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Wind Pressure For An English Tuba

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Hello!

 

After a longer read-only time and knowing, that some information is spread over other topics, I'd like to ask the organ builders among this community, what they would need as a minimum wind pressure to voice something, which may be called an English (or British...) Tuba...?

 

Greetings

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Guest Cynic

As always it would depend on the size of your building and the acoustic. I have known good ('typical English') Tubas at anything from roughly 10" to 20" (say 200-500mm)- and the higher pressure ones are not noticeably louder in effect than the others, or smoother in tone. If one were to generalise, I would say, allow for as much pressure as you can (i.e. the most that your wind system can give) and its own reservoir - the resulting pressure always be reduced!

 

I have a (former) Tromba here, which on 7" (c.180mm) now sounds absolutely as I would expect a Tuba to do, but then I have a small area for the sound to fill. As Barry Jordan's voicers discovered at Magdeburg, it is not just a question of pressure, the construction of the pipes is critical too. Manders helped out there and the resulting stop is superb.

 

I hope this reply starts the ball rolling for you.

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As always it would depend on the size of your building and the acoustic. I have known good ('typical English') Tubas at anything from roughly 10" to 20" (say 200-500mm)- and the higher pressure ones are not noticeably louder in effect than the others, or smoother in tone. If one were to generalise, I would say, allow for as much pressure as you can (i.e. the most that your wind system can give) and its own reservoir - the resulting pressure always be reduced!

 

I have a (former) Tromba here, which on 7" (c.180mm) now sounds absolutely as I would expect a Tuba to do, but then I have a small area for the sound to fill. As Barry Jordan's voicers discovered at Magdeburg, it is not just a question of pressure, the construction of the pipes is critical too. Manders helped out there and the resulting stop is superb.

 

I hope this reply starts the ball rolling for you.

 

So let's keep it rolling! :(

Thank you, Cynic... Perhaps I missed something, but I think there is no really detailed description of the Magdeburg organ available to me yet. What's the Tuba pressure there, and does it have its own reservoir/chest? What where the construction problems like? (maybe you're not allowed to reveal them...)

Occasionally, "hoher Winddruck" (but not explicitely "Hochdruck"= "high pressure" yet) is already talked about in the German scene at divisions with 130mm or little above. The Solo division of the (tracker) organ of St. Stephan Cathedral in Vienna, boasting a cornet V and Trumpets 8' 4', was voiced on 135mm. The stops are usable only for lead or "troppo forte" functions. Those reeds have some "tuba" attitude already, though they are much closer to French reeds than English...

For me the qeustion is, how much of the "Tuba" mystery is hidden within the construction details of the shallots and reeds, and how much on the secondary (for me!) aspects of wind, hooded cups and acoustics.

By the way, I read in a German forum that warming is an issue with the high pressure wind system of Cologne cathedral.

What is known about (and done against) that on the islands?

 

Greetings

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The german "Hochdruckstimmen" were flue, not reed stops.

There is no tradition for high pressure reed voicing in continental Europe.

 

Georg Stahlhuth from the Aachen area -a builder well known in eastern Belgium-

imported his Tubas from England, and his Trompettes from Mazerie in Paris.

 

Oscar Walcker had followed if some slight political problems had not occured

towards the 1930's...

 

About the english reed stops I would recommend this book (big Pdf, open with "Save to disk" first!):

 

http://www.archive.org/download/modernbrit...g00huntuoft.pdf

 

(Okay, ladies an gentlemen, it is a wrong book, outdated, outmoded, and its author did not know

about the matter, etc, etc, etc).

 

The Tuba is described page 75 (page of the document, not the Pdf page), but I recommend the complete

chapter about the reeds, from page 69. Some scales and details are given.

 

Pierre

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There is no tradition for high pressure reed voicing in continental Europe.

 

Edited blank, as Pierre subsequently added something about the original question to his earlier post...

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The Mander Tuba at Portsmouth RC Cathedral is (I believe) only on 10 inches, and fair blows the bloody doors off, as Michael Caine would put it!

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Georg Stahlhuth from the Aachen area -a builder well known in eastern Belgium-

imported his Tubas from England, and his Trompettes from Mazerie in Paris.

 

Oscar Walcker had followed if some slight political problems had not occured

towards the 1930's...

 

How can you know he would have done? Any records?

