Jump to content
Mander Organ Builders Forum

Pedal Note Naming Convention - Gg, C, Aa Etc.


martin_greenwood
 Share

Recommended Posts

16ft is sub-unison on the pedal division. 8ft still reigns supreme!

This may be true when playing hymns, and any amount of older music; but there's plenty of music which assumes a 16 foot unison on the pedals, and whose harmony would be inverted without it.

 

Paul

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This may be true when playing hymns, and any amount of older music; but there's plenty of music which assumes a 16 foot unison on the pedals, and whose harmony would be inverted without it.

Or "which assumes a 16' sub-unison". There are Bach chorales which require 16' pitch on the bass line too; that doesn't necessarily mean that the bass line's notional pitch is an octave lower than written, just that it requires, in addition to the standard pitch, an supplementary lower one.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This may be true when playing hymns, and any amount of older music; but there's plenty of music which assumes a 16 foot unison on the pedals, and whose harmony would be inverted without it.

 

Paul

 

A classic case or two can be found in Bach's Trio Sonatas. I quite like the relief of playing some movements without a 16' stop on the pedal; unfortunately, Bach has other ideas and sometimes this nice ideal simply does not work for the reason pwh gives above.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest Nigel ALLCOAT
A classic case or two can be found in Bach's Trio Sonatas. I quite like the relief of playing some movements without a 16' stop on the pedal; unfortunately, Bach has other ideas and sometimes this nice ideal simply does not work for the reason pwh gives above.

 

Absolutely. It is quite necessary in some movements. But isn't it odd to hear people playing them as if they are late in catching the last bus home? A lot of players seem only to hear the 8ft in a pedal line, even when there is a reed involved. However, and not to dwell on this point, the pedal line in written music is at 8ft pitch but the composer assumes that it will be like a Contra Basso in the orchestra - heard an octave lower. When we need an 8ft alone, it needs to be specified; likewise a 32ft effect.

For me, I like to think that our modern pedals are a complete distillation of all the European (and American of course) influences put together. But the older I get, the more I wish that when there is a fine 16ft, it can be played on its own. It works many-a time and the speed of the piece benefits too. The clarity is evident as well. That is why I also begin to detest always drawing pedal couplers which, as I stated before, are like octave couplers and produce a sound similar to the G and Big C compass organs that go below what we consider to be our normal compass for the manuals. The Victorians mostly adhered to this - just like slicing off the bottom octave or half an octave and popping the residue for the feet to play. What happened at Lichfield Cathedral when Holdich produced a 'conventional' organ? The Cathedral Organist said he would never use the pedals - even with a 32ft. I bet he did though when he realized the wondrous effect. What about SS W's Choral Song and Fugue that has to be adapted?

I have in 'my care' a most delicious John Nicholson organ at Long Compton (Warks) from the mid-1850's. Ordinary compass for the manuals and the 20 separate 16ft pipes for the feet to play which are permanently coupled to the keyboard. The burgeoning UK organ with a fuller compass?

And of course, in response/reply to Our Man in Wimborne, the mixtures are what he says about the pitch. I was not so clear in my first writing - done after much cerebral work on a Trio Sonata. It is most confusing state of affairs - but one that we all learn about. It is reasonably standardized. I rather like the quirky things that 'in house' builders do. Makes for interest and makes us write volumes on this Board!

 

All best wishes,

Nigel

Link to comment
Share on other sites

As to pcnd's playing of services without using a Swell Mixture, I would put this down to a combination of his good taste and the fact that neoclassical mixtures are often pitched rather too high to blend with voices, however splendid they can be to top a chorus in solo work.

 

Thank you, Cynic! These are exactly the reasons. Although I do like it very much in Bach and other suitable music, I occasionally get through an entire Sunday without drawing the Swell Mixture once. I also tend to omit it in French symphonic works, preferring instead the occasional use of the Swell Octave coupler.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If 16' is not the unison pitch on the Pedal, why are 16' the most frequently found stops... even the only stop on some Pedal organs?

To provide sub-octave pitch! <_<

 

However, just to complicate things (because I am in that sort of mood tonight), how do you regard a Werkprinzip organ where the Hauptwerk is based on a 16' Prinzipal and the pedal on either 16' or 32'? What is the fundamental pitch then?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

To provide sub-octave pitch! <_<

 

However, just to complicate things (because I am in that sort of mood tonight), how do you regard a Werkprinzip organ where the Hauptwerk is based on a 16' Prinzipal and the pedal on either 16' or 32'? What is the fundamental pitch then?

 

Precisely as that. In any case (since I am in this kind of mood tonight), the Hauptwerk will have but one flue at 16ft. pitch. On the Pedal Organ, there is likely to be more than one, possibly as many as three 16ft. flue stops.

