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'synthetic Solo' Divisions


mrbouffant

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I had cause to play a 1930s Morgan & Smith recently which had a "synthetic solo" division. These were imitative stops, played on the lowest manual, made up - it seems - of combinations of stops on the choir division.

 

Is this a typical feature of instruments of the time? I haven't come across it anywhere else so was curious...

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Guest Echo Gamba

I've just searched NPOR for M & S 1930's, and the only reference to synthetic stops is here but this doesn't look like the one you speak of. It indicates that M & S were into synthetic "stops" though

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I had cause to play a 1930s Morgan & Smith recently which had a "synthetic solo" division. These were imitative stops, played on the lowest manual, made up - it seems - of combinations of stops on the choir division.

 

Is this a typical feature of instruments of the time? I haven't come across it anywhere else so was curious...

 

 

I used to practice here when I was at university. The couple of Synthetic Solo 8' stops - made up of duplexed harmoics and other such exotica are IMHO not really worth the electronics used to achieve them! I also found the general sound of the instrument decidedly depressing.

 

Alastair

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Guest Nigel ALLCOAT
I used to practice here when I was at university. The couple of Synthetic Solo 8' stops - made up of duplexed harmoics and other such exotica are IMHO not really worth the electronics used to achieve them! I also found the general sound of the instrument decidedly depressing.

 

Alastair

 

There is almost an identical extension organ by them in Holy Trinity Church, Hinckley. Everything enclosed except the 8 & 4 Principals and the Sub Bass. Double Trumpet to Ten C too. Must have been in the 30's after the church was consecrated. Stop tabs and electric action which is a touch flabby. The player in that church is about 9" away from the Swell shutters and deaf in the right ear after a big service. I think the synthetic part draws 8ft and Nazard together. Woops! Daringly Baroque!

N

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The real Master in that matter was John Compton.

There are some instruments left which are a testimony

it can work in artistic organ-building.

 

Pierre

 

Too true - we have a pile of them just down the road from here at Downside Abbey - there's a really good CD of the beast by our very own Paul Derrett!!

 

Alastair :)

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Too true - we have a pile of them just down the road from here at Downside Abbey - there's a really good CD of the beast by our very own Paul Derrett!!

 

Alastair :)

 

I do have this CD, and there are already some belgian organists who could hear it...

One thing we may take as a truth: there are successful organs in all styles,

periods, kinds, kinds of actions, extended or not, etc.

 

Pierre

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I had cause to play a 1930s Morgan & Smith recently which had a "synthetic solo" division. These were imitative stops, played on the lowest manual, made up - it seems - of combinations of stops on the choir division.

 

Is this a typical feature of instruments of the time? I haven't come across it anywhere else so was curious...

See

http://npor.rcm.ac.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch.cgi?...ec_index=G00536

This is a Morgan and Smith from 1932. In addition to the stops listed in the NPOR there are two tabs, which I think are labelled "Clarinet" and "Oboe" plus the word "synth" or "synthetic", obtained by adding tierce or nazard to the Lieblich Gedackt.

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See

http://npor.rcm.ac.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch.cgi?...ec_index=G00536

This is a Morgan and Smith from 1932. In addition to the stops listed in the NPOR there are two tabs, which I think are labelled "Clarinet" and "Oboe" plus the word "synth" or "synthetic", obtained by adding tierce or nazard to the Lieblich Gedackt.

 

 

A late organ built by our hosts had a couple of synthetic 'reeds' on the Choir (I think the Clarinet as well as the Musette):

 

http://npor.rcm.ac.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch.cgi?...ec_index=N17674

 

By the time I knew this instrument it was showing signs of wear and tear, so I couldn't really give any objective assessment of these stops...

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A late organ built by our hosts had a couple of synthetic 'reeds' on the Choir (I think the Clarinet as well as the Musette):

 

http://npor.rcm.ac.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch.cgi?...ec_index=N17674

 

By the time I knew this instrument it was showing signs of wear and tear, so I couldn't really give any objective assessment of these stops...

 

 

Isn't there one more or less opposite St Pancras Station on the corner? Can't remember what it's called. Done a couple of lunchtime concerts on it. It was in an absolutely terrible state last time due to being superheated by an enormous hot air fan right next to it on the gallery. In the end I gave up and played trio sonatas on the Collins portable instead.

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Isn't there one more or less opposite St Pancras Station on the corner? Can't remember what it's called. Done a couple of lunchtime concerts on it. It was in an absolutely terrible state last time due to being superheated by an enormous hot air fan right next to it on the gallery. In the end I gave up and played trio sonatas on the Collins portable instead.

