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Pierre Lauwers

Tierce Mixtures

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What about two mixtures, one with octaves and quints, the other one with tierce? Holzhay did it ("Hörnlein"), a 1910 Walcker in Belgium has a "Mixtur" and a "Scharff" (with Tierce) on the same manual. In this one, however, the Scharff is louder voiced as the mixture, I think it's intended to go with the reeds. In the flemish organ there are "Sesquialter" or "Sexquialter", with Principal scales. These stops do indeed have a Tierce rank, but are actually rather mixtures because they do have breaks. They can be added to the Diapason chorus or not, like Holzhay's Hörnlein. This kind of Sesquialter was -or is-known in Britain. Audsley too described it that way (up to five ranks, with breaks).

 

Best wishes,

Pierre Lauwers.

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John,

 

The big problem at Westbury was undoing a previous rebuild, which left pedal stops operated by electric light switches due to lack of space on the jambs. By doing things like joining redundant stopped basses to the only rank they served space was freed up. The console is now pretty much as Bevington left it.

 

There being no fractions on the organ, it was felt obviously beneficial to have the facility to put the Sesquialtera on two slides and be able to select each rank. Two stops would have been put in were there space on the stop jambs, but the maintenance of the console was felt to be the higher priority.

 

It's quite an exciting project, actually - pedals have been re-trackered on new chest and all horrid 60's stuff undone, and whole instrument moved one bay west which makes a **tremendous** difference to its sound - go and see it!!!

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I agree about Westbury having played it 'in concert' a couple of times - the action is responsive and tonally there is masses of excitement if you want it or else nice individual sounds and small combinations of stops. A really versatile parish organ where the old and the new blend well. I must admit I did not know about the Sesquialtera and its switches then but a real use was a set of pistons duplicating the combination pedals (I think) on a pad connected to the console by cable that could be used by registrants/page turners etc.

Back to Tierce Mixtures - a late 1800s Vowles 2 man near here has a fairly 'stock' 17.19.22. on the Great as the only Mixture on the organ - a real gem both on top of the chorus (really clangy) or as a RH solo with the 8 and 4 flutes etc. - unauthentic perhaps but it sounds ok.

AJJ

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3)  It appears that the upperboards were replaced in their entirety by Rushworths, at the time the Great Mixture was changed from Harmonics into something sensible.  The alterations have definitely taken place since, possibly whoever did the capture system and addition of the Choir Celeste in 1987.

 

Incidentally, the Swell Mixture definitely starts at 15 and not 12 - to my mind, blocking the whole thing down just that one stage would make it infinitely more useable on top of a really rather small, Gemshorney chorus.

 

The 1970's rebuild and new console cost, unbelievably, £30,000.  I can't find that value of workmanship anywhere in there and agree the console is a complete biatch, badly proportioned and badly made with mock-woodgrain plastic stop jambs.  Even a DIY redesign of this would be highly beneficial.

 

3) I do not think so - the capture system was an insurance job (post-2000), after a lightning strike (apparently...) The change to the Choir was simply a case of moving the old Salicet 4p up and tuning sharp to the Viole - no new pipes were added (in fact the top twelve became redundant).

 

Personally, I would leave the Swell Mixture alone. I think it works. Added to which, at present it culminates in a unison rank (at CC), if you move it down, it will end in a quint rank. There will also be a slight loss of brilliance - something this organ definitely does not need!

 

The cost of the rebuild - yes, I believe that they sold a church hall in order to finance the work. It has to be said that the console workmanship is bucolic - and ugly. I do not understand why, if John Belcher needed a detached console (balance was difficult when it was en fenetre) he did not simply keep the H&H 'innards' and get a new case built around them. With the money saved, an elegant case could have been built around the retained keys, stops, jambs, music desk and inner frame.

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I agree about Westbury having played it 'in concert' a couple of times - the action is responsive and tonally there is masses of excitement if you want it or else nice individual sounds and small combinations of stops. A really versatile parish organ where the old and the new blend well.

