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Transmissions To Pedal On Large Organs Useful?


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Hello!

 

If the action type makes it easy, large organs do offer transmissions from manual divisions to the Pedal, mostly reeds.

I want to ask those of you frequently playing such instruments, if you make use of these stops, or if there are problems, too, which might be*:

 

- Different timing/attack characteristics when using the remote transmitted pipes together with the real Ped. division

- Problems in voicing and scaling of the transmitted stops (for example: In the top range of the Pedal, which is middle of the Manual, the stop does not have this warm, "round edge" on top which is liking the style of a male voice, singing in its blended higher register with a certain head voice component, or, the stop is too brilliant and unable to figure as a bass instrument, because it would cut through the upper voices)

 

* and which might make these stops an unnecessary feature.

 

Thanks for sharing your thoughts and experiences

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Guest Geoff McMahon

What an interesting question. I would like to stress that what follows is my opinion and not fact.

 

The salient statement in the question is "where it is easy...". It clearly gained popularity in electric action organs where it is easy to put a stop on a chest and make it playable anywhere else you fancy. But it ignores one very fundamental issue. Namely, that the character and dynamic impression of a pedal stop is invariably different from an equivalent manual stop. For example, where a manual 16ft stop really needs to tail off towards the bass so that its effect when used as a manual stop does not muddy the chorus, in a pedal stop the strength really needs to be maintained or even to grow towards the bass. Also, a pedal 8ft flute needs to sing towards its treble, but if a manual stop did that, it would lead to an imbalance in the middle register. So, in my opinion, even if it is easy to do mechanically (or rather electrically) I am not sure it works musically and is something to be approached with caution. With reeds it is slightly different to some extent, where a reed has its own character, but only to a degree as one would generally scale a pedal reed larger than an equivalent manual one.

 

Having said all that, we have done it on a number of occasions in instances where there was not enough room to accommodate independent pedal stops. We have only done it with 8ft stops though, Principals (taken from the Great Open Diapason) stopped flutes (taken from the Great Stopped Diapason and 8ft Trumpets (taken from the Great Trumpet 8ft). Where we have used a Great Open Diapason, the bottom octave is provided with independent regulators for the manual and pedal derivation so that we can give the pipes gradually more wind as it goes down the bottom octave. This works quite well in spite of the slight tuning discrepancy. The 8ft flutes do not respond to this as well, but simply as providing an 8ft pedal flute it just about works, but does lack the dynamic quality an independent stop would have. I happen to like manual chorus reeds which grow towards the bass, so we scale them on the large size anyway and this works for the pedal reasonably well.

 

Also, in a few instances, we have done this where the layout dictated that the Pedal Organ is behind the manuals, so where the Great (logically) is in the front of the instrument, the forward position of the stops borrowed to the pedal enhances the effect with some benefit. The Open Diapason being in the front is obviously of advantage. I hasten to add that this has always been done purely mechanically with pedal pallets being introduced into the Great soundboard, and not with stops on an individual chest. Examples of this can be seen in the organs we have built at Sydney Grammar School, The Meeting House on Cape Cod, St Paul's Church Norfolk Virginia and St Giles Cripplegate in London. Look at this latter one where an 8ft Trumpet has been borrowed to the pedal although there is no 16ft reed on the pedal. The usefulness of this has been commented on by many.

 

I would, however, never ever be persuaded to do this with a 16ft stop of any sort.

 

John

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And what if the borrowed 16' do not replace, but only complement,

the genuine 16' Pedal stops ? For example:

 

Contrebasse 16'

Soubasse 16'

Dulciana 16' (from III)

Bourdon doux 16' (From I Bourdon 16')

 

Ernest Skinner wrote all manual 16' are usefull borrowed onto the Pedal,

provided just that: that it were no occasion to deprive the Pedal of its own

16' stops.

 

Pierre

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So far, so good.

