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40 Stop, 3 Manual Organ


Guest Lee Blick

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At which point, we come to the interesting matter of when one would view the Renaissance period becoming the Baroque period - and when this became late Baroque. If we allow, for the sake of argument, that the Baroque period began roughly at the beginning of the seventeenth century, then Dom Bédos (1709-1779) surely qualifies as belonging to virtually the entire period.
:huh: What about the first 100 years though?
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:huh:  What about the first 100 years though?

 

 

Voilà!!!!!

 

In France there is near to as big a difference between 17th and18th

centuries as between 18th and 19th!

And let's have a look in England too: are Father Smith's organs

and Samuel Green's not *slightly* differing things?

Dom Bedos was a near contemporary to the second, not the first...

Pierre

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:huh:  What about the first 100 years though?

 

Yes - I need to do more research, here. Even Peter Williams is a little sketchy with regard to this period. Unfortunately, I have not been able to discover a great deal about the French Blockwerk - save that it was possible that the mixtures could have been separated from the rest of the ensemble - and that the Cymbale possibly contained a tierce rank.

 

Pierre, do you have any further information regarding this point, please? It would be interesting to see exactly the evolution of the French organ during this period.

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Oh - I have just noticed the stupid mistake which I made.

 

Since it was quite late when I made the post regarding the French organ and the Baroque period, I managed to confuse myself regarding the start of the period. I equated the commencement of the seventeenth century with 1700 - not 1600.

No doubt everyone else spotted this. In my defence, I was somewhat tired!

 

If anyone has ever told you that music and mathematics go together - do not believe them: it is a vicious lie....

 

:huh:

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Well, I won't be able to Zip some hundreds pages here; let's say the Renaissance french organ isn't very different from the italian or german.

 

Then you have Matthijs Langhedul, a flemish, that introduces the flemish organ in France at the will of Titelouze.

This organ features:

-The Cornet and jeu de Tierce

-Fiery reeds

-The Sesquialter

 

The french organ of the 17th century is a child of this flemish organ.

The differences with the neo-baroque thinking -which took the Dom Bedos organ

as a model for the whole french repertoire without looking further- are:

 

-Lead Mixtures (with antimony)

-"Fer blanc" (steel with a thin tin cover) reeds resonators

-Very thin reed tongues

-And accordingly, very low pressures.

-The Sesquialter became Tierce 1 3/5' and/ or Tiercelette 4/5', Principal scale, up

to Mersenne, and were dropped a few later

 

During the 18th century the tin replaced the lead for the Mixtures, the reeds were made only with high tin content, the tongues tickened and the pressures rosed up to the values you will find in Cavaillé-Coll organs (up to 120mm , for example in Poitiers's Clicquot) .

 

The Mixtures changed too in composition. Dom Bedos describes a "Plein-jeu" which is not suited to polyphony any more; it is a colour sui generis, to be played in chords.

You often find 10 2/3' ranks in the treble (Poitiers, St-Maximin)

 

As a matter of conclusion such organs as Poitiers or St-Maximin du Var are NOT suited to de Grigny or Couperin, but rather for D'Aquin or Balbastre.

This is actually a pre-romantic organ, like Gabler's and Holzhey's in Germany, tough less blatantly so if you only read the stoplists.

 

Best wishes,

Pierre

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Here is an example of a reconstitution of a french organ

of the 17th century, by Jean-Marie Tricoteaux, one of the

very very best specialists in Europe with the -true- baroque

organ:

 

http://www.tricoteaux.com/orgues/franceXVIIe.html

 

Note the "Tierce étroite" (narrow Tierce, Principal, 2-3 ranks)

 

If you can read the french I warmly recommend to click on "explications sur le style" (explanations about the style)

Pierre

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Well, I won't be able to Zip some hundreds pages here; let's say the Renaissance french organ isn't very different from the italian or german.

 

Then you have Matthijs Langhedul, a flemish, that introduces the flemish organ in France at the will of Titelouze.

This organ features:

-The Cornet and jeu de Tierce

-Fiery reeds

-The Sesquialter

 

The french organ of the 17th century is a child of this flemish organ.

The differences with the neo-baroque thinking -which took the Dom Bedos organ

as a model for the whole french repertoire without looking further- are:

 

-Lead Mixtures (with antimony)

-"Fer blanc" (steel with a thin tin cover) reeds resonators

-Very thin reed tongues

-And accordingly, very low pressures.

