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32ft Flues


themythes
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Grubby raincoats seem to be dress of the day just at present with the 32ft reed thread and thus this topic seeks information about subterranean rumblings rather than the noise more often generated by a thoroughly good curry. I speak here, obviously, only for myself.

 

I have noticed that in NPOR a 32ft flue rank is often described as a Subbass or other similar name, but it is usually unclear as to whether the bottom octave is either proper 32ft tone if only for a few notes, possibly down to G or F, or it’s a question of wishful thinking with the all too frequent quinted rumble. Can fellow contributors help with details of smallish instruments, in particular, which, to their knowledge, have at least some genuine pipes in the 32ft octave which can impart a decently satisfying vibro massage? The best known examples are, of course, St Selpulche’s, Holborn and Kilkhampton; further examples would be of great interest, I’m sure.

 

The most notable example, apparently, of wishful thinking that I have come across recently is of the organ at St Andrew’s, Banwell, east of Weston Super Mare. It is, admittedly a 3 manual, but with only 21 speaking stops; it boasts a 32ft Double Open Diap. on the pedal; the organ is at present wrapped up in cellophane as a result of church repairs but I could not discern any pipework which might have justified the rather boastful nomenclature. NPOR has 32 Double Diap but the stop knob on the detached console is engraved as I have given it. Can any member of the forum from that region enlighten me?

 

David Harrison

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'Had some time on this last summer - nice pervasive 32' flue - and the rest has come up nicely after the more recent work. No sign of the next stages of work mentioned at the foot of the survey though.

 

A

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I had to call by St John the Baptist, Armitage (Staffs) this Spring and was most interested to play the 1789 Green and subsequent Holdich (and others) from Lichfield Cathedral. You can play a 16ft Diapason (Metal) that is G compass - thus c. 22ft - but now on the Pedal. Beautifully made pipes but in a rather unfortunate position. If only this instrument could be 'taken back' to a proper time as it was lurched into a more present age with some unhappy (to me) recastings of a very important instrument. Grand pipe decorations too.

Are these the oldest UK 32ft pitched pipes (albeit not of complete ccc compass)?

Best wishes,

N

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I might be biased, but I still think the Durham cathedral H&H, has one of the most beautiful sounding 32' double open woods around, it certainly makes the air "shimer" , but that could also be the acoustic. We all have our favourites tho.

peter

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Then there's this one

http://www.npor.org.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch.cgi...ec_index=N17580

(32' complete in every respect)

 

Remarkably effective instrument, actually.

I went to a service there a few weeks ago and the pipe organ appeared to be out of use.

A large 2-manual M**** was in place, and obviously in regular use.

 

To keep this "on-topic", my favourite full-length 32ft is the Exeter Violone.

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To keep this "on-topic", my favourite full-length 32ft is the Exeter Violone.

 

I wonder whether this is, in part due to location (i.e. away from the main focus of the instrument). I've always found the 32' flue at Salisbury very effective (it is, like Exeter in the transept rather than in the choir, or on the screen as is the case with most cathedral organs). Perhaps the effect is greater when a little space/distance is added into the mix?

 

Richard

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The 32' Contra Violone on the old Christ Church organ stood against the west-end wall*, and was very effective from there. I can't comment on the effectivenes of the bottom few pipes of it which have ended up with the Grove organ at Tewkesbury.

 

Paul

 

* The organ loft key was on a hook screwed into the side of DDDD#.

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I can't remember, is it not a full length 32' in the Walker at St Mary's, Portsea? Very effective stop, IIRC, anyway.

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I went to a service there a few weeks ago and the pipe organ appeared to be out of use.

A large 2-manual M**** was in place, and obviously in regular use.

 

To keep this "on-topic", my favourite full-length 32ft is the Exeter Violone.

 

Yes, this is a good stop - apart from the lowest four notes, which are zinc (the rest are spotted metal, recast by Henry Speechley). There are sixteen pipes in the South Transept, thirteen in front and three behind. Apparently, when H&H worked on the organ in the 1980s, they discovered that it is winded on the surprisingly low pressure of around 40mm. I think that even Cecil Clutton would have found this somewhat gentle.

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I wonder whether this is, in part due to location (i.e. away from the main focus of the instrument). I've always found the 32' flue at Salisbury very effective (it is, like Exeter in the transept rather than in the choir, or on the screen as is the case with most cathedral organs). Perhaps the effect is greater when a little space/distance is added into the mix?

 

Richard

 

I would agree with this, although I am less happy with the effect of the 32ft. reed (at Salisbury) from the console, where it adds almost nothing to the tutti. It is little better in the Nave. The pressure is fairly low.

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Whilst we're on the subject of 32 foot flues, how long should you have to wait for a pipe to "warm up" or "speak" in the bottom octave? I had a recent unfortunate experience with a very large new electronic organ in a large resonant church. Something just wasn't right...then when I tried the bottom few notes of the 32 flue individually and without any other stops drawn I discovered something. They spoke very slowly and the sound "welled up" over a period of literally several seconds before fully speaking.

 

Now I'm not given to testing CCCCs on a regular basis but it did strike me as odd. Is that normal? How quickly should a CCCC come to full volume, and to what extent does it depend on the stop (violone, contradiapason, stopped bourdon etc)?

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I would agree with this, although I am less happy with the effect of the 32ft. reed (at Salisbury) from the console, where it adds almost nothing to the tutti. It is little better in the Nave. The pressure is fairly low.

 

The balance is much better in the crossing (from where most recordings are made). I like the tone of this reed very much - hollow and woody sounding despite the fact that the pipes are metal. Perhaps this is due to the low pressure you mention?

Richard

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Whilst we're on the subject of 32 foot flues, how long should you have to wait for a pipe to "warm up" or "speak" in the bottom octave? I had a recent unfortunate experience with a very large new electronic organ in a large resonant church. Something just wasn't right...then when I tried the bottom few notes of the 32 flue individually and without any other stops drawn I discovered something. They spoke very slowly and the sound "welled up" over a period of literally several seconds before fully speaking.

 

Now I'm not given to testing CCCCs on a regular basis but it did strike me as odd. Is that normal? How quickly should a CCCC come to full volume, and to what extent does it depend on the stop (violone, contradiapason, stopped bourdon etc)?

 

Is this not a sign that pipeless instruments are getting more and more realistic?

Another instrument which I recently acquired accurately recreates the time-lag caused by the pneumatic action (varying between the manuals, depending on pipe distance from the console) on the organ of which it is a copy.

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Now I'm not given to testing CCCCs on a regular basis but it did strike me as odd. Is that normal? How quickly should a CCCC come to full volume, and to what extent does it depend on the stop (violone, contradiapason, stopped bourdon etc)?

 

Don't forget diaphones - speaking 'prompt', though (as some say) not blending ....

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Whilst we're on the subject of 32 foot flues, how long should you have to wait for a pipe to "warm up" or "speak" in the bottom octave? I had a recent unfortunate experience with a very large new electronic organ in a large resonant church. Something just wasn't right...then when I tried the bottom few notes of the 32 flue individually and without any other stops drawn I discovered something. They spoke very slowly and the sound "welled up" over a period of literally several seconds before fully speaking.

 

Now I'm not given to testing CCCCs on a regular basis but it did strike me as odd. Is that normal? How quickly should a CCCC come to full volume, and to what extent does it depend on the stop (violone, contradiapason, stopped bourdon etc)?

Sounds like someone has been messing about with the voicing software - or maybe it was never set up properly in the first place. There is often a facility to slow down the onset of speech, to simulate the relatively long time for pallets to open on large pipes - but it should not take several seconds!

JJK

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