 

Here is the Pedal at Altenburg (Trost 1739, played by J-S Bach, who was

veery satisfied with it):

 

PEDAL

 

Principalbass 16'

Gross-Quintadena 16' (From HPTW)

Flaute traverse 16' (From HPTW)

Violonbass 16'

Subbass 16'

Octavenbass 8'

Bordun 8' (From HPTW)

Octave 4' (From HPTW)

Mixtur 6-9r (From HPTW)

Posaune 32'

Posaune 16'

Trompete 8'

 

....And he wasn't the first to do so.

 

Pierre

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Thanks, Mr Mander, for the interesting comment, which did let us (me, at least...) see open the box of an organ builders secrets of success...

I never heard of independent wind regulation for manual and pedal use of a stop before.

 

Yes, my question was based on two sorts of impressions: First was browsing through stoplists like RAH, second were impressions of playing (mechanical) instruments which had those transmissions with own pallets for the Pedal, when the Pedal soundboard was placed behind the Great. I was never happy with the borrowing, mostly the stops were optimised for the Great, but the named problems for the Pedal use of the pipes were noticeable.

On another instrument, which I heard several hours a day, since I taught on it, there must have been some sort of "Zwilllingslade" (twin soundboard), the Ped was on same level AND depth, so there were two channels per note, I think. Here it was done better, the Trumpet and the Principal were fine, but the Bourdon 16', rather voiced as a Subbass, was quite fat for the manual.

 

@Pierre: Altenburg may work very well and Bach may have liked it! But for sure, there must be some subtle but maybe genious way of spreading the named problems over the whole keyboard range of the named stops. Once again we are allowed to ask pathetically:

If they would have had more money and space, wouldn't Trost have preferred to go without transmissions?

Best wishes

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"If they would have had more money and space, wouldn't Trost have preferred to go without transmissions?"

(Quote)

 

Halas we do not have the phone number of Mr Trost where he is now.

What we can see, however, is the absolutely "Rotstift-frei" ("red ink free")

construction at Altenburg and Waltershausen: layout (though somewhat cramped,

which was criticized by Casparini's son, who was apprentice with Trost at the time

of the construction at Altenburg), materials, finish, all displays a budget whose limit

was the sky rather than any "bean counter", accountant's view....

 

Another example is Joachim Wagner. He, too, seems not to have had any accountant

at all, and a big oak forrest available for free. Should you want to build a copy of

a Wagner organ, get first such a forrest (and yes have the wood cut and stored 15 years

in advance...). And though, Wagner was probably the first to have borrowed HPTW stops

in order to render them available on the second manual.

Bach played such a "Transmissionsorgel" by Wagner.

 

See here (in german) :

http://www.orgellandschaftbrandenburg.de/Dokumentation.pdf

 

Pierre.

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Another example is Joachim Wagner. He, too, seems not to have had any accountant

at all, and a big oak forrest available for free. Should you want to build a copy of

a Wagner organ, get first such a forrest (and yes have the wood cut and stored 15 years

in advance...).

 

That's true....(sigh)

 

And though, Wagner was probably the first to have borrowed HPTW stops

in order to render them available on the second manual.

Bach played such a "Transmissionsorgel" by Wagner.

 

See here (in german) :

http://www.orgellandschaftbrandenburg.de/Dokumentation.pdf

 

Pierre.

 

Yes, but making transmissions for the same range (= manual to manual) is free of the problems discussed in this topic.

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Complemented borrowings I find very useful - at Bristol the Choir Dulciana 16' is borrowed onto the Pedal and is very useful to go under just the Swell strings rather than the Pedal Bourdon. Until 1970, it was playable on the pedals at 8' pitch as well - we've often thought this would be a useful softer alternative to the Pedal 8' flute and is something we would reinstate if we could.

Conversely, at Manchester the Pedal Bourdon is quite buried and hence very soft - for anything other than the softest Swell strings, the Dulciana 16' (borrowed from the Swell) was always used as well in my time there.

In large Harrisons, the Solo 16's are often borrowed onto the Pedal. If, in particularly gritty psalm verses, you find yourself drawing the Solo Sub Octave instead of the 16's (on the manual), the 16's are there on the pedal so is no problem with the otherwise missing bottom octave.

