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Guest Roffensis

Gloucester Cathedral Organ

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Guest Roffensis

Can anyone please enlighten me what the temperament of the Gloucester organ is? to my ears, it does not sound equal.

 

Any info greatly received,

 

Richard.

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Guest Roffensis
Hmm, the Organ at Gloucester certainly appears to divide opinions!

 

I have several recordings of the Gloucester Organ, all made before the adjustments of 1999 (I think that was the year, all my recordings are in the UK). I then recorded from the TV the Christmas broadcast of a couple of years ago. OK, I know TV broadcasts are not the best, but this one was quite good in terms of overall quality.

 

To be fair, the Gloucester Organ does make a reasonable account of an English Organ trying to sound like a French Organ. Whether that's a good thing or not in itself may be a moot point, but overall I think you need to listen to this instrument over a period of time before making up your mind. There is more going on here than first impressions may imply. I definitely fall into this category myself. I must get down to Gloucester and listen myself. I may enjoy it, but then I may not (perhaps in the knowledge that the sound and genius I prefer lies a short distance across the Channel).

 

No harm or malice intended to the interesting work underway at Worcester, but......it is rather nice to read a thread on this Forum that doesn't involve Worcester! :rolleyes:

 

 

I always have liked and respected the Gloucester sound. I think I have most of the recordings of it, including those made before the 1971 work. I have also heard it in the building. It strikes me as a job that one has to be careful with. In the right hands it can sound incredible. I still wonder about the temperament......

 

R

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The organ of Gloucester Cathedral is tuned to so-called equal temperament and has been so, as far as I know, since at least 1888. That is, unless Andrew Nethsingha has had it altered very recently.

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Guest Roffensis
The organ of Gloucester Cathedral is tuned to so-called equal temperament and has been so, as far as I know, since at least 1888. That is, unless Andrew Nethsingha has had it altered very recently.

 

 

Doesn't quite sound it though?

 

R

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To my ears, it sounds utterly hideous!

 

I suggest that you obtain some recordings of David Briggs playing the instrument, particularly those which include pieces by J.S. Bach - this organ sounds superb in this type of music - and, for that matter, a lot of French repertoire (although the fonds could be a little more Gallic for large symphonic works). It is also a most inspiring instrument on which to improvise in a great variety of styles.

 

The Gloucester organ is in some ways like my own church organ. It is very easy to make it sound unpleasant or thin-toned. However, if one has the luxury of getting to know it thoroughly, it will repay the effort by divulging some of its secrets. You may be surprised at some of the truly beautiful sounds which can be coaxed from this most exciting instrument.

 

However, a caveat - of course it is not going to sound like Bristol, Ripon or Durham. But I would find part of my job rather boring if, every time I went to a cathedral as organist to a visiting choir, the instrument always sounded like Truro or St. Patrick's, Dublin, for example.

 

Whilst it may make the job more difficult, I relish the challenge of occasionally being confronted by an instrument which, at first glance, appears to contain few of the type of stops which I favour for accompanying standard repertoire (for want of a better description). Under such circumstances, I try to produce acceptable sounds which, whilst perhaps being unfamiliar, nevertheless enhance the music.

 

Doesn't quite sound it though?

 

R

 

Richard, it sounds fine to my ears. Are you thinking of a particular recording in which it appears to sound as if it is tuned to some form of unequal temperament?

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Guest Roffensis

It always sounds like it somehow. I would not call it unequal as such, it sounds sort of in between, slight but noticeable. To my ears it's nodding towards Neresheim, not very, but enough? Try Brigg's Bach E Flat, on the "Popular" CD, if you have it?

 

Thanks,

 

R

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To my ears it's nodding towards Neresheim, not very, but enough?

 

Thanks,

 

R

 

Does such a temperament exist? This is not one I have come across.

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It always sounds like it somehow. I would not call it unequal as such, it sounds sort of in between, slight but noticeable. To my ears it's nodding towards Neresheim, not very, but enough? Try Brigg's Bach E Flat, on the "Popular" CD, if you have it?