 

Aside from a number of chorale preludes by various composers, a few movements from symphonies by Widor and Vierne, eighteenth century anthems and canticle settings, two or three canticle settings by Dyson and the bit in Stanford, in A (in which I simply play the pedals up an octave), I cannot think of much other mainstream repertoire which requires the use of Pedal stops at 8ft. pitch or higher for extended periods.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

To provide sub-octave pitch! :P

 

However, just to complicate things (because I am in that sort of mood tonight), how do you regard a Werkprinzip organ where the Hauptwerk is based on a 16' Prinzipal and the pedal on either 16' or 32'? What is the fundamental pitch then?

Exactly! What is the unison pitch of the Hauptwerk?

 

Am I right in thinking many French classical organs had no 16' flue stop on the pedal?

 

There might well be some mileage in allowing the fundamental pitch of a division to be the pitch of its lowest diapason rank but that system could hardly apply in the same way to both classical German organs and C18 English ones. I hinted before this discussion got going at the potential for generating more heat than light but I'm quite enjoying some of the energy <_<

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If 16' is not the unison pitch on the Pedal, why are 16' the most frequently found stops... even the only stop on some Pedal organs?

Bad taste? A case could be made for the 16' Bourdon pedal department on the typical late C19/most-of-the C20 small British organ as being the robed-choir equivalent of the Praise Band. At least the 16' flute on the Swell demanded some discretion in its use. The pedal version was drawn in 1884 and is still out!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Am I right in thinking many French classical organs had no 16' flue stop on the pedal?

 

Yes - almost always. It is still possible to find a number of instruments in France today which have only one 16ft. flue. Bayeux Cathedral is a case in point; here, the Pedal flue-work consists of:

 

Contrebasse 16

Basse 8

Flûte 4

 

The cathedral is quite large, roughly equivalent to that at Gloucester in size - but perhaps with a greater internal height, at least in the Nave.

 

I shall always regard the foundamental pitch of the Pedal Organ as 16ft. pitch - I am afraid that I shall simply have to agree to differ with you!

 

<_<

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If 16' is not the unison pitch on the Pedal, why are 16' the most frequently found stops... even the only stop on some Pedal organs?

 

John

 

And why is an Octave on the Great Organ 4ft and on the Pedal 8ft? Surely the stop names alone indicate that the basic pitch of the Pedal is 16ft.

 

The comments about the pitch in Bach are, I feel, irrelevant. One can always find an exception to any rule.

 

Regards to all

 

John

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...
16ft is sub-unison on the pedal division. 8ft still reigns supreme! In England the G compass organs were sounding (to us) as if a 16ft is drawn and so (to me) and a few coupled pedals (octave and a bit, perhaps) just made use of that. The Italian organs of Serasi and others in the 19th century have the same features. When you draw a 16ft on the manuals you get hints of 32ft pitch on the pedals because of the long compass. Nice gravitas.

As for mixtures being based on 16ft pitch, they would show up in the the composition on paper. As MJF says - a 4ft reed is just the same pitch as the 4ft on the manual. So too the mixtures. On the new instrument by Aubertin in Oxford I have suggested at the fisrt pull, that there is only the 2ft sounding (15th) of the Pedal mixture - for special Nederland music (as the case is on the edge of the Gallery and quite prominant in position for such a sound). The other 3 ranks come when fully pulled. Therefore, if the 15th of the mixture was based on a 16ft Pedal unison it would of course sound the same as a 4ft on the keyboard which is not the case. 8ft is the common pitch. And just to cloud the waters even more - if you do consider and treat the pedals as 16ft then you must also treat the Gt to Ped etc as Octave Couplers as they are only hitching up the octave above the notes played in the pedal. One major argument for not having Pedal couplers at all!

Best wishes,

Nigel

 

I must admit, like others I was a little surprised at this. There are instruments almost beyond counting where the pedal organ contains an Open Diapason of 16, an Octave (or Principal) of 8 and a Fifteenth of 4. Often Clarions are 8 and some builders use, for instance, Stopped Diapason 16 and Trumpet 16. I have always supposed from this that a Pedal Mixture labelled 15.19.22 will begin with a pipe of 4 feet.

 

To say that such logic must make all Pedal couplers octave couplers is hard to defend when you consider the Werkprinzip idea that you would find a stop named Prinzipal at varying pitches throughout the organ - 16 Ped, 8 HW, 4 BW, 2 RP for instance.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I must admit, like others I was a little surprised at this. There are instruments almost beyond counting where the pedal organ contains an Open Diapason of 16, an Octave (or Principal) of 8 and a Fifteenth of 4. Often Clarions are 8 and some builders use, for instance, Stopped Diapason 16 and Trumpet 16. I have always supposed from this that a Pedal Mixture labelled 15.19.22 will begin with a pipe of 4 feet.

 

To say that such logic must make all Pedal couplers octave couplers is hard to defend when you consider the Werkprinzip idea that you would find a stop named Prinzipal at varying pitches throughout the organ - 16 Ped, 8 HW, 4 BW, 2 RP for instance.

 

 

David is absolutely right, and his take on this is how pretty much any organ which I have played has conformed.

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...