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Liverpool Cathedral


parsfan
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At Christmas I was having a look at the nave console at Liverpool Cathedral. There is a stop entitled 'Doubles Off'.

 

It may be obvious, but as a non organist I would love to know what the effect of pulling this stop is !

 

When drawn, it removes all 16 ft stops from the manuals and all 32 ft stops from the pedals.

 

JJK

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Guest paul@trinitymusic.karoo.co.uk
At Christmas I was having a look at the nave console at Liverpool Cathedral. There is a stop entitled 'Doubles Off'.

 

It may be obvious, but as a non organist I would love to know what the effect of pulling this stop is !

 

 

The point of a 'Doubles Off' knob is that it carries out the same job (blindly, i.e. without putting the stops in) around the whole instrument simultaneously. With D.O. drawn, the sub unison pitch is removed anywhere where it has been sounding already. Because the stops have not gone in, the same registration can be restored instantly by putting 'Doubles Off' back in. On some organs, these gadgets are done with a little tab on the key frame rather than an actual draw-stop.

 

In some of the Novello edition of Bach's organ works, there are sometimes indications of when the editors recommend you draw it!

 

You don't see them often on recently built consoles. Essentially, these days people use the sub unison pitch much less often than previous generations (mostly because a thick and muddy tone is out of fashion), so the need to control these stops with a special gadget is consequently less. That and we have so many more gadgets which can change stops - often with multiple settings/memories.

 

You will sometimes find 'Pedal Stops Off' -which, once again, does not put the stops in. It just means that (if there's no pedal part at the critical moment) you can cover awkward manual notes with the feet but they will still sound as if they're being played manually.

 

Rarer still is 'Pedals on Great' (or Pedals on Choir). I have seen this somewhere, but I can't remember where. This means that you can cheat and play pedal solos with your hands!! [saves effort and panic all round. We would all suspect any organist who asked for one of these stops nowadays!]

 

Stranger than all of these is the 'Pedal Divide' device which has been added to a select few organs recently - mostly on the advice of David Briggs who uses it! This means that you can allocate only part of the pedalboard to a specified combination: this makes it possible to play melody with one foot and bass with the other with a different tone colour. Real showman stuff this! I think they used to have something similar on the most elaborate cinema organ gconsoles.

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The point of a 'Doubles Off' knob is that it carries out the same job (blindly, i.e. without putting the stops in) around the whole instrument simultaneously.  With D.O. drawn, the sub unison pitch is removed anywhere where it has been sounding already. Because the stops have not gone in, the same registration can be restored instantly by putting 'Doubles Off' back in.  On some organs, these gadgets are done with a little tab on the key frame rather than an actual draw-stop.

 

I do sometimes wonder why these devices have to work 'blind', though - particularly Tutti Général, or Full Organ - even the great GTB fell foul of this at the opening of the RFH organ.

 

In some of the Novello edition of Bach's organ works, there are sometimes indications of when the editors recommend you draw it!

 

Oh my God.

 

Rarer still is 'Pedals on Great' (or Pedals on Choir).  I have seen this somewhere, but I can't remember where.  This means that you can cheat and play pedal solos with your hands!!  [saves effort and panic all round.  We would all suspect any organist who asked for one of these stops nowadays!]

 

I think that there must have been one on the organ at Riverside Church NYC, because Virgil Fox once used it to 'cheat' whilst playing - very quickly - the pedal solos in the Toccata, in F, by JSB. Apparently, GTB played it just as quickly with his feet - and got all the notes correct! (No doubt our friend will answer that comment!)

 

Stranger than all of these is the 'Pedal Divide' device which has been added to a select few organs recently - mostly on the advice of David Briggs who uses it!  This means that you can allocate only part of the pedalboard to a specified combination: this makes it possible to play melody with one foot and bass with the other with a different tone colour.  Real showman stuff this!  I think they used to have something similar on the most elaborate cinema organ gconsoles.