 

Thanks,

 

R

 

I have never heard of this temperament, Richard. I have the recording - it sounds perfectly normal to my ears - and DJB does not think that there is anything wrong with them!

 

For the record - the Gloucester organ is not tuned to any system of unequal temperament tuning.

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Guest Roffensis
I have never heard of this temperament, Richard. I have the recording - it sounds perfectly normal to my ears - and DJB does not think that there is anything wrong with them!

 

For the record - the Gloucester organ is not tuned to any system of unequal temperament tuning.

 

 

Kloster Neresheim is tuned to Kimberger III, Gloucester...to my ears....sounds a little towards it....but of course it could also be the rich harmonics, partic with the voicing.

 

Thanks,

 

R

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Kloster Neresheim is tuned to Kimberger III, Gloucester...to my ears....sounds a little towards it....but of course it could also be the rich harmonics, partic with the voicing.

 

Thanks,

 

R

 

Neither of these temperaments exist*. However, there is a 'KiRNberger III' - this is a tuning which is easy to discern. Inerestingly, in this tuning, an E-flat major triad would be virtually indistinguishable from equal temperament.

 

 

 

*On second reading, it looks as if Kloster Neresheim is a place - this was not readily apparent from your original post.

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Guest Roffensis
Neither of these temperaments exist. However, there is a 'KiRNberger III' - this is an easily noticeable tuning. Inerestingly, in this tuning, an E-flat major triad would be virtually indistinguishable from equal temperament.

 

 

Kimberger III does exist. There's also a Kirnberger II and I, but whether these are one and the same with Kimberger I know not.

 

Thanks,

 

R

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Kimberger III does exist.

 

I would be interested to know where it may be found (in the sense of being able to read about it).

 

However, on articles and product advertisements which I found by means of a 'Google' Search, I wonder if it is not actually a widespread typographical error, since in some standard type-faces (such as Arial) an 'r' followed by an 'n' looks almost identical to an 'm', since the kerning feature of the windows word-processing system is not fool-proof.

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Kimberger III does exist. There's also a Kirnberger II and I, but whether these are one and the same with Kimberger I know not.

 

Thanks,

 

R

Gents not sure that we've cleared up kiM and kiRN There are a number of Kirnberger temperaments; see wiki. For what it's worth a number of HNB and GDB instruments were tuned to Werkmeister III in the 70's.

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Kimberger III does exist. There's also a Kirnberger II and I, but whether these are one and the same with Kimberger I know not.

 

Thanks,

 

R

 

This has got to be a typo in a record sleeve or something similar - J P Kirnbirger was a pupil of Bach and a musical theorist whose temperaments are still in widespread use in Germany, and III is probably "the" Bach temperament, according to some. Kimberger is not known to any of the temperament scholars.

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There is no entry for "Kimburger" in New Grove, which is passing strange if he managed to produce three tuning systems. Also, if he had, I am sure I would have come across references to them in the periodicals I take. I think M. Cochereau has hit the nail on the head.

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Gents not sure that we've cleared up kiM and kiRN There are a number of Kirnberger temperaments; see wiki. For what it's worth a number of HNB and GDB instruments were tuned to Werkmeister III in the 70's.

 

Thank you for the article link. I am certain that 'Kimberger' has arisen as the result of a typographical error, which has been perpetuated and copied.

 

I cannot say for certain that the Gloucester Cathedral organ was not tuned to unequal temperament in the 1970s; however, I can say that it was not tuned in this manner by the '90s - or, for that matter, for the first year or two of the new millennium.

 

I further think it unlikely that Andrew Nethsingha has requested that the organ be tuned to unequal temperament in one form or another.

 

There is no entry for "Kimburger" in New Grove, which is passing strange if he managed to produce three tuning systems. Also, if he had, I am sure I would have come across references to them in the periodicals I take. I think M. Cochereau has hit the nail on the head.

 

Thank you, Vox.

 

As we thought....

