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Shove Coupler


Guest Echo Gamba

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Pardon my ignorance...... One reads specifications which mention a "shove coupler". How do these work please?

 

You physically slide one manual to engage with the other and therefore couple the two. I have only encountered it once - on the Aubertin at St Louis en L'Ile in Paris and in order to couple I had to take both hands off the keys grab the ends of the keyboard in question and shove - the reverse of course to uncouple!

 

Alastair

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You physically slide one manual to engage with the other and therefore couple the two. I have only encountered it once - on the Aubertin at St Louis en L'Ile in Paris and in order to couple I had to take both hands off the keys grab the ends of the keyboard in question and shove - the reverse of course to uncouple!

 

Alastair

 

The need for both hands is deliberate. Try 'shoving' whilst playing on many historic organs (eg Silbermann) and you risk doing damage to the action requiring the attention of the organbuilder. Waiting for a suitable break in the music to engage the coupler also makes artistic as well as mechanical sense.

 

My little house organ has double sliding couplers - i.e. Lower to Upper (with keys of the top manual sliding backwards to press down on raised lugs on the keys of the lower) and Upper to Lower (with the top manual sliding forwards and the keys being pulled down by hooks attached to the lower keys). Simple, yet ingenious. However, if a key is depressed during the coupling process, there is a risk that the hook will become jammed.

 

JS

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There's one on the rather challenging to play Reid Concert Hall instrument in Edinburgh, which rather confused this particular 17 year old many years ago. It made for a good practice instrument; flat pedalboard, Werckmeister III (try playing the last 2 pages of the Bach Toccata in F!), and draw stops for the Postive behind the player.

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Guest Nigel ALLCOAT

One of the joys of such a way to couple keyboards (and one must remember that no matter how many manuals an old French organ has/had) it basically is only a glorified two manual (Grand orgue and Positive). Coupling is rarely (if at all) necessary within a movement/piece. This simple design (as already stated, belong too to the Harpsichord), does not necessitate problematic adjustments to the action as it is a simple a marriage between the two keyboards and gives the player a lovely feeling of satisfaction as you grasp the two upright knobs and push forward or backward to engage or release. One wrinkle, though! I tell all my students to disengage the keyboards as soon as they finishing playing. At a glance you might miss that they are coupled. It saves a rather embarrassing moment in a concert or service.

St John's Oxford (Aubertin 2008) has such a mechanism but Aberdeen King's College Chapel doesn't as that has a much more extraordinary Baroque system!

 

Christmas-tide greetings.

Nigel

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One of the joys of such a way to couple keyboards (and one must remember that no matter how many manuals an old French organ has/had) it basically is only a glorified two manual (Grand orgue and Positive). Coupling is rarely (if at all) necessary within a movement/piece. This simple design (as already stated, belong too to the Harpsichord), does not necessitate problematic adjustments to the action as it is a simple a marriage between the two keyboards and gives the player a lovely feeling of satisfaction as you grasp the two upright knobs and push forward or backward to engage or release. One wrinkle, though! I tell all my students to disengage the keyboards as soon as they finishing playing. At a glance you might miss that they are coupled. It saves a rather embarrassing moment in a concert or service.

St John's Oxford (Aubertin 2008) has such a mechanism but Aberdeen King's College Chapel doesn't as that has a much more extraordinary Baroque system!

 

Christmas-tide greetings.

Nigel

 

Here is the Oxford console with the shove coupler knobs clearly visible.

 

Alastair

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Another similar example here, coupler engaged at 4:55 and visible in action from 5.25.

Note that to get the coupled Gt/Pos effect, you have to play on the Positive, which is the 1st manual.

On the Neuenfelde organ, this offered some interesting possibilities to play music not typical for it (possible because of its equal temperament, too) - the Positive, as a Rückpositiv it is close to the congregation, adds presence to the sound, while the Great is the solid base of it, somewhat comparable to the Rècit expressif of ACC organs. (Though music by Franck is not really first choice in Neuenfelde :D )

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One wrinkle, though! I tell all my students to disengage the keyboards as soon as they finishing playing. At a glance you might miss that they are coupled. It saves a rather embarrassing moment in a concert or service.