-The Sesquialter became Tierce 1 3/5' and/ or Tiercelette 4/5', Principal scale, up

  to Mersenne, and were dropped a few later

 

During the 18th century the tin replaced the lead for the Mixtures, the reeds were made only with high tin content, the tongues tickened and the pressures rosed up to the values you will find in Cavaillé-Coll organs (up to 120mm , for example in Poitiers's Clicquot) .

 

The Mixtures changed too in composition. Dom Bedos describes a "Plein-jeu" which is not suited to polyphony any more; it is a colour sui generis, to be played in chords.

You often find 10 2/3' ranks in the treble (Poitiers, St-Maximin)

 

As a matter of conclusion such organs as Poitiers or St-Maximin du Var are NOT suited to de Grigny or Couperin, but rather for D'Aquin or Balbastre.

This is actually a pre-romantic organ, like Gabler's and Holzhey's in Germany, tough less blatantly so if you only read the stoplists.

 

Best wishes,

Pierre

 

Thank you, Pierre - this is immensely interesting. I am going to attempt to track-down a book in English which deals with this (since my French is not good enough for the technical portions). If anyone has any suggestions about a suitable book, I would be grateful.

 

Pierre, I had also read that the brass for the tongues was different; that, in France, it was supplied to the organ builders flat, whereas in England, it is generally supplied rolled - which would, of course, affect the type of curvature which one is able to superimpose. Can you confirm whether or not this is indeed the case, please?

 

The fer blanc part was a surprise - I wonder why they did that? If it was due to the price of tin, fair enough - but, if the steel was only covered in tin, this would not, I presume, have affected the tone. Steel reeds - an interesting concept. Do you know if there are any examples extant, please?

 

Did they replace tin for lead in the mixtures to achieve a brighter sound - or to prevent sagging (which, even in small pipes can be a problem over a long period) - or for both reasons?

 

Apologies for all the questions - I find this utterly fascinating. Any information which you are able to give will be gratefully received, Pierre.

 

Thank you, in advance.

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"The fer blanc part was a surprise - I wonder why they did that? If it was due to the price of tin, fair enough - but, if the steel was only covered in tin, this would not, I presume, have affected the tone. Steel reeds - an interesting concept. Do you know if there are any examples extant, please?"

 

Flanders was an extremely poor country, save some wealthy cities. So it was customary to spare -like indeed in Germany- on the materials, and then to camouflage it. This said, the classic flemish fer-blanc reeds are more fierce, more sonorous than tin ones; it's actually more like zinc!

There are still examples to be find today in flemish organs, like Haringe for instance, along with Sesquialteras.

http://www.orgelsite.nl/haringe.htm

 

Did they replace tin for lead in the mixtures to achieve a brighter sound - or to prevent sagging (which, even in small pipes can be a problem over a long period) - or for both reasons?"

 

In all northern Europe, so: Belgium, the Netherlands and northern Germany, tin was absolutely reserved for the front pipes alone. Nearly all internal pipes were 99% lead.

Tin pipes are a southern feature, particularly in Spain for instance, were high tin content was used even for the Flutes.

One reason is the climate: tin does not cope well with frosts.

 

Of course the sound of a lead Diapason chorus isn't the same as with tin: it is softer by far.....Why do you think these organs were so upperwork-leaden?

 

And yes in the 20th century the neo-baroque guys reconstituted such specifications with thin tin pipes.....Oh my, "I'm screaming in the rain"!

 

When F-C Schnitger rebuilt the organ at Alkmaar, he made tin Mixtures, which was then a novelty that met with hefty discussions!

 

Here is a link in english that might be interesting (Charles Fisk about pipe materials):

http://www.cbfisk.com/fisk_files/info/cbfpipe.html

 

Best wishes,

Pierre

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''............ I am going to attempt to track-down a book in English which deals with this (since my French is not good enough for the technical portions). If anyone has any suggestions about a suitable book, I would be grateful''

 

Fenner Douglas (not sure of the spelling) 'The Language of the Classical French Organ - this might help a little - 'used it for my dissertation on De Grigny!

