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Design For A Two-clavier Organ


pcnd5584

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A few months ago M. Lauwers posted an interesting thought with reference to the design of a two-clavier instrument. I found this fascinating, but I do not recall many replies. I must admit that, when I am not washing my anorak (it is a grey one, by the way) I like occasionally to while away what little spare time I have by dreaming-up schemes for various churches I have known.

 

I am convinced that the smaller the organ, the more difficult it is to attain a really good, practical scheme.

 

With this in mind (and if anyone is interested), I propose a scenario:

 

Moderate-sized church - no carpet! Stone floors but with a wooden roof, so a bare one-second reverberation. No west gallery site is possible but an elevated position above the cantoris stalls is possible. There is, however, still ample height above the soundboards and room for a 16p front, if desired.

 

The disposition of the instrument: two claviers (58) and pedals (32) fifty stops, with a maximum of fifteen couplers but not more than thirty-eight speaking stops (although the number of ranks can be greater).

 

Action of choice. Mechanical is possible (but you may wish to consider having less couplers...) On the other hand, electric action (or other) can also be considered.

 

It will re-use ranks from a pre-existing instrument but can have new ranks, if desired. Budget: flexible (well, I did say that it was a pipe-dream). [Groans off]

 

If anyone is interested in rising to the challenge I would be delighted to read your scheme.

 

However, if not then I can console myself with the thought that my anorak needs washing again....

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Well, yes. However, I felt that it would be easier to design something larger first. To be fair, the church is a reasonable size: about 7-8 bays, with fairly wide aisles. Also, I had the pleasure of re-designing an instrument of just such a size. The scheme was subsequently carried out and the organ now stands proudly in a similar position to that described here. The disposition is:

 

Pedal: 11 stops

GO: 14 stops

Swell: 11 stops

Couplers: 13

 

It is difficult to write objectively about the instrument, since I am responsible for its design, including console layout. However, people seem to enjoy playing it.

 

Therefore, I would be most interested to see what people make of this size scheme. :blink:

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Here is one I proponed for a similar exercise, but for a rather large church,

and with less stops. So it's just an idea:

 

Clavier I

 

Bourdon 16'

Open Diapason I 8'

Open Diapason II 8'

Gambe 8' (mezzo-forte)

Flûte harmonique 8'

Bourdon 8'

Octave 4'

Plein-jeu

Scharff (avec tierce)

Tromba 8'

Octave Tromba 4'

 

Clavier II (expressif)

 

Salicional 16'

Salicional 8'

Dulciane 8'

Voix céleste 8'

Flûte traversière 8'

Flûte octaviante 4'

Octavin 2'

Progression harmonique (avec tierce)

Basson 16'

Trompette harmonique 8'

Hautbois 8'

(Option: Clarinette 8')

Clairon harmonique 4'

 

Pédale

Open Diapason 16'

Contrebasse 16'

Salicional 16' (emp. II)

Soubasse 16' (emp.I)

Basse 8' (ext. Diapason 16')

Violoncelle 8' (ext.Contrebasse)

Bourdon 8' (emp.I)

Octave 4' (ext Diapason 16')

Flûte 4'

Trombone 16'

Basson 16' (emp.II)

Octave Trombone 8' (ext Trombone)

 

No octave couplers.

emp.=Borrowing

 

There are other versions, much more softer with a secondary flue chorus

made of genuine Dulcianas (up to a Dulciana Mixture)

 

Best wishes,

Pierre Lauwers.

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An interesting scheme! Tierces in both mixtures! Hmm.....

 

I forgot to mention anything with regard to empruntée - some judicious borrowing or extension in the Pedal Organ is permitted - but no extension or borrowing on any other department.

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An interesting scheme! Tierces in both mixtures! Hmm.....

 

I forgot to mention anything with regard to empruntée - some judicious borrowing or extension in the Pedal Organ is permitted - but no extension or borrowing on any other department.

 

This is what I do: there are ext. and borrowing only for the Pedal, never on

a manual.

 

You have three mixtures, not two. The "Plein-jeu" is a quint mixture intended for

a quiet, silvery Diapason chorus (and fully british in charachter).

The Diapasons to be cone-tuned, like the overblowing Flutes.

The Scharff is the bridge between this chorus and the Trombas, while the Swell's progression harmonique is there to build a Full-Swell with the reeds.

 

Best wishes,

Pierre Lauwers.

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It is difficult to write objectively about the instrument, since I am responsible for its design, including console layout. However, people seem to enjoy playing it.

 

:blink:

 

Could we also perhaps be able to judge for ourselves - where is this please?

AJJ

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This is what I do: there are ext. and borrowing only for the Pedal, never on

a manual.

