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I went to a lecture by Dr David Ponsford in Cambridge last year on the subject of temperament (he illustrated with a harpsichord) and there was absolutely no question of tuning the octaves wide.  As far as I know this is only ever done with pianos, and I am not sure how widespread it is even there.  If you tuned an organ with stretched octaves the result would be hideous.

 

Yes - that is what I have said in my posts concerning this subject.

 

I originally stated that if one were to attempt true equal temperament tuning the octaves would not 'fit' - they would be too wide.

 

I do not ever recall having stated that octaves were to be tuned wide!

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Sorry, I thought you said Great Organ.  I was wondering what a family of dulcianas would be doing on that manual.

 

As to the usefulness of a family of dulcianas, I can see a purpose on a secondary manual as an echo to the Great but, apart from the largest instruments, I think there are probably far more useful stops with more interesting voices.

 

Having just finished wading through an entire year's bank statements, I can only wonder what a family of dulcianas would be doing anywhere.

 

I heartily concur with your last statement - I think that almost any other stop would be more useful. Except perhaps a H-J Kinura, or a really fat H&H Tromba.

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Yes - that is what I have said in my posts concerning this subject.

 

I originally stated that if one were to attempt true equal temperament tuning the octaves would not 'fit' - they would be too wide.

 

I do not ever recall having stated that octaves were to be tuned wide!

 

 

We seem to have got at cross purposes here - I was trying to support what you said in the post I quoted! Sorry if it read otherwise.

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"The second point - surely no-one tunes in a 'mathematically accurate equal temperament' - the octaves would be too wide. Most organ builders (and, for that matter, piano and harpsichord tuners) have their own system of modified 'equal' temperament tuning. Fourths and fifths (in 'white-note' keys) are often bent one way or another, for example. This is surely why each key has its own tone-colour. To my ears, D-flat major is a richer sound than D major - which I find brighter than E-flat. I also find G major brighter than A major, to name but three examples."

 

The whole point of equal temperament is that the intervals are all forced to fit into a perfect octave - I think you're thinking of just intonation, which would (if you tuned perfect non-beating 5ths and 4ths all the way through the scale) produce a very wide octave. Equal temperament is by far the hardest scale to set. If you've got it right, and the temperature hasn't changed by more than 2 degrees since you did, there will be NO key colour at all as all the 3rds, 4ths and 5ths are supposed to be out of tune by the same amount. That's what makes it such a BAD tuning... oops, off we go...

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The positive at Liverpool is very good, though I must say that I would have loved to have heard the dulcianas. I think dulcianas can be very useful - for example there is a lovely organ I know in Kent that has 5 8' flues on the manuals, Open Diap and a Stopped on the Swell, and the same on the great plus (you guessed it...) a Dulciana. The latter is really useful as a soft stop that contrasts with the other material. It is really handy when playing with the choir (people not pipes!) too.

 

With regard to my earlier post and the response from Mr.W - the idea that the addition of a mixture enables one to "play Bach nicely" on the Albert Hall Organ is, frankly, hilarious and demonstrates a mis-understanding of the organ as an instrument in general. Beneath this 'Bach Mixture' there still lurks a monster Willis/Harrison - no additional pipework will truly make it suitable for playing Bach (didn't we learn that lesson the hard way in the 60's and 70's?!). As it is was it played Bach perfectly well - but with a 19th century English accent (and, on this organ, how could one expect anything else?). It's all marvellous of course (these monster organs are glorious fun to play) - but no one has yet provided a coherent justification for the new stop... That it will 'make the organ suitable for the playing of Bach' is a bizarre claim that resulted in the destruction of many a romantic instrument 30 years ago.

 

Ps. Please don't accuse me of being a 'conservationist' for decrying the new mixture...perhaps you mis-understand the term.

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The positive at Liverpool is very good, though I must say that I would have loved to have heard the dulcianas. I think dulcianas can be very useful - for example there is a lovely organ I know in Kent that has 5 8' flues on the manuals, Open Diap and a Stopped on the Swell, and the same on the great plus (you guessed it...) a Dulciana. The latter is really useful as a soft stop that contrasts with the other material. It is really handy when playing with the choir (people not pipes!) too.

 

With regard to my earlier post and the response from Mr.W - the idea that the addition of a mixture enables one to "play Bach nicely" on the Albert Hall Organ is, frankly, hilarious and demonstrates a mis-understanding of the organ as an instrument in general. Beneath this 'Bach Mixture' there still lurks a monster Willis/Harrison - no additional pipework will truly make it suitable for playing Bach (didn't we learn that lesson the hard way in the 60's and 70's?!). As it is was it played Bach perfectly well - but with a 19th century English accent (and, on this organ, how could one expect anything else?).  It's all marvellous of course (these monster organs are glorious fun to play) - but no one has yet provided a coherent justification for the new stop... That it will 'make the organ suitable for the playing of Bach' is a bizarre claim that resulted in the destruction of many a romantic instrument 30 years ago.

 

Ps. Please don't accuse me of being a 'conservationist' for decrying the new mixture...perhaps you mis-understand the term.

 

I agree that a quint mixture on this instrument, on its own, will not instantly transform it into a 'Bach organ'.

 

Nevertheless, it is nice to have at least one pure quint mixture on an instrument, as well as tierce mixtures, if nothing else to provide that sort of sound for the sake of variety. I'm sure it is not the case that the English Romantics never made quint mixtures.

 

By the way, More Dull Strings, are you not perhaps the erstwhile Leathered Lips under another name?!

 

John

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We seem to have got at cross purposes here - I was trying to support what you said in the post I quoted!  Sorry if it read otherwise.

 

 

Oh, OK!! Sorry - I was late and it was tired....

 

....I had also just 'done' my accounts - which I loathe!

 

Thanks for your support....

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

....I shall wear it always.

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"The second point - surely no-one tunes in a 'mathematically accurate equal temperament' - the octaves would be too wide. Most organ builders (and, for that matter, piano and harpsichord tuners) have their own system of modified 'equal' temperament tuning. Fourths and fifths (in 'white-note' keys) are often bent one way or another, for example. This is surely why each key has its own tone-colour. To my ears, D-flat major is a richer sound than D major - which I find brighter than E-flat. I also find G major brighter than A major, to name but three examples."

 

The whole point of equal temperament is that the intervals are all forced to fit into a perfect octave - I think you're thinking of just intonation, which would (if you tuned perfect non-beating 5ths and 4ths all the way through the scale) produce a very wide octave.  Equal temperament is by far the hardest scale to set.  If you've got it right, and the temperature hasn't changed by more than 2 degrees since you did, there will be NO key colour at all as all the 3rds, 4ths and 5ths are supposed to be out of tune by the same amount.  That's what makes it such a BAD tuning... oops, off we go...

 

 

Yup, sorry - I was tired yesterday and distracted by the fact that if I do not finish my accounts by tonight, my accountant says that the cute fluffy bunny will get it.

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I agree that a quint mixture on this instrument, on its own, will not instantly transform it into a 'Bach organ'.

 

Nevertheless, it is nice to have at least one pure quint mixture on an instrument, as well as tierce mixtures, if nothing else to provide that sort of sound for the sake of variety.  I'm sure it is not the case that the English Romantics never made quint mixtures.

 

By the way, More Dull Strings, are you not perhaps the erstwhile Leathered Lips under another name?!

 

John

 

Nope, no leather here...! There certainly were English quint mixtures - take the Grove Organ at Tewkesbury, for example. Also the Lewis/Harrison at Ripon.

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