 

AJJ

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"The fer blanc part was a surprise - I wonder why they did that? If it was due to the price of tin, fair enough - but, if the steel was only covered in tin, this would not, I presume, have affected the tone. Steel reeds - an interesting concept. Do you know if there are any examples extant, please?"

 

Flanders was an extremely poor country, save some wealthy cities. So it was customary to spare -like indeed in Germany- on the materials, and then to camouflage it. This said, the classic flemish fer-blanc reeds are more fierce, more sonorous than tin ones; it's actually more like zinc!

There are still examples to be find today in flemish organs, like Haringe for instance, along with Sesquialteras.

http://www.orgelsite.nl/haringe.htm

 

Did they replace tin for lead in the mixtures to achieve a brighter sound - or to prevent sagging (which, even in small pipes can be a problem over a long period) - or for both reasons?"

 

In all northern Europe, so: Belgium, the Netherlands and northern Germany, tin was absolutely reserved for the front pipes alone. Nearly all internal pipes were 99% lead.

Tin pipes are a southern feature, particularly in Spain for instance, were high tin content was used even for the Flutes.

One reason is the climate: tin does not cope well with frosts.

 

Of course the sound of a lead Diapason chorus isn't the same as with tin: it is softer by far.....Why do you think these organs were so upperwork-leaden?

 

And yes in the 20th century the neo-baroque guys reconstituted such specifications with thin tin pipes.....Oh my, "I'm screaming in the rain"!

 

When F-C Schnitger rebuilt the organ at Alkmaar, he made tin Mixtures, which was then a novelty that met with hefty discussions!

 

Here is a link in english that might be interesting (Charles Fisk about pipe materials):

http://www.cbfisk.com/fisk_files/info/cbfpipe.html

 

Best wishes,

Pierre

 

======================

 

 

 

I was utterly surprised by the assertion that steel had been used for organ-pipes in Belgium quite so early.

 

Far from being a cheap material, I would have thought absolutely to the contrary, because the only way of making steel at the time, was the blister-steel process involving a huge amount of heating over a very lengthy period.

 

My brother is a fairly eminent metalurgist, and I shall ask about this.

 

I wonder of there wasn't another reason, if indeed steel was used, rather than hammered soft-iron as in chain-mail armoury and things?

 

I'm throwing ideas around really, because this is a whole new perspective on organ-building which I have never come aross before.

 

Pierre is quite right to suggest that almost pure lead forms the basis of the majority of baroque organs, with tin pipes reserved for the grand casework of an organ such as St.Bavo. Behind that facade there is an organ which looks like an old plumber's workshop!

 

The trouble to-day is finding suitable lead for organ-pipes. Due to the almost absolute purity of modern lead products, the material is far too soft. I understand that it was the impurities which gave strength to the material, and in fact, I would refer anyone to the Mander portfolio and the restoration at St.Mary-at-Hill, which specifically mentions the pipe-material and the production/casting process.

 

As regards Tin, it is the complete opposite to lead.

 

"Tin pest" is not a problem of tin, but a problem of impurities within the crystal structure of the sheet material. Some may recall the fact that many military men froze to death because their tin coat-buttons disintegrated in the frozen conditions of Russia. My brother would confirm the details, but I seem to recall that it was the impure nature of the tin which caused this.

 

"Tin worm" is a little different, and someone recently mentioned on this board the superb organ case at Monikendam in the Netherlands , where on closer inspection, the front pipes show trace corrosion lines and blistering. This is EXACTLY why tin was not used generally, apart from the fact that it was very expensive.

 

Very pure tin is quite stable, and at Haarlem the tin facade is in perfect condition, due to the fact that the material was imported from Cornish tin-mines, which produced a much purer and better quality of metal than that available on the continent. (Nowadays, most tin comes from Bolvia, I am led to understand....where small children dig away deep underground, but don't let me make you all feel guilty! :huh: )

 

However, to return to steel pipes, it just beggars belief that anyone would want to use blister-steel for organ-pipes. To make steel in any decent quantity, it was necessary to fire it for a week, let the furnace cool, fold it and then hammer the bars to obtain "shear-steel" and then further heat, refine, fold and hammer it........a very, very expensive and time-consuming process.

 

Absolutely fascinating!

 

MM

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Well MM,

 

It may be iron, not steel -the material used in cars-. I shall look for

a genuine translation of "Fer blanc" and come back.

