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Simon Walker

Mutations

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Hi folks...

 

Can someone enlighten me as to just what the appropriate usage and thinking is behind the different kinds of mutation stops? Having mostly played UK romantic organs with few options when it comes to mutations (I'm too used to having to fake 'cornet' sounds with little more than a twelfth on the great!) I get baffled about what I should use when playing some of the big modern organs over here in Canada which seem to have everything!

 

So here goes...

 

What is a Larigot 1 1/3 intended for? And similarly a 1' stop?

 

What is the technical difference in sound and usage between a 'cornet de compose' and a sesquialtera?

 

When should one use a V rank cornet? (They often seem far too loud for Bach chorale preludes...)

 

What is a Septieme 1 1/7 intended to be used for? And some of the other really high stuff eg... none 8/9's?

 

The majority of my repertoire is romantic, but I do play plenty of Bach and Buxtehude. I regret to admit that I have neglected learning much music composed earlier than that. In the past I've found attempting French classical stuff just pointless when you played a father willis every day! Hence I can claim to be fairly expert at romantic registration and performance practice, but a bit lacking in knowledge when it comes to these tinkly sounds!

 

The other thing is.... I've just heard so much inappropriate use of mutations over the years... frankly I think there are a lot of organists around who don't know as much as they should about historically aware performance practice! So please share your knowqledge!

 

C-D

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What is a Larigot 1 1/3 intended for?

 

Strictly spraking, the Larigot is an optionnal feature of the "Jeu de tierce" on the Positif manual

in a french baroque organ, to be used thus with:

 

Bourdon 8'

Flûte 4' or Prestant 4'

Nasard 2 2/3'

Quarte de Nasard or Doublette 2'

Tierce 1 3/5'

(Larigot)

 

 

And similarly a 1' stop?

 

Seldom in french organs, more frequent in german ones, it can be used for special effects

or as a member of the Diapason chorus.

 

What is the technical difference in sound and usage between a 'cornet de compose' and a sesquialtera?

 

The "Cornet décomposé" is a misnomer, a neo-baroque erring; the "Jeu de tierce" has the same ranks

as the Cornet, thus: 8-4-2 2/3'-2-1 3/5, but as seperate stops. Those stops have full compass; they are not

posted above the soundboard, but are on this one. They belong to the Flute family, but nos as large as the

Cornet, and milder by far; this is actually a soft combination for lyrical music ("Tierce en taille").

 

The Sesquialter (2 2/3'1 3/5, or 1 1/3'- 4/5, with a break to 2 2/3- 1 3/5) has Principal scales,

and is a member of the Diapason chorus. Flutey ones (actually Nasard and Tierce on the same slide)

are a neo-baroque erring;

 

When should one use a V rank cornet? (They often seem far too loud for Bach chorale preludes...)

 

Never to be used in a Bach Choral-prelude, this stop is intended first to reinforce the Trompettes

and the Clairons in the treble, hence their compass limited to the treble part of the clavier. Sometimes

used in rapid music (Cornet voluntaries, "Cornet de récit" or "d'écho" in french organs)

 

What is a Septieme 1 1/7 intended to be used for? And some of the other really high stuff eg... none 8/9's?

 

The Septième was first used as a non-independant rank for corroborating Mixtures, intended to go with the

reeds choruses ( Arthur Harrison, Cavaillé-Coll). Later, in neo-baroque organs, it was used for

"bottleneck effects", ditto the None etc.

 

Pierre

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An interesting post, Pierre. Thanks.

 

But what are 'bottleneck effects'?

 

I had assumed that Septiemes, Nones and others like Elevenths, etc, were to add additional colour. Not essentials for any genre of music, of course, but interesting nonetheless.

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Thankyou Pierre! Your explanation is very clear.

 

 

It seems to me that organ builders in North America seem include 5 rank Cornets as 'grand solo stops'. At st James Cathedral Toronto the 5 rank cornet is on the Great at the front of the church, where as the chorus reeds are on another manual at the back (auxilliary). If the cornet is supposed to support the reeds in a Grand jeu... this seems fairly pointless! Similarly it's compass is from tenor G, but there are no more pipes in the top octave... This example isn't too loud, but others around take your breath away!

 

I take it that (mutation wise) one should stick to the sesquialtera for Bach chorales... but often the cornet decompose is all you have if there's no sesquialtera. I take it this isn't really correct?

 

Does the idea of drawing an 8ft with mutation, ie, tierce or larigot alone have any historical basis prior to the 1950's?