If you see Oscar W in the light as head of the Wilhelm Sauer workshop, the surrounding for English HP reeds (regarding soundboards, voicing and flue wind pressures) wouldn't be the most accomodating, at least compared with Stahlhuth, or what do you think? Of coures, regarding the "Walcker line", it would have been easier to incorporate those reeds.

 

Thanks for the provided link!

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It all depends upon the period of the Sauer organ; if we mean 1938, yes,

there could obtain some problems, since Sauer built after a style I call "Néo-classique"

(Kompromissorgel) since about 1925.

 

In such organ we can think of a Tuba only in a strictly definite manner: the Solo stop it is,

isolated on a secondary manual, and which power is to be carefully set up to answer to the

full Hauptwerk's Plenum.

I'd go towards a rather "bright" version also. Certainly not the "free toned" one, but rather

the kind Bonavia-Hunt calls the "normal Trumpet tone", i.e., the Willis kind.

 

With a romantic, or post-romantic (Like an Oscar Walcker organ from before 1921) organ this would

be far more interesting, though let us mention at once the very rare survivors of that period we need

to leave alone, any "trial" should be done in a completely new organ !!!

 

Why ? Because the german romantic organ is fully develloped in the ppp, the soft stops also,

less in the Forte, which ends up with an huge flue chorus topped with a Tierce Mixture and/or

Kornetts (strange, repeating, very deep Cornets), Kornett-Mixturs and the like, and some

not too powerfull reed stops which purpose is only to add colour to the ensemble.

(Some Walcker organs had a complete Mutation structure, Tierces included, from 32' to 2',

for example at Mulhouse, F)

 

So there is "still room" towards the FFF to add something else.

Emil Rupp, while working with Oscar Walcker, added french reed choruses (example Reinoldikirche

Dortmund 1919). One could think of a A. Harrison or Willis "full equipment" instead, with

Trumpets, Trombas and Tubas.

 

I have made several projects of that kind (which remained on paper!).

 

Georg Stahlhuth mixed the two: french Trompettes with an english Tuba.

 

The difference in pressures (german romantic flues= 75mm, Tromba/Tuba round 300mm) is not

a problem, for two reasons:

 

1)- High pressure reeds aren't that powerfull as their wind suggests. A french Trompette is

exactly as pervading actually;

 

2)- These stops are mandatorily on auxilliary chests, since no flue pipes could work

on the same wind. Moreover, if they need a high pressure, such stops use very little

quantities of wind so the reservoir isn't very large.

 

At Düdelingen (L) Stahlhuth built a little reservoir on the top of the case in order to feed the Tuba; the

bellows were powered with an hydraulic engine.

 

So we have "much Volts but few Amperes"; Mr Mander once explained it was even possible with

a mechanical action, since the chest valves, if we have only that stop on that chest, can

remain of little size.

 

Pierre

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It all depends upon the period of the Sauer organ; if we mean 1938, yes,

there could obtain some problems, since Sauer built after a style I call "Néo-classique"

(Kompromissorgel) since about 1925.

 

That's my instrument! But containing slider chests on baroque soundboards, there is a weak relation to English instruments, too...!

In such organ we can think of a Tuba only in a strictly definite manner: the Solo stop it is...

Isn't the Tuba mainly (maybe not always) considered to be a Solo stop?

With a romantic, or post-romantic (Like an Oscar Walcker organ from before 1921) organ this would

be far more interesting, though let us mention at once the very rare survivors of that period we need

to leave alone, any "trial" should be done in a completely new organ !!!

 

So there is "still room" towards the FFF to add something else.

Emil Rupp, while working with Oscar Walcker, added french reed choruses (example Reinoldikirche

Dortmund 1919). One could think of a A. Harrison or Willis "full equipment" instead, with

Trumpets, Trombas and Tubas.

I have made several projects of that kind (which remained on paper!).

I have a certain hope to establish such an instrument here... :(

 

See its current state on the web - a complete description with images is still on its way, but there is one new image showing the inner layout of the organ.

www.marien-musik.de/organs.html

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Isn't the Tuba mainly (maybe not always) considered to be a Solo stop?

 

There is a large Hele organ at Andover Parish Church upon which a Tuba (and Clarion extension) is the only chorus reed, and appears all over the place.

