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Mixtures with/out thirds


father-willis
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It's puzzled me for a while but can anyone give a rationale as to why in a III rk manual mixture a tierce might be present in the bass but then be dropped further up the compass? I know that it was a very common practice of Hill. His manual III rk mixtures may be 17, 19, 22 in the bass and continue so up to tenor F/G, I can't remember precisely. Then the tierce drops out and the whole becomes a quint mixture, why?

 

F-W

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The tierce, once an important part of cornet stops, became an embarrassment when organs were built or retuned to equal temperament, because equal temperament has very poor major thirds, and equal temperament and natural harmonic thirds really grate.

 

Presumably this wasn't too painful in the lower part of the compass.

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The tierce, once an important part of cornet stops, became an embarrassment when organs were built or retuned to equal temperament, because equal temperament has very poor major thirds, and equal temperament and natural harmonic thirds really grate.

 

Presumably this wasn't too painful in the lower part of the compass.

Wasn't it (in Hill's case) to reinforce the bass and to give 'bite' when the Swell was coupled to the pedals? It is particularly effective in his smaller organs.

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I agree with Ian.

 

I've adopted just such a composition for the Great III Mixture on my present house organ set-up. The tierce rank definitely enriches the bass, sounding particularly effective when coupled to the pedal. The stop begins 17-19-22 with the 17th running up as far as Tenor G. If a piece would benefit from the full Terz-Chor, I couple up the Choir Sesquialtera [which has to start at TC because of space limitations] that way I can enjoy the richness and pungency of a 17th throughout the compass.

 

From a purely practical point of view, it is easier to accommodate a 17th in the bass rather than a 12th. Maybe that is one other reason why this was often done.

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The instrument that I am fortunate enough to play (Hill 1915) has a Great mixture, laid out as you describe, whereas the tierce of the swell mixture extends throughout the compass. As in this period, the mixtures were not generally drawn without the reeds, I would guess that the 17th in the lower compass is designed to reinforce the reed basses.

mpk

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It's puzzled me for a while but can anyone give a rationale as to why in a III rk manual mixture a tierce might be present in the bass but then be dropped further up the compass? I know that it was a very common practice of Hill. His manual III rk mixtures may be 17, 19, 22 in the bass and continue so up to tenor F/G, I can't remember precisely. Then the tierce drops out and the whole becomes a quint mixture, why?

 

F-W

 

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

 

 

Research is always a bit tricky on this subject, but generally speaking, (with considerable variations and no matter what the actual manual/pedal compass), the Pedal organs, where they existed, consisted of little more than a single rankl of Open or Stopped 16ft basses to underpin the whole instrument. In some instruments, the Swell would be permanently coupled to a pedal-board of just over 2 octaves, but on other instruments, the Swell would be a tenor C Swell, with perhaps one 8ft Flute going down to the bottom CC amd grooved to sound with all other stops. This further implies that the Great to Pedal coupler was the one most used, rather than the Swell, and in certain examples, the Pedals merely used pull-downs to either Great or Swell.

 

Almost certainly, the Tierces in the Bass more or less cover the compass of an pedal=board, suggesting that they added both gravity and definition to the bass line.

 

It is so difficult to find organs in original condition, but there are a few. One of the best examples is the Wren organ at St Philips & St James, Salford, which although pre-dating the "German System" of Hill/Gauntlett, seems to have had a Pedal organ (with a single 16ft rank) which had a CC compass. Later changes were made in 1873, and of course, the organ was restored nicely by Noel Mander. A genuinely nice instrument, I have always taken delight in it. (Note the remarkable balance between Swell & Great!!)

 

 

In the Hill examples which I have known, the Tierces in the bottom two octaves of the Great or Swell add a great deal to the ensemble, but rarely go above the bottom 30 notes.

 

In the organs of Kirtland & Jardine (Manchester), all the history is there to see.

 

Broadly speaking, the Sesquialtera was very much a chorus Mixture, but where there was a Cornet, this was a solo stop.

 

The Sequialteras certainly made the chorus reeds blend nicely with the chorus-work where the Tierce ran right through the compass, and in some ways, were a pre-cursor of the Harrison Harmonics stops.

