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I attended my niece's confirmation today in Winchester Cathedral - the place was about 2/3 full and we were sitting about six bays down the nave from the choir screen. The school choir was nicely poised behind the nave altar directed by its DOM, the organist was one of the very expert cathedral team so there were no 'strange console' experiences and all went fine till the first hymn. After the playover we all joined in - BUT - it was almost mayhem. Our party just gave up and listened - who should we follow - the DOM conducting at the front, what we heard from the organ (some fairly hefty reeds from round the corner in the north aisle were pumping out the bass line but the rest was indistinct) or each other? Some of the congregation near by obviously knew the hymns better than others and sang very loudly - but out of time with much else and my wife looked at me with the sort of look that heaped the wrongs of Anglican Church Music fair and square on my shoulders. Hardly any one knew the last hymn (Coe Fen) so consequently things were one step even closer to anarchy. The Mulet Carillon Sortie on the way out was amazing however! Does this happen regularly, do any of the rest of you ever get to sit on the other side of things (I must admit I have not 'congregated' for ages) and what on earth should Winchester (or similar places) do about their congregational participation - if anything, in the nave at least? Do nave organs help?

 

AJJ

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This is pretty much par for the course at Winchester. The "Nave organ" is really just a Bombarde section, which happens to be closer to the nave than the rest of the organ. I'm fairly certain that the Hele Bombardes are placed behind it, and these are the reeds which are heard reasonably well in the nave. I've played for a couple of services when the nave was about 2/3 full and the advice then was to use Full Sw & almost full Gt throughout and to chose various combinations of Nave Mixture & Trumpet for variety. I've also sat in a number of different places in the nave for services and can confirm that the ability of the organ to offer any sort of lead to large congregations only worsens the further down the nave you go. Some years ago I sat in the north transept for the Carol Service at York Minster (the only free seats 80 minutes before the start of the service) and noted a similar effect there - only when the large Tuba was drawn was there any real lead from the organ.

 

At Winchester, a real Nave Organ, placed (say) in the 5th bay (working from the east) would improve matters considerably - the Nave is used most weeks for the two morning services. The regular Mattins congregation (which is a similar size to that at the Eucharist) somehow manages to join in singing the Venite and either the Te Deum or Jubilate each week - the choir sings in Unison to try to provide a lead. At very large services, members of the congregation tend to time their singing on the arrival of the sound of the Open Wood, rather than paying any attention to any conducting that might be offered for the choir.

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Isn't the nave at Winchester something like 300 feet in length? That means it takes sound getting on for half a second to travel from one end to the other. If the folk at the back time their singing to when the sound from the organ arrives there, the people at the front will hear those at the back to be a full second behind their own singing, which would be getting on for two beats if the hymn were taken fast.

 

I've been towards the back of the nave for "full house" services in York. When those of us at the back drew breath at the end of the lines of the hymns, we could hear those at the front already half way through the next line! The organ gives virtually no lead to those in the rear third of the nave. Even with the tuba thundering away, it is inaudible above the sound of the 1,500 people between the back rows and the organ. And you really can't accompany every verse of every hymn at that volume.

 

If congregational singing is to be taken seriously in buildings of this size, the only answer, in my view, is to site a section of the organ two thirds of the way down the nave. This not only makes the organ audible throughout the building: it would also mean everybody was within 100 feet of an organ, and would thus hear it within about 0.15 seconds of each other, and thus be able to sing together, give or take a quarter of a beat.

 

How do they manage these things in long churches on the continent?

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At Winchester, a real Nave Organ, placed (say) in the 5th bay (working from the east) would improve matters considerably - the Nave is used most weeks for the two morning services.

 

I can think of an organ not too far away that would fit the bill nicely - not sure where it would go, mind... I took Andy into see it, but I can't imagine the cathedral stumping up the kind of cash that would be needed to get it reliably playable instead of designing a brand new, purpose built nave division.

 

 

Isn't the nave at Winchester something like 300 feet in length? That means it takes sound getting on for half a second to travel from one end to the other. If the folk at the back time their singing to when the sound from the organ arrives there, the people at the front will hear those at the back to be a full second behind their own singing, which would be getting on for two beats if the hymn were taken fast.

 

There's a big distance to cover. We were lucky enough to do the Allegri in there for Ash Wednesday, and even though my semi-chorus's mouths were moving in time with my beat for the final section (they insisted on singing it for some reason - best not to argue with the 1st soprano, also called "wife"), the sound arrived a good 2 beats behind - listening to the recording, you can clearly hear the main choir singing tu os, finish, then you get a second tu os after the main choir has cleared.