 

You have three mixtures, not two. The "Plein-jeu" is a quint mixture intended for

a quiet, silvery Diapason chorus (and fully british in charachter).

The Diapasons to be cone-tuned, like the overblowing Flutes.

The Scharff is the bridge between this chorus and the Trombas, while the Swell's progression harmonique is there to build a Full-Swell with the reeds.

 

Best wishes,

Pierre Lauwers.

 

I am sorry, I missed one - but since when have organists been proficient at counting?! :P

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OK, on a similar track, who would like to put forward some suggestions for what will become a real project in the near future. Below is the current stop list for the organ at the church where I'm organist and choirmaster. The action is electric, and the console is detached, sited with the choir. The church seats about 200 in a traditional cruciform shape with wooden victorian pews, but a plastered ceiling so a reasonable acoustic. Ignoring any limitations that space or cost my impose, what do people think is missing from this stop list for an instrument who's primary role is to accompany the liturgy and choir in a church with traditional liturgy (Common Worship Sung Eucharist, BCP Choral Evensong weekly, no music group!)

 

If anyone wants to guess at how much their additions would cost, feel free!

 

 

Steve

 

 

 

 

Ped: (All one rank)

 

Bourdon 16

Quint 10 2/3

Flute Bass 8

Octave Quint 5 1/3

Octave Flute 4

 

Swell to Pedal 8

Swell to Pedal 4

Great to Pedal 8

 

 

Great:

 

Open Diapason 8

Lieblich Gedact 8

Dulciana 8

Principal 4

Wald Flute 4

Mixture II

 

Swell to Great 16

Swell to Great 8

Swell to Great 4

 

 

Swell:

 

Geigen Principal 8

Stopped Diapason 8

Salicional 8

Gemshorn 4

Twelfth 2 2/3

Fifteenth 2

Oboe 8

 

Swell Sub-Octave 16

Swell Octave 4

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Well, personally, even without hearing it (I know that someone is going to tell me that this is inadvisable!) I would exchange the GO Dulciana for a Fifteenth and swap the GO Gedeckt with the Swell Stopped Diapason. I would also remove the Swell Twelfth and replce it with a Céleste - liturgically, I find a good undulant infinitely more useful - particulary if it is in the Swell Organ. Depending on the voicing, I may also wish to replace the Swell Oboe with a small-scaled Trumpet, if there is room on the slide.

 

Insofar as cost is concerned, naturally it depends on who is going to undertake the work, the condition of the soundboards and the space available. However, you may be looking at approximately £1,500 for the GO Fifteenth (including re-veneering the rackboard), £500 for the GO and Swell 8p flutes swap, about £2,000 for the Swell Céleste and possibly £3,000 - £4,000 for the Trumpet. This assumes that the new ranks will utilise suitable second-hand ranks. Some builders will be cheaper than this and several will be rather more expensive.

 

If there was room to insert a metal Violoncello 8p on the Pedal Organ, I think that you would find that this would greatly aid definition. The stop could aslo be extende upwards to provied a Viole 4p. This could cost in the region of £2,000 - £3,000. It is difficult to assess, since prices depend on so many things.

 

As I have said, it is perhaps unwise to suggest alterations without first playing the organ - and hearing it in the context of a normal Sunday service; I have certainly never taken the first course of action when consulting on any job up to now! However, you did ask! Hope it helps.

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Who made this organ?

Is it too weak?

 

With an organ having any qualities, first choice is to leave it alone,

whatever style does it have.

If it is really too weak, one could imagine:

 

-A Stopped Diapason 16' on the great (which could be borrowed as a second

pedal 16')

-A Trumpet on the great (maybe with a second mixture with tierce)

 

-A celeste on the swell, of course

 

-Some more true ranks for the pedal

 

To be done without removing anything else!

 

Best wishes,

Pierre Lauwers

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Here is one I proponed for a similar exercise, but for a rather large church,

and with less stops. So it's just an idea:

 

Clavier I

 

Bourdon 16'

Open Diapason I 8'

Open Diapason II 8'

Gambe 8' (mezzo-forte)

Flûte harmonique 8'

Bourdon 8'

Octave 4'

Plein-jeu

Scharff (avec tierce)

Tromba 8'

Octave Tromba 4'

 

Clavier II (expressif)

 

Salicional 16'

Salicional 8'

Dulciane 8'

Voix céleste 8'

Flûte traversière 8'

Flûte octaviante 4'

Octavin 2'

Progression harmonique (avec tierce)

Basson 16'

Trompette harmonique 8'

Hautbois 8'

(Option: Clarinette 8')

Clairon harmonique 4'

 

Pédale

Open Diapason 16'

Contrebasse 16'

Salicional 16' (emp. II)

Soubasse 16' (emp.I)

Basse 8' (ext. Diapason 16')

Violoncelle 8' (ext.Contrebasse)

Bourdon 8' (emp.I)

Octave 4' (ext Diapason 16')

Flûte 4'

Trombone 16'

Basson 16' (emp.II)

Octave Trombone 8' (ext Trombone)

 

No octave couplers.

emp.=Borrowing

 

There are other versions, much more softer with a secondary flue chorus

made of genuine Dulcianas (up to a Dulciana Mixture)

 

Best wishes,

Pierre Lauwers.