Great reed transfers are incredibly useful on Romantic organs as the Great 16' reed is more likely to be the Bach pedal reed of choice than the actual Pedal reed - certainly at Bristol where the Trombone is far too big at the bottom end (and speaks much less promptly than the Great reeds) - what we would give for a transfer!

Paul Walton

(Assistant Organist, Bristol Cathedral)

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Complemented borrowings I find very useful - at Bristol the Choir Dulciana 16' is borrowed onto the Pedal and is very useful to go under just the Swell strings rather than the Pedal Bourdon. Until 1970, it was playable on the pedals at 8' pitch as well - we've often thought this would be a useful softer alternative to the Pedal 8' flute and is something we would reinstate if we could.

Conversely, at Manchester the Pedal Bourdon is quite buried and hence very soft - for anything other than the softest Swell strings, the Dulciana 16' (borrowed from the Swell) was always used as well in my time there.

In large Harrisons, the Solo 16's are often borrowed onto the Pedal. If, in particularly gritty psalm verses, you find yourself drawing the Solo Sub Octave instead of the 16's (on the manual), the 16's are there on the pedal so is no problem with the otherwise missing bottom octave.

Thanks for these first hand experiences - it would take me much time and money to find them out....!

Great reed transfers are incredibly useful on Romantic organs as the Great 16' reed is more likely to be the Bach pedal reed of choice than the actual Pedal reed - certainly at Bristol where the Trombone is far too big at the bottom end (and speaks much less promptly than the Great reeds) - what we would give for a transfer!

Paul Walton

(Assistant Organist, Bristol Cathedral)

Having said that I see problems in reed transfers, I use them in this coupler variant here in St. Marien Rostock for exactly the same purpose!

The pedal reeds are problematic - the 8' quite bright and placed more prominent than the manuals (i. e. in the side wings right behind the facade), and the two 16'-reeds make problems, too - the one beeing from 1792 and not restored yet, just regularly tuned, having wooden resonators still lengthened for higher "Chorton"-pitch, giving quite an amount of rattle at some notes and with considerable irregularities throughout the stop. The other one, on another soundboard, beeing a Laukhuff reed from 1985 with half-length resonators and very noisy, though throughout balanced, representing a stop of typical neo-baroque qualitity - the German one, which usually is below Danish or Dutch builders.

But to play Bach and baroque, I do not use the Gt, but make several combinations of the three remaining manuals. The Gt becomes the source for the Gedal reeds - the Gt reeds are zinc pipes from 1911/1916 and/or 1938, medium in sclae and volume, much more moderate than any stop you would order today from one of the big German firms. (I have used them to mark the trumpets in Handel choruses when accompanying a 30-people volunteers choir or for playing the c.f., having only a single soprano as a descant!).

Those reeds coupled to Ped really make sense. One would wish to make them available independently, but the soundboards from 1792 would not allow such modifications....

I'd love to hear more about those traditional ways of registration on larger English instruments, like Paul has told me.

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Thanks for these first hand experiences - it would take me much time and money to find them out....!

 

Having said that I see problems in reed transfers, I use them in this coupler variant here in St. Marien Rostock for exactly the same purpose!

The pedal reeds are problematic - the 8' quite bright and placed more prominent than the manuals (i. e. in the side wings right behind the facade), and the two 16'-reeds make problems, too - the one beeing from 1792 and not restored yet, just regularly tuned, having wooden resonators still lengthened for higher "Chorton"-pitch, giving quite an amount of rattle at some notes and with considerable irregularities throughout the stop. The other one, on another soundboard, beeing a Laukhuff reed from 1985 with half-length resonators and very noisy, though throughout balanced, representing a stop of typical neo-baroque qualitity - the German one, which usually is below Danish or Dutch builders.

But to play Bach and baroque, I do not use the Gt, but make several combinations of the three remaining manuals. The Gt becomes the source for the Gedal reeds - the Gt reeds are zinc pipes from 1911/1916 and/or 1938, medium in sclae and volume, much more moderate than any stop you would order today from one of the big German firms. (I have used them to mark the trumpets in Handel choruses when accompanying a 30-people volunteers choir or for playing the c.f., having only a single soprano as a descant!).

