Jump to content
Mander Organ Builders Forum

Mixtures with/out thirds


father-willis
 Share

Recommended Posts

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

 

This is a very handsome looking and sounding instrument. I was under the impression both from the NPOR notes and other sources that Bumstead's Choir Bass contrivance was for modern convenience rather than historically grounded.

 

The only similar occurrence I know personally (albeit on only one stop), which is done other than with pneumatic or electric action, is at St Mary's Devizes, which is a wonderful thing. The notes there explain how it works. (The Great Stopped Bass must therefore have its own pallets, if the Swell keys are working directly on an action leading to the Great and only the Stopped Bass is sounded.)

 

I would love to know whether this is original to Sweetland, who (being based at that time in Devizes and organist at this church) would have been adventurous with it. It could be later, but not too much, as in 1975 Rushworths would surely have stuck the pipes on a pneumatic chest as Daniels had done just down the road at West Lavington in 1948. I must confess that I have never knowingly encountered an example of a Stopped Bass for the lower notes except as a later addition, and am most used to seeing Swell bass keys set rigidly in the flat position.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This is a very handsome looking and sounding instrument. I was under the impression both from the NPOR notes and other sources that Bumstead's Choir Bass contrivance was for modern convenience rather than historically grounded.

Here's an two-manual with a Choir Bass from 1735. Wish we still had it, actually. The case survived until WW2. http://www.npor.org.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch.cgi...ec_index=R01616

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Here's an two-manual with a Choir Bass from 1735. Wish we still had it, actually. The case survived until WW2. http://www.npor.org.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch.cgi...ec_index=R01616

 

Wow! A perfect model for the Bishop/Bumstead.

 

I wonder what they did for a significant 2' in its first 90 years of life (presumably from its position the Nason is a 2' flute), particularly with all those fractions? Maybe an earlier unrecorded substitution?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wow! A perfect model for the Bishop/Bumstead.

 

I wonder what they did for a significant 2' in its first 90 years of life (presumably from its position the Nason is a 2' flute), particularly with all those fractions? Maybe an earlier unrecorded substitution?

 

 

That NPOR list does show a Great Fifteenth. I assume the names just got out of order. The Nason would surely have been a 4'.

Period 2' Flutes seemed mostly to be called Recorder or Block Flute.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That NPOR list does show a Great Fifteenth. I assume the names just got out of order. The Nason would surely have been a 4'.

Period 2' Flutes seemed mostly to be called Recorder or Block Flute.

 

The NPOR also says the Fifteenth was added in 1827 along with the Gt Double.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This is a very handsome looking and sounding instrument. I was under the impression both from the NPOR notes and other sources that Bumstead's Choir Bass contrivance was for modern convenience rather than historically grounded.

 

The only similar occurrence I know personally (albeit on only one stop), which is done other than with pneumatic or electric action, is at St Mary's Devizes, which is a wonderful thing. The notes there explain how it works. (The Great Stopped Bass must therefore have its own pallets, if the Swell keys are working directly on an action leading to the Great and only the Stopped Bass is sounded.)

 

I would love to know whether this is original to Sweetland, who (being based at that time in Devizes and organist at this church) would have been adventurous with it. It could be later, but not too much, as in 1975 Rushworths would surely have stuck the pipes on a pneumatic chest as Daniels had done just down the road at West Lavington in 1948. I must confess that I have never knowingly encountered an example of a Stopped Bass for the lower notes except as a later addition, and am most used to seeing Swell bass keys set rigidly in the flat position.

 

Hi

 

Using the choir bass to also provide the pedal dept is a modern contrivance - as is, I suspect, the three stops. From the relevant surveys I recall from NPOR, and from research I did on organs of this period for an Organists' Assoc talk a couple of years ago, Choir Bass is normally just a Stopped Diapason, or occasionally an 8 & 4 ft stops. The option of a TnC Swell, with bass keys fixed is probably more common (cost?) and I've seen specs of a couple of examples where the bass of the Swell is permanently coupled to the Great (which seems a rather pointless exercise.) Earlier organs sometimes have a Swell manual that stopped at the lowest note provided in the Swell.

