Jump to content
Mander Organ Builders Forum

A Pedal Quint At 12'


Recommended Posts

I have recently bought the CD of J S Bach's Trio Sonatas recorded by Benjamin Alard on the Aubertin organ in Saint-Louis en l'Ile, Paris. I love the sound of this instrument and feel that it perfectly fits the music, but have a question to demonstrate my ignorance of non-UK organs.

 

In the stoplist there is a pedal stop named "Quint", but at 12' length rather than the 10 2/3' I would have expected and occasionally use on the organ on which I practice. It isn't a misprint as the stop label is clearly visible in one of the photographs in the accompanying the disc.

 

 

I'm sure that I have probably forgotten more about harmonics than I ever learned but wonder how common a 12' Quint is in Europe and when it would be used.

Thank you in advance.

 

P

Link to post
Share on other sites

This was customary up to the end of the 19th century:

 

Grossquintbass (or others names) 10 2/3' was labelled: 12'

 

Grossquint 5 1/3' was 6'

 

Quint 2 2/3' was 3'

 

....And the 19th sometimes 1 1/2' instead of 1 1/3'.

 

This was so in all european Orgellandschäfte.

Of course the pipes themselves did not differ in lenght from

those of today!

 

Pierre

Link to post
Share on other sites

This is by no means unknown in this country either.

 

This ex-Hill organ has a Twelfth 3' on the Great (but an Octave Quint 5 1/3 on the Pedals); it is just legible in the photo. This appears to be an old stop knob, so presumably the earlier spec on NPOR is in error in giving the Twelfth as 2 2/3'.

 

Two Hill organs in Torquay that originally had Latin stop names also had 3' Twelfths (this and this).

 

Here's one not by Hill. (Contra NPOR, Maurice Eglinton does not believe that this organ is a Hele instrument; he thinks it might be a Dicker.)

 

I don't recall ever having seen a 6' or a 12' stop in Britain though.

Link to post
Share on other sites
I don't recall ever having seen a 6' or a 12' stop in Britain though.

Rare but not unheard of - St. Mary at Hill (Hill, 1848) has a 6' Quint on the Great organ

 

http://www.npor.org.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch.cgi...ec_index=E00332

 

Interesting to note that Hill tended to use the practice of rounding up to the nearest foot until quite late.

 

I'm sure there are one or two others from this period as well - but the 6' Quint seems to have fallen out of favour in the UK. Nowadays, 10 2/3 Quints are quite common on larger instruments that don't quite run to 32'.

 

"...and when it would be used"

 

Well, I'm sure we can have a fascinating discussion on this as there's lots to say. The pedal quint 12' - if well done - adds a good deal of gravity to the pedal line, forming a (slightly crude) 32' waveform when combined with a (stronger) 16'. It tends to work best in fuller registrations - in quieter registrations, the 12' rank can draw too much attention to itself and the effect can sound a bit ugly - especially towards the top end of the pedal board. The best examples tend to be independant open ranks, which can be voiced specifically to work with the 16' to form a 32' resultant - but these are pretty rare as they're quite expensive for what they are in terms of materials and space. More commonly in the UK, they're derived from a soft 16' rank, like an Echo Bourdon or Dulciana 16'. But, that said, there are quite a lot of recent organs with independant 12's.

 

When done well, it can be very effective: Some 32' Open woods actually use a trick bass for the bottom 4 or 5 notes - using 2 ranks of 16 and 12' to form the 32 fundamental where space is limited for the largest pipes - I think All Saints', Margaret Street and St.Mary Redcliffe may use this trick. More recently, I think Bill Drake has used a 5 1/3 trick bass at the bottom of a 16' manual rank on one or two of his organs.

Link to post
Share on other sites
I have recently bought the CD of J S Bach's Trio Sonatas recorded by Benjamin Alard on the Aubertin organ in Saint-Louis en l'Ile, Paris. I love the sound of this instrument and feel that it perfectly fits the music, but have a question to demonstrate my ignorance of non-UK organs.

 

In the stoplist there is a pedal stop named "Quint", but at 12' length rather than the 10 2/3' I would have expected and occasionally use on the organ on which I practice. It isn't a misprint as the stop label is clearly visible in one of the photographs in the accompanying the disc.

 

 

I'm sure that I have probably forgotten more about harmonics than I ever learned but wonder how common a 12' Quint is in Europe and when it would be used.

Thank you in advance.

 

P

 

I would also suggest that it is neater (and simpler at a glance) when the labels are handwritten. I would believe that when engraved, it became more common to have the fractions as opposed to the rounding-up.

N

Link to post
Share on other sites
More recently, I think Bill Drake has used a 5 1/3 trick bass at the bottom of a 16' manual rank on one or two of his organs.

Certainly Bill did this on the pedal of John Wellingham's house organ. The 16' "Pedal Pipes" are borrowed from the manual I 8' Stopt Diapason which descends to GGG. The lowest 7 pedal notes are quinted, having two pipes each at 8' and 5 1/3 (I think the 8' pipes are additional ones, but I am unsure). If I had not been told I might not have realised - it works ever so well.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you all for the additional information. I love the Latin stop names of the Torbay instrument and can imagine the discomfort of a young organ student who suddenly had to have a crash course in Latin before being able to sort out his registrations! I have relatives in the area and would have very liked to have seen those before they went. I wonder why "12' " is used for the rounded-up 10 2/3' Quint rather than 11' - just a nicer number maybe?

 

The pedal quint on the organ I play sounds rather hefty from the console but in common with one or two other stops sounds fine from the nave of the church and does give a good impression of a 32', but really only in the bottom octave and a bit. I don't play for services and would probably hardly ever use it if I did, but when playing for my own amusement (and I possibly mean ONLY my own...) I quite like the effect when used with the 16' Open Diapason.