 

A translator gives me "Tinplate" for "Fer-blanc".

 

The tin is just a coverage.

Pierre

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Well MM,

 

It may be iron, not steel -the material used in cars-. I shall look for

a genuine translation of "Fer blanc" and come back.

 

A translator gives me "Tinplate" for "Fer-blanc".

 

The tin is just a coverage.

Pierre

 

======================

 

 

I suspect it may not be iron, steel or anything remotely ferrous.........that would be an economy version of Sheffield Plate!

 

No, I suspect that "Fer Blanc" has changed meaning.

 

Nowadays, "Fer Blanc" refers to tin-plate....literally the material associated with tin-cans, and I think this is where the confusion may have arisen. That is, of course, a raltively modern electrolytic process.

 

"Fer Blanc" also translates as "white metal" which, in engineering terms is something completely different; being a sacrificial bearing-material used in car engines (par eg:) and made from......wait for it....lead/tin alloy cast onto a copper coating and a steel backing shell; the lead/tin alloy being just a few .0.000mm in thickness!

 

"Fer Blanc" also seems to have been used to describe tin sheet.

 

Then there was Hoyt metal....a sort of metal sandwich favoured by certain American organ-builders, with a tin finish on the outside.

 

So there we have it.....clear as mud!!

 

I "suspect" that the term "Fer Blanc" is actually tin, which would have been unusual certainly, and probably a whole lot cheaper than any type of early steel.

 

Of one thing I am sure, it will not b a solid silver-reed such as that found at Ampleforth Abbey, here in the UK!

 

How did we get from 40 stops to metalurgy?

 

MM

 

MM

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Here in an organ dictionnary, I find "Sheet iron":

 

http://64.233.179.104/search?q=cache:DJhl3...be&ct=clnk&cd=1

 

Pierre

 

=====================

 

 

I think you will find that this is wrong!

 

Refer to the following, in French:-

 

http://www.atelier-quoirin.com/Roquemaure.htm

 

Then go into the English version, which describes "Fer Blanc" as tin-plate. It is almost certainly not ferrous-tin plate which utilises the electrolytic process to which I alluded earlier, and which is what we associate with tin-cans.

 

Therefore, it leaves only the options of hammered iron sheet with a thin covering of tin, which I think would be slightly pointless, or tin-sheet, which is more likely.

 

I think we need to get hold of a sample, whizz it over to England, and my brother can do an in-depth analysis.

 

That's what academics live for, isn't it? :unsure:

 

 

 

MM

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===========================

 

This may be so!

 

I'm going to see my brother!

 

In the meantime, puzzle this one out:-

 

Tin Leprosy (Lèpre d'etain)

 

The French work is particularly susceptible to leprosy. This usually refers to the breakdown of pipe metal from casting on sand, impure alloys (perhaps containing iron or silicon) or from the use of something known as “fer blanc”. This condition seems to resemble that where pustules of corrosion form on the surface of the pipes and eventually corrode all the way through the material. Sometimes a powdery oxidation that is whitish in colour is observed.

 

===========

 

 

I'll reveal the sources later, but this has me even more confused!

 

MM

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======================

"Fer Blanc" also translates as "white metal" which, in engineering terms is something completely different; being a sacrificial bearing-material used in car engines (par eg:) and made from......wait for it....lead/tin alloy cast onto a copper coating and a steel backing shell; the lead/tin alloy being just a few .0.000mm in thickness!

"Fer Blanc" also seems to have been used to describe tin sheet.

 

The organbuilder Gerhard Grenzing sometimes uses "Weißblech" for certain trumpet stops, claiming that this was an old Flemish tradition. For example, the Trompette on the Positif in Brussels cathedral (a most interesting instrument, by the way) was built with resonators made of "Weißblech".

 

I take this information from a CD booklet. Of course you never should trust translations you find in those tings, but here it's different; Grenzing's German text has been translated into French by Jean Ferrard, an eminent Belgian organist and organologist. He translates "fer blanc". About the English translator, a Mr. T. C. Madder (which might just as well be a pseudonym), I don't know; he translates "Weißblech" as "tin plate".

 

Wikipedia knows: "Weißblech ist ein dünnes Stahlblech" -- thin sheets of steel --, "dessen Oberfläche durch ein Schmelztauchverfahren oder elektrolytisch mit Zinn beschichtet wurde"

-- the surface of which is covered with tin in an [?] or electrolytic procedure.