 

 

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

 

 

You know, if one takes away the Mixtures, this reads like the stop-list for a large 19th century Harmonium, save for the Harrison (?) style Trombas which never served a useful purpose the first time around.

 

As for the softer version, why on earth should anyone want a single Dulciana rank, let alone a whole tribe of them?

 

I expect that Cesar Franck's "Cantabile" would sound delightful on it, but I think the world has moved on from French-romantic music a little.

 

MM

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Guest Roffensis
=================

You know, if one takes away the Mixtures, this reads like the stop-list for a large 19th century Harmonium, save for the Harrison (?) style Trombas which never served a useful purpose the first time around.

 

As for the softer version, why on earth should anyone want a single Dulciana rank, let alone a whole tribe of them?

 

I expect that Cesar Franck's "Cantabile" would sound delightful on it, but I think the world has moved on from French-romantic music a little.

 

MM

 

 

This entire pipework for the pedal can and should be done away with, and a nice electrolux division put on. This is to be variously sampled from Liverpool Cathedral, the RAH, Sydney T.H. and of, course, :P the RFH. Only Celestion speakers are to be used, and the effect will be most gratifying :P . I remember in the 70s a nice programme on TV reference Chichester Cathedral and its now restored Hill organ that was silent.....then. :P The narrator, boasting of the glories of a very fine Allen organ that had been installed, went to say "tomorrow, pipe can be cheap". It always stuck in my mind, and your two manual organ can prove what can be done with paper cones or even bextrene, so go for it. You don't need all those pipes, and with only a one second reverb in this church of yours you can have a reverb unit put in, and have 25 seconds and beat St Pauls and Liverpool cathedral in one fell swoop. Think about this seriously, it could be really good!!! :P:P:P That golden organ sound swirling around the vaulting as it were...... :P:P

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This entire pipework for the pedal can and should be done away with, and a nice electrolux division put on. .......Only Celestion speakers are to be used.

 

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

 

I thought this was a frivolous reply until I saw the reference to Celestion Speakers.

 

I've got a huge pair of Celestions and they make anything sound good.

 

But why even consider digital divisions, when there are reed-organs to be had so cheaply?

 

Keep it natural, I say! :P

 

MM

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Guest Roffensis

This entire pipework for the pedal can and should be done away with, and a nice electrolux division put on. .......Only Celestion speakers are to be used.

 

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

 

I thought this was a frivolous reply until I saw the reference to Celestion Speakers.

 

I've got a huge pair of Celestions and they make anything sound good.

 

But why even consider digital divisions, when there are reed-organs to be had so cheaply?

 

Keep it natural, I say! :P

 

MM

 

 

It was in jest, given my sick humour!!! Reed organs are quite cute really, I have one of those, also a chamber organ, and next door love me for both. :P

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Who made this organ?

Is it too weak?

 

The organ was last rebuilt by Brownes of Canterbury in 1964. It is in need of an overhaul, the electric action in particular, but it seems an ideal time to look into possible improvements. It isn't a weak organ, but it's position is poor for accompanying the choir so I'm looking into the possibility of resiting it.

 

Interesting that someone mentioned swopping the Sw 12th for a Celests - I'd certainly agree, but it would be reversing a change made in 1964 when the Celeste was swopped for the 12th!

 

Steve

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If the organ can be relocated, maybe the need for enlargment

could dissepear....

The Celeste case is a good example of the -costly- anhihilating

move of fashion...

 

I don't understand why the Dulciana is so under-rated your side of

the Channel. See the thread about the Dulciana on this very forum.

 

Best wishes,

Pierre Lauwers.

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Here's mine - any comments?