 

 

At Chester we had a sole tierce on the great, no twelfth (though the stop head did actually say twelfth! I never found a use for it there on its own in any early music.

 

Again I can't say I've ever found uses for nones and septiemes.

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But what are 'bottleneck effects'?

 

I suggest anything which necessitates necking a bottle - e.g. Shepherd's Pipe Carol.

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What is a Larigot 1 1/3 intended for?

 

Strictly spraking, the Larigot is an optionnal feature of the "Jeu de tierce" on the Positif manual

in a french baroque organ, to be used thus with:

 

Bourdon 8'

Flûte 4' or Prestant 4'

Nasard 2 2/3'

Quarte de Nasard or Doublette 2'

Tierce 1 3/5'

(Larigot)

 

 

And similarly a 1' stop?

 

Seldom in french organs, more frequent in german ones, it can be used for special effects

or as a member of the Diapason chorus.

 

What is the technical difference in sound and usage between a 'cornet de compose' and a sesquialtera?

 

The "Cornet décomposé" is a misnomer, a neo-baroque erring; the "Jeu de tierce" has the same ranks

as the Cornet, thus: 8-4-2 2/3'-2-1 3/5, but as seperate stops. Those stops have full compass; they are not

posted above the soundboard, but are on this one. They belong to the Flute family, but nos as large as the

Cornet, and milder by far; this is actually a soft combination for lyrical music ("Tierce en taille").

 

The Sesquialter (2 2/3'1 3/5, or 1 1/3'- 4/5, with a break to 2 2/3- 1 3/5) has Principal scales,

and is a member of the Diapason chorus. Flutey ones (actually Nasard and Tierce on the same slide)

are a neo-baroque erring;

 

When should one use a V rank cornet? (They often seem far too loud for Bach chorale preludes...)

 

Never to be used in a Bach Choral-prelude, this stop is intended first to reinforce the Trompettes

and the Clairons in the treble, hence their compass limited to the treble part of the clavier. Sometimes

used in rapid music (Cornet voluntaries, "Cornet de récit" or "d'écho" in french organs)

 

What is a Septieme 1 1/7 intended to be used for? And some of the other really high stuff eg... none 8/9's?

 

The Septième was first used as a non-independant rank for corroborating Mixtures, intended to go with the

reeds choruses ( Arthur Harrison, Cavaillé-Coll). Later, in neo-baroque organs, it was used for

"bottleneck effects", ditto the None etc.

 

Pierre

 

 

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

 

 

 

This man KNOWS these things.....I just hang my coat on the mutation stops. :P

 

I'm not sure that the same rules apply about English Cornet stops of the 18th century, which are usually not flutes, but a part of the chorus, with a Sequialtera bass. They also tend to be 3 ranks, with the 8ft and 4ft Flutes providing the lower two pitches. (I know there were some with a full V ranks, but I forget where).

 

Now, I don't know about the Septieme being a corroborating mixture pitch, but my memory stirs on this and I will have to check. I "think" it predates Audsley/Skinner/Harrison.....but where? Spain perhaps? I will have to check on this.

 

Now the "None" pitches and such like, actually pre-date the neo-baroque era by some margin. Compton used them in the 1930's...probably derived....but he used them. The one I can think of is the organ at Bournemouth Pavillion, which had all sorts of strange pitches in the Mixtures.

 

As Arnold Schwzenegger said, "I'll be back."

 

MM

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I think the Larigot was intended to 'smooth over' the effect of the Cornet - didn't Dom Bedos say something like that? Similarly, with the more exotic mutations each one tops off the previous one - the Septieme tops off the Tierce, the Neuvieme tops off the Septieme, etc. I think John Compton pointed that out.

 

Although there are quite a lot of mutation stops around that are badly conceived - too narrow, too soft, too loud - I find that much depends, not on the mutations themselves, but on the supporting flutes (or whatever). A bit of imagination can often improve the effect of unpromising mutations.

 

I'm particularly fond of a jeu de tierce without the 2' stop - 8,4,2 2/3,1 3/5. I find it often sounds more piquant - possibly for some reason like those quoted above about one mutation fulfilling the previous one.

 

I also like combinations omitting the 8' altogether, relying on the resultants to provide the ground tone. One can often get away with using a wide-scale Nazard on its own. With appropriate accompaniment on another manual,it fools the ear into thinking the ground tone is really there.

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Now Pierre, get out your notebook and pen.

 

The first known use of a Septieme was in 1850, when the Liverpool organ-builder, Richard Jackson, used a "Sharp 20th"

(Flat 21st of course) in the organ of the Collegiate Institute, Liverpool.

