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Dutch manual coupler


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Recently I had a discussion with an organ builder about a two-manual organ with a Rückpositiv, which he is currently planing. He wanted to know what I thought about a HW-RP manual coupler (with the coupled manuals being played on the first manual/RP). His argument was that a lot of organists are simply more used to playing on the first manual, so it would be more comfortable to have both manuals coupled on the lower keyboard. Although I was aware of organs with such a coupler, I was convinced that this type of coupler was used rather by accident, so I suggested that he should stick with the usual solution: RP-HW (I-II). However, today I came across the description of this Richards/Fowkes organ, where the following is stated: The Rückpositive also has the distinction of having the intra-manual coupler connect the Werk to the Positive in the Dutch tradition rather than the more normal Positive to Werk. Obviously this allows for the coupled manuals to be accompanied on the Hauptwerk, which might be somewhat useful in certain situations. Still I would be curious to know more about this "Dutch tradition". Anyone?

 

M

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Hello,

Still I would be curious to know more about this "Dutch tradition". Anyone?

I think it is a misunderstanding. Look at organ dispositions written in Dutch and you see that the couplers are all (!) reversed. In Dutch you have a coupler Pedal-Hoofdwerk which means that the Great sounds when you press a pedal key. In German terminology this would be named HW-Ped, in English Gt-Ped an in French G.O.-Ped.

Therefore a disposition written in Dutch wich states a coupler HW-RP means the normal Positive to Great coupler.

 

Beside this I would like to have both couplers RP-HW and HW-RP. Not becaues of the playing position but because of the usefullness as you stated with playing the accompaniment at the Great and doing the solo with Great and Positive coupled.

 

Cheers

tiratutti

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I think it is a misunderstanding. Look at organ dispositions written in Dutch and you see that the couplers are all (!) reversed.

 

I did as you suggested and it really seems that couplers have "reversed" names in Dutch. However, I also found the following type of couplers designation: Koppeling Manuaal aan Rugwerk, Koppeling Manuaal aan Pedaal (see this instrument, for instance). Doesn't this mean that the Richards/Fowkes statement about a Dutch tradition of coupling on the Rückpositiv is in fact correct (?).

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There are instances where you find that it is possible to transfer everything to the Positive keyboard. It perhaps was a tradition in making a huge solo line for the leading of singing using a strong and fundamental accompaniment that also helped the solo line - the RP being positioned nearest to the congregation. I remember having to perform in the large church in Deventer and this rather heavy-actioned instrument had this coupler and facility. Ewald Kooiman, also on the jury, played "My G minor" and for the fugue coupled the II to I. Worked wonderfully (but only if with fingers of steel to cope with the strength needed). The strong sounds of the Positive were needed for leading and the Bavo organ in Haarlem has the most strident stop on the organ on this department.

There are some new organs where it is possible to couple manuals in all manner of mechanical ways. The College Chapel of Saint-Augustin in Bitche (Moselle, France) allows coupling II - I & I -II. Far more complicated is an organ in King's College Chapel, Aberdeen that allows I - II, II - I, III - II, II - III. Therefore (after rehearsal!) it is possible to have your tutti on each of the 3 keyboards at any one time.

Best wishes,

N

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There are instances where you find that it is possible to transfer everything to the Positive keyboard. It perhaps was a tradition in making a huge solo line for the leading of singing using a strong and fundamental accompaniment that also helped the solo line - the RP being positioned nearest to the congregation.

That's exactly right. Most Dutch organs were built solely to accompany the congregational singing, not for playing organ literature. To accompany the hymn singing, the Cornet of the Rugpositief was a vital stop. This stop is able to lead the singing congregation. The accompaniment was played on the Great. Great was coupled to the Rugpositief, so the sound of the Rugpositief (with that loud Cornet in it) was enforced with the Great pleno.

 

Cheers,

Dick

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This organ http://www.organartmedia.com/bosch-schnitger has the couplers labelled in what we would consider the reverse way, i.e. Ped-HW; Ped-RW; and RW-HW. The latter couples Manual 2 (Hoofdwerk) down to Manual 1 (Rugwerk).

But in this example the Cornet is on the HW so the earlier explanation doesn't quite fit here.

 

NB you have to click the very small "next" at the bottom of the linked page above to get to the stoplist.

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NB you have to click the very small "next" at the bottom of the linked page above to get to the stoplist.

... or "Specification" at the top :P

 

But in this example the Cornet is on the HW so the earlier explanation doesn't quite fit here.

However, you still have Nasard, Sexquialter or Dulciaan, which you could all use for the solo line.

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