 

I'm ashamed to say, Nigel - I had just such a moment whilst giving a recital at St Antoine l'Abbaye last year. On request, I played the well-known aria setting of "Vater unser" (or as they would call it, "Notre Pere") by Bohm. Having announced it to the audience, I jumped back on the console, drew the appropriate stops and then regaled everyone with a string of left-hand chords on Grand Flute ... coupled to Positive Sesquialtera which of course was meant for the right-hand solo. (Ugh!) Fortunately there was room during one of the quaver rests to separate the keyboards again and there was no damage to the organ. (Only to my pride...)

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Guest Nigel ALLCOAT
I'm ashamed to say, Nigel - I had just such a moment whilst giving a recital at St Antoine l'Abbaye last year. On request, I played the well-known aria setting of "Vater unser" (or as they would call it, "Notre Pere") by Bohm. Having announced it to the audience, I jumped back on the console, drew the appropriate stops and then regaled everyone with a string of left-hand chords on Grand Flute ... coupled to Positive Sesquialtera which of course was meant for the right-hand solo. (Ugh!) Fortunately there was room during one of the quaver rests to separate the keyboards again and there was no damage to the organ. (Only to my pride...)

 

Tut tut! But I think you will make the organ blush if you talk of Sesquialteras and Saint-Antoine in the same breath. But joking apart, in such circumstances I think that stopping and letting the dust settle would have given greater impact to a new start and a wonderful entrance to the solo line. But such minor boobs often seem major to the player in the atmosphere of a concert and the majority in the audience have little idea of the player's momentary mortification. Everyone has done a start like this when they play such an instrument so infrequently. But I am glad that my wrinkle holds true!

And whilst nattering here, I just wonder if you spent some time downstairs listening to different combinations as the Montre might have been a better accompaniment for enveloping the Jeu de Tierce of the Positive in this work. It is a sensation of a sound. However you might have been playing the Dessus de flute with the Bourdon, which is similar in some ways. Nevertheless, I hope that you enjoyed the acoustic - one that fits the style of this piece so very well. The Basso is carried right through the building like a musical Barnes-Wallace device. A double wrinkle (neh! a dimple), is to register this piece (I find) from the Pedal sounds upwards. Optimum clarity and beauty of gentle sound is for me, of paramount importance. Not the solo, downwards which is pften what we seem to consider as the most important. On a fine organ such as this special French Baroque, there will certainly be any number of nice solo sounds but very few pedal ones.

But I hope you enjoyed your time there and walking the plank to reach the organ Tribune! The Abbey and Village is my Gothic bolt-hole!

Epiphany wishes.

Nigel

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Tut tut! But I think you will make the organ blush if you talk of Sesquialteras and Saint-Antoine in the same breath. But joking apart, in such circumstances I think that stopping and letting the dust settle would have given greater impact to a new start and a wonderful entrance to the solo line. But such minor boobs often seem major to the player in the atmosphere of a concert and the majority in the audience have little idea of the player's momentary mortification. Everyone has done a start like this when they play such an instrument so infrequently. But I am glad that my wrinkle holds true!

And whilst nattering here, I just wonder if you spent some time downstairs listening to different combinations as the Montre might have been a better accompaniment for enveloping the Jeu de Tierce of the Positive in this work. It is a sensation of a sound. However you might have been playing the Dessus de flute with the Bourdon, which is similar in some ways. Nevertheless, I hope that you enjoyed the acoustic - one that fits the style of this piece so very well. The Basso is carried right through the building like a musical Barnes-Wallace device. A double wrinkle (neh! a dimple), is to register this piece (I find) from the Pedal sounds upwards. Optimum clarity and beauty of gentle sound is for me, of paramount importance. Not the solo, downwards which is pften what we seem to consider as the most important. On a fine organ such as this special French Baroque, there will certainly be any number of nice solo sounds but very few pedal ones.

But I hope you enjoyed your time there and walking the plank to reach the organ Tribune! The Abbey and Village is my Gothic bolt-hole!

Epiphany wishes.

Nigel

 

Only just spotted this...

 

I did indeed enjoy my time there, and am glad to have been invited back this September! I hope other members of this forum will consider going there - not just for the organ but for the village.

 

I've always liked to think of that Bohm in terms of, say, a consort of recorders placed up in a high gallery with bass viol(s) accompanying and the solo (whatever it may be) somewhere lower down - hence I tend to reach for flutes or stopped diapasons for the right hand wherever I play it. On the other hand, as you rightly say, there are all sorts of things that could work well, depending upon the nature of the particular instrument. And Bohm himself does give the clue to register from the pedal upwards by marking "Pedal Forte!"