Those reeds coupled to Ped really make sense. One would wish to make them available independently, but the soundboards from 1792 would not allow such modifications....

I'd love to hear more about those traditional ways of registration on larger English instruments, like Paul has told me.

 

Two contemporary rebuilds of celebrated large organs - one German, one English - make for an interesting comparison of aesthetic ideals of the period :-

 

Sauer 1937 at the Marienkirche, Rostock (IVP/83) with Fritz Heitmann as consultant - Rostock

Arthur Harrison 1937 at Westminster Abbey (IVP/86) - the 'Coronation Organ' - Westminster Abbey

 

Having been fortunate enough to play both briefly - and the Abbey organ has admittedly been somewhat changed since - I find the difference in tonal concept fascinating. One wonders what the two men would have said to one another had they ever met.

 

JS

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Two contemporary rebuilds of celebrated large organs - one German, one English - make for an interesting comparison of aesthetic ideals of the period :-

 

Sauer 1937 at the Marienkirche, Rostock (IVP/83) with Fritz Heitmann as consultant - Rostock

Arthur Harrison 1937 at Westminster Abbey (IVP/86) - the 'Coronation Organ' - Westminster Abbey

 

Having been fortunate enough to play both briefly - and the Abbey organ has admittedly been somewhat changed since - I find the difference in tonal concept fascinating. One wonders what the two men would have said to one another had they ever met.

 

JS

 

Thank you for that, may I quote from my draft for a coming website regarding the Rostock organ:

 

In 1938, organ builders Wilhelm Sauer (Frankfurt/Oder), at the time owned and directed by Dr. Oscar Walcker, member of the famous Walcker family of Ludwigsburg, finished a comprehensive rebuild of the instrument. returning it to a number of 83 stops. All the soundboards and much of the remaining pipework was re-used, but the action was changed to electro-pneumatic, allowing the console to be set on the southern corner of the balcony, providing the player with acoustical control over the instrument for the first time.

 

The specification was drawn up by the organist of Berlin Cathedral (which still houses a great Sauer organ of 1905 with V/101), Prof. Fritz Heitmann. Heitmann played the inauguration concert on Sunday, November 6th 1938. He grew up with a small Schnitger organ and was later a student of Prof. Karl Straube in Leipzig, and hereby acquainted with leading organ music of the late romantic (Reger) and post-romantic era, but focussing on a lively interpretation of the works by J. S. Bach.

 

Heitmanns mastership as a player is documented by recordings of 1944, now available on compact disc. As a consultant, he was quite in demand, and his attitude is reflected by the specification of St. Mary’s organ: He played and knew romantic and contemporary organ music well, but was already open for earlier music back to Frescobaldi and Bruhns. The music list of the inauguration concerts consequently shows his view of the organ: A baroque instrument with romantic capabilities - quite the opposite of what we would think of it today.

 

The programme names music by N. Bruhns, J. N. Hanff, J. S. Bach (Chorales), W. A. Mozart (f-minor Fantasy), J. Brahms and M. Reger (Fantasy on “Ein feste Burg”, followed by congregational singing of the hymn).

 

We do not know yet what Heitmann thought about St. Mary’s organ. Maybe that no evidence will be found in future, as the Sauer archives were destroyed at the end of WW II.

 

And, comparing it with Harrison's instrument, two things are important:

The major is, that in Rostock the retaining of so much substantial, but already then questionable material (wind system (never sufficient throughout the instruments history since 1770), soundboards and pipework) was not an artisan's decision, but pure necessity due to the circumstances. Material, and certainly metal, was already restricted in availability, to be preserved for "higher" purposes....

Heitmann was strongly influenced by the "Orgelbewegung", but wihtout beeing absorbed by it. His words: "Wir brauchen keine Orgelbewegung, aber eine beständige Bewegung um die Orgel". (transl.: We do not need the organ movement (Orgelbewegung), but we need continuos movement around the organ.).