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi

 

Using the choir bass to also provide the pedal dept is a modern contrivance - as is, I suspect, the three stops. From the relevant surveys I recall from NPOR, and from research I did on organs of this period for an Organists' Assoc talk a couple of years ago, Choir Bass is normally just a Stopped Diapason, or occasionally an 8 & 4 ft stops. The option of a TnC Swell, with bass keys fixed is probably more common (cost?) and I've seen specs of a couple of examples where the bass of the Swell is permanently coupled to the Great (which seems a rather pointless exercise.) Earlier organs sometimes have a Swell manual that stopped at the lowest note provided in the Swell.

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

 

... except for the example Vox provided, with a nigh-on identical stoplist (including Bassoon).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The only similar occurrence I know personally (albeit on only one stop), which is done other than with pneumatic or electric action, is at St Mary's Devizes, which is a wonderful thing. The notes there explain how it works. (The Great Stopped Bass must therefore have its own pallets, if the Swell keys are working directly on an action leading to the Great and only the Stopped Bass is sounded.) I would love to know whether this is original to Sweetland, who (being based at that time in Devizes and organist at this church) would have been adventurous with it.

 

We will have to wait and see if Gordon Curtis' book on Sweetland, the Bath Organ Builder, to be published by Ashgate Publications next year covers this point. (At the sweetland exhibition in Bath I picked up a flyer for this book which is offering a 20% discount on the purchase price.)

PJW

Link to comment
Share on other sites

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". quote]

 

Roy Williamson in his recent tome on Gloucestershire organs notes that Selsley (near Stroud) had a John Nicholson organ of around 1862 where the bottom octave of the Swell keys acted on the Pedal Bourdon. When they modernised the instrument in 1913 with a new Swell soundboard from C to a3 the Great still retained the soundboard of C to g3 so the top two notes of the Great keyboard are permanently coupled to the Swell. (Mechanical action - no top note machines here!)

PJW

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 months later...

This is an interesting example of a similar idea, where the bottom octave of the pedal Bourdon is available on the bottom octave of the swell manual. Presumably the Sw-Gt coupler would have been handy in this case, so the bass to a hymn, for example, could be played on the Great alone.

 

http://www.npor.org.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch.cgi...ec_index=D00050

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Can anyone explain to me why tierce mixtures were so popular in British organs pre-1850? The beauty of the French plein-jeu makes me question the need for tierces in the chorus. I suppose they're better without equal temperament, but I personally am not enamoured of tierces in the principal chorus. The "jeu de tierce" of the French tradition I do find beautiful, however, but it is a different thing altogether.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The tierce in the Principal chorus -either in the mixtures themselves, either

in others stops, Sesquialtera, Terzian, independant 1 3/5'- is to be find nearly

everywhere, save in french, castillan (central Spain) and italian organs (with exceptions there!),

so that it can be held for the "normal" case.

The french Plein-jeu is not suited to the polyphony, it is only to be played in chords.

And here is the reason for the presence of the tierce rank in the chorus in a majority

of organ styles: quint mixtures are bright, yes, but do nothing for the lisibility.

With italian organs, the Ripieno design allows the organist to avoid the higher-pitched ranks,

and this is what they do with polyphonic music.

 

When you hear Bach on a thuringian organ (or a J. Wagner in Brandenburg), you soon realise

how the tierce ranks help you to distinguish the voices even in loud registrations.

 

Pierre

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We will have to wait and see if Gordon Curtis' book on Sweetland, the Bath Organ Builder, to be published by Ashgate Publications next year covers this point. (At the sweetland exhibition in Bath I picked up a flyer for this book which is offering a 20% discount on the purchase price.)

PJW

 

Oh dear - the exhibition at St Michael's I presume - curious choice of Sweetland organ to use! Nowhere to park, apart from anything else. Why on Earth did they not go to Devizes, where they would have had a far better instrument in a quieter surrounding and stacks of parking?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Can anyone explain to me why tierce mixtures were so popular in British organs pre-1850? The beauty of the French plein-jeu makes me question the need for tierces in the chorus. I suppose they're better without equal temperament, but I personally am not enamoured of tierces in the principal chorus. The "jeu de tierce" of the French tradition I do find beautiful, however, but it is a different thing altogether.

 

 

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

 

Pierre is quite right in his reply/ The small organ I play has a straight Quint chorus in a wonderful acoustic, but adding the 2 rks Sext (12:17, designed as a part of the Pirncipal chorus), brings far greater cointrapuntal clarity as well as richness to the ensemble.....in a word....superb.