 

Absolutely - a similar instrument of the same vintage; it's in er... St Pancras New Church. :rolleyes:

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The Germans have traditionally taken a different line on tone synthesis. They took it particularly seriously back in the 60s and 70s, when almost every organ of any size had to have a Septime or a None or something more extreme, in addition to the usual tierces, nasards and larigots. The influence was also felt over here in such new instruments as New College, Oxford and York University.

 

Perhaps the most radical example of such ideas was the IVP/77 instrument built by Eule in 1966 for Zwickau Cathedral in Saxony.

 

The manuals contain a varied selection of flutes, principals and mild strings at 8-4-2-1, many with the slightly exotic names fashionable at that time (Trichtergedackt, Doppelrohrflöte, Weidenspiel etc) together with a generous complement of mixtures. Among the many 'Aliquoten', both single and compound, are:-

 

Brustwerk: Nasat 2 2/3, Repetierender Terz 2/5-1 3/5, Sept-Non 2fach plus Schellenzimbel 2f

Oberwerk: Quinte 2 2/3, Sifflöte 1 1/3, Terzzimbel 3f plus Solokornett 3-5f

Schwellwerk: Rohr-Gemsquinte 1 1/3, Octave 1/2, Sesquialter 2f, Un-Tredezime 2f plus Windharfe 2-3f (whatever that is!).

 

Thirds, fifths, sevenths, ninths, eleventh and thirteenths are thus all represented in the tonal palette.

 

There seems to have been earnest discussion about the place of such stops in the tonal scheme as well as their musical use. The opportunities for colour synthesis are well-nigh inexhaustible, though the more 'stratospheric' pitches can have a strangely disembodied quality in which the fundamental is difficult to discern. The effect in chords is distinctly bizarre.

 

It seems to have been a distinctly post-war phenomenon, a quest for progressive and exciting new sounds (though, interestingly the first None was recorded as far back as 1859) yet regarded today, I suspect, as something of a curiosity.

 

JS

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The Germans have traditionally taken a different line on tone synthesis. They took it particularly seriously back in the 60s and 70s, when almost every organ of any size had to have a Septime or a None or something more extreme, in addition to the usual tierces, nasards and larigots. The influence was also felt over here in such new instruments as New College, Oxford and York University.

 

Perhaps the most radical example of such ideas was the IVP/77 instrument built by Eule in 1966 for Zwickau Cathedral in Saxony.

 

The manuals contain a varied selection of flutes, principals and mild strings at 8-4-2-1, many with the slightly exotic names fashionable at that time (Trichtergedackt, Doppelrohrflöte, Weidenspiel etc) together with a generous complement of mixtures. Among the many 'Aliquoten', both single and compound, are:-

 

Brustwerk: Nasat 2 2/3, Repetierender Terz 2/5-1 3/5, Sept-Non 2fach plus Schellenzimbel 2f

Oberwerk: Quinte 2 2/3, Sifflöte 1 1/3, Terzzimbel 3f plus Solokornett 3-5f

Schwellwerk: Rohr-Gemsquinte 1 1/3, Octave 1/2, Sesquialter 2f, Un-Tredezime 2f plus Windharfe 2-3f (whatever that is!).

 

Thirds, fifths, sevenths, ninths, eleventh and thirteenths are thus all represented in the tonal palette.

 

There seems to have been earnest discussion about the place of such stops in the tonal scheme as well as their musical use. The opportunities for colour synthesis are well-nigh inexhaustible, though the more 'stratospheric' pitches can have a strangely disembodied quality in which the fundamental is difficult to discern. The effect in chords is distinctly bizarre.

 

It seems to have been a distinctly post-war phenomenon, a quest for progressive and exciting new sounds (though, interestingly the first None was recorded as far back as 1859) yet regarded today, I suspect, as something of a curiosity.

 

JS

 

Another spectacular example is the concert hall organ at Sydney Opera House:

 

http://www.sydneyoperahouse.com/uploadedFi...sGrandOrgan.pdf

 

I've only heard this instrument in an album of lollipops recorded by Peter Hurford in the 80s. Does anyone know how this organ handles/sounds in the flesh?

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It seems to have been a distinctly post-war phenomenon, a quest for progressive and exciting new sounds (though, interestingly the first None was recorded as far back as 1859) yet regarded today, I suspect, as something of a curiosity.

 

JS

 

Of course Harrison Harmonics have incorporated such sounds since about 1910 or so - I don't know about Nones but I do know that the composition of the Harmonics was different in almost every instance. (There exists somewhere a job file with Arthur Harrison's spidery writing proclaiming 'We must never use this composition again!').