 

MM

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

 

 

Research is always a bit tricky on this subject, but generally speaking, (with considerable variations and no matter what the actual manual/pedal compass), the Pedal organs, where they existed, consisted of little more than a single rankl of Open or Stopped 16ft basses to underpin the whole instrument. In some instruments, the Swell would be permanently coupled to a pedal-board of just over 2 octaves, but on other instruments, the Swell would be a tenor C Swell, with perhaps one 8ft Flute going down to the bottom CC amd grooved to sound with all other stops. This further implies that the Great to Pedal coupler was the one most used, rather than the Swell, and in certain examples, the Pedals merely used pull-downs to either Great or Swell.

 

...

 

(Note the remarkable balance between Swell & Great!!)

 

How wonderful to hear of a balance between Swell and Great. And no difference between the two? Not even 5%? And both Swell and Great have 842 principals and equal Mixtures? How excellent and pleasing. Oh, now I find it on NPOR I notice they are slightly different - the Swell chorus (as in, chorus) is two stops smaller (three if you include the later Twelfth).

 

On a less tiresome note, for once, I'm genuinely interested to hear of examples with a permanently coupled Swell-Pedal. I've never encountered this.

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How wonderful to hear of a balance between Swell and Great. And no difference between the two? Not even 5%? And both Swell and Great have 842 principals and equal Mixtures? How excellent and pleasing. Oh, now I find it on NPOR I notice they are slightly different - the Swell chorus (as in, chorus) is two stops smaller (three if you include the later Twelfth).

 

On a less tiresome note, for once, I'm genuinely interested to hear of examples with a permanently coupled Swell-Pedal. I've never encountered this.

 

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

 

 

Once again, you're missing the point. The fact is, unlike many organs of the period (and later), a balance is possible using just a few stops. That has nothing to do with the size of the relative choruses. That was the historic point I was making, and tiresome is not a word I would associate with historical and musical fact.

 

 

Actually, if you read the history of this organ, you will discover that the whole instrument was once totally enclosed in an organ room, but then moved forward into the current west gallery position. I don't know the history of the organ well enough to know whether there was a Swell within a closed box, or whether the "organ-room" was somehow expressive'

 

 

I too was surprised to learn of permanently coupled Swell to Pedal instruments, but then, the history of the English organ is nothing if not full of inconsistencies.

 

In every way, the Salford instrument is remarkable, and it makes a glorious sound in quite a modest church with classical proportions. The fact that it survived the Industrial Revolution without being greatly altered, is remarkable in itself.

 

Until many of the organs were altered or eventually scrapped, the Manchester area was a goldmine of fascinating and very diverse instruments; some really quite astonishingly forward looking, even in the middle of the 19th century. A few gems remain, but most have been lost.

 

MM

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

 

I too was surprised to learn of permanently coupled Swell to Pedal instruments, but then, the history of the English organ is nothing if not full of inconsistencies.

 

MM

 

 

Dear MM,

I'm not so much springing to Hecklephone's defence as being (like him) very curious about this statement. Please give a couple of examples of organs with Swell and Pedal permanently coupled to set our doubting minds to rest. Would it be fair to say that all-enclosed one-manual instruments don't count?

 

The whole idea runs pretty thoroughly counter both to logic and to sensible practice in the early days of both swells and pedalboards that 'surprised to learn' hardly does this statement justice.

 

Thanks,

C/P

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

 

 

Once again, you're missing the point. The fact is, unlike many organs of the period (and later), a balance is possible using just a few stops.

 

I too was surprised to learn of permanently coupled Swell to Pedal instruments, but then, the history of the English organ is nothing if not full of inconsistencies.

 

I'll not get started on the former - save to say how odd it seems to reference (with tongue in cheek, as you did) a disagreement/misunderstanding from a previous thread, which I still believe you have not understood correctly, but choose here to completely redefine the subject. A balance between departments is of course almost always POSSIBLE - that's not in dispute, and never has been.

 

If you have learned of permanently coupled Swell to Pedal instruments, please could you share some of your knowledge.