Harrison was 1937 - if at all, please correct me - not so much affected by it.

 

On the other hand, having electropneumatic slider chests, principal choruses everywhere, romantic und some symphonic material on 16' and 32' base, Rostock looks to mo much more related to English organ building than one might think.

 

Maybe our kind host, who visited the instrument last autumn, too, will share his opinion on this.

 

@John Sayer: When have you played Rostock? It has become much better after general cleaning and finishing of the nave's restoration in 2007!

 

Greetings

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The british organ-building of this period -Willis III and Arthur Harrison- deeply

impressed Oscar Walcker.

And had it not been those "higher purposes" (both senses of the term, also "flying" included)

he would certainly have propone a synthesis of british and german styles.

There is an Oscar. Walcker organ in Brussels (Eglise de La Cambre) from that period,

which was obviously, originally, an experimental one towards that end. He did not dare

to engrave "Open Diapason" on the stop tablets, though. But again, guess why ?

 

Pierre

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There is an Oscar Walcker organ in Brussels (Eglise de La Cambre) from that period,

which was obviously, originally, an experimental one towards that end. He did not dare

to engrave "Open Diapason" on the stop tablets, though.

 

We should always be thankful that today we are able to...

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We should always be thankful that today we are able to...

 

Of course, but....Are we really permitted to do so ?

Nowadays, if you dare launch a project with such aims, it will

meet a strong opposition. But this time from....Britain! :huh:

 

Oscar Walcker was an outstanding figure in the organ-building world.

Halas, when he managed the Walcker firm, it was between 1900 and 1948,

which explains why he did not receive the recognition he deserved.

He also had the duty to provide work for a large payroll in a time when

the "Sachverständigern", the consultants, were deeply influenced by

the Orgelbewegung, so that he had to allow for much compromises.

Among them he preffered Emil Rupp, whose designs were actually more

post-romantic than orgelbewegt.

 

Here is a page that gathers the links towards the documentation about Oscar Walcker

on the Walcker Website; there are articles and pictures (in german language):

 

http://www.walckerorgel.de/gewalcker.de/erinnerungen.htm

 

Pierre

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And, comparing it with Harrison's instrument, two things are important:

The major is, that in Rostock the retaining of so much substantial, but already then questionable material (wind system (never sufficient throughout the instruments history since 1770), soundboards and pipework) was not an artisan's decision, but pure necessity due to the circumstances. Material, and certainly metal, was already restricted in availability, to be preserved for "higher" purposes....

And this was so much the case of many rebuilds in the UK in the lean years after 1945... incidentally, a time when borrowings were very commonly introduced at the same time. Co-incidence? I think not.

 

I feel these manual to pedal borrowings are invariably a compromise solution (as JPM explained - thanks for the insight), suitable only for augmenting the Pedal ranks when they are not able to provide a suitable bass line themselves for the manuals. This is not an uncommon situation on British organs, where a good Pedal organ is a rarity.

 

Incidentally, did anyone read Jon Ambrosino's rather penetrating review in C&O of the new little Schoenstein in Manhattan? One of the points he made was the lack of any true pedal ranks on this 3 manual organ - all pedal stops are derived from the manuals. :huh:

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And this was so much the case of many rebuilds in the UK in the lean years after 1945... incidentally, a time when borrowings were very commonly introduced at the same time. Co-incidence? I think not.

 

I feel these manual to pedal borrowings are invariably a compromise solution (as JPM explained - thanks for the insight), suitable only for augmenting the Pedal ranks when they are not able to provide a suitable bass line themselves for the manuals. This is not an uncommon situation on British organs, where a good Pedal organ is a rarity.

 

Incidentally, did anyone read Jon Ambrosino's rather penetrating review in C&O of the new little Schoenstein in Manhattan? One of the points he made was the lack of any true pedal ranks on this 3 manual organ - all pedal stops are derived from the manuals. :o

 

 

However large the pedal organ is, however well-endowed with individual (unique) ranks, I still think it is highly advantageous when performing romantic music (in particular) to have some of the manual ranks available down there, particularly such things as 16' clarinets. It would be hard to justify the expense in providing these stops independently, but if methods exist to duplex them at no great cost, such sounds can be not just delightful but highly artistic. I speak with reference to such instruments as Holy Trinity Hull, when Compton made several manual ranks available on the Pedal, much to that instrument's advantage, even though there were plenty of pedal ranks before JC came on the scene.