 

Actually, I have found this device (both at Truro and Gloucester) very useful. It can, in any case, be operated by the general pistons - thus making it all the more useful. One does have to keep on top of things, though; otherwise it is easy to forget which stop one has on which clavier....

In fact, apart from this device appearing more commonly on organs in the U.S. so I understand, it first appeared here - but in modified form - at St. George's Hall, Liverpool. The coupler Solo Tenor Solo to Pedal is, I believe, still on the instrument - and still functioning.

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I had an excellent demonstration in August 1985 of Pedal Divide, by Philippe Lefevre at Notre-Dame, Paris. One could select whereabouts the pedalboard was to divide ; in this instance PL chose to divide at middle C. He improvised for some time, building up to the most frighteningly cataclysmic tutti (I actually sheltered behind the console at one point to try and escape the onslaught) but I was able to see that left foot was occupied with thundering pedal 32ft's etc., whilst the right foot gave out various plainsong tunes on the Chamades, against a backdrop of glittering manual work.

 

I imagine that this facility was retained when the console was renewed.

 

H

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Oh yes! many of the things which Pierre Cochereau had installed were retained.

 

I am interested to note that you too found the tutti somewhat devastating from beside the console! Having said that, the exhilaration of the atmosphere there I found almost intoxicating - it is probably like being on the bridge of a great ship.

 

Léfébvre did the same thing a few times when I have been up in the loft. Whilst his improvisations are, naturally, quite different to those of PC, Grunenwald, Roth, Devernay, etc, he has a unique feel for that superb instrument.

 

The first occasion that I visited the tribune at N.-D., Léfébvre commenced playing before the first Messe with:

 

m.g.: Récit Céleste (with Octaves Graves, I believe)

m.d.: GC 8ft. and 1ft. flûtes

Pédale: 32, 16, 10 2/3, etc

 

The effect was ravishingly beautiful.

:lol:

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Guest Nigel ALLCOAT

The very large Bernard Aubertin in Saint-Louis, Vichy (about 1990) is all mechanical and also has a pedal divide. I only know of electronic wizardry in certain places and this must be the exception.

 

16, Quint et Tierce, 8,8,4, Flûte 2, Mix VI, 32,16,8,4,2

 

Happy playing this week.

 

Best wishes,

NJA

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Rarer still is 'Pedals on Great' (or Pedals on Choir).  I have seen this somewhere, but I can't remember where.  This means that you can cheat and play pedal solos with your hands!!  [saves effort and panic all round.  We would all suspect any organist who asked for one of these stops nowadays!]

 

 

Hi

 

Mainly seen on electronics! I vaguely remember entering a survey or two on NPOR that had this or something similar. Then there's the 3 man Bishop that has the pedal keys duplicated with a short compass manual.

 

"Pedals to Great" or similar is also sometimes engraved on the stop knob of what is actually a normal great-to-pedal coupler!

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

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Hi

 

Mainly seen on electronics!  I vaguely remember entering a survey or two on NPOR that had this or something similar. Then there's the 3 man Bishop that has the pedal keys duplicated with a short compass manual.

 

"Pedals to Great" or similar is also sometimes engraved on the stop knob of what is actually a normal great-to-pedal coupler!

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

 

See http://npor.emma.cam.ac.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch...ec_index=E00526 for a recent example. The organist at this church was affected by paralysis of the legs some time ago, hence the reason for its inclusion.

 

Graham

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Hi

 

Mainly seen on electronics!  I vaguely remember entering a survey or two on NPOR that had this or something similar. Then there's the 3 man Bishop that has the pedal keys duplicated with a short compass manual.

 

"Pedals to Great" or similar is also sometimes engraved on the stop knob of what is actually a normal great-to-pedal coupler!

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

 

That would be St James, Bermondsey, which has just been restored to its 1829 condition by Goetz & Gwynn - long compass and all!

