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Carpet Chancels And Bedrooms!


Westgate Morris

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My parish put carpet down in the chancel in the 70's. I am very lucky to have a priest that knows we need to take it out if we ever hope to hear the choir or the new pipe organ (a couple of years away). Who has a hardwood in the chancel? Who has tile? Comments....suggestions.

We have battle-ship linoleum in the nave - very hard stuff and very good for the acoustic.

getting my knee pads on.....the priest suggests we do it by Easter! O Happy Day. :rolleyes:

Westgate Morris

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I, too, am very lucky to have a wonderful vicar with a sense for opportunity and also doubly blessed (along with you) to be the client for a new pipe organ for our church. When the old organ (see NPOR record D06665) was removed (to take the casework and some of the pipework for the new organ), the vicar and I, with help from a couple of others, realised a long-dreamt of moment and removed the carpet from the choir and sanctuary.

 

Everyone's interest was diverted to the gaping hole where the organ used to be and didn't notice the carpet had gone until we pointed it out, at which point they started to admire the tiles on the floor, which had been designed by the church architect. The carpets had rotted underneath and held in damp, so no-one wants them back and we are very happy with the small treasure of tiles we've discovered underneath.

 

From the choir's point of view, it's made the chancel easier to sing in. We had an interesting state where they would always go flat in the chancel but not in the (lino-floored) lady chapel, which boasts excellent acoustics and where we sing during communion. Now the carpet's gone, the choir's intonation is much better in the chancel and hopefully it'll be more friendly for the new organ when it arrives.

 

Back to your question, I would go for a tile or stone floor (a hard, shiny stone is best) as it's hard and reflective for sound and hard wearing. You could also think about under-floor heating - the choir would thank you :rolleyes: . Wood can be nice and resonant but it's noisy to walk over and wears more quickly than tile or stone.

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Guest Roffensis

It's true that carpets do spoil the sound of an organ in terms of acoustic absorption. One church I played at had a fully carpeted chancel, and I managed to persuade them to remove two thirds of it, resulting in a dramatic improvement. Smaller harmonics are absorbed, leaving often a dull and relatively uninteresting sound. I have also found that even in a church with no real reverb of it own but with no carpet, the organ is not compromised. A carpeted church with no reverb as a result of it, is not the same as a church with no reverb per se but no carpet. The organ will still have clarity and life. As I think I have said elsewhere, the current problem is those churches having plush seating , which acts much as a carpet over a given area. Chester is a prime example, where the sound of the organ "running about" the nave has gone. Keen ears can often hear if there is a carpet in a church. There is a unnatural "dulling" of the tone, and many a organ has been spoilt by poor knowledge of acoustics. And then there are the organs voiced on site, only to have acoustics altered......... :lol:

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It's true that carpets do spoil the sound of an organ in terms of acoustic absorption. One church I played at had a fully carpeted chancel, and I managed to persuade them to remove two thirds of it, resulting in a dramatic improvement. Smaller harmonics are absorbed, leaving often a dull and relatively uninteresting sound. I have also found that even in a church with no real reverb of it own but with no carpet, the organ is not compromised. A carpeted church with no reverb as a result of it, is not the same as a church with no reverb per se but no carpet. The organ will still have clarity and life. As I think I have said elsewhere, the current problem is those churches having plush seating , which acts much as a carpet over a given area. Chester is a prime example, where the sound of the organ "running about" the nave has gone. Keen ears can often hear if there is a carpet in a church. There is a unnatural "dulling" of the tone, and many a organ has been spoilt by poor knowledge of acoustics. And then there are the organs voiced on site, only to have acoustics altered.........  :lol:

 

The best I've heard is Lincoln Cathedral - on occasions no chairs in the nave - you can hear the sound move if someone is playing flat out!

 

AJJ

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Guest Roffensis

Canterbury is good as well, you can almost see the sound in front of you and go past you, even better with no chairs at all, and fortunately at present they aren't plush! :lol:

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My parish put carpet down in the chancel in the 70's. I am very lucky to have a priest that knows we need to take it out if we ever hope to hear the choir or the new pipe organ (a couple of years away). Who has a hardwood in the chancel? Who has tile? Comments....suggestions.

We have battle-ship linoleum in the nave  -  very hard stuff and very good for the acoustic.

getting my knee pads on.....the priest suggests we do it by Easter! O Happy Day. :lol:

Westgate Morris

 

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

 

 

I don't want to make anyone jealous....but......

 

I play the organ in an acoustic to die for which is the equal of St..John's, Smith Square, London.

 

We have stone carved into a Norman-style church, marble, English oak flooring, a classic double-cube with a large central tower space (mathematically the same as the width of the church) and even an apse at the east-end. Add to this an almost flat oak roof, and it is very special indeed, with about 3 secs of absolutely clean reverberation.

 

There's just no substitute, and the only itzy-witzy bit of carpet we have, is found in the Lady Chapel.

 

The organ sounds magnificent, or would do if it were not for the fact that it is now in bits all over the church.

 

I suppose Lent is a good time to give up the organ.

 

 

 

MM

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

I don't want to make anyone jealous....but......

 

I play the organ in an acoustic to die for which is the equal of St..John's, Smith Square, London.

 

Then you are indeed fortunate. I play the organ in an acoustic to cry for. It makes the RFH sound warm and fluffy. The organ still sounds fantastic, though!

 

 

The organ sounds magnificent, or would do if it were not for the fact that it is now in bits all over the church.