 

 

Nice, isn't it? I was surprised by the former Sw oboe now on the Choir - very un-English... to the right of the great stops there are two buttons labelled Naz and Tce which, when pressed, bring on each rank of the Sesquialtera.

 

The 20 generals on the keypad were borne of not wrecking the Bevington console. That's where the Pedal stops were formerly operated by light switches.

 

This instrument is definitely worth a visit. The organist is also the organ builder. I was mildly thrilled by the standard of work - Stephen's done several rebuilds/alterations for me, always to a completely outstanding level of workmanship.

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3) I do not think so - the capture system was an insurance job (post-2000), after a lightning strike (apparently...) The change to the Choir was simply a case of moving the old Salicet 4p down and tuning sharp to the Viole - no new pipes were added (in fact the top twelve became redundant).

 

 

 

 

Oh. The booklet about the organ claimed it was done in 1987. Interesting!

 

The Sw mixture is actually growing on me but it would be nice if there were a 12th in it at the bottom.

 

The Great Posaune definitely isn't growing on me. Its net effect is to make the chorus quieter. I just use the Clarion.

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Well, that may be when the 'Christe' system was fitted. The new (and rather crazy) 'Scope' system dates from 2000 (or possibly 2001).

 

No, I must admit that I do not like the GO reeds either. How about some nice second-hand C-C ranks? B)

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But, as a general point, it seems as though the present situation is unmusical. Perhaps, as M. Lauwers states, a return to the previous 17, 19, 22 composition would be more desirable. At Truro, the GO and Swell mixtures both have this composition and, in addition, they both break at F#1 (to what, I cannot recall).

 

However, as M. Lauwers also states, this is not a 'Bach' mixture!

 

=================

 

 

I held back a litle when I read the Tierce Mixture thread, since the great and good Mr Mander seemed to side with the conclusions of the "Organ Reform" lobby and M.Lauwers, who stated, and continue to state that only Quint Mixtures are appropriate for the music of Bach.

 

Well now, let's look at a bit of evidence to the contrary, but have a bit of fun on the way, just to tease the mind a little!

 

Let's start in England, with the traditional post-Snetzler organs of Hill, Willis, etc etc. THEY had tierce mixtures as we know. Snetzler organs almost always had Tierce Mixtures, and where did he get the idea from?

 

Well, it is believed that he worked on the organ of St.Bavo, Haarlem with Christian Muller, the builder, who was GERMAN and not Dutch. There are Tierce Mixtures on every division of that magnificent instrument, and most are not intended as solo registers, but as part of a Terz-chorus.

 

(Go forward a little in the Dutch tradition, and we come across Batz organs, with their distinctly "reedy" terz-choruses)

 

The Bavo organ is as different from the earlier style of Arp Schnitger as it is possible to get on a gnat's-breath of wind....warmer, less distinct....maybe just a wee bit "romantic" in concept. It anticipates the heroic "sturm und drang" period....a big sound for a big church. (Yes, I do know that it is actually less powerful than it used to be, and Marcussen have never done a big important restoration job in Holland since!)

 

In Hamburg, narrow tierces were quite common, whereas in the Saxony area, they were not.

 

Now, I don't know from where Christian Muller originated, but it isn't too important for the purposes of this reply, because if we trot across to the east of Germany and the area of Thuringia, where Bach lived and worked, there is a fine example of Thuringian organ-building at Altenburg; an organ built by Trost, on which Krebs played, and which was examined and played by Bach in 1739, to his approval.

 

This large 2m instrument has Tierce Mixtures, some unusual pipe constructions, a fair number of narrow, quasi-imitative Gambas and a rich, horny sort of sound .

 

I would also point out that at Alkmaar, the Frans Casper Schnitger/Hagabeer organ at St.Lauren's has two Sesquialteras which break back at middle C; thus negating and possibility that they were designed as solo registers. (It also has an fascinating Carillon register with a 4th interval in the make-up, which sounds a bit like tubular-bells)

 

Go to Poland, and one finds Cimbels with just a few pipes set on a small block, which shriek away atop the entire chorus, and yet have more or less random pitches, with no attempt made at tuning them whatsoever!! (I kid you not!!)

