Jump to content
Mander Organs

House Organs Continued


JWAnderson

Recommended Posts

... As much as I like a good Voix Celeste, it does become wearing in a very dry acoustic ...

Jonathan

 

I would have said that the opposite was true. My own church has a very dry acoustic (particularly considering its size), yet the Swell Vox Angelica is actually very restful. It is in fact the case that one flute, for example, can become wearisome after a while, but a gentle undulant is actually more restful on the ear - although of course it can become overdone. In fairness, the same is true of the addition of a 4ft. stop, for example. Since it is virtually impossible to ensure that it is exactly in tune with the 8ft. rank, the ear (whilst not necessarily being conscious of actual mis-intonation) will register the very slight discrepancy in tuning as a pleasant 'chorus' effect.

Link to post
Share on other sites
'Wrong business? Wrong country?'

 

Certainly, the church organist business is very different in the USA. By and large, their organists are treated better in every way, both in terms of remuneration and terms of engagement. Also, many full-time church organists have sigificant recital programmes and tours to supplement their church work. An added bonus is working with professional choirs, also properly paid.

 

Barry Williams

 

True, but not really relevant to the specific case of Donald Knuth's house organ which was, I believe, largely paid for by the royalties from his seminal (but still unfinished) work "The Art of Computer Programming"

Link to post
Share on other sites
I would have said that the opposite was true. My own church has a very dry acoustic (particularly considering its size), yet the Swell Vox Angelica is actually very restful. It is in fact the case that one flute, for example, can become wearisome after a while, but a gentle undulant is actually more restful on the ear - although of course it can become overdone. In fairness, the same is true of the addition of a 4ft. stop, for example. Since it is virtually impossible to ensure that it is exactly in tune with the 8ft. rank, the ear (whilst not necessarily being conscious of actual mis-intonation) will register the very slight discrepancy in tuning as a pleasant 'chorus' effect.

 

Might work in a dry church acoustic, but in a room, which is inevitably small, my ears wouldn't like it! :blink:

 

On the other hand if one had a Great Hall, well the possibility is highly desirable.

 

Jonathan

Link to post
Share on other sites
The problem with stop lists like this is that the 8' has to be used almost all of the time.

 

A specification of 8' 8' 4' has rather more variety than 8' 4' 2'.

 

Barry Williams

 

Exactly, and an octave coupler would probably be of use.

We have a 1man. at the organ factory, with Stop'd Diap, Dulciana, Principal 4, Octave & Tremulant and it sounds absolutely wonderful, particularly the 8ft flute.

 

JA

Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Barry Williams
Indeed,

 

But it was quite frequent in Belgium during the 18th century: no 8' Principal,

and only an 8' Bourdon, in flemish organs as well as in Le Picard organs

in Liège.

There is one good example near here, in Gerpinnes. The organ was restored

recently (the consultant was my teacher, Jean-Pierre Félix) by Rudi Jacques

of Hastière (10 Miles from here), and reopened by Michel Chapuis, who was

delighted with it:

 

http://www.orguesjacques.org/gerpinnes.htm

 

And though, we deal here with something bigger than a chamber organ !

 

Now I freely agree a british baroque organ -like the italians- need its 8' Principal,

moreover, for the british, both open and stopped Diapasons.

But this is not true in all baroque styles...

 

Pierre

 

What goes well in Belgium, whether in the 18th Century or at any other time, or for 'British baroque organs', (is there such a thing?) whatever they happen to be, may not be suitable for house organs.

 

A 'baroque' style is irrelevant, as such, in house organ design. One has to have an instrument that is effective for the particular repertoire and acoustic. Mere 'theoretical' assumptions (i.e. a 'baroque' organ) have no place in such matters. What is important is an instrument that will meet the particular need from the player's point of view.

 

In this matter non-players can be an extremely unhelpful influence. The design of house organ is a practical musical matter. Mistakes are very expensive.

 

Barry Williams

Link to post
Share on other sites

"A 'baroque' style is irrelevant, as such, in house organ design. One has to have an instrument that is effective for the particular repertoire and acoustic. Mere 'theoretical' assumptions (i.e. a 'baroque' organ) have no place in such matters. What is important is an instrument that will meet the particular need from the player's point of view."

(Quote)

 

.....Then this one:

 

http://www.goetzegwynn.co.uk/restored/georgenottingham.shtml

 

-Is not a british organ;

 

-Isn't baroque (such a thing does not exist save in historian's meditations)

 

-Is bad.

 

(I am taker, at a bargain price).

 

The 8-4-2 2/3-2-1 3/5 design exists in Belgium by the tons. 80% of the chamber organs

built since 1960 are more or less so. But we belgians have special ears, this is well

known !

(By the way, if you look at the specification of this organ linked to above, it seems

british ears of the 17th century might have resembled ours...)

