Jump to content
Mander Organ Builders Forum

Swell To Solo


Guest Cynic
 Share

Recommended Posts

Guest Cynic

One hates to be proved wrong, but I just have been.

I received an enquiry from someone about a large H&H from 1908. They mentioned a Swell to Solo coupler and my immediate reaction was 'they've got it wrong'. Because I had never seen one, I naturally assumed (being arrogant as well as reasonably well-travelled) that therefore such things did not exist and they had somehow muddled things up. In response, I have been sent a photo of the stop-jamb in question whcih is quite unequivocal. [Cynic goofs again!!]

 

In case anyone thinks I'm having them on, this link should give the spec.

http://npor.emma.cam.ac.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch...ec_index=A01141

 

Anyway, to business!

1. Anyone seen this strange coupler anywhere else?

2. Why was it done?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

One hates to be proved wrong, but I just have been.

I received an enquiry from someone about a large H&H from 1908. They mentioned a Swell to Solo coupler and my immediate reaction was 'they've got it wrong'. Because I had never seen one, I naturally assumed (being arrogant as well as reasonably well-travelled) that therefore such things did not exist and they had somehow muddled things up. In response, I have been sent a photo of the stop-jamb in question whcih is quite unequivocal. [Cynic goofs again!!]

 

In case anyone thinks I'm having them on, this link should give the spec.

http://npor.emma.cam.ac.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch...ec_index=A01141

 

Anyway, to business!

1. Anyone seen this strange coupler anywhere else?

2. Why was it done?

 

Without looking, I'm pretty sure Norwich has this ability (if not, it must be the only one missing).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

One hates to be proved wrong, but I just have been.

I received an enquiry from someone about a large H&H from 1908. They mentioned a Swell to Solo coupler and my immediate reaction was 'they've got it wrong'. Because I had never seen one, I naturally assumed (being arrogant as well as reasonably well-travelled) that therefore such things did not exist and they had somehow muddled things up. In response, I have been sent a photo of the stop-jamb in question whcih is quite unequivocal. [Cynic goofs again!!]

 

In case anyone thinks I'm having them on, this link should give the spec.

http://npor.emma.cam.ac.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch...ec_index=A01141

 

Anyway, to business!

1. Anyone seen this strange coupler anywhere else?

2. Why was it done?

 

I could be wrong, but I think the organ in Westminster Abbey might have a 'Swell to Solo' coupler. Its been a long time since I've seen that specification.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I could be wrong, but I think the organ in Westminster Abbey might have a 'Swell to Solo' coupler. Its been a long time since I've seen that specification.

 

This is almost correct - it has a transfer Swell on Solo.

 

http://www.westminster-abbey.org/organ/org_specs/index.html

 

This is presumably to enable the use of the Upper Choir on Swell transfer, in order that this division cam function as a two-clavier department, played from the two middle claviers. Accompanimentally, I shoud imagine that this is quite a useful function.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest Cynic
Ely Cathedral has one*.

 

Not quite sure what the point is unless you want to do interesting things with the Solo sub/octave and unison off couplers.

 

 

*Interesting - a very similar period H&H. Someone's bright idea, obviously! Thanks.

 

In reply to a slightly earlier posting, if Westminster Abbey had one, it hasn't now.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ely Cathedral has one.

 

Not quite sure what the point is unless you want to do interesting things with the Solo sub/octave and unison off couplers.

 

The octave couplers do not always affect coupled divisions, unless this feature had been built into the wiring (or the Solid-State). I think that it depends on whether the couplers are built on to the under-actions or electro-mechanical coupler-boards. (Or, for that matter, circuit boards.)

 

In reply to a slightly earlier posting, if Westminster Abbey had one, it hasn't now.

 

Rocking-tablet, inset into the key-cheek.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest Psalm 78 v.67
One hates to be proved wrong, but I just have been.

I received an enquiry from someone about a large H&H from 1908. They mentioned a Swell to Solo coupler and my immediate reaction was 'they've got it wrong'. Because I had never seen one, I naturally assumed (being arrogant as well as reasonably well-travelled) that therefore such things did not exist and they had somehow muddled things up. In response, I have been sent a photo of the stop-jamb in question whcih is quite unequivocal. [Cynic goofs again!!]

 

In case anyone thinks I'm having them on, this link should give the spec.

http://npor.emma.cam.ac.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch...ec_index=A01141

 

Anyway, to business!

1. Anyone seen this strange coupler anywhere else?

2. Why was it done?

 

As the Solo strings seem to be only "prepared for" I suppose one could mix the swell strings in with the Solo flutes, although they would obviously have less impact than keener solo strings...

 

I haven't checked any specs, but I think Solo to Swell couplers are fairly common are they not?