 

Now didn't John Compton wire up Aliquots in some of his larger "Mixtures?"

 

I believe that the "organ reform" people got it wrong right at the start, because when you add those narrow tierces, and pull out those majestic manual doubles, ultimate clarity goes out through the nearest stained-glass window.

 

And journeying back to England, what do we find?

 

The Thuringian, Edmund Schulze, installing numerous Tierce Mixtures with open-foot voicing.....just the sort of thing he knew so well when he tuned and maintained the old baroque organs in his local area!!

 

What goes around, comes around, as they say.

 

MM

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Dear Mr Muso,

 

Well, I certainly explained some things wrong; the only organ style I know without any Seventeenth in Diapason choruses is the french.

Even today, it is quite difficult to have the french accept something like that.

The german as well as the flemish organ usually allow to have tierces or not in the chorus. (Terz-Zimbel, Hörnlei, Sesquialtera)

 

With the romantic organ this choice dissepears, there the tierce rank seems to have

undertaken a somewhat different role.

 

Best wishes,

Pierre Lauwers.

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I am not entirely sure why MusingMuso thinks I was siding with the organ reform movement in my single reply about the worth of split stops which is what the original question was. I rather like Tierce mixtures myself actually, although they almost require an unequal temperament (note the "almost").

 

John Pike Mander

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, although they almost require an unequal temperament (note the "almost").

 

John Pike Mander

 

Here we are in front of something very interesting. By "almost", do you mean with an equal temperament the tierces need to be quite softened? In a Walcker mixture, for instance, the tierce is made of Spitzflöte pipes and is about half the power of the nearerst quint (a 2 2/3' in relation to a 1 3/5'). In a Van Peteghem Sesquialtera you will never find any softening of this kind, all ranks from the 8' to the top of the mixtures are about the same power. Indeed, there were absolutely never tuned to an equal temperament, even those who were buit about 1860.

(Of course I do not think of the one as the "right", the other as the "wrong"! both styles are excellent and need to be preserved).

 

Best wishes,

Pierre Lauwers.

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I was referring to the problems which can occur in ET with Tierce mixtures. The difference between the pure Tierce and the tempered one can result in nasty clashes. One way round this is to make the Tierces much softer of course, but one does to some extent lose the purpose of them in doing that. That is less of a problem in the Pedal of course where thirds are not played as often as they are in manuals. I was trying not so sound as if I was saying that you must have unequal temperament if you have Tierce mixtures. Of course independent Tierces are not a problem as then they are used as solo voices more rather than in the chorus.

 

John Pike Mander

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Guest Roffensis
Dear Mr Muso,

 

Well, I certainly explained some things wrong; the only organ style I know without any Seventeenth in Diapason choruses is the french.

Even today, it is quite difficult to have the french accept something like that.

The german as well as the flemish organ usually allow to have tierces or not in the chorus. (Terz-Zimbel, Hörnlei, Sesquialtera)

 

With the romantic organ this choice dissepears, there the tierce rank seems to have

undertaken a somewhat different role.

 

Best wishes,

Pierre Lauwers.

 

Hill organs generally, but not always, have no Tierces. Certainly where there is a single mixture it will have been built as a quint mixture. My own organ was originally furnished with such a mixture, just the one which is on the swell, which did not break through at all well. It was barely audible. Given that the organ has a very obvious fifth harmonic anyway, I had the organ builder rearrange it as a 17 19 22 from a 12 17 19, although it still has the same break at tenor f sharp. We left it as it was below that to avoid to much muddying and cloying adding four similar Hill pipes at the top, storing the removed. This has made a dramatic improvement to the upperwork, as is easily reversed. In an ideal world I'd have a tierce swell and quint great.