 

I have often wondered about the Tromba; is it supposed to be a beefed-up Trumpet capable of being a solo, or a shrunk-down Tuba which can pass for a chorus reed? The biggest weakness in my view with my new instrument at St Peter's Bournemouth is the lack of civilised chorus reeds; you put on the Tromba, and the ensemble gets quieter. The Clarion alone seems the best compromise. There's also a reasonably magnificent (well, loud) Tuba. A strange instrument all round.

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There is a large Hele organ at Andover Parish Church upon which a Tuba (and Clarion extension) is the only chorus reed, and appears all over the place.

 

I have often wondered about the Tromba; is it supposed to be a beefed-up Trumpet capable of being a solo, or a shrunk-down Tuba which can pass for a chorus reed?

 

That would be the typical use of the term in Germany, too.

 

The biggest weakness in my view with my new instrument at St Peter's Bournemouth is the lack of civilised chorus reeds; you put on the Tromba, and the ensemble gets quieter. The Clarion alone seems the best compromise. There's also a reasonably magnificent (well, loud) Tuba. A strange instrument all round.

 

This weakness appears on several new instruments, IMO. Loud reeds are found to be the only way to get a sort of "volume". Producing trumpets which are meant to be in the ACC-style, but are voiced much worse and scaled to narrow, is (hopefully: "was") nearly a fashion here in Germany. Those reeds were loved by some colleagues who tried to walk in the footsteps of Pierre Cocherau when improvising postludes to (mostly catholic) services, and merely walking on the congregations nerves (supposing they were still in the room...! I often experienced the rapid exodus during the final organ music, and the organist, beeing his style's only lover, improvised on and on and on....).

But Cochereau knew how to use his shattering chamades, and he had a bunch of other reeds for all other needs. But having one of those aggressive noise generators as the only full-length reed stop on the manuals of an organ, unsuitable for many of the functions a reed stop should serve as, is something, which can be found to often.

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Arthur Harrison also used slider chests...

Normally, the Tuba is indeed a Solo stop, intended to answer

to the full organ.

 

The Tromba is something special, idiosyncratic, and very interesting.

It seems intended to replace a thick wallet of foundation stops rather

than providing "fire".

Not many sound files are available on the Internet....But to be heard on

much ancient english LPs ("The Choir of X, Y, Z Cathedral", etc.) I even have

Diaphones on LPs.

 

 

"Producing trumpets which are meant to be in the ACC-style, but are voiced much worse and scaled to narrow, is (hopefully: "was") nearly a fashion here in Germany."

(Quote)

 

Not only in Germany, I am afraid.....From one extreme to the other seems to be a common law with

fashions.

Before the new interest with Cavaillé-Coll, it was customary to build small-scaled, sometimes brass chamades, which produced something like a "KRRRR..." without even an internal chorus reed, while absolutely all spanish organs

had a "Trompeta real" on any manual with chamades.

 

The Tromba could allow to vary the color shades of reed choruses. A. Harrison had them

on the first manual, with bright reeds on the Swell.

We could do so or mix one Tromba at 8' with brighter 16-8-4 stops, or any other combination

according to the acoustics and style of organs.

A Tromba and a french Trompette blend togheter like a Gamba and a Flute, provided their respective

powers are compatible. This is what David Coram explained above, in fact.

 

About the Sankt Marien in Rostock organ, it seems a complicated affair: several historic layers,

then a rebuild . I won't say anything about it; I would need to spent days within it -weeks?-

in order to avoid to tell too stupid an advice.

Pierre

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About the Sankt Marien in Rostock organ, it seems a complicated affair: several historic layers,

then a rebuild . I won't say anything about it; I would need to spent days within it -weeks?-

in order to avoid to tell too stupid an advice.

Pierre

 

The answer is a little off-topic here, but it won't be a rebuild in Rostock. The historical layers limit the phantasies, though there is still much room within the case for small additions - "small" in relation to the rest of the instrument...

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A Tromba and a french Trompette blend togheter like a Gamba and a Flute, provided their respective

powers are compatible. This is what David Coram explained above, in fact.

 

Pierre

 

Actually, (since I also know this organ well), I think that David made the point that the G.O. Posaune (it was renamed from 'Tromba' at the time of the 1976 rebuild by R&D) does not blend particularly well with anything; it also has little attack - the notes seem slightly to 'slide' on (for want of a better description).

 

Pierre, I would dispute your statement above - a[n English] Tromba and a French Trompette are likely to blend about as well as kippers and custard - regardless of their respective powers.

