for it being school holidays round here, and I have unchallengeable parental responsibilities, so I regretfully decline. I would recommend you approach St Mary's Music School or Edinburgh Organists' Society, both of which are very active, for suggestions.
  8. My first experience of trying to play a decent sized organ was Blackburn. It confused and put me off such that I started lessons 4 years later than when I could have. Granted that this was a lock in with school peers, not a formal situation, but I wish someone had told me how untypical the delay, wash, echo and reverb really were! Attached console and immediate action so tracker or possibly electric for me any day. Detached or pneumatics no thanks. Recording equipment or an occasional someone else to play registrations back are a compromise I happily accept.
  9. I learnt clarinet as a boy from about 1978 to 1982 from a chap called Horatio Waywell (1907 - 1983) who was an organ builder and I believe one of the last employees of Henry Ainscough of Preston. I wasn't that interested in the organ back then so had no conversations about it, sadly. Mr Waywell was very active in Preston as a woodwind teacher, orchesta conductor and choral society director. He also mended all manner of instruments; mainly woodwind, for the local music shops. Most clarinet lessons started or ended with a chat to me and parents with him showing what he was repairing. He also made occasional instruments as sometimes required in odd pieces of Wagner or Berlioz (I think), usually out of a number of old bits from a massive collection of instrument parts he kept. I think he followed technical drawings for those, but I've no idea where he would have sourced those.
  10. Picking up Colin's point, I wonder if it is reasonable to compare an organ stop with an orchestral instrument. I suspect not. An orchestra instrument reasonably expects to be able to stand alone and have a solo repertoire. It also expects and gets an expert performane. Imagine if we asked every organ stop we are able to pull to go through the ABRSM grades independently. I suspect there would be a number which wouldn't do so well. Tubular pneumatic Dulciana grade 7 or Celeste grade 6 would bore in preparation and tierce grade 5 would be a bit weird. I'm not sure I'd be much interested in learning the solo repertoire of a 32' flue - it'd be a bit repetitive on the dominant to tonic progression. Consider an organ as a whole and you have a chance. However saying this, I'd be quite keen to find one and learn Ondes Martenot or Theramin, knowing they'd only ever have special effect opportunities.
  11. On John's point "university colleges - hold back on the strong upper work so as not to deafen the younger ones"... I think that this has to be balanced against the musical maturity and restraint of the player. Personally, I was way too loud and quickly up the choruses to screaming mixture (and also sometimes trying to emulate some of the recorded Hurford mutation registrations, eg 8 + larigot with not much in between) in my late teens in university days, and I hear that as fairly common in younger players when out of earshot of teacher! My similar aged student audience, if interested at all, was similarly keen on loud and sonic thrill too. An idealistic, through ridiculous, extrapolation of this dialogue is that the expected audience, organ consultant, voicer and player all need to be similar ages!
  12. Picking up on John Robinson's (‎20‎/‎10‎/‎2019 at 08:42) point: "Perhaps they might look at a typical organ recital audience and think, "Yes, we should go for the 60+ option"! (I'm only half-joking.)" I wonder whether the customary glance down the nave once a service has started, to decide how hard to thump the hymns, should include a rough age scan as well as just quantity to give consideration of using brighter choruses for play throughs. Also giving the incumbent (+20 yr older than me) 8+4, or an 8 with strong partials, for a chanting note might be fairer than a box muffled 8, or even to ask the chap's opinion on a few options.
  13. I’m getting a lot from this dialogue and I find Colin’s article http://www.pykett.org.uk/arhlandob.htm fascinating. I am also conscious that most contributors to this chain have real hearing challenges where I’m interested in something more vain. Obviously the loss of hearing of speech is much more life fundamental than my concerns about my “hifi” audio capabilities. But then, I have spent quite some time selecting, and money on hifi at times. I am reliably informed by my wife that any conversational problems I have are to do with listening not hearing... The comparison with eyesight is telling. I need one pair of glasses to survive - recognise people, see where I’m going, drive, etc. My other two pairs are minority use. I unrealistically hypothesise that I ought to have different hearing assistance or settings for different ensembles; perhaps a string quartet set, a classical orchestra set, a Bruckner set, a baroque organ set, an octopod set. I guess the technology is not on my wavelength yet (apologies - couldn’t resist an acoustics joke).
  14. In my mid forties, around the time it became apparent I needed a different optical prescription for reading, I noticed a change in my hearing, such that the alto / tenor compass became a lot more prominent. Before I was convinced of the change, I’d checked out the tweeters on the hifi and asked whether a couple of organs I’d been away from a while had had their mixtures tamed. I have had a couple of hearing tests but I echo that these were uninterested in anything but the natural spoken voice frequencies, which I’d guess vary by less than two octaves, a small fraction of the audible compass. Both audio testers were uninterested in me discussing musical pitch or Hz frequencies. I have been mulling over two thoughts, the first in line with the previous post about correction, though perhaps more interesting to this forum how the ageing process of human hearing affects the musician; whether composer, orchestrator, performer or instrument technician. In the case of organ voicers or those deciding on pipe scaling, especially volume progressions through the compass, what were they hearing when they’d finished? - the shrill and exciting sharp mixtures I loved in my immature twenties or the more restrained balanced sounds, of the same pipes, in my late forties?!
  15. I do vividly remember my first listen to Hurford Bach recordings in about 84 whilst doing "O" level music. Took the whole organ audio experience into a world of chiff, mutation and nuance I'd not previously encountered. Stunning and powerful beyond words.
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