:unsure:

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Guest Roffensis
This has got to be a typo in a record sleeve or something similar - J P Kirnbirger was a pupil of Bach and a musical theorist whose temperaments are still in widespread use in Germany, and III is probably "the" Bach temperament, according to some. Kimberger is not known to any of the temperament scholars.

 

I think it is a spelling variant. I have often seen it spelt both ways, even by Scholars. The link below will, I am sure, settle the debate! (note there are two spellings in the article!.....)

 

R

 

 

http://www.c500.org/showcase/?archived=20051101010000

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I think it is a spelling variant. I have often seen it spelt both ways, even by Scholars. The link below will, I am sure, settle the debate! (note there are two spellings in the article!.....)

 

R

http://www.c500.org/showcase/?archived=20051101010000

 

Yes, I had seen this article, Richard.

 

It is this review which convinces me that it is careless typing. There is no spelling variant - it would have been mentioned in New Grove.

 

For the record, this type of spelling error is extremely difficult to spot, unless one is aware of the name 'Kirnberger' in the context of unequal temperament tuning. All that has happened is that the article was passed on to a type-setter, who simply mis-read the word (a common occurrence, particularly of one works for the Grauniad - even when using computer-setting, as opposed to hot metal type-setting).

 

Here is another typographical* error in the same article:

 

A French horn makes wolf-like cries than babbles indignantly away to represent Polyphemus, the Cyclops. Taken at face-value, this makes no sense. It should, of course, read: '... that babble...'

 

The following paragraph is a good example of muddled syntax, containing one split infinitive, a plethora of punctuation (which could easily have been avoided) and bad writing style, rendering the actual meaning of the text somewhat obscure:

 

As stated above, making us allegorically take our fingers out of our ears is not the only thing Reinhard does. He is, of course, the conductor of the AFMM, and often doubles as one of the musicians, he being a virtuoso bassoonist, as well as well-versed in related instruments.

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I think it is a spelling variant. I have often seen it spelt both ways, even by Scholars. The link below will, I am sure, settle the debate! (note there are two spellings in the article!.....)

 

R

http://www.c500.org/showcase/?archived=20051101010000

 

Is that really a scholarly article? I appreciate that being so much younger than you I can't possibly be as knowledgable, but please take it from me that J P Kirnberger (1721-1783) would probably not share your enhusiasm for spelling his name incorrectly.

 

Also, the article (which I have only skim-read) seems to suggest we ought to listen to Beethoven symphonies in historic tunings, which is just plain balls since the necessity of temperament only applies to keyboard instruments - orchestral players who can make (or influence) their own note will work to just intonation. It also implies that non-equal temperaments belong to the Baroque ("300 years ago") when in fact equal temperament has been the standard method for less than 150 years - when the St John's Bridgetown organ (Willis) was opened in 1861, its equal temperament tuning was considered novel enough to merit mention in the local newspaper.

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I think it is a spelling variant. I have often seen it spelt both ways, even by Scholars.
Not in a properly proof-read, peer-reviewed printed journal, I bet. Name your sources!

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I think it is a spelling variant. I have often seen it spelt both ways, even by Scholars. The link below will, I am sure, settle the debate! (note there are two spellings in the article!.....)

 

R

http://www.c500.org/showcase/?archived=20051101010000

 

It's just too close to be true. Clearly a typo. As others have said, if Kimberger was significant enough to have 3 temperaments, it'd be in Grove.

 

I'd give in graciously if I were you :unsure:

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Guest Roffensis
Is that really a scholarly article? I appreciate that being so much younger than you I can't possibly be as knowledgable, but please take it from me that J P Kirnberger (1721-1783) would probably not share your enhusiasm for spelling his name incorrectly.

 

 

No! hardly a Scholarly article! More like "The Idiot's guide to Temperament", but it proves the point. Even in a single article it can be mispelt. I have however, spotted it numerous times, and wondered if there are actually two tunings. With me being so old it is senile dementia I am afraid. I offer no apology, as I have forgotten what we're talking about!!!

 

All best,

 

Richard.

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