 

It was one of the earliest instruments in England to have pedals, and I suppose there was some doubt as to whether any English organists would be able to play them, hence the little keyboard which a second player could use to play the pedal part.

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Oh yes - I have a photograph of this somewhere. It looks weird - but then the ethos behind it was also slightly weird. Rather like the once commonly-held belief that if man were to travel in excees of a certain (somewhat moderate) speed, death would ensue rapidly.

:blink:

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  • 2 years later...
Guest Echo Gamba

Rather than start yet another topic, this seems as good a place as any for my question.

 

How does everyone make use of manual doubles? I am thinking particularly of flues, with which I have a love-hate relationship. Reeds are another matter, where it is "love" full stop - whether as part of full swell, or even as the only red in a "mini full swell effect". Flues, however, to my mind, seem to add more "mud" than "gravitas". This is obviously dependant too upon voicing and acoustic. I would be interested to hear people's views.

 

Also, if a manual 32 is available (as at Liverpool) does this imply that the chorus should be built on the 16?

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I think you'll find that a number of people here are fans of flue doubles, but I agree with you: I usually find them thick and muddy. If I were designing an organ they would be very low on my list of priorities. That said, I do find them useful when playing piano reductions of orchestral accompaniments to choral works (something I try to avoid doing as much as possible), where the right hand is way up the keyboard, your feet are down in the depths and your left hand is making obscene gestures at the sopranos (or, more usefully, filling in the gaping holes in the middle of the texture). They are useful in French music for much the same reason. However, not all flue doubles are dire by any means. Those at Romsey Abbey work superbly. They add a richness to the texture so that you hardly notice there are no manual 16' reeds.

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Just for the sake of it, a little historic rehearsal; a certain Johann Sebastian,

he must have been a kind of local funny Robert H-..., non "baroqually correct",

played an liked this curious instrument, which was in the Paulinerkiche, Leipzig,

built by a certain Scheibe (a decadent builder, with a specification from Casparini,

something the "Reform" would have destroyed very quickly if it had survived up to their

judgments):

 

HAUPTWERK

 

Gross Principal 16'

Gross Quintatön 16'

Klein Principal 8'

Fleute allemande 8'

Gems-Horn 8'

Octav 4'

Quinta 3'

Quint-Nassat 3'

Octavina 2'

Wald-Flöte 2'

Grosse Mixtur 5-6r

Cornetti 3r

Zinck 2r

Schalmei 8' (en bois!)

 

HINTERWERK (behind the HPTW!!!)

 

Lieblich Gedackt 8' (bois)

Quinta-tön 8'

Fleute douce 8'

Principal 4'

Quinta decima 4'

Decima nona 3'

Holl-Flöte 2'

Viola 2'

Vigesima nona 1 1/2' (1 1/3')

Weit-Pfeiffe 1'

Mixtur 4r

Helle Cymbel 2r

Sertin 8' (Régale assez tranchante)

 

BRUSTWERK

 

Principal 8'

Viol di Gamb naturell 8'

Gross Gedackt 8'

Octav 4'

Rohr-Flöte 4'

Nassat 3'

Octav 2'

Sedecima 1'

Schweitzer-Pfeiffe 1'

Largo 1 1/3' (Larigot)

Mixtur 3r

Helle Cymbel 2r

 

PEDAL

 

Gross Principal-Bass 16' (emprunt HPTW!)

Gross Quinta-Tön-bass 16'(HPTW)

Sub-bass 16'

Octav-bass 8' (HPTW)

Jubal-Bass 8'

Nacht-Horn-Bass 8'

Gross-Hell-Quintbass 6'

Octav Bass 4' (HPTW)

Quint-Bass 3' (HPTW)

Octav-Bass 2'

Holl-Flöten-Bass 1'

Mixtur-Bass 6r (HPTW)

Posaunen-Bass 16'

Trompeten-Bass 8'

 

....Two doubles on the HPTW also. This was very common in these times. Trost even

built big 16' Flutes...