 

I can't find the reference to the pitches used by Compton at Bournemouth, but in 1932, (according to the late Stephen Bicknell), an experimental organ in the Compton factory included the following pitches:-

 

6. 2/5'

4. 4/7'

3. 5/9'

2. 10/11'

2. 6/13'

and

2. 2/15'

 

Let's not forget the Quart ranks (4th sounding) in the Rugpositiv Zimbel of the Laurenskerk, Alkmaar, by F C Schnitger.

 

Then there are those fiersome Polish Cimbels, which could be almost anything in pitch and were not even tuned.

 

It's interesting, but in mentioning the aliquot "None," wasn't the first use in the UK of such a pitch, the Grant, Deegens & Rippen at New College, Oxford?

 

Is it surprising that some of those involved were ex-Compton men?

 

MM

 

You see Pierre, you need to look in the UK more

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Thanks, MM,

 

Halas I lack the time, nowadays, to develop the topics properly !

 

Indeed the Septieme dates back to the 18th century, Gabler already

built such a rank in the "La force" stop in Weingarten.

It is probably there than Weigle, the post-romantic builder, discovered it.

(He built Mixtures with tierce and septieme rank, comparable, on paper,

with Harrison's)

 

But the interesting point could be, I think, the use of the Mixtures and Mutations.

Only the french registrations are well-documented, and I suspect Dupré imponed

"frenchified" registrations throughout the complete baroque repertoire.

 

Let us take an example with the Cornet: a flemish invention, it was probably intended

originally as a color per Se, a reed imitation. The flemish Cornet is narrower than the later

french stops, and we can take for granted it was not used in the same way.

 

When this stop was introduced in the german organ, it was soon treated as a part of

the Principal chorus ! And this, during Bach's time; Trost even melted it with the Mixtures,

and we find actually a kind of "Kornettmixtur" in his organs.

 

So there might be the interesting survey field: how did the baroque builders intend

such stops to be used ? I guess we know somewhat less about this than we believe it.

 

Pierre

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I think that the Broadcasting House Concert Hall Compton has a Neuvieme, and the New College None was predated by a year by Peter Collins at Shellingford, but the Shellingford None has long been converted to a Sifflote 1'.

 

The 1970 HN&B at Holy Trinity, Kingsway, London (NPOR N16499) had Sesquialtera 12.17, Septieme and None and Sharp Mixture 26.29.33 on its eight-stop Swell (designed by Simon Gutteridge), but as far as I know this was modified in 1992 when the church closed and the organ went to Latymer Upper School, Hammersmith.

 

As left by Rushworth & Dreaper in 1963, St. Ninian's Cathedral, Perth, Scotland had a Septieme 1 1/7 as the only mutation on the Choir Organ, which became a Twenty Second during Alastair Pow's time as organist there. St. Mary's, Bury St. Edmunds, as rebuilt by HN&B in 1931, had a Septieme 2 2/7 in addition to nazard and tierce on the choir. It was still there when I played it in the late sixties, but has gone now.

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

 

 

I'm not sure that the same rules apply about English Cornet stops of the 18th century, which are usually not flutes, but a part of the chorus, with a Sequialtera bass.

 

Could you provide some evidence of this? I'd challenge it.

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Could you provide some evidence of this? I'd challenge it.

 

 

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

 

I can't be bothered; I'm exhausted after the Hungarian post.

 

If I'm wrong, I'm wrong, but I have even come across "Cornet" stops which draw a Quint Mixture.

 

Oddly enough, I can replicate an absolutely perfect sound for a Cornet Voluntary at Holy Joe's, just using the huge Rohrflute, the 4ft Octave and the Sext 12:17. I played Walond last Sunday, as a matter of fact. I just use my ears, and what works works, and what doesn't doesn't.

 

Pierre's point about Trost is interesting, because "my" chorus effectively consists of four stops; 8 & 4 and 6 ranks of Tierce Mixture; divided into 12:17 and the rest. It's quite stunning in the very resonant building into which it sings.

 

My interest in Early English music is distinctly limited, and my interest in English organs of the period completely lacking. We don't seem to have too many 18th century English organs near where I live.

 

Anyway, wasn't the Cornet used to strengthen the reeds in the treble?

 

Fr.Willis put that defect right, and it was long overdue. :D

 

MM

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I had assumed that Septiemes, Nones and others like Elevenths, etc, were to add additional colour. Not essentials for any genre of music, of course, but interesting nonetheless.

Their sparkly/tinkly effects seem very popular with improvisors.