 

In the process of trying to decide what to do with some particularly unfortuante late additions to a Harrison organ, long since rid of its Harmonics, one of the experiments was to transpose the pipes of a 1970s mixture on a seperate chest to form b21.23 (since that was the only direction I could send the 19.22 pipes without having to alter the racking) - I have to say it makes absolute and total sense tonally and makes the reeds (which I previously disliked) sound rather wonderful. So not just 1960s.

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Arthur Harrison was not alone of course to use the flat twenty-first/ Septième/ Septime.

Cavaillé-Coll had already used it at Notre-Dame, Paris, as a member of a series

of individual mutation stops.

Carl Weigle of Stuttgart also used them.

The difference with the neo-baroque conception was, however, that those ranks were

part of mixtures intended to work in big combinations, not for "bottleneck" special

effects -for which a good Chimes may suffice-.

Even Cavaillé-Colll's ranks were not intended to be used in detail.

As the chorus reeds lost their rattle, and then became more foundational after Hope-Jone's

period, there has been an attempt to compensate with more varied mutation ranks, to

give the full organ its harmonics back -hence the "Harmonics".

And yes, it works!

 

Pierre

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Arthur Harrison was not alone of course to use the flat twenty-first/ Septième/ Septime.

Cavaillé-Coll had already used it at Notre-Dame, Paris, as a member of a series

of individual mutation stops.

Carl Weigle of Stuttgart also used them.

The difference with the neo-baroque conception was, however, that those ranks were

part of mixtures intended to work in big combinations, not for "bottleneck" special

effects -for which a good Chimes may suffice-.

Even Cavaillé-Colll's ranks were not intended to be used in detail.

As the chorus reeds lost their rattle, and then became more foundational after Hope-Jone's

period, there has been an attempt to compensate with more varied mutation ranks, to

give the full organ its harmonics back -hence the "Harmonics".

And yes, it works!

 

Pierre

 

Were the copious C-C Pedal mutations on some of his larger instruments just for quasi 32's, thickening out (or making more complex) the bass effects or were they ever required for anything more soloistic/melodic? David Briggs had Nicholsons add a clutch of these at Gloucester Cathedral not so long ago and apparently they add some pleasant 'purrs' under Swell strings etc. and provide a few more resultant noises in the bass regions. What however is the musical basis for these please anyone?

 

A

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The idea was from Eberhard Friedrich Walcker, and Cavaillé-Coll

sometimes followed.

 

There were two starting points:

 

1)- The quick evolution of the Cornet in Germany since Gottfried Silbermann

introduced it;

 

2)- The ideas of Abt Vogler, themselbes based on Sorge & Tartini's about resultant tones.

 

The principle is to have a 32' Cornet on the Pedals to build resultant tones.

 

Example:

 

Subbass 32'

Kontrabass 16' (+ others 16')

Grossquintbass 10 2/3'

Octave 8' (+ others 8')

Grossterzbass 6 2/5'

...Etc

 

Drawn togheter, those five stops give you a Cornet, which, in this region,

builds an huge resultant tone as if you had a super open 32'.

Walcker built sometimes a "Grand Bourdon" stop which actually borrowed

all these ranks togheter.

No detail effect wathsoever was intended with mutation stops in romantic organs

save the Carillon, which had both uses.

During the post-romantic this idea sometimes emerged, but with very soft stops

(Dulciana Mixture, Harmonia aetherea) or quite orchestral (Cornet de Viols).

 

Pierre

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The idea was from Eberhard Friedrich Walcker, and Cavaillé-Coll

sometimes followed.

 

There were two starting points:

 

1)- The quick evolution of the Cornet in Germany since Gottfried Silbermann

introduced it;

 

2)- The ideas of Abt Vogler, themselbes based on Sorge & Tartini's about resultant tones.

 

The principle is to have a 32' Cornet on the Pedals to build resultant tones.

 

Example:

 

Subbass 32'

Kontrabass 16' (+ others 16')

Grossquintbass 10 2/3'

Octave 8' (+ others 8')

Grossterzbass 6 2/5'

...Etc

 

Drawn togheter, those five stops give you a Cornet, which, in this region,

builds an huge resultant tone as if you had a super open 32'.

Walcker built sometimes a "Grand Bourdon" stop which actually borrowed

all these ranks togheter.

No detail effect wathsoever was intended with mutation stops in romantic organs

save the Carillon, which had both uses.

During the post-romantic this idea sometimes emerged, but with very soft stops

(Dulciana Mixture, Harmonia aetherea) or quite orchestral (Cornet de Viols).

 

Pierre

 

Thanks for this Pierre

 

A

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There is (or was) a wonderful "Bass Cornet 32" on the Compton/Wood rebuild at Wakefield Cathedral. Although it is over thirty years since I heard it, my recollection is of an impressive 'realistic' 32 foot reed. I presume this synthetic reed was quite a usual feature of larger Comptons of the period.

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