 

It's amazing what can be done with "unconventional" couplers; I think someone may have mentioned the Great to Swell on the Harrison formerly at Addington Palace Chapel, where it's place in a quite unusual spec enabled amazing versatility.

 

On my toaster at church, there is an "Auto Pedal" and I have used the 4' pedal reed as a solo on the great an octave down by this means (in a manuals-only chorale prelude obviously as the pedals are scuppered)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest Cynic

Regarding Westmninster Abbey: the Swell can be transferred to Solo, but not coupled to it, I'm sure you'll agree with me that there's quite a difference. I was not in any case finding fault with your posting but commenting on an earlier one by someone else.

 

P.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The octave couplers do not always affect coupled divisions, unless this feature had been built into the wiring (or the Solid-State). I think that it depends on whether the couplers are built on to the under-actions or electro-mechanical coupler-boards. (Or, for that matter, circuit boards.)
Good point. I was assuming that the Swell would not be affected when coupled. If the octave couplers also affect the Swell when coupled through, I see even less point.

 

I suppose that in the era of additive registration, when the first thing you did (if you were lazy) was to draw all the inter-manual couplers, it would have its place in an orchestral build-up:

 

i) Swell

ii) Swell + Solo flues

iii) Swell + Solo + Great

 

It might be similarly useful for adding Solo strings to the Swell ensemble.

 

Although you could get exactly the same effects by drawing the Solo to Swell coupler at the required point, what a Swell to Solo coupler would allow is the flexibility of transferring one hand at a time.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Regarding Westmninster Abbey: the Swell can be transferred to Solo, but not coupled to it, I'm sure you'll agree with me that there's quite a difference. I was not in any case finding fault with your posting but commenting on an earlier one by someone else.

 

P.

 

Indeed, Paul. :)

 

I can also think of two cathedral organs which have Great to Solo couplers: Lincoln and Salisbury. Do you know of any others?

 

However, I would think that a straightforward Swell to Solo coupler whoud have limited uses.

 

Interestingly, the H&H at Durham Cathedral still does not have any octave couplers affecting the Swell division.

 

An organ I played recently has a stop "Choir Reeds on Swell" which does what it says, but you can't then play the reeds on the choir as well. How unusual is this for a stop?

 

Peter

 

This sounds like a standard transfer. I should expect such a stop to do just this. Having said that, a Great Reeds on Choir transfer would be more usual. It would be interesting to see the stop-list of this instrument; in particular, to learn which reeds were normally available on the Choir Organ.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

An organ I played recently has a stop "Choir Reeds on Swell" which does what it says, but you can't then play the reeds on the choir as well. How unusual is this for a stop?

 

Peter

I have not come across such a stop, but I have not infrequently come across a loud solo reed duplicated on Great, Choir and Swell. In such situations the reed does not couple through so you can, for example, solo the reed on the Swell while accompanying it on Gt + full Swell. Not quite sure I see the point of a "Choir Reeds on Swell"; I guess you'd need to know the organ.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have not come across such a stop, but I have not infrequently come across a loud solo reed on Great, Choir and Swell. In such situations the reed does not couple through so you can, for example, solo the reed on the Swell while accompanying it on Gt + full Swell. Not quite sure I see the point of a "Choir Reeds on Swell"; I guess you'd need to know the organ.

 

It would be useful on my own church instrument. Then I could play the Positive Crumhorn in dialogue with the Positive Cornet composé, by means of a transfer Choir reeds on Swell.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest Psalm 78 v.67
Unless you want the ability to transfer the chamade as well, wouldn't it be just as easy to duplex the Crumhorn stop knob on the Swell?

 

My recollection of the Chamade in question is that it could be duplexed to several neighbouring parishes, let alone divisions, and remain audible! (Was it not the late Gordon Reynolds who quipped that the famous medieval (forget exact date) instrument at Winchester could have been used to accompany nave services at Salisbury?!)

 

There is a Phoenix toaster in a church in Burnley that has a Tuba on the swell, the drawing of which activates the swell unison off on the other swell stops allowing a Tuba solo on the swell, accompanied by the great plus any swell stops (minus the Tuba of course) through the swell to great coupler.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Back in the 1970's there was a 2M+P redundant organ (Bevington?) with electric action in a church in west London (Brondesbury?). I can't remember if the detached console/ electric action was home made by the Minister but the Swell featured a 5 1/3 coupler. Horrible noise when using the reeds.

PJW

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My recollection of the Chamade in question is that it could be duplexed to several neighbouring parishes, let alone divisions, and remain audible! (Was it not the late Gordon Reynolds who quipped that the famous medieval (forget exact date) instrument at Winchester could have been used to accompany nave services at Salisbury?!)

