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Least Musical Stop


Vox Humana

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Leaving individual instruments out of it and taking a general view, which stop, however well made and voiced, contributes least to the act of making music?

 

For me it's a toss-up between Hohl Flute and Open Wood. If I had to choose I think I'd opt for Hohl Flute.

 

Sorry. I know I've just enraged the Romantics among you. :D

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Two good choices, here.

 

Spookily enough, on my previous church organ, the nastiest stop we dumped in the rebuild was a Swell (!) Hohl Flute - (which used to sound like a sick cow moo-ing into a bucket of porridge).

 

Also, on my present organ, I had the GO dulciana unceremoniously thrown out and replaced with a second-hand Gamba rank. I really like this stop - it is used several times each service. It gives some real string colour (something which was previously absent) and is a very sociable fellow.

 

Used with the other fonds, it gives a very acceptable imitation of a C-C Fonds 8p.

 

For Vox Humana - I love a good Romantic organ - but I also like a good Classical organ, too. However, you are quite right with your nomination of Hohl Flutes - I do not think that I have ever heard a good one.

 

Chester used to have a 2ft. version on the Choir Organ - which may well have been the old 4ft stop, cut down and re-scaled. I hate to imagine what that sounded like....

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"For Vox Humana - I love a good Romantic organ - but I also like a good Classical organ, too. However, you are quite right with your nomination of Hohl Flutes - I do not think that I have ever heard a good one."

 

From pncd2346987?? There are some fine flutes at Liverpool Cathedral specially the Hohl Flutes!

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actually its 5584.... :D

 

Mmmm.... I had forgotten about those. Yes, they did sound pleasant last summer. Mind you, most things sound good on this organ. (Except perhaps the Tuba Magna - but then, I do not really like Tuba stops.)

 

No doubt that will enrage everyone, except RD, who is probably smiling with glee on a cloud, somewhere....

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No doubt that will enrage everyone, except RD, who is probably smiling with glee on a cloud, somewhere....
Not me, it won't. A Tuba sounds like a magnified Tromba and I don't like those much either. A decent solo Trumpet can do everything a Tuba can and more.
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Guest paul@trinitymusic.karoo.co.uk

Ok.

For my money Open Woods have decided uses - a good rumble is often helpful to round out the bass - I certainly miss a 'big boom' when there isn't one there. They can also act a bit like Timpani when you're trying to get a large congregation to sing in time.

 

Dulcianas: you may not use them often, but I quite like them. Not the most useful of stops perhaps, but not one to part with unless you are really short of something else. A genuine voice of calm. Yes, I know many organists do not require a voice of calm - there are occasionally very good moments for such sounds, quite apart from various accompanimental uses.

 

For me the most unattractive stop you ever find in this country is the neo-baroque (or worse, the heavily revoiced and therefore spoiled) Krummhorn. They are no satisfactory use even if you wish to imitate genuine German or French stops, and are worse than useless when standing in for that most useful of voices a decent Clarinet. Traditional psalm (and canticle) playing demands a genuine clarinet IMHO, and so does a vast amount of worthy romantic organ literature.

 

The organ works where I was brought up (R.H.Walker of Chesham, Bucks) used to build a standard spec one-manual organ which appeared in two versions -

1. a large box organ: The Chesham and

2. pipework above console facing the player: The Berkeley.

The voicing of these was always excellent (fluework at least!) - lovely flutes at 8' and 4' with decent principals at 2' and II Mixture. They were seriously small organs but they had considerable musical potential. These were topped with a total waste of space - a copper krummhorn. For my money, I would have specified a 4' principal, or a larigot, or (frankly) anything that has a musical use.

 

Even the best 60's/70's/80's Krummhorns in this country strike me as little better than kazoos. The worst of them are most reminiscent of a bl**dy great wasp with a hangover. Oh yes, Cecil Clutton liked them - so there are plenty of them around. They are evil in a small acoustic and not much better in a big one. Put it this way, if you had a singer in your choir that sounded like a Krummhorn, would you ever encourage them to sing a solo? No, neither would I.

 

Another feature of a poor Krummhorn - they rarely stay in tune.

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Ok.

For my money Open Woods have decided uses - a good rumble is often helpful to round out the bass - I certainly miss a 'big boom' when there isn't one there. They can also act a bit like Timpani when you're trying to get a large congregation to sing in time.

 

 

I agree with you, Paul! A good Pedal Trombone can be made to perform a similar function.

 

Dulcianas: you may not use them often, but I quite like them.  Not the most useful of stops perhaps, but not one to part with unless you are really short of something else. A genuine voice of calm.  Yes, I know many organists do not require a voice of calm - there are occasionally very good moments for such sounds, quite apart from various accompanimental uses.

