Jump to content
Mander Organ Builders Forum

Dulciana Mixtures


Guest Psalm 78 v.67
 Share

Recommended Posts

Guest Psalm 78 v.67

I am playing here http://npor.emma.cam.ac.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch...ec_index=N14777 for a funeral next week. I have played it before, and recall that the Duciana Mixture is so quiet that it can only actually be heard if used with the 8' flute alone. When added to the swell diapasons, either on their own or with the chorus reed one is not aware of it at all.

 

Are all Dulciana Mixtures like this? if so, what purpose do they serve?

 

On this particular organ, I am not happy with the swapping of the Great and Swell reeds either.....

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 60
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

I am playing here http://npor.emma.cam.ac.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch...ec_index=N14777 for a funeral next week. I have played it before, and recall that the Duciana Mixture is so quiet that it can only actually be heard if used with the 8' flute alone. When added to the swell diapasons, either on their own or with the chorus reed one is not aware of it at all.

 

Are all Dulciana Mixtures like this? if so, what purpose do they serve?

 

On this particular organ, I am not happy with the swapping of the Great and Swell reeds either.....

 

It seems a bit odd to enchange the reeds, the Trumpet would be far better in the swell. As far as the Dulciana Mixture is concerned, again I don't see much use for it at all, especially if it can't be heard, but then again, I'm not a great fan of the over employment of the Dulciana anyway.

 

Jonathan

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The Dulciana Mixture is the result of a two-way thinking:

 

1)-The Abschwächungsprinzip, that is, the stops are attributed to the

manuals after their strenght: Manual I: FF. Manual II: MF. Manual III: P

 

2)- The necessity, already felt in some circles since about 1900, to have

Diapason choruses on more than just one manual.

 

The Dulciana Mixture, a typical "Post-romantic" feature, is a compromise between both designs.

 

Now about its usefullness: since about 1945 up to about 2000 here on the Continent, soft stops

were despised; it was the neo-classical/ baroque period.

A good stop was a loud one, a good organ was the one that made the most sound

from the fewer stops.

Now soft voices are rapidly regaining interest, and builders commence to build again such stops.

 

The fact the Dulciana is despised nowadays in Britain is the best testimony for this, which could

not be agreeable, but it is a fact: Britain is still in the Néo-classique périod.

 

Now let's go towards that actual Dulciana Mixture stop.

 

-What is the specification of that Manual? (1)

-How does is sound like alone? (the scales of this stop are quite variable!)

 

Soft stops are infinitely precious; a soft Mixture, barely audible at the console, may be exactly

to the point in the Nave in quiet music or accompaniment...

 

 

1)- OK it's here:

 

Double Diapason 16

13 Open Diapason 8

14 Hohl Flute 8

15 Salicional 8

16 Voix Celeste 8

17 Gemshorn 4

18 Suabe Flute 4

19 Dulciana Mixture II

20 Clarinet 8 moved from Great in 1998

21 Oboe 8

22 Tremulant

 

The Specification is probably 2 2/3'-2'. So you have, with either O.D. or Salicional, and Gemshorn 4',

a complete Diapason-like chorus, to be used like a Diapason chorus that would speak from next room

Pierre

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The Specification is probably 2 2/3'-2'. So you have, with either O.D. or Salicional, and Gemshorn 4', a complete Diapason-like chorus, to be used like a Diapason chorus that would speak from next room

If at the console it can only be heard with the 8' flute, there is no way it is going to form any sort of chorus with the diapason-toned stops, even down the church. I should imagine that the best one could hope for down the church is some sort of shimmer that doesn't draw too much attention away from the fundamental tone, but, not knowing the organ, I'm only guessing.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A Mixture is not intended to be heard; its effect is there, tough,

as an harmonic-corroborating stop.

Moreover, its effect may be stronger in the nave than near

the console.

Of course after decades of néo baroque screaming devices, louder

than the foundation, this may be surprising!

The german organ had an equivalent to the D.M., the Harmonia aetherea

(with 17th); this stop too regains favor with continental builders.

 

Pierre

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest Psalm 78 v.67
If at the console it can only be heard with the 8' flute, there is no way it is going to form any sort of chorus with the diapason-toned stops, even down the church. I should imagine that the best one could hope for down the church is some sort of shimmer that doesn't draw too much attention away from the fundamental tone, but, not knowing the organ, I'm only guessing.

 

Not even a glimmer of a shimmer! I haven't actually worked out the composition, but I suspect that there is a "prominent" (ha ha!) 12th in there. Adding it to the 8 & 4 diapasons does no more than a very slight "fattening" of the sound with no brightness or shimmer whatsoever. Add the oboe first, then the mixture and there is absolutely nothing noticeable.