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Hill organs generally, but not always,  have no Tierces. Certainly where there is a single mixture it will have been built as a quint mixture. My own organ was originally furnished with such a mixture, just the one which is  on the swell, which did not break through at all well. It was barely audible. Given that the organ has a very obvious fifth harmonic anyway, I had the  organ builder rearrange it as a 17 19 22 from a 12 17 19, although it still has the same break at tenor f sharp. We left it as it was below that to avoid to much muddying and cloying adding four similar Hill pipes at the top, storing the removed. This has made a dramatic improvement to the upperwork, as is easily reversed. In an ideal world I'd have a tierce swell and quint great.

 

Was your organ not inaugurated by Marcel Dupré?

 

Dupré had quite strong principles about mixtures, the first of which was:

"Any mixture must be composed only with octaves and quints, never tierces".

 

Hill Quint mixtures may be just one mystery more with him. But did not Schulze

provide Quint mixtures (as well as tierce ones)? Of course, Schulze came later...

 

Best wishes,

Pierre Lauwers.

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Hill organs generally, but not always, have no Tierces.

 

================

 

I'm not sure if that statement is correct, but perhaps the offending word is "generally".

 

Was there anything "general" about what Hill did, considering that he was at the cutting-edge of the "German movement?"

 

I can think of at least a dozen organs by William Hill which included the Sesquialtera without digging further. At Ashton-under-Lyne, (1845 rebuild) not only was there the usual pitched version, there was also an octave Sequialtera at 24.26.29 and even separate 3.1/5th and 1.3/5th registers on the Great. The Swell not only had the Sesquialtera, it also had a separate 5rks Echo Cornet of 1.8.12.15.17

 

I suspect that Hill was the professional, who built what people asked him to build, and gave of his best without too many questions being asked.

 

I wouldn't pretend to be an expert of Wm.Hill or British organs circa.1850, but it seems to me that "generally" is the most dangerous choice of word, when so much was happening and so much was changing at the time.

 

MM

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Of course, Schulze came later...

 

============

 

Well Schulze certainly arrived in the UK later, but the firm had been around in Germany for a long time before that!

 

His workmen used to gather the harvest and work in the fields when they weren,t building organs, which may explain some of the slightly agricultural quality of the workmanship.

 

I was translating something from some obscure language recently, using a computer translation, and the word "organ-builder" came out as "organ farmer". Clever things these computers!!

 

MM

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Guest Roffensis

Hill organs generally, but not always, have no Tierces.

 

================

 

I'm not sure if that statement is correct, but perhaps the offending word is "generally".

 

Was there anything "general" about what Hill did, considering that he was at the cutting-edge of the "German movement?"

 

I can think of at least a dozen organs by William Hill which included the Sesquialtera without digging further. At Ashton-under-Lyne, (1845 rebuild) not only was there the usual pitched version, there was also an octave Sequialtera at 24.26.29 and even separate 3.1/5th and 1.3/5th registers on the Great. The Swell not only had the Sesquialtera, it also had a separate 5rks Echo Cornet of 1.8.12.15.17

 

I suspect that Hill was the professional, who built what people asked him to build, and gave of his best without too many questions being asked.

 

I wouldn't pretend to be an expert of Wm.Hill or British organs circa.1850, but it seems to me that "generally" is the most dangerous choice of word, when so much was happening and so much was changing at the time.

 

MM

 

Interesting to me, and I stand corrected. Perhaps a more accurate word is "usually" did not include a tierce in the way willis did, or did not use a tierce as per in the way willis did. .That is more what i was trying to say. I find it reassuring that he did apparently use the tierce, and thanks for the enlightenment, much appreciated.

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Guest Roffensis
Was your organ not inaugurated by Marcel Dupré?

 

Dupré had quite strong principles about mixtures, the first of which was:

"Any mixture must be composed only with octaves and quints, never tierces".

 

Hill Quint mixtures may be just one mystery more with him. But did not Schulze

provide Quint mixtures (as well as tierce ones)? Of course, Schulze came later...

 

Best wishes,

Pierre Lauwers.

 

Yes Dupre did open it, and its still identical to then, other than the stated mixture work, and still sounding in fine fettle!

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