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andersboy_5

Loudest Tubas

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andersboy_5    0

Hi everyone!

 

After spending an hour holding keys and being slightly deafened while the Tuba was being tuned today at Christchurch Cathedral (NZ), this made me ask the question which Tuba in any organ members of this forum would think would be loudest.

 

This Tuba Mirabilis is the loudest in New Zealand, being voiced on 19 inch wind and I have to say it sounds absolutely fantastic, and to top it off there is even a Fanfare Trumpet sticking 'en chamade' out of the transept case! This aside though I suspect compared to some Tubas I have heard of from the UK, it may only come in on the list about 30th.

 

So here's a start:

0. Atlantic City Convention Hall - Grand Ophicleide 16/8' 100" (I'm a bit hesitant to add this one as I do not know if it can be classed as a Tuba or just a loud noise)

1. Liverpool Cathedral - Tuba Magna 8' 50"

..

..

30. Christchurch Cathedral, NZ - Tuba Mirabilis 8' 19"

 

Josh

 

PS. I should also add just to annoy someone, there's even a Dulciana complete with Vox Angelica which can only just be heard from the console with box open...

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John Maslen    0
Hi everyone!

 

After spending an hour holding keys and being slightly deafened while the Tuba was being tuned today at Christchurch Cathedral (NZ), this made me ask the question which Tuba in any organ members of this forum would think would be loudest.

 

This Tuba Mirabilis is the loudest in New Zealand, being voiced on 19 inch wind and I have to say it sounds absolutely fantastic, and to top it off there is even a Fanfare Trumpet sticking 'en chamade' out of the transept case! This aside though I suspect compared to some Tubas I have heard of from the UK, it may only come in on the list about 30th.

 

So here's a start:

0. Atlantic City Convention Hall - Grand Ophicleide 16/8' 100" (I'm a bit hesitant to add this one as I do not know if it can be classed as a Tuba or just a loud noise)

1. Liverpool Cathedral - Tuba Magna 8' 50"

..

..

30. Christchurch Cathedral, NZ - Tuba Mirabilis 8' 19"

 

Josh

 

PS. I should also add just to annoy someone, there's even a Dulciana complete with Vox Angelica which can only just be heard from the console with box open...

 

I can't say if it is (was?) the loudest Tuba, but that at Rochester Cathedral used to be situated just behind the Organist's head - and I believe it was horizontal. One note, in particular, used to resonate around the head of the unfortunate tuner's boy (if I recall, middle D) and seemed to take an age to tune!

 

I must point out, though, that high wind pressure used for any stop does not necessarily make it loud in the building - depends upon location, building size, voicing style and so on.

 

Regards to all

 

John.

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JJK    0

What about the ex-Gloucester Cathedral one at All Saints Margaret St? I guess it's probably not on an expecially high pressure, but it's always seemed startlingly loud in the building...

JJK

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I'm not sure why you put Liverpool's Tuba Magna in at number one. Some would say that the Tuba Mirabilis at York Minster is louder (John Scott Whitely implies so on Priory's DVD). I have heard both, but would hesitate to commit myself. For one thing, it is impossible to hear both, in situ, at the same time. Another important consideration is the matter of location - where you are sitting; I should imagine that this would have quite a bearing on perceived loudness. I suppose the only objective way of ascertaining some sort of hierarchy would be to visit each venue with a 'sound meter' (decibel meter?) and ensure you are the same distance directly in front of the offending article!

 

Regarding the Liverpool Tuba Magna, incidentally, didn't Ian Tracey say that the new(-ish) Trompette Militaire was now the loudest stop on the organ? I don't know whether you would extend your survey to such a free-toned stop... which raises another question: when does a tuba become a trumpet? Surely, there is a spectrum of sounds from the one to the other.

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SinaL    0
What about the ex-Gloucester Cathedral one at All Saints Margaret St? I guess it's probably not on an expecially high pressure, but it's always seemed startlingly loud in the building...

JJK

 

That could go on the list, due to the church being so small.

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Guest Cynic   
Guest Cynic
What about the Tubas at St.Michael Cornhill and St.Peter Eaton Square, Belgravia.

 

 

I rejoice that someone has been brave enough to post anything at all in the Nuts and Bolts section of this Forum. I check this section regularly, usually to find with disappointment that nothing has come up, yet again.

 

I've not been in Eaton Square since the fire, but I agree that the Cornhill Tuba is big. Strangely, it is not the loudest stop on that organ! Due to a major spherical-objects-in-the-air when Rushworth and Dreaper 'Rushworthed and Dreapered' it in the 70's and (even after two attempts) proved incapable of putting the reeds back exactly the way that they had been done before, the current loudest stop is the Swell Clarion. Players may not believe me, but the audience would! The only factor which I look forward to when my Nemesis restore this organ shortly is that the great Keith Bance will almost certainly be asked to sort out the high pressure reeds and bring them back within the bounds of good taste, albeit leaving substantial thrill.