 

My point is: or you build a baroque organ, or you aim at something else, but

you won't get the oysters and the pudding in the same plate.

 

 

Best wishes,

Pierre

Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Barry Williams

"....or you build a baroque organ, or you aim at something else, but

you won't get the oysters and the pudding in the same plate."

 

Absolutely! So many organ designers try and give Singapore Fried Noodles with Yorkshire Pudding. I have heard one electronic instrument (by a well-known importer) where the reeds were said to be French, the principals Italian, the flutes German, etc, etc. It was a hopeless mess and the fact it had no pipes was irrelevant in this matter. it could never have been satisfactory, even if made with pipes.

 

We have suffered much in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from pseuso-baroque 'add-on' Positive divisions that have wrecked insturments that otherwise have - or had - tonal integrity.

 

One of the firm requirements of our house organ was that all the pipes had to come from the same instrument, so that they had tonal cohesion and unity. Not only did we acheive this, (with one exception, but the stop blends well,) we insisted that the pipes all stood on the same rack and tipboards, so that their speaking relationship with one another was undisturbed.

 

We have made some alterations to the House Organ, so I may post the new stop list, though as it will not meet the criteria of this thread I should start another. We are very pleased that we avoided high pitched stops and have plenty of eight feet registers, as these are most useful in practice. In a house organ any high pitched stops need very special scaling and voicing. Using second-hand material for the upper pitches can be disastrous.

 

Barry Williams

Link to post
Share on other sites
We have made some alterations to the House Organ, so I may post the new stop list, though as it will not meet the criteria of this thread I should start another. Barry Williams

 

If you have time it would be interesting to read more about this.

 

AJJ

Link to post
Share on other sites
We have made some alterations to the House Organ, so I may post the new stop list, though as it will not meet the criteria of this thread I should start another. We are very pleased that we avoided high pitched stops and have plenty of eight feet registers, as these are most useful in practice. In a house organ any high pitched stops need very special scaling and voicing. Using second-hand material for the upper pitches can be disastrous.

 

Barry Williams

 

Don't worry about the criteria. I would be particularly interested in seeing the specification of your house organ.

 

JA

Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Barry Williams
If you have time it would be interesting to read more about this.

 

AJJ

 

Thank you. Clearly, there is some interest in this, so I will draft a detailed posting and hope that our generous hosts will not mind both a stop list and explanantions.

 

I will start a new thread for it.

 

Barry Williams

Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm really proud of mine:

 

Great

Open Diapason 8

Stopt Clarabella (in Sw) 8

Flute (harmonic) 4

 

Swell

Viol da Gamba 8

Gemshorn (actually, a small Principal) 4

Hautboy 8

 

Pedal

Bourdon 16

 

Sadly, it's currently in bits in a church gallery on Gloster, but sounded lovely when it was in one piece. I certainly wouldn't miss a 2' with all this colour. All I need now is time and space...

Link to post
Share on other sites

It's a fascinating exercise to try to put together the smallest spec that will allow the greatest flexibility without becoming tiresome. George Ashdown Audsley wasn't much help when writing his chapter on house organs "The Art of Organ Building" when if I remember aright he spent around 100 pages discussing concert-organ sized house organs and one sentence dismising anything smaller as not worthy of consideration. Ironic given that the vast majority of house pipe organs, certainly those built nowadays are probably around 5 stops or less practice organs!

 

As a total aside, and at risk of being totally flamed, may I mention the word "digital"? Just once. As a thought. I know the brief here is to design a pipe organ, and in principle I'd always go for pipe over electronic. But for flexibility in case anyone reading this is thinking "I can't afford the space or size or cost of a house organ but don't want a toaster", I can say that the playing pleasure of a three manual electronic in my house has paid for itself many times over. Sure I know it's not the real thing, but given the choice between three and two (and Ive played plenty of naff two manual toasters, haven't we all), if you must get a toaster, adding a third manual and bigger spec adds back in versatility and hence playing pleasure a fair bit of what is lost in not having pipes. And the neighbours don't complain when I feel like playing in the small hours thaks to headphones. And for sheer mania, I've seen four-manual toasters for sale on the continent for around £10,000.

 

But if I had the money, and the space (any idea how much something like that would set me back new???), that Jennings house organ is just sweet.

Link to post
Share on other sites

For anyone contemplating buying something "pre-owned" (second-hand doesn't seem quite right for an organ), I have been suprised at the number of small house-organs for sale in the Netherlands.

 

There is an auction site, but I can't recall what or where it is; except that it works (not surprisingly) as a "Dutch Auction."

 

They also have an abundance of toasters on the same site, but the lots come with flat pedal-boards....be warned.

 

MM

Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest spottedmetal
Sadly, it's currently in bits in a church gallery on Gloster, but sounded lovely when it was in one piece. I certainly wouldn't miss a 2' with all this colour. All I need now is time and space...