 

Just to name one further case in point: Westminster Abbey has very few individual pedal ranks, and you may criticise the scheme on that basis - while everything had to be in the cases the difficulty would have been where to put them, of course - but it's still a very effective division and in particular every colour and tone can be found to balance the manuals.

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I don't doubt you for 1 second - can you give some examples in the romantic repertoire where you'd use a stop duplexed to the pedal? Do use HTH as an example if it helps.

 

Off topic: We must always remember the dramatic difference the Solo double clarinet has on full organ at Westminster Abbey. I have a similar experience on my organ - one must never, ever draw the Great organ Harmonic Flute 4 with full organ. Completely ruins the effect.

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I feel these manual to pedal borrowings are invariably a compromise solution (as JPM explained - thanks for the insight), suitable only for augmenting the Pedal ranks when they are not able to provide a suitable bass line themselves for the manuals. This is not an uncommon situation on British organs, where a good Pedal organ is a rarity.

Not invariably, surely? Take the foghorn. This was almost a no-expense-spared organ, provided as part of the post-war reconstruction of the church. At one stage it was going to go on a new quire screen provided especially for it, until the PCC found out how big it was going to be (the church is not tall). Old Harry Moreton, the instrument's principal designer, wanted an organ as big as Westminster Abbey (not that he told the PCC this) and kept slipping extra stops into the specification. The only reason it doesn't have a Vox Humana is because, by the time Moreton had thought of it, the Swell was too far advanced and its provision would have meant sacrificing one of the existing stops, probably the Seventeenth and at this point reconstruction committee called time. (I think the soundboards may already have been drilled.) Yet for all this, a very large part of the Pedal is borrowed. I feel sure the real reason for this is that Moreton saw the Pedal department only in terms of orchestral sub-octave effects (and maybe occasional solos). I doubt he would have understood the point of a fully independent Pedal chorus, or indeed any tonal scheme that functioned primarily on vertical principles.

 

Incidentally, did anyone read Jon Ambrosino's rather penetrating review in C&O of the new little Schoenstein in Manhattan? One of the points he made was the lack of any true pedal ranks on this 3 manual organ - all pedal stops are derived from the manuals. :o

I think this was also true of at least some smaller Cavaillé-Colls. Mainz, for example.

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I don't doubt you for 1 second - can you give some examples in the romantic repertoire where you'd use a stop duplexed to the pedal?

Pending Cynic's reply, an example immediately pops into my mind. There's an old double-LP set from Norwich called "Herbert Howells: A Tribute" (very sadly never re-issued on CD, AFAIK). On this Malcolm Archer gives a magnificent account of the third Rhapsody. Towards the end he briefly couples down what sounds like the Solo 8' Corno di Bassetto for the Pedal triplet figures. It sounds absolutely wonderful. OK, the stop isn't actually borrowed in the spec, but by coupling it down the effect is the same.

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...Towards the end he briefly couples down what sounds like the Solo 8' Corno di Bassetto for the Pedal triplet figures. It sounds absolutely wonderful. OK, the stop isn't actually borrowed in the spec, but by coupling it down the effect is the same.

I want to stress that I was talking about really big organs. (And I want to ask the board members for understanding, that once again I'm talking about "my" organ, though not exclusively. We all have our favourite topics and stories. But "my" organ will see some major working in midterm future, so I have to check things carefully in advance).

I think, all is said about transmitting manual to Pedal stops, at least when filling essential gaps in the Pedal (e.g. the only 8' or 16' reed of the Ped. is a derived stop from elsewhere) on smaller ones, with money- or at least space-saving as primary purpose.