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I can think of a number of instances - Franck springing instantly to mind - where performance on a two manual organ could be seriously hampered if there was an unbuilt, permanent Swell to Pedal.

 

Malcolm

 

 

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

 

This will cause me a lot of digging around.....helping hands and fingers would be nice.

 

I found reference to a permanently coupled Swell on NPOR, and I can't recall what I was looking up. It would almost certainly have been any of the following builders:-

 

Ward

Lincoln

Kirtland & Jardine

Eliot & Hill

Wren

 

I was actually looking for Tierce Mixtures and Cornets etc.

 

Malcolm,I think all these organs would almost certainly pre-date Ceasar Franck!

 

MM

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The discussion took already another direction, but my "Sauer a.o."-organ from 1938 has a Scharff in the Swell, I think still from the 1908 rebuild, which has a tierce in the bottom octave only. Could not find a reason for it, too.

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

 

This will cause me a lot of digging around.....helping hands and fingers would be nice.

 

I found reference to a permanently coupled Swell on NPOR, and I can't recall what I was looking up. It would almost certainly have been any of the following builders:-

 

Ward

Lincoln

Kirtland & Jardine

Eliot & Hill

Wren

 

I was actually looking for Tierce Mixtures and Cornets etc.

 

Malcolm,I think all these organs would almost certainly pre-date Ceasar Franck!

 

MM

 

 

The only permanently coupled Swell I think you'll find is that of a TC Swell that plays the bass of another manual to cover the gap.

In fact, I'd put money on it.

 

RUDENESS ALERT

You give us so much (genuinely) great information, especially things from out-of-the-way places MM, that it would come as a serious let-down if you were to give us all (as statements of fact) assertions that turned out to be from-the-hip invention. What bothers me (and by implication I'm doing it myself now) is the assumption that you're right when anyone comes back and questions an MM statement. Why shouldn't Malcolm make his point? It's a perfectly good one.

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I'll not get started on the former - save to say how odd it seems to reference (with tongue in cheek, as you did) a disagreement/misunderstanding from a previous thread, which I still believe you have not understood correctly, but choose here to completely redefine the subject. A balance between departments is of course almost always POSSIBLE - that's not in dispute, and never has been.

 

If you have learned of permanently coupled Swell to Pedal instruments, please could you share some of your knowledge.

 

 

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

 

I never misunderstod the previous thread....I have ears. I was not re-defining anything re: the Wren organ at Salford. I was merely pointing out that 8:2 on the Great seemed to be countered by 8:4 on the Swell, and nothing else. That is actually quite rare in old English organs.

 

Look at the spec for the Gauntlett organ at St Olave's, London, and see how utterly dominant the Great was (20 stops or more?), and a pathetic Swell by way of comparison.

 

Of course, the thing which no-one mentioned about Swell and Great balance, was the English way of mounting the Swell BEHIND the Great due to a lack of height. Some builders would mount the Swell ABOVE the Great where possible, and that makes a huge difference to the balance.

 

A further point about old Swell "choruses" which seems to have evaded attention, is the fact that the predominantly tierce mixtures (Sesquialteras) were intended to be used WITH the reeds rather than as an essential part of any flue chorus, and therefore, the reeds cannot be separated out as they were in later years, during the high romantic period. The reeds in those early organs were very much a part of the swell chorus when specified.

 

After all, it comes down to musical style, which in the early 19th century, still retained much of the Italianate style of Handel and Stanley, where the "Echoes" played an important part. (The Choral Song & Fugue by S S Wesley is typical).

 

What always strikes me about the decades after Handel and Stanley, leading up to the Hill/Gauntlett "revolution," is the fact that organs were as different, one from the other, as it was possible to get, and there was no accepted, standardised way of doing things. The influences were Italian, Swiss, German and whatever "Englishness" existed in terms of Swell boxes etc.

 

The quieter Swell organs were as much a feature of Schulze as they were of English organs, and that's why I challenged the supposition in the first place, because it is not uniquely English at all.

 

What I find more interesting than weaker Swell organs, is the converse: more powerful Great organs, which I had always wrongly attributed to the Schulze influence. Long before Schulze, English organs had started to sprout two Great 8ft Diapasons and even 16ft Greats, and in the most extreme examples, a Swell Organ may have had half a dozen stops, and the Great Organ three or four times that number.