Go on - be good to yourself - add a 2ft. Take that Harmonic Flute 4 up an octave. CF Waters did that on the RSCM Hunter and it's a joy. You can then couple through from the swell for the 4ft if you haven't space for a clamp-on 4ft Principal . . .

 

There are sound samples of that Hunter on www.jungleboffin.com/mp3/organ - it's a larger spec than you are building, slightly, but a good example you can pick from for a very satisfying house-organ.

 

Best wishes

 

David P

Link to post
Share on other sites
Go on - be good to yourself - add a 2ft. Take that Harmonic Flute 4 up an octave. CF Waters did that on the RSCM Hunter and it's a joy. You can then couple through from the swell for the 4ft if you haven't space for a clamp-on 4ft Principal . . .

 

There are sound samples of that Hunter on www.jungleboffin.com/mp3/organ - it's a larger spec than you are building, slightly, but a good example you can pick from for a very satisfying house-organ.

 

Best wishes

 

David P

Ah, but then I'd have to play down two octaves for an 8' harmonic flute solo! It's bad enough one can't couple the flute at 8' pitch to the clarabella, Notre-Dame style :rolleyes:

Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, on the subject of toasters, when reading about this

 

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/JOHANNUS-OPUS-20-CLA...1QQcmdZViewItem

 

it says that the owner is moving to a Hauptwerk Virtual Organ, and he is building his own console. I haven't come across this before, can anyone offer a brief explanation?

 

Does anyone know where this is, or know what the stoplist is?

 

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Church-Pipe-Organ_W0...1QQcmdZViewItem

Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, on the subject of toasters, when reading about this

 

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/JOHANNUS-OPUS-20-CLA...1QQcmdZViewItem

 

it says that the owner is moving to a Hauptwerk Virtual Organ, and he is building his own console. I haven't come across this before, can anyone offer a brief explanation?

 

Hi

 

Hauptwerk is a computer simulator of a pipe organ - do a web search. It's probably the best, short of a custom-built digital organ (but not the cheapest option) - one advantage is that you can load different stop lists. I tried the demo of the earlier version, but didn't proceed as my computer wasn't up to the job - the latest version is priced beyond my means at present.

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

Link to post
Share on other sites

If I was to have a house organ, it would be used primarily as a practise instrument, as a practise instrument my FIRST requirement would be the ability to practise Bach's Trio Sonatas. To some extent, I consider the ability to play these on an instrument a test of its versatility: if all three voices of the textures of Bach's trio sonatas can be heard, then there is hope for much other repertoire too. For me, it's all about clarity. A 4' stop comes in handy on my proposed organ for solo lines. I don't even have a proposed specification. All that I require is two manuals and pedal. All three divisions to have a contrasting (and clear) flute stop, and one of the manual divisions to also have a 4' flute stop, so that this can be added to the 8' stop to provide a solo line. To make things more versatile, I would opt for the Italian stop lever system, whereby the stops were selectable on either manual. This is particularly useful where the solo line is designed with the higher or lower manual in mind (e.g. some solo lines are obviously written with "thumbing" up or down in mind, so I would like the organ to be versatile enough to play music with these sorts of possibilities in mind). Either manual (or both) should be able to be coupled to the pedal, thus making that 4' stop available there, which is useful for some music.

Link to post
Share on other sites
For anyone contemplating buying something "pre-owned" (second-hand doesn't seem quite right for an organ), I have been suprised at the number of small house-organs for sale in the Netherlands.

 

There is an auction site, but I can't recall what or where it is; except that it works (not surprisingly) as a "Dutch Auction."

 

They also have an abundance of toasters on the same site, but the lots come with flat pedal-boards....be warned.

 

MM

 

I think you were referring to

 

http://www.marktplaats.nl/index.php?url=ht...rgels/c761.html

 

Many electronics, but also some pipe, and just look at thsee prices! I bought my home Johannus from Holland, and paid around £700 inclusive to have it fitted with a concave radiating pedalboard (by the Johannus factory) and shipping to UK. Utter bargain.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Barry Williams
I think you were referring to

 

http://www.marktplaats.nl/index.php?url=ht...rgels/c761.html

 

Many electronics, but also some pipe, and just look at thsee prices! I bought my home Johannus from Holland, and paid around £700 inclusive to have it fitted with a concave radiating pedalboard (by the Johannus factory) and shipping to UK. Utter bargain.

 

I have reported elsewhere the extent of the mark up on imported instruments. Buying from abroad is undoubtedly the best way to get a bargain. My wife and I purchased a new Johannus directly from a Dutch retailer for less than 27% of the UK price. That was in 1987 and the model was more up to date than anything on offer in this country.

 

Barry Williams

Link to post
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

×
×
  • Create New...