 

I've always found singing/conducting in the choir stalls unrewarding, but conducting that Allegri was a different world - the nave choir were a long way back, and there were no seats out in the nave either, and this fantastically distant manna seemed to be just floating down on our heads. Quite incredible. Quite sharp too :lol: (semitone up pretty much from the 1st verse). Andy Lumsden describes the effect as "a distant moistening of the undergarments. How true.

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I've always found singing/conducting in the choir stalls unrewarding, but conducting that Allegri was a different world - the nave choir were a long way back, and there were no seats out in the nave either, and this fantastically distant manna seemed to be just floating down on our heads. Quite incredible. Quite sharp too :lol: (semitone up pretty much from the 1st verse). Andy Lumsden describes the effect as "a distant moistening of the undergarments. How true.

 

Totally off target but maybe linked with the above comments - the very new public loos in the centre of our town for some reason have the Allegri playing over a speaker system for the entertainment (?) of clients.

 

AJJ

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Perhaps it's to ensure that clients don't linger! Just a thought prompted by a remark on the radio this morning about some retailer who had found that the best way to get rid of groups of loitering teenagers was to play classical music to them loudly over the PA system. Something like that - I was only semi conscious at the time.

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Perhaps it's to ensure that clients don't linger! Just a thought prompted by a remark on the radio this morning about some retailer who had found that the best way to get rid of groups of loitering teenagers was to play classical music to them loudly over the PA system. Something like that - I was only semi conscious at the time.

 

 

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

 

 

What an awful thought!

 

Public loos full of organists and choral enthusiasts.

 

:lol:

 

MM

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Ahem! If i could be so bold to lead this conversation from the lavatorial depths to which it has descended....

 

I'm yet to have an enjoyable experience singing congregationally in a large resonant acoustic, although I do recall Ian Tracey's judicious use of the tuba keeping a cathedral full of people on the straight and narrow for lot longer than I would have thought possible in the space.

 

I'm sorry no-one know Coe Fen, it's a great tune.

 

This probably added nothing to to the debate - sorry for the interruption - I can't quite bring myself to return this debate to the toilet so i'll compromise at the classical music/railway station issue. At Central Station here in Sydney they have the Rodrigo Concierto de Orange juice on seemingly interminable loop. It really is quite a boring piece when you're forced to listen to it.

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Guest Psalm 78 v.67

Soloing the tune on the Tuba(s) has been a Liverpool tradition for a long time, and it does work, doesn't it.

 

I believe that Goss Custard in the early days developed a way of using the various parts of the Liverpool organ to give parts of the congregation a "boost" when necessary.

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Soloing the tune on the Tuba(s) has been a Liverpool tradition for a long time, and it does work, doesn't it.

 

I believe that Goss Custard in the early days developed a way of using the various parts of the Liverpool organ to give parts of the congregation a "boost" when necessary.

 

At St Paul's, Huw Williams will, on occassions, solo a tune on the Dome Trompette Militaire. This works too !

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Perhaps it's to ensure that clients don't linger! Just a thought prompted by a remark on the radio this morning about some retailer who had found that the best way to get rid of groups of loitering teenagers was to play classical music to them loudly over the PA system. Something like that - I was only semi conscious at the time.

 

This is quite possible. This strategy has already been tested and implemented in many places around Toronto, especially transit stations.

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Guest Psalm 78 v.67

I don't know if anyone else has the same problem, but I often find that I am playing faster than I think I am. I have been particularly aware of this upon hearing (usually unofficial, clandestine) recordings of "special services". (Our Area Bishop's chaplain has a habit of recording confirmation services and sending copies to the parish priests!)

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I do find this a problem with repertoire generally. I'm sure it got worse when I acquired my toaster - probably something to do with the immediacy of the sound in a naff domestic acoustic, for which no artificial reverberation can adequately compensate.

 

I don't think I suffer from it in services, but this may be because I like my hymns to be reasonably "spacious", so I could still play them faster than I think I'm playing without them being anywhere near the speed some people take them!

 

But when I've heard recordings of my playing at services the speeds have all seemed OK. No, it's repertoire that's my problem. Fortunately it wasn't a recital, but a month or so ago I gave a thoroughly disgraceful performance of the Dupré G minor fugue in front of a group of organists. The problems were purely down to setting too fast a speed.