 

A bit like the Piccolo here - http://npor.emma.cam.ac.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch...ec_index=K00177

It's a Hele, Vox!! (Any guesses as to where it came from in Plymouth?)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A Mixture is not intended to be heard; its effect is there, tough,

as an harmonic-corroborating stop.

Moreover, its effect may be stronger in the nave than near

the console.

 

 

Pierre

 

Pierre, I disagree - as you would no doubt expect.

 

Of course a mixture is there to be heard. If there is no aural perception of a compound stop being drawn, then it is unlikely to be of any great utility. All the mixtures on my own instrument are superbly voiced and provide a thrilling (in the correct sense of the word) cap to each chorus. They do not scream and, unless one cannot bear any upper-work which reaches beyond a humble Fifteenth, they are absolutey vital to the chorus.

 

I have encountered one or two examples of dulciana mixtures and as others have observed, they were virtually pointless.

 

It is true that on many organs the balance of the instrument (or of certain ranks) as heard at the console can be deceptive. However, whilst the Minster organ never had a Dulciana Mixture, it did have a Dulciana on the G.O. From the console, it was very, very quiet (and only used in carelessness). Form the Nave - as close to inaudible as to render it without purpose.

 

I like quiet stops. My Swell Organ has a beautiful Viola (which has more harmonic interest than any Dulicana I have heard). Together with the Vox Angelica the effect is ethereal, restful and entirely satisfying. It should be said that even this Viola on its own does pall after a short time.

 

Schnitger, Silbermann, Muller mixtures not meant to be heard? Blimey, better not tell them! :rolleyes:

 

 

Indeed, Vox!!

 

I have never heard that particular argument before....

 

B)

 

... but then again, I'm not a great fan of the over employment of the Dulciana anyway.

 

Jonathan

 

Ah - a like-minded individual.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

As with any stop, it depends on what else is available on the same manual, and how it is voiced. On top of 8', 4' and 2' flutes it might have a purpose providing the blend was right. It seems to me, though, that mixtures need to be rather louder than the name would imply; Organs are expensive, and to include stops with little or no use seems rather wasteful.

 

Regards to all

 

John

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"mixtures need to be rather louder than the name would imply; Organs are expensive, and to include stops with little or no use seems rather wasteful."

(Quote)

Apologies, but I am afraid this could be a copy/paste of what scholars said in Brussels

in....1960.

 

Pierre

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest Cynic
As with any stop, it depends on what else is available on the same manual, and how it is voiced. On top of 8', 4' and 2' flutes it might have a purpose providing the blend was right. It seems to me, though, that mixtures need to be rather louder than the name would imply; Organs are expensive, and to include stops with little or no use seems rather wasteful.

 

Regards to all

 

John

 

 

I think a Dulciana Mixture is better than no mixture at all. We must remember that a lot of designers were even against Fifteenths at one point. Several Binns organs have a 'so-called' Dulciana Mixture, which turns out (when drawn) to make a fair sound - bearing in mind these never go higher than a Fifteenth. Binns also used to sneak a bright 2' onto the Great by labelling it Flautina.

 

Paper specifications have to be approved, and an innofensive/un-threatening name may be found necessary in order for the builder to get some necessary pipework included.

 

Your Dulciana Mixture could always be opened up a little. The narrow scaling should be good news if anyone decided to do this....far too many late 19th/early 20th century mixtures are scaled too widely.

 

I suppose our expectation of mixtures is rather dominated by the Schulze/Schnitger/Downes examples that have been all the rage during our lifetimes. Twas not always thus. One of the best Great diapason choruses I know (the Lewis example at Southwark Cathedral) was not heard for many, many years. In the days of the great Mr.Cook, it is said that he never drew a Great stop above 4'.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest Psalm 78 v.67
One of the best Great diapason choruses I know (the Lewis example at Southwark Cathedral) was not heard for many, many years. In the days of the great Mr.Cook, it is said that he never drew a Great stop above 4'.

 

Was there not a Titulaire at Notre Dame once who did likewise?

 

I heard a story once about Dr W H Harris at Windsor playing a Bach fugue on a battery of 8' Diapasons, and adding a 4' whilst mischievously commenting "Baroque!"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Was there not a Titulaire at Notre Dame once who did likewise?"

(Quote)

 

Of course: it was Mr Sergent, the titular just before Louis Vierne.

 

Southwark -one of the best memories I have of excellent Diapason choruses-.

Should be made again for new organs !

And we should try Dulciana Mixtures as well, as echo Mixtures. Not intended

as cluster-like would-be-Schnitger ones...

 

Pierre

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Was there not a Titulaire at Notre Dame once who did likewise?"

(Quote)

 

Of course: it was Mr Sergent, the titular just before Louis Vierne.

