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The Twelfth As Part Of The Chorus


john carter
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Guest Cynic
I find I am inconsistent about the use of the Twelfth as part of the GO chorus. At times I feel it is invaluable, at other times it just seems to add an edge that I don't like. When do you choose to use this stop or omit it?

JC

 

 

Depends on how well it has been scaled and voiced. A good Twelfth ought to be able to do two things

1. to blend seamlessly with the 8.4.2 diapasons (this is its primary purpose) The Twelfth both enriches (excites?) the tone (more complex freqencies) and reinforces 8' pitch. It needs to be scaled as a diapason not a flute, ideally only slightly narrower than the 4' Principal.

2. It should be not so forceful that it cannot make a colourful combination with flutes.

 

I like a good Twelfth and like Swell Oboes, Clarions, manual Bourdons and Celestes, they have often been left out of more recent schemes. In a small building, 8.4.2/3.2 makes a deal more sense and is easier to live with than 8.4.2.III.

 

Part of the reason why some choruses do not bind - e.g. 'mixtures that seem to stand apart' is that pitches have been missed out. Anyone who specifies 8.4.2 and then nothing before a mixture starting at the 22nd or above is ignoring two important quint pitches in between. If there's no room for a separate Twelfth, I would introduce it at Middle C in a Great mixture, that's better than nothing.

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I find I am inconsistent about the use of the Twelfth as part of the GO chorus. At times I feel it is invaluable, at other times it just seems to add an edge that I don't like. When do you choose to use this stop or omit it?

JC

 

Use your ears and discretion. If it does not sound right (and this applies to almost everything) and you have a choice, leave it out.

 

FF

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Depends on how well it has been scaled and voiced. A good Twelfth ought to be able to do two things

1. to blend seamlessly with the 8.4.2 diapasons (this is its primary purpose) The Twelfth both enriches (excites?) the tone (more complex freqencies) and reinforces 8' pitch. It needs to be scaled as a diapason not a flute, ideally only slightly narrower than the 4' Principal.

2. It should be not so forceful that it cannot make a colourful combination with flutes.

 

I like a good Twelfth and like Swell Oboes, Clarions, manual Bourdons and Celestes, they have often been left out of more recent schemes. In a small building, 8.4.2/3.2 makes a deal more sense and is easier to live with than 8.4.2.III.

 

Part of the reason why some choruses do not bind - e.g. 'mixtures that seem to stand apart' is that pitches have been missed out. Anyone who specifies 8.4.2 and then nothing before a mixture starting at the 22nd or above is ignoring two important quint pitches in between. If there's no room for a separate Twelfth, I would introduce it at Middle C in a Great mixture, that's better than nothing.

 

 

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

 

 

I would agree with Paul, but also add, that one of the reasons why so many added Mixtures in re-built organs fail to "Mix," is the fact that they are voiced far too brightly. I know a Hill (19th century) Swell, with just such as Mixture at 22.26.29., and the result is horrific. Hill tended to voice on the "dull" side of things, and with limited harmonic development, the Mixture sounds completely wrong within the chorus.

 

Tierce ranks can go some way towards binding everything together, and I often wonder if the ideal 3 rks Mixture isn't that used by English builders from the 18th century to Father Willis, at 17.19.22. I don't think a normal quint mixture can ever work with just 3 rks, a Mixture of 4 rks being a whole lot better.

 

It often amazes me when I play old organs in the Netherlands, in quite small churches, where there can be 8 or more ranks of Mixtures just on the "Great," yet I have never heard one sound "wrong" because they were too brightly voiced or too loud.

 

MM

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Guest Barry Williams

An unmusical effect is created when the quint is on the top in the lowest thirty notes of a Swell Mixture, as at the City Temple. The use of the Swell to Pedal can thus create the effect of consecutive octaves on the bass line.

 

Twelfth (i.e. quint) ranks are usually a couple of scales smaller than the Fifteenth, (rather than the Principal), in order to ensure that the melody is foremost. Some quint ranks are, like Willis Tierce ranks, conical, for the same reason.

 

Tooting Methodist Church had an 8' diapason in the mixture from middle C up to strenghten the melodic effect in hymn singing. (Cecil Clutton, the consultant, was, apparently, unaware of this!)

 

The Mixture on the Fairfield Hall Great Organ used to have, as its lowest pitch at middle C, a Fifteenth. The result was that recitalists often coupled the Choir or Swell Mixtures to the Great Organ to add the requisite brightness.

 

Barry Williams

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Twelfth (i.e. quint) ranks are usually a couple of scales smaller than the Fifteenth, (rather than the Principal), in order to ensure that the melody is foremost. Some quint ranks are, like Willis Tierce ranks, conical, for the same reason.

 

 

In our jargon, Willis that is, the "Twelfth" will usually be between 4 and 6 notes smaller than the 15th, at 2ft C - thereby still allowing the 12th to look bigger than the 15th at the bottom note - if there is a Great Double, then the 2ft C pipe of the 16ft will usually be the same diameter (not scale, note) as the bottom C of the 12th.

 

I am not aware of any conical pipes, especially tierces, in any Willis organs, with the exception of but a few rather cranky Henry 3 Mixtures and the odd Gemshorn made between 1945 and 1965, often zinc to the top note!

 

David Wyld.

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