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Extended pipework


AJJ

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What is the opinion here of a limited use of extension of pipework in a rebuild where space or siting options might be at a premium or funds not vast. I have in mind a couple of situations where this has worked well at the hands of a good builder with an broad minded consultant at the helm leaving the churches in question with versatile smallish instruments fit for today's purpose. Certainly of more use than - for instance - a Victorian 1 manual entombed in a chancel vestry. As far as I can gather the cost was about the same as an up-market electronic. Would it be considered going over to the 'dark side' to be thinking along these lines?

 

A

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What is the opinion here of a limited use of extension of pipework in a rebuild where space or siting options might be at a premium or funds not vast. I have in mind a couple of situations where this has worked well at the hands of a good builder with an broad minded consultant at the helm leaving the churches in question with versatile smallish instruments fit for today's purpose. Certainly of more use than - for instance - a Victorian 1 manual entombed in a chancel vestry. As far as I can gather the cost was about the same as an up-market electronic. Would it be considered going over to the 'dark side' to be thinking along these lines?

 

A

 

 

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Lets' think about this logically for a moment.

 

There are a number of organs, including quite a few Arthur Harrison instruments, where the Swell organ includes a full chorus to 2ft with a good chorus Mixture, but where the Great organ and Pedal organ lack upperwork, in spite of massively powerful wood basses.

 

When I play Bach or other baroque repertoire on organs such as this, I often use the Swell organ as an "extention" department; coupling the full chorus with Mixture to both Great and Pedal, and even using the octave coupler where this is available.

 

What am I actually doing?

 

If we think about the logic of this,and the often successful musical result in creating a full "pleno" effect, it is not far removed from what John Compton did: deriving compatible upperwork from pipework other than the main chorus. If there is a good 16ft double, that can actually be coupled down to act as the pedal foundation; especially if there are some transferable manual reeds which can be isolated to the Choir organ and then coupled down to the Pedal organ.

 

Again, I am using the extension or derivation principle to good effect, and should anyone doubt this, they are more than welcome to go along to Halifax PC for the Halifax Organists' Association Member's Recital in June, where I shall be doing just this: not a single pedal stop being drawn.

 

I know of many re-built Binns instruments, where the Pedal ranks have been extended upwards to very good effect, and for the best examples of extension, we only have to visit a good Compton instrument to hear the effects created by a tonal genius.

 

Naturally, what must always be avoided are those extensions involving adjacent octaves, which produces not just missing notes, but a certain tonal imbalance; for good reason.

 

Usually, the 4ft Octave or Principal is usually a couple of notes smaller in scale to an 8ft Diapason; the Twelfth 2.2/3 and Fifteenth 2ft smaller scale still. Even in genuine baroque organs, that tonal pyramid is achieved either in the same way, or with some very careful voicing.

 

So a 4ft Octave may be derived from a differently scaled Diapason, the Twelfth from a Gamba or Gemshorn, the 15th from a second Diapason heard higher up the scale (and therefore smaller) and the upperwork derived from as many ranks as one wishes, from Diapason to Salicionald and Dulcianas for example.

 

What you could never have is successful extension organ based on something like Schulze straight-line scaling, yet one of the two best Comnpton organs I know are re-builds firstly of a Charles Brindley instrument, and secondly, that of a Lewis instrument; both with tonal connections to Schulze.

 

For the proof of the pudding (etc).....go to Downside Abbey or listen to this clip:-

 

 

 

Extension doesn't come better than this!

 

MM

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Hi

 

Compton, on his smaller instruments, did use adjacent-octave extension. Yes, you do get missing notes sometimes - but in normal hymn playing they are almost unoticeable, whereas strict adherence to avoiding adjacent octave extensions (except on the pedal) can lead to a rather strange stop list, for example:- http://www.npor.org.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch.cgi?Fn=Rsearch&rec_index=E01317 (Southwell Cathedral Song School - a Grant, Deagans & Bradbeer extension organ) I've played this, and it works but I'd rather have the option of not drawing stops an octave apart on such a small instrument rather than having no easy option of, for example, flutes 8 & 4 on the same keyboard.

 

It seems that small extension organs are making a bit of a comeback where space and presumably funds are limited - I entered one just yesterday on NPOR - see http://www.npor.org.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch.cgi?Fn=Rsearch&rec_index=D02060 for the original organ and E01881 for what Peter Colins has done to it. (N.B. I've not heard the instrument). A few other examples were mentioned in the "review of the year" in Organbuilding 2011.

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

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Needs to be done with care, Compton was the master.

 

Taking the organ I play as an example,12 ranks have been extended and duplexed to give 23 stops. The result, a much more useful instrument. I believe Reg Cobb was behind the voicing, and I believe he was one of that small band of builders/voicers that knew what they were doing.

 

Returning to the original posters question, I would agree that it can be a worthwhile exercise if not pushed too far.

 

The organ in question is http://www.npor.org.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch.cgi?Fn=Rsearch&rec_index=D03036

and it's still for sale.

 

Rob

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Taking the organ I play as an example,12 ranks have been extended and duplexed to give 23 stops. The result, a much more useful instrument. I believe Reg Cobb was behind the voicing, and I believe he was one of that small band of builders/voicers that knew what they were doing.

 

Is this the same Reg Cobb that was associated with F.H. Browne for very many years?

 

Tony

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