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Quick One: When and why do stops get engraved in a colour other than black? Should the couplers be in another colour? What about the Tremulant or the Choir Unison Off etc.?

The large tracker where I take my lessons - everything is engraved in white on brown stop faces.

 

My question has to do with having stops engraved in various colours on the same console.

I suspect this colour question has something to do with theatre organs.

WM

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Quick One: When and why do stops get engraved in a colour other than black? Should the couplers be in another colour? What about the Tremulant or the Choir Unison Off etc.?

The large tracker where I take my lessons - everything is engraved in white on brown stop faces.

 

My question has to do with having stops engraved in various colours on the same console.

I suspect this colour question has something to do with theatre organs.

WM

In most cases, stops that don't actually 'own' a rank of pipes, like couplers and tremulants are engraved in red. I seem to remember seeing reeds in green on one instrument too - but can't remember when or where!

 

Steve

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In most cases, stops that don't actually 'own' a rank of pipes, like couplers and tremulants are engraved in red. I seem to remember seeing reeds in green on one instrument too - but can't remember when or where!

 

Steve

 

 

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

 

 

I think it has a name.....chromakey controls.

 

Certainly, it was used on theatre organs extensively, due to the fact that the layout of the registers is quite different. Whereas even a stop-key console might read, from left to right, something like:-

 

16,8,8,8,4,4,2,IIrks IIIrks 8Tr 4Cla

 

A theatre organ would be

 

Tibia16, Diap16, Tuba 16, Trumpet 16, Tibia 8, Diap 8, Tuba 8, Flute 8, Horn 8, Oboe 8, Viole 8 and so on up the range of the extended ranks.

 

Thus, flutes, diapasons, tibias and reeds were all mixed up together, and coloured stop-keys are the best way of finding them in a hurry.

 

However, I have played classical instruments with chromakey control, and for some reason, I seem to recall various names, such as Anneessens of Belgium, possibly Harrison & Harrison, and maybe Rothwell.

 

Did Harrison's use red reeds, black flues and green couplers at anytime, or am I just imagining it?

 

One of my key-rings has a red Tuba 16 tab on it, which came from a Compton theatre organ (Astoria?), Finchley Road, London. I also have an original Comnpton ashtray.....my God.....I'm an anorak!!!

 

MM

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Quick One: When and why do stops get engraved in a colour other than black? Should the couplers be in another colour? What about the Tremulant or the Choir Unison Off etc.?
I think everything depends on the style of the console. I imagine colour coding would look very out of place on an Aubertin for example.

 

On conventional British stop-knob consoles of cathedral size I find it a useful guide for the eye to have the non-speaking stops engraved in red if they are located with the divisional stops (there's little point if the couplers are above the top manual). St Mary Redcliffe at least has the reversible thumb pistons also engraved in red - and why not?

 

My Wyvern toaster has a stop tab console with the reeds in red and the couplers in green (coloured with crayon, no less!) which I like - though with an unfathomable lack of logic I don't much fancy the idea of a three-colour scheme on a stop knob console.

 

I suppose the ultimate in colour coding would be the Wanamaker console.

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I think everything depends on the style of the console. I imagine colour coding would look very out of place on an Aubertin for example.

 

On conventional British stop-knob consoles of cathedral size I find it a useful guide for the eye to have the non-speaking stops engraved in red if they are located with the divisional stops (there's little point if the couplers are above the top manual). St Mary Redcliffe at least has the reversible thumb pistons also engraved in red - and why not?

 

My Wyvern toaster has a stop tab console with the reeds in red and the couplers in green (coloured with crayon, no less!) which I like - though with an unfathomable lack of logic I don't much fancy the idea of a three-colour scheme on a stop knob console.

 

I suppose the ultimate in colour coding would be the Wanamaker console.

 

Funnily enough I have just been writing about this very subject in reference to St Anne's Limehouse, 1851 G&D. The Choir is in green, the Sw in brown, the Gt in red and the Pedals in black. The couplers are the colour of the division they benefit.

 

The typeface also is something you expect of a 1940's washing detergent advert, and not a 1850's organ console.

 

That's no cinema organ, and I've been struggling to think of a point to it!

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I thank you for your quick thoughts on this topic.

I am not a fan of the idea. My little toaster at the church where I play is all in black ---50+ stop knobs. I think colours would cheapen the look of a classical church organ console IMHO.

WM

Our FW has black for speaking stops, red for couplers and green for piston couplers. can't say i'm over bothered either way.

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Our FW has black for speaking stops, red for couplers and green for piston couplers. can't say i'm over bothered either way.

For those with less than perfect sight coloured text can be a nuisance. Logical layout and clear labelling is far more important if the intention is to help visiting organists find their way around.

JC

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I think everything depends on the style of the console. I imagine colour coding would look very out of place on an Aubertin for example.

 

Yet Bernard Aubertin uses turned stop knobs of different types (and colours) of wood to denote different divisions - a stylish and effective solution.

 

JS

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Guest Barry Oakley
Quick One: When and why do stops get engraved in a colour other than black? Should the couplers be in another colour? What about the Tremulant or the Choir Unison Off etc.?

The large tracker where I take my lessons - everything is engraved in white on brown stop faces.

 

My question has to do with having stops engraved in various colours on the same console.

I suspect this colour question has something to do with theatre organs.