 

But I still have a voice of calm - which I, too, value highly: the Viola (and Vox Angelica) on my Swell Organ. The GO Dulciana was a less-satisfactory duplicate and was, in any case, almost inaudible down the church. Literally no-one ever used it!

 

For me the most unattractive stop you ever find in this country is the neo-baroque (or worse, the heavily revoiced and therefore spoiled) Krummhorn.  They are no satisfactory use even if you wish to imitate genuine German or French stops, and are worse than useless when standing in for that most useful of voices a decent Clarinet.  Traditional psalm (and canticle) playing demands a genuine clarinet IMHO, and so does a vast amount of worthy romantic organ literature.....

 

....Even the best 60's/70's/80's Krummhorns in this country strike me as little better than kazoos.  The worst of them are most reminiscent of a bl**dy great wasp with a hangover. Oh yes, Cecil Clutton liked them - so there are plenty of them around.  They are evil in a small acoustic and not much better in a big one.  Put it this way, if you had a singer in your choir that sounded like a Krummhorn, would you ever encourage them to sing a solo?  No, neither would I.

 

Another feature of a poor Krummhorn - they rarely stay in tune.

 

I find mine very useful! I happen to like Marchand, de Grigny, Couperin, Clérambault, etc, and my Crumhorn is a superb example - especially for this music.

 

Whilst I agree that a Corno di Bassetto (or similar), under enclosure, is very useful for 'lining-out' whilst accompanying Psalms (and for playing Whitlock, etc) I would not part with my Crumhorn for anything less than a Contra Trombone.

 

Oh, and it stays perfectly in tune from one maintenance visit to tthe next; and - yes, Cecil Clutton did like it!

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Not me, it won't. A Tuba sounds like a magnified Tromba and I don't like those much either. A decent solo Trumpet can do everything a Tuba can and more.

 

 

Really? Even imitate an elephant with a serious case of flatulence or cover up for an overweight organist with a similar problem as a result of how Saturday night was spent ?

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I agree with you, Paul! A good Pedal Trombone can be made to perform a similar function.

But I still have a voice of calm - which I, too, value highly: the Viola (and Vox Angelica) on my Swell Organ. The GO Dulciana was a less-satisfactory duplicate and was, in any case, almost inaudible down the church. Literally no-one ever used it!

I find mine very useful! I happen to like Marchand, de Grigny, Couperin, Clérambault, etc, and my Crumhorn is a superb example - especially for this music.

 

Whilst I agree that a Corno di Bassetto (or similar), under enclosure, is very useful for 'lining-out' whilst accompanying Psalms (and for playing Whitlock, etc) I would not part with my Crumhorn for anything less than a Contra Trombone.

 

Oh, and it stays perfectly in tune from one maintenance visit to tthe next; and - yes, Cecil Clutton did like it!

 

Oh does the stop knob read CRUMHORN ? Not the generally favoured spelling then !

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Really? Even imitate an elephant with a serious case of flatulence or cover up for an overweight organist with a similar problem as a result of how Saturday night was spent ?
But I wouldn't use a Tuba (or Trumpet) for either of those. The Bombarde 32 is far better.
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Ah, it would be a Helicopter 64 for me. But if I had one, I wouldn't get rid of it because it's a special effect for signalling impending doom in certain pieces (the local anoraks would get really excited by it when you bring it on) and really good for one-upmanship with your neighbouring organists.

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I think I would agree with what Norman & Beard felt about close-toned chorus reeds, which would possibly include Edwardian Swell Cornopeans, as well as the usual Great Trombas.

 

They may have a place as colouring registers in very large instruments, and Trombas often make a nice foil to the more overwhelming sound of Tubas, but in my experience, these type of stops simply do not, and cannot, blend with normal fluework successfully. They blend OK with Tibias however, which possibly says it all!

 

Quite why anyone felt it necessary to improve on the imposing Trumpet registers and much more fiery Tubas of Fr.Willis, is beyond my understanding. One only has to listen to St.Paul's Cathedral to realise how effective such stops were, and then compare these to splendidly restored, but much "clangier" sounds of the Trombas at the RAH.

 

Close toned reeds need to be "bound" to a chorus, and that was possibly the reasoning behind the classic Arthur Harrison/Dixon Harmonics mixture, and when such Mixtures are replaced with quint ones, the effect is not especially fine with the Trombas drawn.

 

Norman & Beard spent a lot of time trying to make closer-toned reeds blend with the fluework, and when Hill, Norman & Beard did their best work, they always chose trumpets over closer-toned reeds, to great effect.

 

So, I hate Trombas!

 

MM

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Some excellent points there, Muso.