 

GREAT Enclosed

Contra Gamba 16 Ex 8

Diapason 8

Harmonic Flute 8

Lieblich Gedeckt 8

Gamba 8

Principal 4

Flute 4

Fifteenth 2

Mixture 1-1/3 IV

Bass Clarinet 16 Ex 8

Clarinet 8

Tromba 8

 

Suboctave

Tremulant

 

SWELL

Bourdon 16

Diapason 8

Stopped Diapason 8

Salicional 8

Celeste 8

Gemshorn 4

Flute 4

Flageolet 2

Echo Cornet 2-2/3 III

Mixture 2 III-IV

Posaune 16

Trumpet 8

Hautboy 8

Vox Humana 8

Clarion 4

 

Octave

Suboctave

Unison Off

Tremulant

 

Clarinet 8 Gt

Tromba 8 Gt

Octave Tromba 4 Ex 8

 

PEDAL Enclosed in both boxes

Open Wood 16

Contra Gamba 16 Gt

Sub Bass 16

Quint 10-2/3

Octave 8

Flute 8

Super Octave 4

Contra Posaune 32 Ex Sw

Ophicleide 16

Posaune 16 Sw

Trumpet 8 Ex 16

 

It's a 'big' organ for its number of stops but flexible. I quite like the idea of an enclosed Great - especially when near a choir or in a fairly dead acoustic - they seem to do this in the USA quite often but not over here. Electric or electro- pneumatic action of course!

AJJ

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I like this one!

Interesting ideas. As to have the organ in two swellboxes,

Great included, this is considered a good enough idea

by Schoenstein. Of course this is bound to dedicate

acoustic conditions, as Mr Johnston says.

 

Best wishes,

Pierre Lauwers.

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I still think that it is an excellent idea.

 

How about the rest of my scheme? I was being serious.

 

I would definitely lose the Dulciana - I have never found a use for one of these...

 

Many of your ideas soud good - although I have to say I quite like my Dulciana - it works well with the Gedackt and is also useful for a soft solo against the soft swell (although like someone else said, this is discussed on another topic!)

 

A trumpet would be a most useful addition - and possibly it could extend down into the pedal as a 16' extension too. The pedal is the weakest area overall, and I think an 8' Violone would help to define it. A softer 16' would be helpful too (an Echo Bourdon?) and then the exisiting 16' Bourdon could be adjusted to be a little stronger.

 

Finally, you did identify the lack of a Fifteenth on the Great, and this is an issue - I'd also like a Twelfth on the Great (especially as the one on the Swell is becoming a Celeste again!) The 2 rank mixture is on it's own seperate chest as a bit of an after-thought so changing this wouldn't effect the main great sound boards. Personnally I like the brightness of a Cymbal Mixtures - but I'm open to alternatives, providing that they are not hard sounding but that they just add a 'sparkle' to the top of the Diapason chorus.

 

Steve

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If the organ can be relocated, maybe the need for enlargment

could dissepear....

 

Certainly if the organ was moved onto the main axis of the church then it would sing out much more convincingly - but this would mean building a west end balcony! It also wouldn't solve the problem of accompanying the choir who sit up in the Chancel at the east end!

 

Steve

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Many of your ideas soud good - although I have to say I quite like my Dulciana - it works well with the Gedackt and is also useful for a soft solo against the soft swell (although like someone else said, this is discussed on another topic!) 

 

A trumpet would be a most useful addition - and possibly it could extend down into the pedal as a 16' extension too.  The pedal is the weakest area overall, and I think an 8' Violone would help to define it.  A softer 16' would be helpful too (an Echo Bourdon?) and then the exisiting 16' Bourdon could be adjusted to be a little stronger.

 

Finally, you did identify the lack of a Fifteenth on the Great, and this is an issue - I'd also like a Twelfth on the Great (especially as the one on the Swell is becoming a Celeste again!)  The 2 rank mixture is on it's own seperate chest as a bit of an after-thought so changing this wouldn't effect the main great sound boards.  Personnally I like the brightness of a Cymbal Mixtures - but I'm open to alternatives, providing that they are not hard sounding but that they just add a 'sparkle' to the top  of the Diapason chorus.

 

Steve

 

See my proposition again, then.

Adding "sparkle" to the Diapason chorus might be less effective than a Trumpet and a second mixture with Tierce rank, as long as accompaniment is concerned.

You could for instance add some ranks to the existing 2r mixture, and then add a two-rank Sesquialtera; this could be used in detail registrations as well as a bridge between the Diapason chorus and the Trumpet.

A Pedal soft 16' could be obtained by borrowing a new stropped Diapason 16' in the Great. The 8' Violone for the Pedal I believe would be a good idea, ditto the 16'extension of the Great's Trumpet.

And yes, keep that Dulciana!

Best wishes,

Pierre Lauwers

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Sorry guys, I'll stick to my B&W...

 

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

 

 

But Pierre....my Celestions have been re-built and include new French tweeters.

 

I didn't replace them because they have always been regarded as one of the best 10 speakers ever made, and they sit there like two great Harrison Open Wood pipes....in oak finish.

 

MM

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