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

 

I can't be bothered; I'm exhausted after the Hungarian post.

 

If I'm wrong, I'm wrong, but I have even come across "Cornet" stops which draw a Quint Mixture.

 

I'm genuinely interested in this. Cornet does seem to mean a dozen different things. As a Swell mixture, whether full compass or split bass and treble, you seem to be right. As a Great stop it more often seems to appear mounted as a solo voice.

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I'm genuinely interested in this. Cornet does seem to mean a dozen different things. As a Swell mixture, whether full compass or split bass and treble, you seem to be right. As a Great stop it more often seems to appear mounted as a solo voice.

 

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

 

I don't think I've EVER played an organ in England with a Mounted Cornet, but they obviously exist. As for other Cornet stops I've encountered, they have ranged from chorus Sesquialteras (misnamed), to reedy squeaks which just add colour and not much else.

 

I presume that the kosher Cornet is all flutes, confined to the treble and devoid of breaks.

 

If someone would kindly point me in the right direction, I'll go and try one.

 

MM

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

 

 

 

My interest in Early English music is distinctly limited, and my interest in English organs of the period completely lacking. We don't seem to have too many 18th century English organs near where I live.

 

Anyway, wasn't the Cornet used to strengthen the reeds in the treble?

 

Fr.Willis put that defect right, and it was long overdue. :D

 

MM

 

Hi

 

Not quite 17th Centuray (c.1820) - but the chamber organ here (Heaton Bradford) is not too far from the mark - no Cornet though, which is a shame. GG compass, 5 stops plus a Stopped Diap Bass. PM or e-mail me if you want to come and take a look. The English Cornet is a solo stop pure and simple - it's the French who used it to bolster inadequate reeds.

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

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I think the Larigot was intended to 'smooth over' the effect of the Cornet - didn't Dom Bedos say something like that?

 

In my limited experience, on modern "historically informed" three-manual instruments the Larigot is often on the Positive/Choir with the 12,17 Sesquialtera rather than the Swell where the Nazard and Tierce are, or the Great with its Cornet. Is this, to use a trendy phrase, a bit of a mash-up?

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In my limited experience, on modern "historically informed" three-manual instruments the Larigot is often on the Positive/Choir with the 12,17 Sesquialtera rather than the Swell where the Nazard and Tierce are, or the Great with its Cornet. Is this, to use a trendy phrase, a bit of a mash-up?

In France there was no such compound stop as a Sesquialtera in older organs - only more recently in modern instruments where it can be found at 16ft and 8ft pitches in different departments. The positioning of the Baroque Larigot on the Positive was used in a variety of ways and its use has been occasionally documented by different composers/players. One of the more striking and scintillating uses is to accompany the movement 'Basse de Trompette'. Bourdon 8ft and Larigot on the Positive with all 8ft Grand-orgue Trompettes and 4ft Clairon for the solo. The sparkling sound of the accompaniment makes the player play with great life. (The notion that only one reed stop plays the solo is rather a non-French thing and rather weak). The sensation of using all the reeds makes for brilliant and spine-chilling movements demonstrating the performer's great dexterity and musical panache.

Some folk have suggested the addition of the Larigot as part of the combination for a Tierce on taille.

I treat all 'recipes' given to us for organ registrations with a certain reverence, but actually in the end it boils down to the taste of the player coupled to the sonority of the instrument and the interpreting of the notes. However, it is always good to start off with what the composer has mentioned - even for Romantic and Contemporary music. (The French are just as good at writing for the performer in le Cuisine as they are for the le Tribune!) But in the end it is the Chef in both places that has the last word. Always.

Tous mes meilleurs souhaits.

Nigel

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In France ......................................But in the end it is the Chef in both places that has the last word. Always.

 

I like this very much!

 

A

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In my limited experience, on modern "historically informed" three-manual instruments the Larigot is often on the Positive/Choir with the 12,17 Sesquialtera rather than the Swell where the Nazard and Tierce are, or the Great with its Cornet. Is this, to use a trendy phrase, a bit of a mash-up?

Basically, yes. I'm pretty sure I'm right in thinking that this division of mutations between two manuals was a neo-Baroque misunderstanding designed to allow those who liked tinkly sounds to play trio sonatas and bicinia with (oh, bliss!) two different tinkly sounds simultaneously. Since the Nazard and the Tierce needed to be together, the Larigot was the one that was hived off elsewhere in the name of variety. In reality, as Pierre has pointed out before, the three belong on the same manual. The Larigot, being a wide-scale French mutation, doesn't have a place in Bach and Buxtehude anyway (so far as I know).

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