"Eine Schicht von ca. 0,3 µm Zinn, das entspricht etwa 2 g/m², genügt, um den Stahl durch Versiegelung vor Korrosion zu schützen." (A covering of about 0,3 µm of tin, about 2 g/m², provides sufficient protection from corrosion.)

 

So this apparently is the stuff tin cans are made of, after all.

 

Best,

Friedrich

 

About the Brussels organ, see

<http://www.grenzing.com/organosshow.cfm?id=23&ip=2300&out=1>

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Wikipedia knows: "Weißblech ist ein dünnes Stahlblech" -- thin sheets of steel --, "dessen Oberfläche durch ein Schmelztauchverfahren oder elektrolytisch mit Zinn beschichtet wurde"

-- the surface of which is covered with tin in an [?] or electrolytic procedure.

"Eine Schicht von ca. 0,3 µm Zinn, das entspricht etwa 2 g/m², genügt, um den Stahl durch Versiegelung vor Korrosion zu schützen." (A covering of about 0,3 µm of tin, about 2 g/m², provides sufficient protection from corrosion.)

 

So this apparently is the stuff tin cans are made of, after all.

 

Best,

Friedrich

 

About the Brussels organ, see

<http://www.grenzing.com/organosshow.cfm?id=23&ip=2300&out=1>

 

=====================

 

 

Well Friederich, not quite, but close. I've spoken to my brother.

 

For reasons already expounded, the use of steel is almost an impossibility during the period in which this organ was built. (See previous comments about the expense and difficulty of making "shear" steel)

 

I've come up with something more plausible, thanks to Wikepedia and looking up the history of tin-plating.

 

It looks as if everyone is wrong, but everyone is also right at the same time.

 

I "zink" I am getting to the bottom of this, so Bach to the melting-pot.

 

I checked on the history of tin-plating, < http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tinning> which revealed the following:-

 

History

 

The manufacture of tin-plate was long a monopoly of Bohemia, but about 1620 the industry spread to Saxony. In 1665, Andrew Yarranton (1616-1684), an English engineer and agriculturist, was commissioned to go to Saxony and if possible discover the methods employed. According to his own account, he was very civilly treated and was allowed to see the whole process. On his return to England his friends undertook the manufacture on an experimental scale, but though they were successful they had to abandon it, because their method became known and a patent for it was trumped up by a rival, who, however, from lack of technical skill was unable to work it. Half a century later the manufacture was revived by Major John Hanbury (1664-1734) at Pontypool; the method of rolling iron plates by means of cylinders, said to have been devised by him, enabled more uniform black plates to be produced than was possible with the old plan of hammering, and in consequence the English tin-plate became recognized as superior to the German. During the next hundred years or so the industry spread steadily in England and Wales, and after 1834 its expansion was rapid, especially in Wales, Great Britain becoming the chief source of the world's supply

 

 

 

Hot-Dipping

 

In the hot dipping process, which is the older, the plates, after being properly annealed, are scoured with sand and water and pickled in dilute sulfuric acid alternately until they are perfectly clean and bright. They are then washed in water, and after being boiled in palm oil to remove all traces of acid and water are dipped into a bath of molten tin, covered with oil to prevent oxidation. They are then taken to a second bath containing purer tin than the first. After this they are scoured with a hempen rubber and dipped in a third bath containing the purest tin of all; then they are passed through rolls to finish the surface and regulate the thickness of the coating. As the tin in the third bath becomes alloyed with iron from the operation, it is removed into the second, pure fresh tin being substituted; and similarly the metal of the second, as the amount of iron in it increases, is removed to the first. In the acid process only a single bath of tin is required. The molten metal is covered with a layer of muriate of zinc, which acts as the flux, and by means of rolls the plates are passed through this down into the tin, to be brought out at another point in the bath where there is a layer of oil on the surface.

 

-------------------------------

 

I think the process is almost certainly that of rolled (possibly hammered) soft-iron as I suggested originally, which is then hot-dipped into molten-tin.

 

That is a quite different material to "tin cans" which use rolled steel-plate. The covering of tin using the dipping process would have been a lot thicker, and due to the natural electrolysis which occurs when different metals butt up to one another, o(one acting as an anode and the other as a cathode), it also explains the bblistering and corrosion which takes place over a period of time.