 

Could it be, that the Swell organ grew out of Bel Canto style, and the need for expressive accompaniment?

 

I'm no expert on old English organs I'm afraid; possibly because I'm not terribly interested, and apart from a few Snetzler instruments, the old Schmidt at Staunton Harold and the absolute gem at Salford, I've rarely played any.

 

Of course, when the Hill/Gauntlett thing got under way, poor old Hill obviously struggled to incorporate German thinking into English organs, and at Birmingham, he had to have more than one go at getting the pedal scales right. I suspect that there was an experimental learning-curve at the time, and certainly, the disaster at York Minster, (Eliot & Hill) with all those unison and octave duplications, was one such. (Wasn't it Dr Camidge who thought of that stroke of misplaced genius?)

 

MM

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The only permanently coupled Swell I think you'll find is that of a TC Swell that plays the bass of another manual to cover the gap.

In fact, I'd put money on it.

 

RUDENESS ALERT

You give us so much (genuinely) great information, especially things from out-of-the-way places MM, that it would come as a serious let-down if you were to give us all (as statements of fact) assertions that turned out to be from-the-hip invention. What bothers me (and by implication I'm doing it myself now) is the assumption that you're right when anyone comes back and questions an MM statement. Why shouldn't Malcolm make his point? It's a perfectly good one.

 

 

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

 

 

No, I think this is wrong, but as I have to shortly set off 300 miles to (hopefully) sunny Bournemouth, I haven't the time to re-check my sources quickly. I was aware of grooved basses, shared soundboards, TC swells, tagged on bottom octaves and the like, and it wasn't that. It was, I think, a complete Swell permanently coupled to the Pedals, which I only noted because it seemed very odd.

 

Malcolm's point was entirely good, but it doesn't apply to organs built in England before Cesar Franck was either born or heard of....my equally valid point, and not a bone of contention.

 

For the record, I never invent anything from the hip and I am never rude. I always make a point of apologising for being brutally honest.

 

MM

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

 

I never misunderstod the previous thread....I have ears. I was not re-defining anything re: the Wren organ at Salford. I was merely pointing out that 8:2 on the Great seemed to be countered by 8:4 on the Swell, and nothing else. That is actually quite rare in old English organs.

 

Look at the spec for the Gauntlett organ at St Olave's, London, and see how utterly dominant the Great was (20 stops or more?), and a pathetic Swell by way of comparison.

 

Of course, the thing which no-one mentioned about Swell and Great balance, was the English way of mounting the Swell BEHIND the Great due to a lack of height. Some builders would mount the Swell ABOVE the Great where possible, and that makes a huge difference to the balance.

 

A further point about old Swell "choruses" which seems to have evaded attention, is the fact that the predominantly tierce mixtures (Sesquialteras) were intended to be used WITH the reeds rather than as an essential part of any flue chorus, and therefore, the reeds cannot be separated out as they were in later years, during the high romantic period. The reeds in those early organs were very much a part of the swell chorus when specified.

 

 

I'm not going to reply again without copying it all back to the other topic. I think we're more in agreement than we both realise, except you are getting down to specifics whereas I was making only gross generalisations. Where it comes unstuck is that I was not intending you to compare 8+2 on one with 8+4 on another; ok, it balances, apart from the niceties of whether a 'gap' registration would be appropriate to the period; nevertheless, that's not like for like. I was merely wanting you to observe that one might range from 16-IV and the other might go from 8-III, and that if you compare 8 with 8 you'll find one a wee bit smaller than the other in conception, let alone placing and enclosure. The End.

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

 

 

Research is always a bit tricky on this subject, but generally speaking, (with considerable variations and no matter what the actual manual/pedal compass), the Pedal organs, where they existed, consisted of little more than a single rankl of Open or Stopped 16ft basses to underpin the whole instrument. In some instruments, the Swell would be permanently coupled to a pedal-board of just over 2 octaves,

 

snip

 

 

 

Dear MM,

Here is the original statement. [My high-lighting in blue.]

 

I will be told, as we were over the Reubke question, that I should not ask you to come up with evidence.