 

There is a Phoenix toaster in a church in Burnley that has a Tuba on the swell, the drawing of which activates the swell unison off on the other swell stops allowing a Tuba solo on the swell, accompanied by the great plus any swell stops (minus the Tuba of course) through the swell to great coupler.

 

Gosh how useful. If Bach had had one of those, he'd have been able to write truly great music.

 

Bloody tracker action.

 

:) Barry

Link to comment
Share on other sites

An organ I played recently has a stop "Choir Reeds on Swell" which does what it says, but you can't then play the reeds on the choir as well. How unusual is this for a stop?

 

Peter

 

 

As you say, the stop does exactly as it says. Perhaps it should read "Choir Reeds Transfered to Swell Manual" but you would need a much larger stop knob for this.

 

Fortunately most stops do exactly what they say. It is worrying to find that the "Dulciana" sounds as the "Fifteenth" but I have known this happen if the organist has been messing about with the pipework.

 

FF

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Unless you want the ability to transfer the chamade as well, wouldn't it be just as easy to duplex the Crumhorn stop knob on the Swell?

 

Which would mean taking the treble off the soundboard too - perhaps you could then find room for some upperwork? :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Interestingly, the H&H at Durham Cathedral still does not have any octave couplers affecting the Swell division.

 

Now you're talking! My favourite instrument in the UK methinks- but I'm biased having been both an Undergraduate and Postgraduate at the University. In fact I still learn with Keith Wright on the Cathedral organ so I now know it well.

 

Harrison and Harrison removed the Willis octave couplers in 1905: probably a very sensible move. If you read James Lancelot's excellent 64 page book on the history of the instrument (with colour pictures no less :) ) then there's the following remark on Page 37:

 

"The sub- and super-octave coupling on the Swell which the Willis Swell to Great couplers made available had been removed in 1905, never to return; given the size of the Swell, their use must have been devastating in effect".

 

Charles

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On the topic of odd couplers, The organ in the Paul Recital Hall at Juilliard in New York has a Pedal to Great coupler.

 

I wonder if anyone has ever used it?

 

Eugene Lavery

Assistant Organist

Holy Trinity Cathedral

Auckland

New Zealand

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On the topic of odd couplers, The organ in the Paul Recital Hall at Juilliard in New York has a Pedal to Great coupler.

 

I wonder if anyone has ever used it?

 

As far as I am informed a Pedal to Great coupler exists in Notre-Dame de Paris as well.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Interestingly, the H&H at Durham Cathedral still does not have any octave couplers affecting the Swell division.

 

Now you're talking! My favourite instrument in the UK methinks- but I'm biased having been both an Undergraduate and Postgraduate at the University. In fact I still learn with Keith Wright on the Cathedral organ so I now know it well.

 

Harrison and Harrison removed the Willis octave couplers in 1905: probably a very sensible move. If you read James Lancelot's excellent 64 page book on the history of the instrument (with colour pictures no less :) ) then there's the following remark on Page 37:

 

"The sub- and super-octave coupling on the Swell which the Willis Swell to Great couplers made available had been removed in 1905, never to return; given the size of the Swell, their use must have been devastating in effect".

 

Charles

 

Arthur Harrison evidently wasn't a great fan of couplers. When the specification for Halifax Parish Church was being discussed, the organist wanted the swell sub-octave coupler from the previous instrument retained, but Harrison wrote:-

 

"I do not think the Swell Sub Octave will be missed. It is certainly not essential, and there is a good deal to be said for not having an organ “overcouplered”. Some players depend far too much on couplers for their effects, and that is not good registration."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Arthur Harrison evidently wasn't a great fan of couplers. When the specification for Halifax Parish Church was being discussed, the organist wanted the swell sub-octave coupler from the previous instrument retained, but Harrison wrote:-

 

"I do not think the Swell Sub Octave will be missed. It is certainly not essential, and there is a good deal to be said for not having an organ “overcouplered”. Some players depend far too much on couplers for their effects, and that is not good registration."

 

He would get on well with Nicolas Kynaston, who (when acting as consultant, but I forget for which job) said that octave and suboctave couplers were the hallmark of lazy thought and poor design.

 

The 1851 G&D Limehouse organ with tenor C swell has a Swell to Pedal which is an octave coupler - which makes ENORMOUS sense. If you're using the double and playing up an octave, the coupled note is in the right place; if you want a Pedal cantus firmus you can get it.

 

The G&D/Lincoln job in Buckingham Palace has a Gt-Ped which is a SUB octave. This I did find a nuisance - some ranks (upperwork and reeds) have a ravellement (sp?), completing the GG manuals down to CCC when Gt-Ped is used.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...