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Digital And Pipes


derek.g3zdd
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When the fine 1887 Hill organ in my local church, Godalming Parish Churcxh was rebuilt by F.H.Brown & sons abouteight years ago, they included two digital 32ft stops a "flue" and a "reed". They are both very effective. In the reed ond can detect the "clang" of the reed aagainst the shallot, but there is a lot of controversey about the mixing of digital technology with conventional pipe work. What do other users of the forum think?

 

Derek Dewey - Godalming, Surrey.

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When the fine 1887 Hill organ in my local church, Godalming Parish Churcxh was rebuilt by F.H.Brown & sons abouteight years ago, they included two digital 32ft stops a "flue" and a "reed". They are both very effective. In the reed ond can detect the "clang" of the reed aagainst the shallot, but there is a lot of controversey about the mixing of digital technology with conventional pipe work. What do other users of the forum think?

 

Derek Dewey - Godalming, Surrey.

 

 

=======================

 

Such controversy on a Thursday! There will be riots and gnashings of teeth.

 

My own view?

 

If there are real problems of space, and "if" additional bass redresses the balance a little, it may not be a bad thing. This is how I feel about the digital additions to the organ at Blackburn Cathedral, which hasn't been spoiled in any way, but which includes digital "Open Woods" at 32ft and 16ft pitches, or various switchable strengths, using the latest "Walker Digital" technology.

 

The reason for that is super-abundant if you knew the organ prior to the re-build, for whatever its superlative qualities as a solo instrument, it did lack real low-down "umph" when it came to congregational and choral accompaniment, possibly due to the remote, elevated position of the windchests.

 

As low frequency sound travels better in such a massive acoustic, the tread of a heavy-bass is possibly the best thing for crowd-control in the hymns.

 

At Blackburn, short of hanging 32ft Open Woods from coat-hangers and brackets, and with the organ hovering almost in mid-air, there wasn't anywhere suitable to install such huge pipes as a full length 32ft, without destroying the visual aspects of the building, or keeping them close to the bulk of the instrument.

 

It was for that reason that the 32ft and 16ft digital registers were added, rather than the real McCoy.

 

Yes....it works well enough, and it hasn't ruined the organ, but that said, the digital stops still don't have quite the impact such voices would normally have in a cathedral.

 

I recall the fitting of "analogue" 32ft's at Harrogate Parish Church, and they make suitable rumbling noises of no great distinction: falling well short of the real thing. I suspect that this was an example of an organ which (a) Didn't need them and (B) has not been improved by them. Still, if people have money and want to spend it on a hi-fi "bass boom box," we live in a free world and make our choices.

 

In some ways, I always regret that digital technology wasn't around when they added all those mutations to great Victorian organs. At least, it would have been possible to pull out the fuse as fashions changed!!

 

I prefer to take the pragmatic rather than the absolutist approach, but on an 1887 Hill, I just wonder what they had in mind, that it may have been seen as some sort of possible improvement?

 

Of course, such combination instruments have been around since the 1930's; one of the early pioneers being John Compton.

 

 

MM

 

 

PS: For silly smirking face, read the letter (B)....I can't get rid of it!

 

PPS. That's a BEE.....the sort with little wings and an attitude.

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Guest Roffensis
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When the fine 1887 Hill organ in my local church, Godalming Parish Churcxh was rebuilt by F.H.Brown & sons abouteight years ago, they included two digital 32ft stops a "flue" and a "reed". They are both very effective. In the reed ond can detect the "clang" of the reed aagainst the shallot, but there is a lot of controversey about the mixing of digital technology with conventional pipe work. What do other users of the forum think?

 

Derek Dewey - Godalming, Surrey.

 

 

I would NEVER want electronic stops anywhere on a pipe organ, least of all on a Hill job. I suggest you get a nice skip for the additions. There is quite enough "Cobbling" going on like this, and some "consultants" will actually even sanction this cheap sort of work. A pipe organ is a pipe organ, it's the thin end of the wedge, once you start adding electronic hoovers. You might also like to go via Blackburn to the rubbish tip while your at it and...........you know........those lovely additonal electronic things...........

 

 

Moral.....

 

Only add to an organ that which is in keeping with the instrument, and of the same standard.

 

Speakers aint!!

 

Best regards,

 

Richard.

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Guest Lee Blick

I am of the opinion that if a church building is not large enough to accomodate a 32ft flue or reed then you shouldn't have one, pipe or digital.

 

I think if organists insist on adding digital stops as an afterthought to a perfectly adequate pipe organ, a blue policecar light should be fitted to flash above the organ console when the offending digital stops are drawn.

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I would NEVER want electronic stops anywhere on a pipe organ, least of all on a Hill job. I suggest you get a nice skip for the additions. There is quite enough "Cobbling" going on like this, and some "consultants" will actually even sanction this cheap sort of work. A pipe organ is a pipe organ, it's the thin end of the wedge, once you start adding electronic hoovers. You might also like to go via Blackburn to the rubbish tip while your at it and...........you know........those lovely additonal electronic things...........

Moral.....

 

Only add to an organ that which is in keeping with the instrument, and of the same standard.

 

Speakers aint!!

 

Best regards,

 

Richard.

 

 

=========================

 

 

This is where absolutism rears its ugly head.....not that Richard is ugly, I feel sure...proabably a CK model actually. (Despareately trying to remain friends!)

 

I baulk at the very idea that pipes are automatically better in all circumstances, when I have played so many super-dooper re-builds where the new and the old are probably worse than old + digital.

 

It all comes down to musical quality rather than slavish adherence to this or that, and Blackburn is a case in point, where there are obvious benefits in having something which otherwise wouldn't have been possible, and which has not affaected to instrument at all.

 

In an ideal world with unlimited cash, then of course, pipes and absolute integrity are the answer, and there is no sense of compromise, but that doesn't alter the fact that many organs have been ruined for all time by the improvements wrought by unsympathetic or incompetent organ-builders. At least digital is reversible....instantly!

 

MM

 

 

PS: I am told that Richard is incredibly handsome

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Guest Roffensis
I am of the opinion that if a church building is not large enough to accomodate a 32ft flue or reed then you shouldn't have one, pipe or digital.

 

I think if organists insist on adding digital stops as an afterthought to a perfectly adequate pipe organ, a blue policecar light should be fitted to flash above the organ console when the offending digital stops are drawn.

 

 

 

Excellent idea. I quite agree. B)

 

R

 

It all comes down to musical quality rather than slavish adherence to this or that, and Blackburn is a case in point, where there are obvious benefits in having something which otherwise wouldn't have been possible, and which has not affaected to instrument at all.

 

 

PS: I am told that Richard is incredibly handsome

 

 

Blackburn was a very bright and vertical sound, and had enough pedal as it was, for that timbre of tone. I also think Swell sub was a gross error, as it makes too fat, although to be fair, one does not have to use either.

 

Oh, and Yes, I am incredibly handsome as you so rightly say. Thankyou kind sir. I'll see if the bikesheds are free.

 

 

R

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