 

I'm sorry for turning the organ purple with reference to Sesquialteras ... must be the latent influence of Bath Abbey on my mind! I did have someone on hand to make sure my combinations balanced in rehearsal, but I will be sure to get downstairs myself next time: I was aware that certain registers (such as the different Trompettes) all speak with their own individual voices that become easier to distinguish away from the console.

 

Coming back to the shove coupler ---- sometimes one can only learn lessons the hard way, and I've certainly learned mine!

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I experienced the one in S. Gervais in Paris last month - to couple the 16'Bombarde and its manual down for a 'tres grands jeux' - 'worked like a dream - 'fantastic noise and and the key action was comfortable too - left there alone with a couple of vans I would have gladly taken it all home.

 

A

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I experienced the one in S. Gervais in Paris last month - to couple the 16'Bombarde and its manual down for a 'tres grands jeux' - 'worked like a dream - 'fantastic noise and and the key action was comfortable too - left there alone with a couple of vans I would have gladly taken it all home.

 

I've played 2 organs with these, both in France, and both by Pascal Quoirin.

A restoration at the Collegiale Notre-Dame at Villefranche de Rouergue, and a new instrument at the Cathedrale de Carpentras.

Both organs I would have loved to take home, the Villefranche organ made a fantastic sound, despite being rather idiosyncratic.

 

Anyway AJJ, how about posting a write-up about the Organ Club week in Paris, I'm sure many members would be fascinated, I would for one!

 

DT

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Anyway AJJ, how about posting a write-up about the Organ Club week in Paris, I'm sure many members would be fascinated, I would for one!

 

Somewhat to my annoyance, I was in Paris of my own accord in the very middle of the trip, but didn't have anyone's mobile numbers to locate them. Damn!

 

On shove couplers, Collins does a two-way one on some small instruments, where pulling the top manual is II-I and pushing is I up to II. Or vice versa. It seemed like a good idea except in execution it didn't have any fixed on/off points, and was apt to move about.

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Somewhat to my annoyance, I was in Paris of my own accord in the very middle of the trip, but didn't have anyone's mobile numbers to locate them. Damn!

 

On shove couplers, Collins does a two-way one on some small instruments, where pulling the top manual is II-I and pushing is I up to II. Or vice versa. It seemed like a good idea except in execution it didn't have any fixed on/off points, and was apt to move about.

 

Hi

 

I never found that problem on the small Collins that I used to have occaisional access to for practice - maybe it's age/use related?

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

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Hi

 

I never found that problem on the small Collins that I used to have occaisional access to for practice - maybe it's age/use related?

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

 

2001 instrument with light use, played in 2005, 2006 and 2007, same each time except slightly more dilapidated - more bass pipes off speech (due to soft metal I suppose), tremulant not working (plastic pipes popped out), more buzzes and rattles. These coupler problems are matters of design, however, not of use or age. There is no central stop in the design, and no rigidity in the frame - either end of the keyboard can slide (twisting over the lower manual) quite a way before it jams, so you can have the interesting effect of the treble being coupled and the bass not. To get to the central position (i.e. nothing coupled) you have to stop (as opposed to pause) and line both ends of the keyboard up visually with some arrows on the Man I key cheeks.

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These coupler problems are matters of design, however, not of use or age. There is no central stop in the design, and no rigidity in the frame - either end of the keyboard can slide (twisting over the lower manual) quite a way before it jams, so you can have the interesting effect of the treble being coupled and the bass not. To get to the central position (i.e. nothing coupled) you have to stop (as opposed to pause) and line both ends of the keyboard up visually with some arrows on the Man I key cheeks.

 

Very interesting. When I placed the order for my EOS organ back in 1998 I spotted this as a potential problem. In addition to the arrows described above indicating the central (uncoupled) position, Peter Collins fitted a ball catch let into the sliding cheeks which clicks into a hole below to provide a clearly felt central stop. As long as you shove the top keyboard backwards or forwards evenly with both hands there is no problem with twisting or misalignment. This arrangement is rather more secure than some 18c examples of shove coupler I have come across.

 

JS

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