 

The organ in Inkberrow Paris Church, between here and Worcester, has a "3' Twelfth" on the Swell which has hung on despite a relatively recent rebuild.

 

P

Link to post
Share on other sites

The old 3-manual William Hill organ in St Martin's Brighton - very near where I live - retains its original console and drawstops with the Great having "Twelfth 3 ft ". This organ (which is on the NPOR) has a most beautiful tone and a wooden 16' Trombone on the pedals but the tracker action is horrendously heavy (the heaviest I have ever encountered anywhere - even worse than St Mary's Brighton) and there are absolutely no aids to registration apart from two or three very cumbersome composition pedals and a trigger swell pedal which gets in the way of the top notes on the pedalboard.

 

Malcolm

Link to post
Share on other sites
The old 3-manual William Hill organ ... the tracker action is horrendously heavy (the heaviest I have ever encountered anywhere - even worse than St Mary's Brighton) and there are absolutely no aids to registration apart from two or three very cumbersome composition pedals and a trigger swell pedal which gets in the way of the top notes on the pedalboard.

 

Malcolm

 

They used to say the same of the Hill in St Martin's Salisbury! Fiver says it could be made as good as the best modern tracker actions. I get so cross about this...

Link to post
Share on other sites

Slightly off topic, but relevant to St Martin's Salisbury, I once witnessed something very good and thoughtful in there which I have never encountered - or even heard of - anywhere else.

 

I was at the SCF in Salisbury a few years ago - perhaps 6 or 9 years ago - and the organist of St Martin's, who clearly had been dearly loved by everyone (I think his first name was Alan), had just died. On the Sunday evening for a period of two or three hours local organists - including David Halls, Richard Seal and John Birch - took it in turn to play the organ in his memory whilst his coffin was in the church. A friend of mine from Edinburgh and I went along after dinner in the White Hart and listened for about an hour together with several other SCF patrons. We all agreed what a nice gesture this was.

 

Am I right in thinking that David's present assistant organist was involved with this?

 

Malcolm

Link to post
Share on other sites

Two addtions:

 

If derived from another non-quint rank, the effect ist very poor, as the fifth is temepered and thus too small to generate the harmonics effect.

 

The 10 2/3' is found on many organs with real 32', too. There are several arguments for this, e. g.:

 

The Quint is faster then the real 32' in its attack, so it adds speed to the real 32' or is an alternative for faster movement (well, one has to take into account the acoustics and their limitations for speed in bass frequencies, too...).

 

Beeing added to a stopped 32', it generates more power, somewhat compareable to an open 32'.

 

As said before by other members, there are many 10 2/3 stops which do not really do their jobs properly. Indeed, many are voiced too powerful or with too many own harmonics, so they become audible as individual tone resp. note. But this problem may be found at the 5 1/3' and 2 2/3' levels as well.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Slightly off topic, but relevant to St Martin's Salisbury, I once witnessed something very good and thoughtful in there which I have never encountered - or even heard of - anywhere else.

 

I was at the SCF in Salisbury a few years ago - perhaps 6 or 9 years ago - and the organist of St Martin's, who clearly had been dearly loved by everyone (I think his first name was Alan), had just died. On the Sunday evening for a period of two or three hours local organists - including David Halls, Richard Seal and John Birch - took it in turn to play the organ in his memory whilst his coffin was in the church. A friend of mine from Edinburgh and I went along after dinner in the White Hart and listened for about an hour together with several other SCF patrons. We all agreed what a nice gesture this was.

 

Am I right in thinking that David's present assistant organist was involved with this?

 

Malcolm

 

Ah, Alan Harwood. Yes, my assistant was one of his pupils, and wrote a Requiem in his honour which was performed in the cathedral, and doubtless will be again.

 

A similar thing was undertaken on the passing of David Oliver - numerous organists including me, Stephen Cooke, Christopher Kent, Barry Fergsuson, Peter Hurford (DO's brother in law) contributed to a choral/organ concert on Stephen C's magnum opus at Westbury. A lovely occasion.

Link to post
Share on other sites
A similar thing was undertaken on the passing of David Oliver - numerous organists including me, Stephen Cooke, Christopher Kent, Barry Fergsuson, Peter Hurford (DO's brother in law) contributed to a choral/organ concert on Stephen C's magnum opus at Westbury. A lovely occasion.

 

I didn't realise that DO had died - I once played for a sponsored 'raise-money-for-the-organ' event at Westbury and had DO and PH watching over my shoulder - slightly disconcerting but they were both very nice afterwards!

 

A

Link to post
Share on other sites
I love the Latin stop names of the Torbay instrument and can imagine the discomfort of a young organ student who suddenly had to have a crash course in Latin before being able to sort out his registrations! I have relatives in the area and would have very liked to have seen those before they went.

I'm told that the console from St. John's, Torquay, remains in storage in the basement of Torquay Museum, complete with its Latin stopknobs. A friend of mine, who played there for a few months in the 1950s before the Latin stopknobs were removed, said it looked quite confusing at first inspection because the pitch was also given in Roman numerals.

Link to post
Share on other sites
I'm told that the console from St. John's, Torquay, remains in storage in the basement of Torquay Museum, complete with its Latin stopknobs. A friend of mine, who played there for a few months in the 1950s before the Latin stopknobs were removed, said it looked quite confusing at first inspection because the pitch was also given in Roman numerals.

 

Thank you. When next I visit my sister in Paignton I'll contact the museum in advance and ask if a visit to the basement might be possible.

 

P

Link to post
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...