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Stop Names


JWAnderson

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Hello everyone!

 

An interesting question popped into my head today whilst I was preparing an engraving list for a set of drawstop knobs regarding stop names.

The stop in question is a Double Open Diapason 16'. The whole name will not fit onto the name plate because of the size of the font, but my first thought was to shorten it to Double Open Diap. But then, I thought why not shorten it down to Double Diapason.

 

Now getting back to the question- If you saw Double Diapason engraved on a stop knob, what would stop would you expect to get, a Open Diapason at 16' or a Stopped Diapason at 16'?

 

I can think of two organs where one has this as an open stop and the other where it is a Bourdon.

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I have come across a few organs where the Great Double Diapason has turned out to be an open rank, but predominantly a Double Diapason will be a "Double Stopped Diapason" - and, in my experience, invariably so when the stop is on the Swell (though I expect there will be the odd exception on large organs).

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I know one prarticular 16' Double Diapason where the pipes are wooden stopped for the lowest octave - the rest being open metal - this on the Great - there is also a Bourdon 16' on the Swell. Late 1800's William Hill. H&H used to use the term Double Stopped Diapason occasionally - hasn't Ripon Cathedral got one? I used to have a key ring with a stop head from them with Stopped Diapason 16' on - maybe ex Ely Pedal - we visited around the time of the Clutton/Wills rebuild scheme. when this went from the scheme

 

A

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Isn’t the term "Double" just another way of saying that it is a stop at 16’? So why not just write Open Diapason 16’? Or is this name exclusively reserved for stops at 8’? If all the pipes of the stop in question are open, I would say that this piece of information in the name is more important than kind of writing twice that it is a 16’ stop. :blink:

 

M

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I have usually found a Double Diapason to be a stopped rank. As Vox Humana stated above, this seems to be quite common on the Swell.

 

The stop name 'Double Stopped Diapason' seems to be much rarer, although there is an instrument just five minutes walk from my home which has one!

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This is an interesting conundrum. If you hear the word 'Diapason' what would be the first thing that comes to mind?

 

Presumably one of four things.

 

(i) At 8 foot pitch on a manual, an open metal pipe, constant diameter, the sort of pipe that normally sits on the front of an organ case.

(ii) At 8 or 16 foot pitch on a manual, a stopped square wooden pipe, maybe called Double stopped diapason rather than Bourdon.

(iii) At 16 foot pitch on the pedals, an open square wooden pipe.

(iv) At 16 foot pitch on the pedals, an open metal pipe like (i).

 

Sometimes it can be one thing on one manual and another on a different division. Confusingly the Hill at Shrewsbury Abbey for instance has a Double Open Diapason 16 on the Great, and both an Open Diapason 16 and a Violone 16 on the pedals. But the Pedal Violone uses the same pipes (the front case pipes) as the Great Double Open, whilst the Pedal Open Diapason is actually a large scale open wood rank from which the Pedal Octave 8 is extended. Does that make the rank a rank of string pipes or diapasons?

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The UK is always stange with names and pitches. I think it comes about from the transition between the organs being manuals only and then including Pedals. The structure of our sounds are at odds because of that. Choruses seem arbitarily constructed. Perpaps all might have been simpler if the Chorus based on 16ft 8ft & 4ft sound is the Principal sound on each - just like many places in Europe. Octave likewise then seems far more logical. Even the French Montre means pipes set into the case and is either (32ft),16ft, 8ft or 4ft depending on the department.

Thanks to actions and to make matters worse 'over here', is the lovely way of 'increasing' the number of stops on paper by transferring manual stops to the Pedal with a different name. The Great Double Open Diapason becomes transformed then into Open Metal 16ft or Violone 16ft. The same happens with reeds too sometimes. I think we are still in evolution here!.

Best wishes,

Nigel

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I feel that "diapason" refers to the function rather than the sound.

 

It is the name for an interval with the proportion 3 to 2 in Pythagorean tuning.

 

Milton wrote: "The fair music that all creatures made . . . In perfect diapason."

 

Dryden: "Through all the compass of the notes it ran, The diapason closing full in man."

 

Thus, although they have different sounds and construction, Open Diapasons and Stopped Diapasons are both Diapasons, and so, according to the same logic, is the open wood Open Diapason on the Pedal.

 

If you think that's confusing, my organ has, on the Pedal, a 'Double Open 16', which is the Great stop of the same name duplicated (apart, for some unfathomable reason, from the top few notes), and a 'Double Open 32', which is the open wood (called 'Tibia Profunda' in tribute to the organ's original builder) with separate stopped quints i n the bottom octave. Neither of these, or that on the Great, is qualified by the word 'Diapason', but that's Casavantese.

 

I think Father Willis, among others, used 'Double Diapason'.

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It is the name for an interval with the proportion 3 to 2 in Pythagorean tuning.

Wouldn’t that rather be the Diapente?

If it was in fact the Diapason (“through all tones”), then, my, things were tight down in Greece then already!

 

Best,

Friedrich

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I'm sure you're right. Here's what Wiki says about it:

 

'In musical tuning theory, a Pythagorean interval is a musical interval with frequency ratio equal to a power of two divided by a power of three, or vice versa.[1] For instance, the perfect fifth with ratio 3/2 (equivalent to 31/21) and the perfect fourth with ratio 4/3 (equivalent to 22/31) are Pythagorean intervals.'

 

No one should ever believe anything I say which includes numbers - I am hopeless with them :wacko:

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