 

Listen to the following from You Tube, all of which include Tierces being used as a part of the chorus:-

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YcZ456w4vOU

 

F C Schnitger organ of St Michael's, Zwolle, NL. Post Bach, but a wonderful Bach instrument nonetheless. The Tierces are included in the higher pitched mixtures, such as Tertians with the 24th pitch rather than the 17th pitch.

 

 

 

 

There are organs with poor sounding 17ths, and there are proper choruses with very good 17th ranks in them.

 

MM

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Can anyone explain to me why tierce mixtures were so popular in British organs pre-1850? The beauty of the French plein-jeu makes me question the need for tierces in the chorus. I suppose they're better without equal temperament, but I personally am not enamoured of tierces in the principal chorus. The "jeu de tierce" of the French tradition I do find beautiful, however, but it is a different thing altogether.

 

Ah - with this I am in wholehearted agreement.

 

I am glad that, at the last restoration of the organ at Nôtre-Dame de Paris, at least the builders provided a switch to enable the tierce rank to be silenced in the G.O. Fourniture II-V. However, this does not, as far as I am concerned, compensate for the removal of both chorus mixtures from the Récit-expressif.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The french Plein-jeu is not suited to the polyphony, it is only to be played in chords.

 

I would disagree with this on the evidence of several good recordings (by top-class players), and by the fact that I have first-hand experience of both playing and listening to polyphonic music played on such choruses.

 

And here is the reason for the presence of the tierce rank in the chorus in a majority

of organ styles: quint mixtures are bright, yes, but do nothing for the lisibility.

 

Pierre

 

I am sorry, but I am not sure what you mean here. I can find no dictionary listing for 'lisibility' *. Do you mean [a word synonymous with] 'clarity'? If so, I would suggest that the opposite is true. I find that the tierce rank sounding as part of a chorus in polyphonic music actually obfuscates the clarity of the music - as opposed to the aural transparency of a good chorus which contains only quint mixtures.

 

 

 

* This is not intended to be snide or derogatory, Pierre. Your language skills are far superior to my own.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would disagree with this on the evidence of several good recordings (by top-class players), and by the fact that I have first-hand experience of both playing and listening to polyphonic music played on such choruses.

 

 

 

I am sorry, but I am not sure what you mean here. I can find no dictionary listing for 'lisibility' *. Do you mean [a word synonymous with] 'clarity'? If so, I would suggest that the opposite is true. I find that the tierce rank sounding as part of a chorus in polyphonic music actually obfuscates the clarity of the music - as opposed to the aural transparency of a good chorus which contains only quint mixtures.

 

 

 

* This is not intended to be snide or derogatory, Pierre. Your language skills are far superior to my own.

 

No panic, Sean, you are always welcome !

 

As for the "tierce matter", I think that at this point, we should go togheter to Angermünde, and then to

Saint-Maximin du Var, and discuss the thing again afterwards with a Bouillabaisse and a Rosé de Provence.

I *know* how I am *right*, but, in the same time, I also know that if I were you, I would express

the same views as you. The matter is too complicated to be sorted out by the Web !

 

Pierre

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would disagree with this on the evidence of several good recordings (by top-class players), and by the fact that I have first-hand experience of both playing and listening to polyphonic music played on such choruses.

 

 

 

I am sorry, but I am not sure what you mean here. I can find no dictionary listing for 'lisibility' *. Do you mean [a word synonymous with] 'clarity'? If so, I would suggest that the opposite is true. I find that the tierce rank sounding as part of a chorus in polyphonic music actually obfuscates the clarity of the music - as opposed to the aural transparency of a good chorus which contains only quint mixtures.

 

 

 

* This is not intended to be snide or derogatory, Pierre. Your language skills are far superior to my own.

 

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

 

 

'Lisibility'.....what a very good word. I don't know what it means, but I like it.

 

It's as good as the word 'wunch' which was popular in the City whenever there was a gathering of Bankers.

 

MM

Link to comment
Share on other sites

No panic, Sean, you are always welcome !

 

As for the "tierce matter", I think that at this point, we should go togheter to Angermünde, and then to

Saint-Maximin du Var, and discuss the thing again afterwards with a Bouillabaisse and a Rosé de Provence.

I *know* how I am *right*, but, in the same time, I also know that if I were you, I would express

the same views as you. The matter is too complicated to be sorted out by the Web !

 

Pierre

 

This excursion sounds like a wonderful idea! When do we leave?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...