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"Tromba and a French Trompette are likely to blend about as well as kippers and custard - regardless of their respective powers."

(Quote)

 

Try again: this was tested & tried!

 

(The proof of the pudding is the voicing room, with our without the cake)

 

Pierre

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"Tromba and a French Trompette are likely to blend about as well as kippers and custard - regardless of their respective powers."

(Quote)

 

Try again: this was tested & tried!

 

(The proof of the pudding is the voicing room, with our without the cake)

 

Pierre

 

Yet a voicing room is an entirely different situation to a church, cathedral or concert hall. *

 

I would have to hear this myself....

 

 

 

* I realise that this is where virtually every stop ever made is initially voiced, so it has to bear some relation to the way it will sound in the finished instrument. Even so, having heard many examples in various voicing rooms, I have observed that the effect is almost always different in the building - naturally.

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Yet a voicing room is an entirely different situation to a church, cathedral or concert hall. *

 

I would have to hear this myself....

 

 

 

* I realise that this is where virtually every stop ever made is initially voiced, so it has to bear some relation to the way it will sound in the finished instrument. Even so, having heard many examples in various voicing rooms, I have observed that the effect is almost always different in the building - naturally.

 

Indeed, this is true. And as the blend becomes better with some reverberation, we might expect the result

to be even better in a church.

This said, "blend" is actually a subjective matter. When one considers the Mixtures added in the 60's in

romantic organs, we wonder how "blend" was understood then.

 

Pierre

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In my experience, I have found that Harrison Trombas from the 1st half of the 20th century vary considerably.

At Bedford St. Thomas, Leigh, near home - a typical substantial 3 manual job, the Trombas are as loud and as tonally intense as many a Tuba. I have found a similar situation on other Harrison jobs of a similar style and vintage. Also Ripon and Ely used to be like this - once the Trombas are on, you might as well put the rest of the great stops in, you certainly couldn't hear them.

However, other jobs - Halifax and Boston to name 2 which I have experience of, have much more restrained Trombas (including the 16ft) which are quieter, a bit more free tonally and blend with the fluework somewhat better.

I don't think you can draw any pattern from Harrison's practice.

 

DT

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"At Bedford St. Thomas, Leigh, near home - a typical substantial 3 manual job, the Trombas are as loud and as tonally intense as many a Tuba"

(Quote)

 

And why is the Harmonics blocked Off ? This could explain many things.

Yes there are many versions. The West London Synagogue is nearly

an intimate one - by H&H standards-. But the Trombas there still need

their Sesquialtera (17-19-22) to blend with the rest.

 

Pierre

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Are there examples of enclosed tubas? In general, they are unenclosed, aren't they?

Opinions about it?

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Are there examples of enclosed tubas? In general, they are unenclosed, aren't they?

Opinions about it?

In Graham Barber's recording of the Whitlock sonata at Downside Abbey (Priory), you can hear excellent enclosed reeds of the smooth type right in the beginning. Sounds impressive, if a bit dull when compared to enclosed reeds of more snarly character.

 

But considering the original function of an English Tuba, enclosing it would have been besides the point, wouldn't it?

 

Best,

Friedrich

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In Graham Barber's recording of the Whitlock sonata at Downside Abbey (Priory), you can hear excellent enclosed reeds of the smooth type right in the beginning. Sounds impressive, if a bit dull when compared to enclosed reeds of more snarly character.

 

But considering the original function of an English Tuba, enclosing it would have been besides the point, wouldn't it?

 

Best,

Friedrich

Our fellow contributor Cynic has much more knowledge of the Downside organ than I do, but as I understand it there is an enclosed Tuba on the Solo, but also an unenclosed Tuba on the Bombarde division. It would be interesting if Paul can tell us something about the character of and differences between these two stops.

JC

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Guest Nigel ALLCOAT
Are there examples of enclosed tubas? In general, they are unenclosed, aren't they?

Opinions about it?

 

On Solo IV Manuals, Ripon Cathedral has a 16ft enclosed and there is an 8ft in Birmingham (St Philip's) Cathedral and the small church of Chilvers-Cotton has a Tuba on the Swell!

As for an opinion - in general, they are unenclosed and often need a health warning attached to the stop. Some in England might be heard in Rostock when the wind is from the West.

Best wishes,

Nigel

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