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Colin Pykett

2M & P piano

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A 2 manual and pedal piano is cropping up on ebay at the moment. See:

 

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/PRACTICE-ORGAN-/121290871951?pt=UK_MusicalInstr_Keyboard_RL&hash=item1c3d7fd48f#ht_201wt_1190

 

(If the link doesn't work, the item number is 121290871951).

 

Although I've seen such things from time time in old print journals, mainly as ads, I've never been able to try one. Nor do I know what rarity value it might have.

 

It doesn't seem to be attracting much interest as I think it's been advertised before.

 

CEP

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Hi

 

Yes - I think this has been on eBay previously - I think I remember seeing the photograph. Like Colin, I've seen these beasts mentioned in books, etc, but never seen one for real. Maybe if the seller actually did some research and gave more detail it might be easier to sell?

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

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The RSCM used to have one at Addington Palace. I have an idea it was on loan, maybe from one of the London colleges. It was a smart looking beast and quite nice to play.

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A picture of the pedalboard would be quite interesting - Tony, do you happen to know if it's a reasonably standard compass?

 

There are three photos in the eBay advert, (see the small icons beneath the main picture). One of them is of a pedalboard, albeit apparently standing on the edge normally against the piano. If you click on any of the photos they should be enlarged.

 

There seems to be some sort of board resting across the middle of the pedals which, if it is standing on edge, must be fixed in some way. It looks as though it has had a good deal of wear, from feet maybe? Perhaps it was put there as a foot rest by someone who didn't use the pedals?

 

Just above the board, (in the photo, but behind it if the pedal board were laid flat), are what appear to be two small raised pedals, an octave apart between notes B and C. Expression pedals perhaps? Pure speculation of course.

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Hi

 

sorry - no idea of pedal compass - the only pix (and one actual pedalboard) that I've se of pedals en have been pedal attachments (i.e. pedals attached to a conventional piano) - they were 30 or 32 note from C - normal current organ scale.

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

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It is true that one does have to be a bit careful about the pedal boards on pedal-pianos (though I know nothing about this one). When I was making my first electronic organ (wash my mouth out) as a lad, someone gave me a pedal board from such an instrument. It wasn't too bad and quite useable for the purpose. Compass was 30 notes, but the top F key was deliberately made with a neatly-mitred crook half way along. I have no idea why - presumably so it engaged properly with the mechanism. But it looked most peculiar.

 

Subsequently I replaced it with another one that had also been donated. Although it's nothing to do with the subject under discussion, it was the most comfortable I've ever played. A visiting organ builder said at the time that it was quite rare and probably an Ellingford-Willis board, as described in Ellingford's book "The Science of Organ Pedalling". Has anyone else heard of or come across one of these?

 

CEP

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In a previous life as a piano tuner, I saw a few of these, never in good condition. They were all, as this one is, cheap overdamper pianos with poor bass, and all the felting was well worn. To restore one to good condition would surely cost more than it would be worth. Apart from anything else, the touch is all wrong for organ practice.

 

Taking up Colin's reference to the Willis-Ellingford pedalboard, back in the sixties, I had a couple of lessons with Caleb Jarvis at St George's Hall, Liverpool - we had to use another venue after that because the judge in the law courts below complained about the noise. I recall him talking about the pedalboard there at some length. He said it was of a special Willis design, not a simple arc from a single point, but rather straighter in the centre and curving more sharply at the ends, reflecting the fact that one's two legs pivot from different points, which makes sense, if you think about it. He said it was the most comfortable pedalboard he'd come across, and he'd come across a few......would this be the design Colin's referring to?

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I have one, identical - George Rogers and Sons. It's extremely useful and the pedalboard is, I think, 4'-10" radius for the concavity and radiation. It isn't 'Ellingford'.

A friend (ex-Bechstein) has done the action for me, didn't need a huge amount of work. If I were being really picky, the keys could do with recovering, but the cost isn't justified. We rebuilt the pedalboard and action and it is now much better presented than it ever was I think!

 

DW

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I should have said that the ex-piano pedal board I mentioned above had an interesting feature which was probably quite important when it was used as a piano attachment. There was a lever which, when raised, prevented any of the pedals moving if you stood on them while getting onto or off the bench. Otherwise I guess it could have thrown excessive force onto the hammer mechanism inside the piano.

 

As for the Ellingford-Willis pedal board, it eventually went to landfill, something I felt rather sad about at the time but one can't keep everything. In its turn it was superseded by a very swish one from a Compton Electrone which was of 32 note compass. At the time I thought I might as well use it as I had already cannibalised the console for the beautiful Herrburger Brooks keyboards Compton's used in the 1950s, though I cannot recall a single occasion when I've needed the top two notes over the last 25 years or so that I've had this instrument at home. So, another question for the forum - are 32 note boards ever actually necessary?

 

Thanks to everyone above who have contributed such interesting information to this thread - fascinating.

 

CEP

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Wow, what an instrument, and I can't believe it only sold for £31. Does anybody know how the two keyboards worked (two sets of actions and hammers or something)? I also wonder if any of these ever made it to the U.S.

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As for the Ellingford-Willis pedal board, it eventually went to landfill, something I felt rather sad about at the time but one can't keep everything. In its turn it was superseded by a very swish one from a Compton Electrone which was of 32 note compass. At the time I thought I might as well use it as I had already cannibalised the console for the beautiful Herrburger Brooks keyboards Compton's used in the 1950s, though I cannot recall a single occasion when I've needed the top two notes over the last 25 years or so that I've had this instrument at home. So, another question for the forum - are 32 note boards ever actually necessary?