 

In my experience, the loudest reed stop in the UK is without question the new Trompette Militaire at Liverpool; this is so loud that (I gather) it had to be moved after original installation by Mr.Wells. As to where the UK's loudest Tuba is, I can confidently state (without either hearing every Tuba in the country, sans frivolity or boasting) that I've got it. Demonstrations can be given if required. It is so loud that I dare not use it except as a rather shallow thrill for visitors.

 

Now let's be more musical and less pointlessly Nerd-like-proto-bus-timetable-addicted! Where's the most beautiful Stopped Diapason in the country? I would nominate the Samuel Renn Great Stopped Diapason at St.Phillip's Salford, closely followed by the Great 8' Flute on the 1756 Snetzler at Hillington, Norfolk. Anyone else want to join me in this deliberate diversion from the official topic?

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SinaL    0
As to where the UK's loudest Tuba is, I can confidently state (without either hearing every Tuba in the country, sans frivolity or boasting) that I've got it. Demonstrations can be given if required. It is so loud that I dare not use it except as a rather shallow thrill for visitors.

 

So what church are you at, with that dazzling tuba, if you don't mind me asking.

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headcase    0

In his residence, I suspect - so yes, it would be loud.

 

Eaton Square : the old Walker/Lewis had a fine Tuba, enclosed in the Solo box. Thoughtfully, the Solo soundboard had a rank of Principal pipes on the soundboard (not appearing as a console drawstop) which could be used as a tuning reference. 'Twas loud in the box but unremarkable without.

 

H

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Guest Cynic   
Guest Cynic
....And what about the gentlest Dulciana ?

 

Pierre

 

Ah..my nomination there would the Choir Dulciana at St.Margaret's Kings Lynn, coincidentally the first Dulciana to appear in the UK; it was made by Snetzler.

 

The Choir is not enclosed and when we recorded a tiny item upon this stop for my Benchmarks series, it was effectively inaudible to me as I played, due to wind noise. The microphones picked up something, however, and every now and again www.organlive365 in the USA play the track in the middle of the night. I'm quite sure that some of their listeners think the radio has gone off the air when this piece in on. It makes a nice change from Notre Dame noises (or worse still, imitation Notre Dame noises) anyway.

 

Of course there are Dulcianas that can be made even softer, but this is because they are under expression and most of the secret is to have a good swell enclosure.

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Guest Stanley Monkhouse   
Guest Stanley Monkhouse

Not quite a dulciana maybe (haven't seen the pipes), but back in the early 70s when I encountered the Choir 8' Dolce on the Binns at Queens' Cambridge, I was quite entranced. Especially with the octave coupler. Maybe I had a sheltered childhood.

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Is there an entry for Tubas in the Guiness Book of World Records?

According to Stephen D Smith in his Atlantic City book the GBWR has an entry for the world's loudest organ stop.

"The Grand Ophicleide rank speaks on 100 inches of wind and, is the world's loudest organ stop, having "a pure trumpet note of ear splitting volume, more than six times the volume of the loudest locomotive whistles".

 

PJW

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DHM    0
Not quite a dulciana maybe (haven't seen the pipes), but back in the early 70s when I encountered the Choir 8' Dolce on the Binns at Queens' Cambridge, I was quite entranced. Especially with the octave coupler. Maybe I had a sheltered childhood.

 

Ditto the Choir 8' Dolce on the 1901 Binns at The Old Independent Church, Haverhill (Suffolk). Virtually inaudible with the box shut.

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AJJ    0
Ah..my nomination there would the Choir Dulciana at St.Margaret's Kings Lynn, coincidentally the first Dulciana to appear in the UK; it was made by Snetzler.

 

The Choir is not enclosed and when we recorded a tiny item upon this stop for my Benchmarks series, it was effectively inaudible to me as I played, due to wind noise. T

 

'Played there last year - no wind noise any more since the last rebuild - the Dulcianas still sound magical though.

 

A

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I think the nicest stop on any pipe organ in the Brighton area is the 8' Wald Flute on the Great of the 1901/1906 Walker organ in St Bartholomew's Brighton. To my ears Walker Wald Flutes of that vintage always have a beautiful tone and, mercifully, the St Bartholomew's one was left untouched when some very ill-conceived changes were made to the organ in the late 1970s by Wood Brown. However, the Vox Humana on the Choir department of that organ was aptly described once by a former organist (George Austin) as sounding like a constipated goat.

 

Why are so many organists obsessed with Tubas?

 

Malcolm

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"It makes a nice change from Notre Dame noises (or worse still, imitation Notre Dame noises) anyway."

(Quote)

 

Indeed!

 

"Why are so many organists obsessed with Tubas?"

(Quote)

 

Though widely more preferable than any (modern) chamade, the Tuba

impresses whenever one forgets it can be used, on a time basis, about

100 times less often than a Dulciana.