 

Pierre

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Guest Echo Gamba
I think you'll find that a number of people here are fans of flue doubles, but I agree with you: I usually find them thick and muddy. If I were designing an organ they would be very low on my list of priorities. That said, I do find them useful when playing piano reductions of orchestral accompaniments to choral works (something I try to avoid doing as much as possible), where the right hand is way up the keyboard, your feet are down in the depths and your left hand is making obscene gestures at the sopranos (or, more usefully, filling in the gaping holes in the middle of the texture). They are useful in French music for much the same reason. However, not all flue doubles are dire by any means. Those at Romsey Abbey work superbly. They add a richness to the texture so that you hardly notice there are no manual 16' reeds.

 

Good point about flues covering a lack of 16' reeds - they can sometimes do stand-in duty well. I haven't for some time, but when I have played at Canterbury cathedral, I found a nice "mini-full swell" with 16' flue, 8 4 2 Oboe

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My ears must work differently. For years people have said 'thick and muddy' when I just hear warm and rich. I always add manual doubles fairly early, and rarely use strings alone without either the sub octave or a nice quiet 16' flue to give them more presence and warmth. Even in Baroque music, I'd far rather hear a sumptuous 16,8,8,4,2 chorus than single pitches with scratchy neo-classical mixtures. If the organ is well made, you will have 'clarity'. Assuming clarity has to be the primary consideration, which is not always the case.

 

:rolleyes: I'll get my coat...

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My ears must work differently. For years people have said 'thick and muddy' when I just hear warm and rich.

Hear, hear! Both open doubles and stopped doubles have their uses and - well voiced, and used with discretion - add gravitas without a cloying effect.

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I think that there must have been one on the organ at Riverside Church NYC, because Virgil Fox once used it to 'cheat' whilst playing - very quickly - the pedal solos in the Toccata, in F, by JSB. Apparently, GTB played it just as quickly with his feet - and got all the notes correct! (No doubt our friend will answer that comment!)

 

 

The proof of the pudding...

Sir George Thalben-Ball plays Bach - Toccata in F BWV 540

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That would be St James, Bermondsey, which has just been restored to its 1829 condition by Goetz & Gwynn - long compass and all!

 

It was one of the earliest instruments in England to have pedals, and I suppose there was some doubt as to whether any English organists would be able to play them, hence the little keyboard which a second player could use to play the pedal part.

 

 

Oh yes - I have a photograph of this somewhere. It looks weird - but then the ethos behind it was also slightly weird. Rather like the once commonly-held belief that if man were to travel in excees of a certain (somewhat moderate) speed, death would ensue rapidly.

 

:blink:

 

304250641_bc85036542_b.jpg

 

304250642_aa19f214bc_b.jpg

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Guest Echo Gamba
My ears must work differently. For years people have said 'thick and muddy' when I just hear warm and rich. I always add manual doubles fairly early, and rarely use strings alone without either the sub octave or a nice quiet 16' flue to give them more presence and warmth. Even in Baroque music, I'd far rather hear a sumptuous 16,8,8,4,2 chorus than single pitches with scratchy neo-classical mixtures. If the organ is well made, you will have 'clarity'. Assuming clarity has to be the primary consideration, which is not always the case.

 

:blink: I'll get my coat...

 

As I said, it obviously depends upon the voicing and the building - I suppose the crux is "if the organ is well made". I am interested in your comment, Ian, about bringing doubles on early; how early?

 

Slightly off-topic, but I read somewhere that there is a piston channel at Durham Cathedral set "Edwardian style" - is that correct, anyone, and does anyone know the scheme? I suspect early doubles might feature there......?

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As I said, it obviously depends upon the voicing and the building - I suppose the crux is "if the organ is well made". I am interested in your comment, Ian, about bringing doubles on early; how early?