My original question was: If you already have one or two reed stops, or two or three flue stops of 8' or 16' pitch in the Ped, is it worth thinking of spending money for transmissions of more such stops from manuals (if action makes it quite easy), adding variants only? Presumably, it depends: A very nice free reed, or a Clarinet or Cor anglais from a manual might be desirable to have separately, but another trumpet or trombone is perhaps not so important. Having a Chamade or Tuba separately for solos might be nice, too....?

 

That's what it was intended to be about. But keep it going, your contributions are always very interesting to foreigners!

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snip

 

Off topic: We must always remember the dramatic difference the Solo double clarinet has on full organ at Westminster Abbey. I have a similar experience on my organ - one must never, ever draw the Great organ Harmonic Flute 4 with full organ. Completely ruins the effect.

 

 

I have to assume you are deliberately being frivolous, Colin.

So far, this topic had been a serious one - a subject worth discussing.

 

I feel prompted to add, and if you don't find this topic interesting please stay off it!

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Well, let us try to restart with a document I think very worthwhile.

 

So we have two points to consider:

 

-Borrowing to the pedal was a baroque finding, and used by great masters

of that period.

 

-Among the greatest post-romantic builders like Skinner, Oscar Walcker, Arthur Harrison,

there could have been a consensus on the matter, if we observe what they did.

 

....And it was: "Structural", strong stops which form the backbone of the Pedal organ

aren't borrowed, but extended (16-8, 16-8-4) to save room, as such organs cannot have

too much 16' tone

Non structural, soft stops, are borrowed from the manuals.

 

I copied what Ernest Skinner wrote 1917 in "The modern organ", because this deserves attention,

thinking, and discussion; he talks about his extension system, but it included borrowing as well:

 

The « augmented » Pedal.

 

The « augmented » pedal is supposed by many, including a few organ builders, to be a makeshift or form of swindle intended to defraud the unwary. It is for this reason that the following explanation is given.

The idea of the augmented pedal is not new . It originated in England and the idea is at least thirty years old, probably more./ (indeed, it commenced with Stellwagen who already borrowed stops for the Pedal!!! P.L.)

It consists in a construction that permits of drawing the pedal stops at either sixteen or eight foot pitch.

There is a fundamental reason why this is good practice with regard to the pedal organ, and radically wrong when applied to the manuals. The manuals are played in chords, the pedal idiom is one note at a time. In the common chord of « C » on the manuals, if a four foot stop be taken from an eight-foot stop, there will be, if both stops are drawn, one « C » less sounding than if both stops were complete in themselves. In the event of larger chords, doublings and omissions are more pronounced. This is of course the case with all manual octave couplers.

With the pedal organ the conditions are wholly different as chords are seldom played on the pedals. It is therefore clear that the effect of an eight-foot stop is not discounted by any probable use of its sixteen-foot relative.

In the construction of the augmented pedal, all the stops to be augmented are carried one octave higher in order that the scale of the stops of eight-foot pitch may be complete.

Broadly speaking, if fifteen stops be drawn on a pedal organ of the so-called « legitimate » type, and a key depressed, there will be fifteen pipes sounding. If the same fifteen stops of the augmented pedal be drawn, there will be also fifteen pipes sounding.

The construction of the augmented pedal eliminates useless material.

The greatest difficulty in the proper laying out of an instrument is usually a lack of sufficient room. The use of the augmented pedal idea is the one thing that makes an adequate pedal possible in such cases. The term « adequate » implies both variety and power. (explanation of a drawing).

 

…In point of fact, there is seldom either room or money to provide for a « legitimate » ( ?) pedal of any such scope and completeness as the augmented pedal easily provides.

If, for example, prejudice excules the augmenting principle, using our Figure 11 for illustration, we simply cancel the 8-foot octave, 8-foot Gedeckt and 10 2/3’ Quint from our specification, as there is insufficient room for more than these two ranks in five cases out of ten.

Again, a stop that is obtained by augmenting costs less than one-half the amount necessary to pay for a complete additionnal stop.