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Guest Nigel ALLCOAT
I don't know if anyone else has the same problem, but I often find that I am playing faster than I think I am. I have been particularly aware of this upon hearing (usually unofficial, clandestine) recordings of "special services". (Our Area Bishop's chaplain has a habit of recording confirmation services and sending copies to the parish priests!)

 

I am quite appalled to read this about a chaplain recording services. Unless agreed beforehand by all concerned, this should be stopped at the earliest opportunity and reported to the necessary authorities.

 

As for playing hymns, it is often a good idea to sing them yourself sometimes when rehearsing for the service. Phrasing/breathing then seems to be more natural, I used to think. Speeds also seem better as syllables often take longer than some players think. Playing for a senior boy's school chapel every morning certainly hones a special hymn-playing technique. Invaluable.

 

A J asks about Nave Organs. Of course I think that keeping the resources together is of paramount importance and a leading instrument should not ideally be in another part of the building! Winchester must be extremely difficult as people singing between organ and congregation surely get far too much sound. One such cathedral is talking of a new organ especially for the Nave and certainly not connected in any way to the other that is in the Choir. The Choir are drowned at the moment when Nave singing is accompanied.

 

All the best,

N

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I don't know if anyone else has the same problem, but I often find that I am playing faster than I think I am. I have been particularly aware of this upon hearing (usually unofficial, clandestine) recordings of "special services". (Our Area Bishop's chaplain has a habit of recording confirmation services and sending copies to the parish priests!)

 

 

I hope you were paid the additional fee for the recordings.

 

J.S.

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Guest Barry Williams
I don't know if anyone else has the same problem, but I often find that I am playing faster than I think I am. I have been particularly aware of this upon hearing (usually unofficial, clandestine) recordings of "special services". (Our Area Bishop's chaplain has a habit of recording confirmation services and sending copies to the parish priests!)

 

 

I hope that your Area Bishop's Chaplain is fully aware of the serious breach of performers' rights that occurs in this illegal act. There is but one very limited exemption in the Copyright Act for private recording. What you describe is outside it.

 

Barry Williams

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I hope that your Area Bishop's Chaplain is fully aware of the serious breach of performers' rights that occurs in this illegal act. There is but one very limited exemption in the Copyright Act for private recording. What you describe is outside it.

 

Barry Williams

 

Out of interest - what is the exemption, please?

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Guest Barry Williams
i stand to be corrected but i think it is if you make a 'private' recording for your own benefit only (i'm not even sure such recordings can be passed on to friends of yours, on a not for profit basis)

 

 

The distribution of the recording as described is emphatically outside the very limited terms of the Act.

 

Barry Williams

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Guest Barry Williams
Out of interest - what is the exemption, please?

 

 

There is no law that stops you recording copyright music. Section 182(1) Copyright, Designs and Patents Act

1988 applies when:

 

1. You wish to use the recording other than for 'private and domestic' use,

 

or

 

2. You do not get consent of the performer(s).

 

'Private and domestic' means just that and is interpreted strictly. I do not agree with the widely held view that a video recordist paid to take a wedding video is merely an agent of the bride and groom, even if the video is for their own 'private and domestic' use. I say this is a commercial arrangment and outside the exemption. Others take a more liberal view on this point.

 

Making recorded copies of a church concert for members of the choir to enjoy is, emphatically, not 'private and domestic' and contravenes the Act, even if it is not done commercially.

 

For the sake of completeness I also mention Section 185 which deals with exclusive rights in recording contracts and under which some modern church music has restrictions. Performing rights last for fifty years from the date of the perfomance in question.

 

 

 

Barry Williams

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Does this mean that for Songs of Praise, Choral Evensong or any royal wedding to be broadcast the BBC has to get the consent of everyone involved, including every member of the congregation (who perform the hymns)?

 

 

There is no law that stops you recording copyright music. Section 182(1) Copyright, Designs and Patents Act

1988 applies when:

 

1. You wish to use the recording other than for 'private and domestic' use,

 

or

 

2. You do not get consent of the performer(s).

 

'Private and domestic' means just that and is interpreted strictly. I do not agree with the widely held view that a video recordist paid to take a wedding video is merely an agent of the bride and groom, even if the video is for their own 'private and domestic' use. I say this is a commercial arrangment and outside the exemption. Others take a more liberal view on this point.

 

Making recorded copies of a church concert for members of the choir to enjoy is, emphatically, not 'private and domestic' and contravenes the Act, even if it is not done commercially.

 

For the sake of completeness I also mention Section 185 which deals with exclusive rights in recording contracts and under which some modern church music has restrictions. Performing rights last for fifty years from the date of the perfomance in question.

Barry Williams

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