 

Now had they put a second "sacrificial" plate such as zinc between the soft-iron and the tin-coating, they may have circumnavigated the problem....but hey....that's late 20th century!!

 

Clever guy my brother!!

 

MM

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No sooner had I written all the foregoing, but I came across another organ restoration, which stated:-

 

"The sheer resonators were replaced with tin ones"

 

As I cannot believe that the resonators were originally made of nylon, I suspect that the word should actually have been "shear."

 

If this is accurate, and I have no reason to doubt it, the metal plate may indeed have been tin-coated STEEL.

 

We need scrapings and a gas spectrum analysis performing on them!

 

Have you got a sharp file Pierre?

 

MM

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Quite a lot of good points here, Nathan. Obviously a Romantic bias (on paper) - but there is nothing inherently wrong with that!

 

I have a few points which I would consider worth changing...

 

Greetings.

 

Thank you! I am quite romantically biased indeed, I'll make no secret of it.

 

I shall have to seek out some instruments with Mixture compositions such as you suggest and get them in my ear. Unfortunately, there are not a lot of romantically-voiced instruments around with Mixtures, let alone anything bright enough to gain any empirical data from.

 

I like the gritty quality that the Septieme rank adds - almost to the point of being too naughty for Church! My sense is that the Septieme is inexpensive to add, and can totally alter the character of a combination or Cornet formed on the Unenclosed Choir.

 

It is pretty much standard in American instruments to have Unda Maris refer to a pair of Dulcianas - therefore Bois (wood) Celeste is indicative in our context; it also pays homage to the Orchestral Bois Celeste at Woolsey Hall! :lol:

 

The chancel chamber is indeed quite tall, but the footprint is pretty small; therefore there isn't much room for a 32' extension of the Bourdon if the two unenclosed Bourdons, the 16' Open, Trombone, and Fagotto extension are going to stay on board. Perhaps they could be placed under the floors in the nave to the excitement of the little old ladies! At any rate, this is a "shoehorn spec" to be sure.

 

Best,

 

Nathan

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  • 4 weeks later...

The big Tuba is horizontal.....I once tuned a couple of pipes.

 

So, I think, is the new reed (Bombarde?) pointing East, with much of the rest of the organ scattered at various points on the compass.

 

 

The 1993 Bombarde has on specifications/descriptions of the minster organ, sometimes misleading been described as "en chamade". Whereas what I have seen was vertical, and hooded sitting just behind the curtaining to the right of the main case above the choir stalls (viewed from the choir). As has already been pointed out, the Tuba Mirabilis has a vertical chest & boots, with the smallest pipes hooded and the rest cranked round akin to a trombone slide, so that the mouths can be seen from the nave

 

PL

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As has already been pointed out, the Tuba Mirabilis has a vertical chest & boots, with the smallest pipes hooded and the rest cranked round akin to a trombone slide, so that the mouths can be seen from the nave

 

PL

 

Then this makes it vertical (but mitred), not en chamade!

 

If it is a true horizontal reed, the resonators must be disposed horizontally! There are a few instances of C-C (for example) mounting the boots vertically, but with the resonators arranged en chamade, (i.e.: S. Sulpice). Arguably, this one does not qualify either, since I thought that en chamade meant 'on show'. or similar.

 

However (and since I was told that I was wrong over this!) if the chest, the boots and the smaller pipes are vertical, with the others hooded (but presumably with the lower section of the resonator double-mitred) this does not constitute an en chamade stop. Otherwise, I could say that the GO reeds on my own instrument were en chamade - which they are definitely not!

 

Sorry, gents, this does not sound like an en chamade stop to me!

 

I have just spoken with the chap who held keys for Phil Burbeck when he re-balanced the York Tuba Mirabilis some years ago. He has also seen it and says that it is definitely not en chamade! He said that it is mitred and some pipes are hooded - but not horizontal.

 

Not that I am trying to push a point, here....

 

:P

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A true en chamade reed pipe has no obstacle between the tongue

and your delicate ears; you enjoy the rattle fully!

Jordi Bosch did go even farther, building L-shaped windchests

so that the en chamade pipes are directly on their wind.

 

Best wishes,

Pierre

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