 

Good question. I can think of two pieces that require top G on the pedals - the Thalben-Ball pedal variations and Dupré Cortège et Litanie. Any others that stand out?

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Good question. I can think of two pieces that require top G on the pedals - the Thalben-Ball pedal variations and Dupré Cortège et Litanie. Any others that stand out?

The Adagio and Variation (3rd) sections of the Durufle Veni Creator require top F#. Demessieux Etudes require top G (and manual top C).

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I once read a piece by a well known organ builder/consultant in which he said that 32 note boards were introduced partly to improve the appearance of organ consoles. Because of the 'middle D' rule (middle D of the manuals has to be above middle D of the pedals), 30 note boards have to be offset from the centre of the console, which apparently offends the eye of some. But adding an extra two notes means the pedal board then sits nice and symmetrically in the middle - just as the manuals are. This did indeed turn out to be the case in the console I mentioned above (#10), which I designed using a 32 note ex-Compton board.

 

However I was speaking more recently to another organ builder who said 32 note boards are difficult to get today and extremely expensive. He quoted the story of a customer who was insisting on one and the console supplier (who shall be nameless here) had to specially tool up to make it, including having to re-program his CNC woodworking machinery. I must admit I had not realised this.

 

In the light of the recent posts above, I guess my previous question (are 32 notes ever necessary) ought to be recast to ask - is the additionale expense worthwhile?

 

CEP

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The RSCM used to have one at Addington Palace. I have an idea it was on loan, maybe from one of the London colleges. It was a smart looking beast and quite nice to play.

 

Interesting - I never noticed this on the occasions when I stayed there. (One of my fellow students was a permanent lodger there, during his college/university course.) I tried most of the instruments - including the little gem in the chapel, but I failed to spot this one.

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...However I was speaking more recently to another organ builder who said 32 note boards are difficult to get today and extremely expensive. He quoted the story of a customer who was insisting on one and the console supplier (who shall be nameless here) had to specially tool up to make it, including having to re-program his CNC woodworking machinery. I must admit I had not realised this. ...

 

CEP

 

This comes as a surprise.

 

Having looked on the NPOR (and assuming that the information submitted for inclusion in the surveys is accurate), it appears that both Llandaff Cathedral and Saint Edmundsbury Cathedral both possess 32-note pedal-boards. However, Cirencester Parish Church has a 30-note board, as does the organ in Saint David's Cathedral, Pebrokeshire. Worcester Cathedral does not specify, neither can I find the Flickr account of Adrian Lucas, in order to try to see a decent photograph of the console. (Those which I can find, do not show the pedal-board.) However, I note that the claviers are of 61-note compass, so a reasonable supposition is that the pedal compass is of 32 notes. I have sent a text message to a colleague who is due to play there for a service, today, requesting the details of the pedal compass.

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Hi

 

In dealing with NPOR updates, I've noticed that a number of recent organs have 30 note pedalboards - even under 5 octave manuals (although a number of new tracker organs have g3 or a3 treble compass on the manuals - presumably an exonomy measure?).

 

The NPOR entry for the new Worcester organ doesn't mention the pedal compass because none of the sources said what it was, and it didn't appear clearly in the pictures I had available when I first did the entry. Looking closely at picture no 2 on the NPOR entry, I can see to f#, so I guess it is a 32 note board.

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

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Hi

 

In dealing with NPOR updates, I've noticed that a number of recent organs have 30 note pedalboards - even under 5 octave manuals (although a number of new tracker organs have g3 or a3 treble compass on the manuals - presumably an exonomy measure?).

 

The NPOR entry for the new Worcester organ doesn't mention the pedal compass because none of the sources said what it was, and it didn't appear clearly in the pictures I had available when I first did the entry. Looking closely at picture no 2 on the NPOR entry, I can see to f#, so I guess it is a 32 note board.

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

 

So it does - for some reason, I missed this.

 

Our instrument here has a 32-note pedal-board; however, either the orientation is slightly incorrect - or perhaps there is a mistake in the measurements* at some point. Either way, it is a most uncomfortable board to play - as many others have noted. In addition, I find that, whilst I do not often make mistakes when playing on other pedal-boards, one has to be very careful on the Minster organ.

 

 

 

* This was the case at Exeter Cathedral, some years ago - although only Harrisons noticed. The board was replaces, as far as I know, free of charge.

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The RSCM used to have one at Addington Palace. I have an idea it was on loan, maybe from one of the London colleges. It was a smart looking beast and quite nice to play.

 

I remember playing that on a young organists' course in my teens, although I fear my recollection of the instrument is vague as I had been cajoled into playing duets by a girl of decidedly predatory mien and I was more concerned with keeping her at arm's length.

 

I have found a G pedal board useful when double pedalling in what, if one were charitable and slightly deaf, one might be tempted to call an improvisation.

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Cirencester and St. David's presumably had 30 note pedal compass prior to the most recent rebuilds and it was not thought worth expanding them.

 

Over Parish Church, Cambridgeshire, has a 32 note pedalboard under a manual compass of 54 notes - an old organ (Holdich?/Miller) with a replacement pedalboard.

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