WM

 

On most Compton consoles, certainly those with luminous stops, it was common to see all reed stops shown with red lettering and flues in black. All couplers were usually grouped together on a seperate jamb.

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One of my key-rings has a red Tuba 16 tab on it, which came from a Compton theatre organ (Astoria?), Finchley Road, London. I also have an original Comnpton ashtray.....my God.....I'm an anorak!!!

 

Astoria, Finsbury Park perhaps?

 

I also have one of those ashtrays. I've never smoked but, even if I did, I don't think I could bring myself to stub out a fag in it. It will fit neatly in the pocket of my anorak though.......!

 

S

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I too can't see the point, in fact I find it confusing. The question begs as to what people think about elaborate script on stops, either in black or colour. Being dyslexic I find it very difficult. I like a clear bold font.

 

Jonathan :rolleyes:

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I too can't see the point, in fact I find it confusing. The question begs as to what people think about elaborate script on stops, either in black or colour. Being dyslexic I find it very difficult. I like a clear bold font.

 

Jonathan :rolleyes:

 

Hi

 

The Old English script on the stops of our organ in curch help to give it that "old worlde" character (it is around 180 years old) - I certainly wouldn't want to change them, and as far as I know, no-one has found them difficult to read. Willis' found an engraver who was able to copy the style for the reversion to a Stop Diapason Treble - it's almost indistinguishable from the originals.

 

Personally, I can see some advantage in colour on medium-large stop-key consoles where the stops are packed close together. On drawstops I find no advantage - and often red engraving seems to have faded, and an unlabeled stop (or illegible label) is difficult for the visiting organist.

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

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A very nice organ that I sometimes play has only the Couplers and Tremulants in red but the sounding stops are in black. Another small 2m one by Brindley & Foster has the Sw reeds in red and the Couplers in blue

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Guest Hector5

[A new'ish H,N&B in Bromley URC has the combination couplers engraved in YELLOW. This church gets plenty of light and I seem to remember them being almost completely illegible in sunlight, and only less when the lights were on!

 

Hector

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The old Christie Cinema Organs had coloured stopkeys. Blue for Couplers, Red for Orchestral Reeds, Black for heavy reeds (Tubas) Chocolate for tonal percussions and yellow for non tonal percussions. All very pretty and easy to locate.

 

FF

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Astoria, Finsbury Park perhaps?

 

I also have one of those ashtrays. I've never smoked but, even if I did, I don't think I could bring myself to stub out a fag in it. It will fit neatly in the pocket of my anorak though.......!

 

S

 

 

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

 

 

I bet you're the sort of person who can do "The Times" crossword in 15 minutes.

 

Astoria, Finsbury Park.....that was the one.

 

:rolleyes:

 

MM

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The Old English script on the stops of our organ in curch help to give it that "old worlde" character (it is around 180 years old) - I certainly wouldn't want to change them...

This reminds me of the script on the stops of an old organ in North Essex. One stop was entitled "closed horn" but for all the world it looked like "closet horn"....now there's one to conjure with!!!

 

A

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

I bet you're the sort of person who can do "The Times" crossword in 15 minutes.

 

Astoria, Finsbury Park.....that was the one.

 

I wish! Sadly I'm a mine of useless information, but actual knowledge is a bit sketchy :rolleyes:

 

Actually my fund of useless facts and figures is usually a source of an enourmous amount of p**s taking by my 'friends', and in this respect I'll share the following story with you as it has a very slight connection with the subject in hand....

 

Some years ago I attended (with some 'friends') the re-opening of the glorious Wurlitzer at Stockport Town Hall. Before the performance began we were thumbing through the souvenir brochure, and one of our number chanced on a photograph of Charles Saxby FRCO seated at a Compton theatre organ with a hideous home-made looking illuminated surround. He leant over to me and asked "What organ's that?". I instantly replied "The Astoria, Finsbury Park." His reply.... "You're really sick!"

 

:D

 

SD

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I think Cavaille Coll uses colour on the stops knobs at St Sulpice. However when I tried to check this I came across the more interesting news that Daniel Roth had recently been awarded the Legion d'Honneur!

In the award he was quoted as having said "à Saint Sulpice, vous étiez au ciel"! - but we really new that already...?

 

See details for further information and a nice photo. :)

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I think Cavaille Coll uses colour on the stops knobs at St Sulpice. However when I tried to check this I came across the more interesting news that Daniel Roth had recently been awarded the Legion d'Honneur!

In the award he was quoted as having said "à Saint Sulpice, vous étiez au ciel"! - but we really new that already...?

 

See details for further information and a nice photo. :)

 

The engraving may be in different colours according to the departments, I cannot now recall. However, the stop head inserts are all plain white.

 

Remember that on his larger amphitheatre-style consoles, Cavaillé-Coll used thin strips of leather, embossed in gold letters to indicate which stops belonged to their respective departments.

 

There is also the slightly odd 'Nicholson' console at St. Mary's, Warwick. This has draw-stop heads of conventional shape, but fashioned from a dark-stained wood. The engraving is a mixture of white(-ish), red, green and, if I remember correctly, blue. This is impractical and looks faintly silly. There is a lack of clear contrast in the case of the blue and the green ink - and they are all less than easy to read in bad light. Give me ivory draw-stops, black and red engraving and a good, clear serif font any day.

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