 

Pierre

 

Eugène (-Michel) Sergent (b. Boulogne-sur-Mer, May 19, 1829; d. Sens, April 15, 1900. He had studied with Jean-Baptiste Guilmant (1793-1890), the father of Félix-Alexandre, and with Alphonse Godefroid, the father of a celebrated harpist. At the age of twelve, Sergent won a competition for a place in the maîtrise of Nôtre-Dame; he continued studies with Alexandre P. F. Boëly (1785-1858) and Joseph Pollet (1806-1883). At the very young age of eighteen, he was appointed Titulaire of Nôtre-Dame de Paris.

 

Somewhat unfortunately, for most of the first sixteen years of his incumbency he was Titulaire sans orgue - due to the fact that at the restoration of the cathedral the organ was not only covered with dust and dirt, but for a time also left exposed to the elements. It was not until 1868 that Cavaillé-Coll's masterpiece was inaugurated.

 

There is an interesting sub-thread to this story. Whilst Guilmant and others were later to criticise Cavaillé-Coll for sacrificing mutation stops in many of his instruments, it is perhaps some of Guilmant's own contemporaries who should shoulder the blame - Sergent was a prime example. He (in the words of Loius Vierne) "... had a horror of [mutations] as well as of the four-foot stops. That magnificent realisation of the seven harmonics on three claviers thus remained for [Cavaillé-Coll] a source of purely scientific satisfaction." *

 

 

 

* p. 97. Louis Vierne - Organist of Nôtre-Dame Cathedral - Rollin Smith. Pendragon Press; 1999.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am playing here http://npor.emma.cam.ac.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch...ec_index=N14777 for a funeral next week. I have played it before, and recall that the Duciana Mixture is so quiet that it can only actually be heard if used with the 8' flute alone. When added to the swell diapasons, either on their own or with the chorus reed one is not aware of it at all.

 

Are all Dulciana Mixtures like this? if so, what purpose do they serve?

 

On this particular organ, I am not happy with the swapping of the Great and Swell reeds either.....

 

If it is anything like the Dulciana Mixture that used to be on the Swell at Holy Trinity, Stirling (which was also originally a Conacher's job) then it will be completely and utterly useless ...

 

I'm not sure how much of the blame for Holy Trinity, Stirling rests with Conacher's or whether Binns Fitton & Haley and Hill, Norman and Beard who subsequently worked on it are also culpable but this instrument as it existed in the 1970's, when I had the misfortune to play it on a fairly regular basis, was by far the worst and least musical instrument I have ever had the misfortune to encounter ...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Southwark -one of the best memories I have of excellent Diapason choruses-.

Should be made again for new organs !

 

I agree Pierre, Lewis was a superb builder and pipe maker, we should have far more organs like this. I remember playing it in the late 1980's, thoroughly rewarding.

 

Jonathan :P

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The swell organ (but not the choir and great) in Tetbury Parish Church was added by Binns and has a stop labelled "Dulciana Mixture III". It may be gentler than some mixtures but its a very serviceable and musical swell mixture. I believe Paul's assertion about pitches is not true with regards to this example however. I wouldn't want to stake my life on it, but I think its something like a 15-19-22.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest Cynic
The swell organ (but not the choir and great) in Tetbury Parish Church was added by Binns and has a stop labelled "Dulciana Mixture III". It may be gentler than some mixtures but its a very serviceable and musical swell mixture. I believe Paul's assertion about pitches is not true with regards to this example however. I wouldn't want to stake my life on it, but I think its something like a 15-19-22.

 

 

Neil, you could well be right.

I should have qualified my remark carefully and said that from middle C up, these are unlikely to include a pitch higher than a Fifteenth.

 

P.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Southwark -one of the best memories I have of excellent Diapason choruses-.

Should be made again for new organs !

Pierre

 

Well, I agree, Pierre - but I am surprised that you do not find the G. O. Mixture* rather bright....

 

 

 

* (19-22-26-29)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A Mixture is not intended to be heard; its effect is there, tough,

as an harmonic-corroborating stop.

 

Pierre

 

 

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

 

 

Someone should have mentioned this to Edmund Schulze!

 

That stated, there are more subtle Mixtures at Doncaster, which sound glorious.

 

It's interesting that Pierre should pick up on T C Lewis at Southwark (and elsewhere), because he was really copying (very successfully) what Schulze had done before him, with one notable alteration. Lewis had a habit (so I am informed), of just slightly arching the top lip of his Quint ranks, unlike Schulze. To my ears, the effect is rather better than that achieved by Schulze, but I may be biased.

 

However, in my mis-spent youth, I used to trot along and hold the keys for the tuner at Clayton PC, Bradford, West Yorkshire.

 

Here is a very curious instrument (if it is still in situ), built by Hill twoards the end of the 19th century. It was re-built, but to what extent I cannot say, by Hill, Norman & Beard in 1916.