So the Dulciana may appear from about 12 stops in an organ, the Tuba

from about 50; an there are little organs -like the Snetzler Cynic mentionned-

which actual value overtakes many 50 stops- plus instruments.

First things first...

 

Pierre

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What a shame! I was finding the 'loudest tuba' thread quite interesting.

 

Isn't it bad manners to hijack a thread?

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Guest Cynic   
Guest Cynic
What a shame! I was finding the 'loudest tuba' thread quite interesting.

 

Isn't it bad manners to hijack a thread?

 

 

My fault entirely. It's middle age.

 

Expressing an interest in something loud, just because it is loud ought to be a sentiment fairly far removed from the spirit of this Forum. I mean, how many other instruments would be celebrated because they were loud, or large for that matter? If someone said 'Come and hear our piano, it's got the most strings of any piano in Hertfordshire' you'd know there was something wrong with them, wouldn't you?

 

Does one ever say 'Come and hear this world-famous violinist, he plays the loudest of any soloist on the stage today' ?

 

There's something rather worrying about how (almost always) the organs that get a fuss made about them are the largest, the loudest, in the largest buildings etc. etc. I find that one can make so much real music on a single stop and how rarely one gets to hear this in recitals or on CDs! Maybe it's only me, but I find that loud noises per se thrill less and less, maybe because one hears them so often. I heard the Notre Dame, Paris organ demonstrated (superbly) in a quiet cathedral this spring and was completely happy with the sound which sounded like the grandest possible full organ but then the later stuff came on after which it was just a bl**dy row (IMHO) but some of us moan that it used to be better when it was louder in Cochereau's day!! I shudder to think what good all that noise was for.

 

Even 'The fastest fingers in the world' is a fairly dubious claim to fame in the world of Music - that accolade used to be given to George Malcolm, I think - a fabulous musician, of course.

 

We need to keep the ideal of Music and the beauty of sound as a target, mere power puts us in the same league as Rock Groups and Late Night Dance Clubs. I accept that noise genuinely thrills, that is why teenagers like to have their equipment turned up so high - a loud, fast beat stimulates the heart...

 

Anyway, if you want the subject returning to loud noises, we raised the question a while back as to which the loudest organ in the UK actually was, supposing anyone was fool enough to draw everything and just blast. My suggestion then was the West End organ at St.Mary's Warwick. Charm and subtlety were unknown concepts to the guys that built that - those who are desperate to get a thrill from mere noise, try Warwick!

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andersboy_5    0
Why are so many organists obsessed with Tubas?

 

Malcolm

 

Well I can't say that I'm completely obsessed with them, but the Tuba at Christchurch being the first I've been able to play really caught my attention and it sounds great from the nave of the church.

 

Have to find some Tuba tunes to really try it out for next week though.

 

Josh

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The loudest Tuba that I can remember having encountered is the significantly-revoiced Tuba Mirabilis at Girard College, Philadelphia, PA, which can be heard in the first chord of the following video:

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dBoChtXOpAo...feature=related

 

Aside from that, the large Tuba, sometimes known as "Big Louie" behind the reredos at St. Paul's, Akron, Ohio, is perhaps even more deafeningly loud.

 

- Nate

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The loudest Tuba that I can remember having encountered is the significantly-revoiced Tuba Mirabilis at Girard College, Philadelphia, PA, which can be heard in the first chord of the following video:

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dBoChtXOpAo...feature=related

 

Aside from that, the large Tuba, sometimes known as "Big Louie" behind the reredos at St. Paul's, Akron, Ohio, is perhaps even more deafeningly loud.

 

- Nate

 

I was about to say that I am sure there must be several tubas in America which would appear between '0' and '1' on the OP's list.

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As you may know, Girard College chapel is shaped rather like a stylized slice of pie. The entire chapel organ is located in a ceiling chamber, and speaks out through a tone opening of roughly the same shape as the building. The organ is spaciously huddled around all sides of the opening and so everything gets an equal opportunity to speak down into the chapel proper. The echo has it's own separate chamber "cube" about 40-50 feet away from the giant main organ "cube" - both made of cast blocks covered with Keene's cement on the inside.

 

Originally, the Tuba Mirabilis at Girard was located on its own windchest parallel to the upper-range chest of the Pedal Bombarde right next to the tone opening. In addition to being revoiced to scream bloody murder, all sorts of hooks, loops, and braces were soldered to the rank, which in turn attached each pipe to the chest and attendant racking with springs and turn-buckles - so it could then be suspended upside-down over the tone opening. In an act of merciful compromise, the rank was later positioned horizontal at the opposite end of the opening from its original position; skimming perilously over the said opening. In addition to the unenclosed stop, there is also a 16-8-4 chorus of enclosed Solo tubas that were also significantly revoiced. At some point, the tuning scrolls of these Tubas were removed in favor of spring-loaded slides on the resonators. These slides have a tendency to fall down to the bottom of the pipe when disturbed, which I always felt looked like they had their pants down around their ankles. Highly appropriate.

 

Best,

 

Nathan

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