 

Dulcianas I do have some time for, especially if they are on an enclosed Choir. There are rare occasions when you want a mere enervated whisper (though I accept there could be better options; I've never heard a Dolcan). I've also found a 16ft Dulciana very useful in the Pedal for providing a much more defined pp than an Echo Bourdon.

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Leaving individual instruments out of it and taking a general view, which stop, however well made and voiced, contributes least to the act of making music?

Sorry, but I just don't believe you can divorce the one from the other. For me, Dulcianas must be one of the most useless stops ever conceived, but in a sympathetic enough acoustic, I can see how they might be just a little charming.

 

No, I'm sorry but my personal bete noir is a particular stop on a particular organ, namely the Trompette Militaire in the Corona Gallery of Liverpool Cathedral. There are good examples of the stop to be found e.g. St Paul's Cathedral, but the one at Liverpool is not musical - it just honks.

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I have a particular dislike of Nason Flutes. Perhaps I just haven't come across a good one.

I rather agree with you nfortin. They seem to be very popular on new english organs right now at 4' on the Great or Choir. Don't know what it is, I can't say I've come across a bad one yet, they all tend to be either good or at the very least OK. Perhaps it's just my dislike of things being ordinary.

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Guest Lee Blick

Yeh, I have to agree, but there again with the football connection in the city, that might be deliberate! :rolleyes:

 

Does anyone know what a Barpfiefe sounds like? Is it similar to a regal or does it 'Barp' like it sounds?

 

Oh, I hate the ubiquitous 'Bourdon' as the only 16ft on a small pedal organ.

 

When I was at Uni, we held our concert in a church which had transplanted a 2m Father Willis. The only pedal 16ft rank was an Open Wood and it sounded much better and gave more definition in the bass. Are there other organs which have a full length 16ft either as an open flue or string as the only pedal rank?

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Yeh, I have to agree, but there again with the football connection in the city, that might be deliberate!  :rolleyes:

 

Does anyone know what a Barpfiefe sounds like?  Is it similar to a regal or does it 'Barp' like it sounds?

 

Oh, I hate the ubiquitous 'Bourdon' as the only 16ft on a small pedal organ.

 

When I was at Uni, we held our concert in a church which had transplanted a 2m Father Willis.  The only pedal 16ft rank was an Open Wood and it sounded much better and gave more definition in the bass.  Are there other organs which have a full length 16ft either as an open flue or string as the only pedal rank?

I've come across 2 Barpfiefes, both in Holland. Both were rather lovely flutes, halfway between a gedact and a Quinataton. I understand they can also be reeds so the name can mean a lot of different things.

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Yeh, I have to agree, but there again with the football connection in the city, that might be deliberate!  :rolleyes:

 

Does anyone know what a Barpfiefe sounds like?  Is it similar to a regal or does it 'Barp' like it sounds?

 

Oh, I hate the ubiquitous 'Bourdon' as the only 16ft on a small pedal organ.

 

When I was at Uni, we held our concert in a church which had transplanted a 2m Father Willis.  The only pedal 16ft rank was an Open Wood and it sounded much better and gave more definition in the bass.  Are there other organs which have a full length 16ft either as an open flue or string as the only pedal rank?

 

Hi

 

There are numerous UK organs that only have an Open Wood pedal stop - mainly older instruments, before the all-pervading Bourdon rose to popularity.

 

I've also come across a chamber organ with a fractional-length Sourdon 16 as the sole pedal stop ( see NPOR E00937) - surprisingly effective!

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

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Dulcianas - every time.

 

But you all know that....

 

I also occasionally dislike Claribel Flutes - even the name is weird. It sounds like a suitable name for the daughter of an arable farmer currently residing in Georgia. (The US state - not the country of Stalin's birth.)

 

Having said that, there are some nice Claribel Flutes which were made by Willis. I think that it is the examples made by a certain west-country builder, ("This organ has received our best attention to-day"), to which I object.

 

However, the specific stop which I probably hate the most is the H&H Tromba 8p on the GO at Crediton Parish Church.

 

(No, I do not hate the entire organ!)

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I also occasionally dislike Claribel Flutes - even the name is weird. It sounds like a suitable name for the daughter of an arable farmer currently residing in Georgia. (The US state - not the country of Stalin's birth.)

 

Having said that, there are some nice Claribel Flutes which were made by Willis. I think that it is the examples made by a certain west-country builder, ("This organ has received our best attention to-day"), to which I object.

 

The organ I play regularly has a Clarabella on the Gt. It seesm a bit like a Hohl Flute, but somehow without really sounding like a flute. Thick, dull and rather cloying. However, this organ was (several incarnations ago) built by Bishop, who apparently invented this stop by removing the stoppers from a stopped diapason. So I suppose it might have some historic significance and I should stop complaining!

 

JJK

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