 

Pierre would love the quieter stops of this instrument; quite beautiful sounds in fact.

 

However, this has a Swell organ which contains the quietest "Mixture" I've ever encountered, and which really makes almost no contribution to almost anything. It is, of course, labelled "Dulciana Mixture" SIX RANKS!!!!!!

 

That strange collection of pipes is a criminal waste of tin and lead IMHO.

 

Here is the spec:_

 

Pedal

 

1 Contra Basse 16

2 Bourdon 16

 

Great

3 Bourdon 16

4 Open Diapason 8

5 Claribel Flute 8

6 Octave 4

7 Nazard 2 2/3

8 Doublette 2

 

Swell

9 Lieblich Bourdon 16

10 Harmonic Flute 8

11 Viola da Gamba 8

12 Voix Celeste 8 Gamut G

13 Gemshorn 4

14 Echo Dulciana Cornet VI

15 Clarionet 8

16 Oboe 8

17 Trumpet 8

 

Echo

 

18 Dulciana 8

19 Lieblich Gedact 8

20 Flauto Dolce 4

21 Harmonic Piccolo 2

 

 

 

MM

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This one seems to be designed to work with the Lieblich 16' alone,

as a Cornet, not a Mixture; exactly like the german Harmonia aetherea.

I am afraid we shall soon be criminals, MM....

 

Lewis Mixtures -Southwark at least, which I heard in Situ- seem somewhat

softer than Schulze's -Armley at least, which I heard in Situ-. The material

could be different too, because Lewis son's book describes nothing richer

in tin than the about 50/50 Spotted metal.

Such Mixtures are both clear and strong AND corroborating; they enrich

the foundation tone with harmonics, and produce resultant, deep tones

at the same time.

I'd go for the Lewis version in new organs -while preserving jealously the

original Schulze ones......Doncaster? Where is it ? A tiny village, a "Kaff"

as people say in eastern Belgium??? :P:lol::lol:

 

Pierre

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This one seems to be designed to work with the Lieblich 16' alone, as a Cornet, not a Mixture

On paper it looks as if it may perhaps have been intended to colour the Bourdon in the absence of a 16' reed, but I find it difficult to believe that it was designed specifically to be used with the Bourdon alone. I don't think English performance practice ever worked like that, though I'm happy to be corrected by those who know differently.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest Cynic
On paper it looks as if it may perhaps have been intended to colour the Bourdon in the absence of a 16' reed, but I find it difficult to believe that it was designed specifically to be used with the Bourdon alone. I don't think English performance practice ever worked like that, though I'm happy to be corrected by those who know differently.

 

 

I'm with VH, I think this mixture was intended to top the 8' and 4' chorus in a non-agressive way. Unfortunately, I gather it succeeds too well. This could be mostly a question of dirt. Dulcianas are notorious for going off-speech or soft because of dirt in the flue. If the stop is cone-tuned, that too can soften a stop down over the years. A small chorus is a desirable thing in certain circumstances. Was it Norman Cocker who wrote about 'quiet brilliance'?

 

I think that such a tonal scheme makes sense when the organ in question is viewed as primarily an accompanimental instrument. A hundred years ago, even fifty years ago, all self-respecting churches had a choir. Few of those boasted an organist who aspired to be a recitalist. Viewed in this light, practically every modest-sized organ designed for the needs of yesteryear frustrates us now - we regularly have to lead worship on our own or play (authentic-sounding) solos, neither of them anticipated at the time.

 

However, once a specification goes above about thirty stops, most instruments of the period have a wide-enough specification to keep (most of) us happy.....an organ which can boast a proper Full Swell, a Great chorus to quint Mixture and a Pedal Trombone can make a pretty good stab at anything. The Organ Club recently visited an old Conacher three-decker at Raunds near Northampton. That organ, recently restored (by Nicholsons) without any changes, could hold its own in virtually any repertoire. At one time, such organs were common. Terrific!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"This could be mostly a question of dirt. Dulcianas are notorious for going off-speech or soft because of dirt in the flue. If the stop is cone-tuned, that too can soften a stop down over the years."

(Quote)

 

Indeed, this is a point.

As for the registrations such stops were intended for, we need to keep in mind a majority of

them were build between 1900 and 1930 (The A.H and Oscar Walcker period...), so not

the "romantic", rather the "Post-romantic", a period of experimentations along several

ways, from the Hope-Jones ultra-orchestral style to the first neo-baroque trials.

Do we really know what the builders said about those D.M., Dulciana Cornet, Dolce Cornet,

Harmonia aetherea ? What they intended to do with them?

As I said, they fulfill the structural needs of two very different conceptions of the organ.

 

Pierre

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...