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Compass Of German Versus English Baroque Organs


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Last night I thought I'd round off my home practice by playing through a John Stanley voluntary and duly loaded onto my Hauptwerk toaster the 1721 Gottfried Silbermann Organ sampleset from St. Georgenkirche - Rötha, Germany. Not long into the piece I realised that Stanley was making frequent use of a high D (3 above middle C) which exceeds the compass of this particular Silbermann (highest note is a top C).

 

This got me wondering whether the compass of English baroque organs typically extended beyond that of their German counterparts. Or is this an unrepresentative case?

 

 

Sq.

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As far as England goes, a very swift trawl through Stephen Bicknell's book and sundry other sources suggests that during tha late 17th century the top note of the manuals was usually c''' (though Adlington Hall is d'''). During the first half of the 18th century d''' was normal (for new organs), rising to e''' during the second half of the century and f''' by the end.

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I quite often have to play a Walker organ for weddings and funerals (1845ish) which has an odd pedalboard compass of CCC-d (27 notes!)

 

As far as I can remember, I have not met another English organ with this pedalboard compass.

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Last night I thought I'd round off my home practice by playing through a John Stanley voluntary and duly loaded onto my Hauptwerk toaster the 1721 Gottfried Silbermann Organ sampleset from St. Georgenkirche - Rötha, Germany. Not long into the piece I realised that Stanley was making frequent use of a high D (3 above middle C) which exceeds the compass of this particular Silbermann (highest note is a top C).

 

This got me wondering whether the compass of English baroque organs typically extended beyond that of their German counterparts. Or is this an unrepresentative case?

Sq.

 

Hi

 

Bottom note usually GG, sometimes FF, and on earlier examples, the bottom octave would be a "short octave". Manual compass, perhaps strangly given the prevelance of 54/56/58 once C-compass became established, was around 60-61 notes - i.e. somewhere around the same note as a c-compass job - d3 would normally be available therefore.

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

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I quite often have to play a Walker organ for weddings and funerals (1845ish) which has an odd pedalboard compass of CCC-d (27 notes!)

 

As far as I can remember, I have not met another English organ with this pedalboard compass.

 

Hi

 

There are a fair few pedalboards with this and other unusual compasses around - mainly in country churches - ranging from 13 notes (the one I used to play was 13 notes GG-G) through 17, 25 to 27. The 30-note compass was "standardised" by the RCO sometime in the ?mid-1980's straight but concave in the standard, but often straight and flat - the 30 or 32 note radiating concave standard was late 1890's.

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

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I quite often have to play a Walker organ for weddings and funerals (1845ish) which has an odd pedalboard compass of CCC-d (27 notes!)

 

As far as I can remember, I have not met another English organ with this pedalboard compass.

 

St. Thomas, Kilnhurst (Rotherham)

 

Henry Willis 1862 (ish), 1-manual and Pedals, /

 

Manual: Compass 54 notes

Bourdon 16ft

Open diapason 8ft

Gamba 8ft (Enclosed)

Hohl Flute (Enclosed)

Lieblcih Gedact 8ft

Dulciana 8ft

Principal 4ft

Fifteenth 2ft

 

Pedal: Compass 25 notes

Bourdon 16ft

 

An utterly superb little organ.

 

DW

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I quite often have to play a Walker organ for weddings and funerals (1845ish) which has an odd pedalboard compass of CCC-d (27 notes!)

 

As far as I can remember, I have not met another English organ with this pedalboard compass.

 

See http://npor.emma.cam.ac.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch...ec_index=B00089

 

Incidentally, although this organ is probably by Dicker of Exeter, there is no documentary evidence as such. One local writer and organist believed it to have been by J.W. Walker and printed such in one of his books. Certainly an unknown builder seems to have enlarged it to a two-decker at some time in its history.

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See http://npor.emma.cam.ac.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch...ec_index=B00089

 

Incidentally, although this organ is probably by Dicker of Exeter, there is no documentary evidence as such. One local writer and organist believed it to have been by J.W. Walker and printed such in one of his books. Certainly an unknown builder seems to have enlarged it to a two-decker at some time in its history.

 

The Berry Pomeroy organ as it now stands is the result of a rebuild by H P Dicker in 1873-4. The rebuild cost £118 [Dicker's account book], and the rebuild is mentioned in passing in the Exeter Flying Post, 7 January 1874. There was an organ in the church from before 1862, which is when Dicker's account book begins to record tunings, and it was moved from one position to another in the church in 1862 [from a west gallery?]. I have no record as yet as to who built it originally, but I would guess not Walker unless it was installed second-hand

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The Berry Pomeroy organ as it now stands is the result of a rebuild by H P Dicker in 1873-4. The rebuild cost £118 [Dicker's account book], and the rebuild is mentioned in passing in the Exeter Flying Post, 7 January 1874. There was an organ in the church from before 1862, which is when Dicker's account book begins to record tunings, and it was moved from one position to another in the church in 1862 [from a west gallery?]. I have no record as yet as to who built it originally, but I would guess not Walker unless it was installed second-hand

 

Thanks for that correction and clarification Nigel. I guess my memory isn't all it could be at times! :rolleyes:

 

If my memory of last going into the instrument about 18 years ago is correct, it is evident that the organ was originally of one manual and that the Great was the original organ although, interestingly, the Gamba 8' would appear to be an addition due to the location of the stop knob for this which is placed at the top of the Great jamb, above the Mixture. But, as observed on the NPOR site, the Gamba forms the case which faces into the chancel.

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Thanks for that correction and clarification Nigel. I guess my memory isn't all it could be at times! :rolleyes:

 

If my memory of last going into the instrument about 18 years ago is correct, it is evident that the organ was originally of one manual and that the Great was the original organ although, interestingly, the Gamba 8' would appear to be an addition due to the location of the stop knob for this which is placed at the top of the Great jamb, above the Mixture. But, as observed on the NPOR site, the Gamba forms the case which faces into the chancel.

 

Hi

 

The chancel case pipes may not be original.

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

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