On account of the cost, lack of space, etc, one will rarely find more than one stop of 8-foot Flute family in the unaugmented pedal. This will be found to be too loud for soft effects and too soft for loud effects, a nondescript of no particular use, but costing, unfortunately, more than both the 8-foot octave for loud effects and the 8-foot Gedeckt for soft effects in the augmented pedal. It is also more than likely that it is crowding its neighbors, more or less to their disadvantage.

Pipes of large scale require ample breathing space. The augmented pedal affords an ideal solution of this question of space and makes possible in almost every instance, a pedal of power and variety.

The only fraud that may be perpetrated with the augmented pedal is to deny the purchaser the advantage of the very substantial saving resulting from this type of construction.

We may go further than this, and say, in the knowledge of what the augmented pedal means to an instrument, that even if no saving were to result from its use, it is decidedly to be preffered on account of its musical advantages. The augmented pedal is the most effective musically from every point of view.

A most satisfactory detail of the system of augmenting is found in its application to the Swell 16-foot Bourdon,, called in the pedal group, second Bourdon or sometimes Echo Lieblich. In practice the lower 44 notes of this stop are made interchangeable with the Pedal. This enables it to be drawn at both 16-foot and 8-foot oitch on the pedal, leaving the Swell manual entirely cleart for any suitable soft effect, as an 8-foot Unda Maris. The second Bourdon by itself is somewhat lacking in definition in its lower register ; its 8-foot relative, the Still Gedeckt, lends a most beautiful and indispensable point and clearness in combination with the 16-foot Second Bourdon.

Some idea of the economy reffered to may be gained from the fact that the 8-foot Still Gedeckt is figured at 50 Dollars.

 

Criticism has been made that since no pipes have been added on account of the Second Bourdon and Still Gedeckt they contribute nothing to the full organ.

This is quite true.

The same would be equally true if suitable pipes had been added. No pipes of suitable strenght for the purpose will ever count in the forte. The same may be said of the Aeoline. It is inevitable that loud voices overshadow soft ones.

The Swell Bourdon, used as a pedal stop, has the further advantage of being inclosed in the swell-box. Its strenght may be tempered to its associated soft stops. This applies both to its 16-foot and 8-foot pitches.

If a 16-foot and 8-foot stop be drawn and an octave held there will be one 8-foot tone missing from the group of three piches sounding, but the missing note is the same in pitch and quality as one already held and its loss is therefore so slight that it could hardly be detected by a trained ear. This is the one point that may be taken as favoring the position of those against the augmented pedal.

Against this we must weigh a lack of both power and variety.

A deficiency in power AND expressiveness or variety is the glaring fault of the organs of the past. A swell 16-foot reed thatbe drawn independantly on the pedal is a most beautiful bass for certain types of strings and it is also subjet to the swell-shades. Granting room and money for one 8-foot independant pedal stop, that cannot in any way whatsoever equal three 8-foot stops, loud, medium and soft, which may be obtained by augmenting, without crowding, at a less cost and one of them in a swell-box.

Even if money and space were unlimited, it is obvious that augmenting would still enhance the musical value of a pedal organ.

 

It is a curious scheme that insists that it is a damage to use a pedal stop in simple octaves in a toe and heel technique when it is regarded as perfectly legitimate to use octave couplers in a chord formation on the manuals where the position is at least five times as objectionable, assuming that the pedal keys were played in octaves all the time, and where if the pedals are not played in octaves no objection holds valid.

The Pedal organs in the Cathedral of St John the Divine, College of the City of New York, St Thoma’s Church, Grace Church, Fifth Avenue Presbterian Church, Fourth Presbyterian Church and others of like caliber are all built on the augmented principle.

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The « augmented » Pedal.

Well, though this is once again off-topic.... but an interesting statement.

 

The Danish Marcussen firm had (has?) the tradition to split up the Pedal division into Grosspedal and Kleinpedal, stacking the latter above the other to save space. However, Subbass 16' and Gedacktbass 8' very often shared one single rank. This frequently led to problems with the two-face scaling and creating a somewhat muddy sound in piano 16'+8' registrations - compared with the overall level of sound quality of those organs.

One organ where I know it from own experience is that of Lübeck Cathedral..

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