Mark Taylor Posted February 17, 2009 Share Posted February 17, 2009 In John Elwood’s “What Would You Play On This Organ” thread, VH cited a link to the Sibley Music Library. If you do the search Vox suggested, one of the items near the top of the list is a book from 1881 by CA Edwards titled “Organs and Organ Building”. It’s quite fascinating. Here are some extracts from the chapter on “The Combination of Stops”. “The organ, more than any other instrument, has an individuality … not altogether depending upon the stops it contains, but more nearly relying upon their combining capacity…. For instance, we have known a first-rate three-manual organ where the combination, Gamba, and Hohl-flute was almost always used in preference to the usual Open and Stopped Diapasons… The complete organ tone should be distinct, full, and bright, and the Foundation tones give the first, the Mutation the second, and the Compound the third of these qualifications… The Open Diapason is perhaps the bread and cheese of the organ. It is full, grand, solemn, and sonorous, admirably suitable for sustained harmony and slow movement. By adding the Stopped Diapason a certain amount of body is imparted to the tone, without altering the character in any marked degree. The Dulciana also gives a filling effect, if added, but it is never advisable to add a flue stop of reedy character, such, for instance, as the Keraulophon, as the quality of the stops has a tendency to clash rather than combine. The Stopped Diapason is very generally looked upon as merely a filler in for other work, and is used only in conjunction with the Open Diapason to give body, or with some other stop to impart character. It is, nevertheless, a great mistake to imagine that the Stopped Diapason should be only so used. In four-part harmony it is very beautiful for short soft passages, and serves as a contrast to a reedy stop that may have been used before. … The Dulciana is, perhaps, one of the most useful of soft stops has a curious half plaintive singing tone, and in soft harmony, or even occasionally in solo, is of great use to the organist. The Gamba is a stop with a stringy tone, and is very useful for taking harmonies that are suitable for string work. It blends well with the Hohl-flute or Stopped Diapason… A word must be said with regard to the addition of 16ft flue stops to the manuals. These are now becoming general in modern organs. For many years they have been in use in Germany. The reason that the organs of Smith, Harris, &c appear (according to the specifications) so noisy and so over-weighted with Mutation and Mixture, is simply because these builders were reckoning on the introduction of doubles that were excluded either on account of funds, prejudice, or room. The Germans owe their style of music to the presence of these weight solemn stops, and there appears every reason to believe that Bach always drew the doubles when he executed his fugues. There is now no manner of doubt that every organ should have doubles on the manuals…” The frontispiece to Mr Edward’s book shows “Mr Holmes great organ, London”, this is also referred to as the Regent’s Park Organ. Can anyone shed any light on which organ this was? Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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