Well, sorry but this time I do. You do not make it up as you go along? Well, I am happy to wait to see the evidence and I will apologise as fulsomely as you like if you can come forward with chapter and verse. However, I think we're in for a long wait.

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I'm not going to reply again without copying it all back to the other topic. I think we're more in agreement than we both realise, except you are getting down to specifics whereas I was making only gross generalisations. Where it comes unstuck is that I was not intending you to compare 8+2 on one with 8+4 on another; ok, it balances, apart from the niceties of whether a 'gap' registration would be appropriate to the period; nevertheless, that's not like for like. I was merely wanting you to observe that one might range from 16-IV and the other might go from 8-III, and that if you compare 8 with 8 you'll find one a wee bit smaller than the other in conception, let alone placing and enclosure. The End.

 

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

 

We were always very close in agreement, I know, but I just looked at it from a different perspective of "Englishness."

 

Interestingly, Charles Brindley often used similar scaling/treatment for both enclosed and unenclosed divisions, and it was usually the placement which decided the musical outcome.

 

I'm not keen on "gap registrations" for Bach, but it seems to work quite nicely on the Salford recording.

 

I think we have to face the truth that when it comes to "English Organs," almost everything is up for grabs, and an international mix and match seems to be the order of the day.

 

MM

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Dear MM,

I'm not so much springing to Hecklephone's defence as being (like him) very curious about this statement. Please give a couple of examples of organs with Swell and Pedal permanently coupled to set our doubting minds to rest. Would it be fair to say that all-enclosed one-manual instruments don't count?

 

The whole idea runs pretty thoroughly counter both to logic and to sensible practice in the early days of both swells and pedalboards that 'surprised to learn' hardly does this statement justice.

 

Thanks,

C/P

 

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

 

With very limited time at my disposal currently, I've tried to retrace my steps on the NPOR.

 

I think I may have come across the organ in question, by Jardine of Manchester, and it looks like I misinterpreted the specification.

 

The NPOR says something to the effect that the Pedals were permanently coupled to the Swell basses, (note the plural).

 

On further investigation, the Swell organ was indeed a Tenor C Swell, (which I had failed to notice), but there is no mention of an 8ft Swell bass on the Swell stop-list!

 

So it seems likely that the permanently coupled Swell/Pedal, operated on an 8ft bass, more than likely outside the box.

 

This is similar to the Renn organ at St Philip's, Salford, where an 8ft bass was tagged on to the side of the organ, and would be sounded by all the 8ft stops in the bottom octave or so.

 

I hope that clears up the mystery, but I'm still checking through what I looked at, just in case I have missed something.

 

MM

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

 

With very limited time at my disposal currently, I've tried to retrace my steps on the NPOR.

 

I think I may have come across the organ in question, by Jardine of Manchester, and it looks like I misinterpreted the specification.

 

The NPOR says something to the effect that the Pedals were permanently coupled to the Swell basses, (note the plural).

 

On further investigation, the Swell organ was indeed a Tenor C Swell, (which I had failed to notice), but there is no mention of an 8ft Swell bass on the Swell stop-list!

 

So it seems likely that the permanently coupled Swell/Pedal, operated on an 8ft bass, more than likely outside the box.

 

This is similar to the Renn organ at St Philip's, Salford, where an 8ft bass was tagged on to the side of the organ, and would be sounded by all the 8ft stops in the bottom octave or so.

 

I hope that clears up the mystery, but I'm still checking through what I looked at, just in case I have missed something.

 

MM

 

Hi

 

Many English organs of this period when the Swell was taking over from the Choir as the usual secondary manual would have TC (or fiddle-G) swells with either the Gt Stopped Diap duplexed onto the lower notes, or a seprate rank of of St Diap pipes (and maybe a couple of other stops) as a "Choir Bass". An interesdting example is Peter Bumpsteads reconstruction of a vintage Bishop at Haslingfield - see http://www.npor.org.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch.cgi...ec_index=C00877 this gives a bit of variety on the pedals to widen the available repertoire, whilst remaining true to the organ's roots. (It had previous undergone a number of alterations over the years).

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

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