 

Well, it depends on repertoire, organ and acoustic, obviously, but I would often add the Great double flue after the 2' and before adding the Mixture. If it's a nasty 22.26.29 Mixture stuck on decent Edwardian foundations, then I would add the reed(s) and save the Mixture til last. I would certainly do all this in hymns and the majority of repertoire. When under a choir, it's all about creating the illusion of power and warmth, without overpowering. So, I still add Sw & Ch ( & So) doubles quite early, but lay off the thicker 8' stops; rarely any Gt stops at all, saving light Gt foundations til very late. For example, Full Sw & Ch (& So orchestral reeds), tempered by the swell pedals, with Gt stopped 8' and Principal 4', ought to be a rich but bright plenum. Likewise on the Pedal: avoiding heavy 16s but certainly adding 32 flue (or Quint) fairly early, for gravitas, certainly under any 16,8,4 colours, and/or Full Sw.

 

(Incidentally, I would usually add the Sw oboe before the 2' - it's a foundation stop here in the UK too - it gives useful 'bite' for the singers and often the Sw 2' simply doesn't blend with the Ob.)

 

Slightly off-topic, but I read somewhere that there is a piston channel at Durham Cathedral set "Edwardian style" - is that correct, anyone, and does anyone know the scheme? I suspect early doubles might feature there......?

Likewise at Peterborough, where they also have a 'French symphonic' channel.

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Guest Echo Gamba
Well, it depends on repertoire, organ and acoustic, obviously, but I would often add the Great double flue after the 2' and before adding the Mixture. If it's a nasty 22.26.29 Mixture stuck on decent Edwardian foundations, then I would add the reed(s) and save the Mixture til last. I would certainly do all this in hymns and the majority of repertoire. When under a choir, it's all about creating the illusion of power and warmth, without overpowering. So, I still add Sw & Ch ( & So) doubles quite early, but lay off the thicker 8' stops; rarely any Gt stops at all, saving light Gt foundations til very late. For example, Full Sw & Ch (& So orchestral reeds), tempered by the swell pedals, with Gt stopped 8' and Principal 4', ought to be a rich but bright plenum. Likewise on the Pedal: avoiding heavy 16s but certainly adding 32 flue (or Quint) fairly early, for gravitas, certainly under any 16,8,4 colours, and/or Full Sw.

 

(Incidentally, I would usually add the Sw oboe before the 2' - it's a foundation stop here in the UK too - it gives useful 'bite' for the singers and often the Sw 2' simply doesn't blend with the Ob.)

 

 

Likewise at Peterborough, where they also have a 'French symphonic' channel.

 

Thank you Ian - this is extremely interesting. Isn't it interesting how views differ - Vox Humana has expressed differing views regarding 32's. Interesting, too, how Oboes and 2's don't always "work". They do at Canterbury, as I have mentioned elsewhere, but I recall finding that at Gloucester they don't (you would know!)

 

This is such a fascinating subject that it is all too easy to go "off topic" but talking about "Edwardian" channels, did you ever know Clifford Harker's settings at Bristol? Woo hoo! They were changed when Malcolm Archer took over (before the solid state days)

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Thank you Ian - this is extremely interesting. Isn't it interesting how views differ - Vox Humana has expressed differing views regarding 32's. Interesting, too, how Oboes and 2's don't always "work". They do at Canterbury, as I have mentioned elsewhere, but I recall finding that at Gloucester they don't (you would know!)

Indeed - a nasty sound, but Ralph Downes knew this and instructed players never to use the two together.

 

This is such a fascinating subject that it is all too easy to go "off topic" but talking about "Edwardian" channels, did you ever know Clifford Harker's settings at Bristol? Woo hoo! They were changed when Malcolm Archer took over (before the solid state days)

I didn't, but I've heard Martin Schellenberg playing the Bristol organ superbly, presumably with similar colours in Edwardian repertoire, since he was CH's assistant.

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