 

A rebuild? May I ask if you are having any changes or additions - or is it a straight restoration?

 

 

I suppose Lent is a good time to give up the organ.

MM

 

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!

 

.... or chocolate, or movies, or driving fast, or Dire Straits, or wine, or....

 

[Thank you, Harry!]

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Then you are indeed fortunate. I play the organ in an acoustic to cry for. It makes the RFH sound warm and fluffy. The organ still sounds fantastic, though!

A rebuild? May I ask if you are having any changes or additions - or is it a straight restoration?

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!

 

.... or chocolate, or movies, or driving fast, or Dire Straits, or wine, or....

 

[Thank you, Harry!]

 

 

A school had a new school hall built and the architect reckoned he had allowed for a suitable rebervation period. He had - but not considered that at assembley and on many other occasions the hall would be filled with boys, when the reverbation period went into a minus mode. Then the organ sounded flat and dull but was exciting in the empty hall.

 

Clothing is a great sound absorber but the suggestion that the boys were stripped naked and painted in gloss paint to help the acoustic was not adopted.

 

Frank Fowler

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A rebuild? May I ask if you are having any changes or additions - or is it a straight restoration?

 

 

 

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

 

Sorry, I missed this question.

 

It's just a straight clean and overhaul....new slider seals, new bushes, a schwimmer that actually works correctly, refacing the keys, getting the bottom octave of the 4ft flute to speak properly....that sort of thing.

 

I wouldn't dream of changing anything in view of the fact that the late Cecil Clutton described it as "one of the ten finest small organs built in Britain in the last century (20th)" Built 1974 under the "Laycock & Bannister" name.

 

St.Joseph's RC, Ingrow, Keighley, W.Yorks....an 11 speaking-stop, neo-Dutch baroque masterpiece voiced by Denys Thurlow.

 

There was a feature article in one of the BIOS journals many years ago.

 

MM

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Guest Nigel ALLCOAT

A large mediaeval church in the neighbouring town to my home has had every conceivable part of the floor carpeted in a dire mustardy taupy colour which (I am told) was the only colour allowed by English Heritage. (Why allowed at all?, I say). The organ in the place was that played by Vierne before he composed his famous carillion. Now it is thrown out because of the ruinous state of the acoustic ("not loud any more", "not enough sparkle") and the collapsing state of the instrument even after a major rebuild in the mid-1960's. Now a second-hand instrument has been bought and installed with I detect, very little change in tonal circumstances. Churches are certainly not cosy drawing-rooms nor never should be. Folk never realize the results of such decadent additions. Anyway, I hope they make the most of them while they can, because I am sure that where they are likely to go their belovéd A1 Axminster will get frightfully singed.

 

NJA

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

 

Sorry, I missed this question.

 

It's just a straight clean and overhaul....new slider seals, new bushes, a schwimmer that actually works correctly, refacing the keys, getting the bottom octave of the 4ft flute to speak properly....that sort of thing.

 

MM

 

Thank you for the details, MM.

 

Yes, you are not the only one who desires this! I suppose it is actually a Schwimmer, and not one of those cheaper imitation ones - the type that JWWW were installing in the 1960s?

 

In any case, best wishes for the restoration - I hope that you are pleased with the sound, feel and response, etc, when it is completed.

 

Would there be any chance of a stop-list, please, since I cannot find my copy of The Classical Organ in Britain?

 

Thank you - in advance (and just in case!).

B)

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Thank you for the details, MM.

 

Would there be any chance of a stop-list, please, since I cannot find my copy of The Classical Organ in Britain?

 

 

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

 

Re: St Joseph's, Ingrow, Keighley, W Yorks

Laycock & Bannister 1974

 

Happy to oblige, it doesn't take a lot of writing out!

 

 

 

Great

 

Principal 8 Copper basses/Tin

Rohrflute 8 Plain metal

Octave 4 Tin

Sesquialtera 2 rks 12:17 Tin

Mixture 4 rks 19:22:26:29 Tin

 

 

Positive

 

Gedact 8 Wood

Koppel Flute 4 Plain metal

Principal 2 Tin

Quint 1.1/3 Tin

 

 

Pedal

 

Bourdon 16 Walnut

Fagot 16 Spotted metal

 

 

 

 

I - II

I- Ped

II - Ped

 

Tracker throughout

 

Free standing at South side of central crossing

 

It's nothing much on paper, but it's a big, glorious sound which amply fills the quite large building.

 

MM

 

PS: Do I play the smallest organ on the board?

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Guest paul@trinitymusic.karoo.co.uk
. Churches are certainly not cosy drawing-rooms nor never should be. Folk never realize the results of such decadent additions. Anyway, I hope they make the most of them while they can, because I am sure that where they are likely to go their belovéd A1 Axminster will get frightfully singed.

 

NJA

 

 

 

Just occasionally one gets ample proof of how radically acoustics can be changed. The following case reverses the usual trend and is much to be celebrated: Relatively recently (?8 or so years ago) the monks at Belmont Abbey near Hereford invested in a thin layer of marble which was installed to cover the original floor throughout their church. The 3-manual organ has not been touched since installation (bar a little clean) and it is a characteristic 'baroquification' rebuild of its time - 70's. Nicholsons were responsible. IMHO it was a pretty dull and unconvincing job.

 

You should hear it now! The effect at all volume levels would make pcnd weep with envy - despite his well-known affection for his own 'baroquification' job.

 

I should point out that the expenditure on marble at Belmont wasn't done for the benefit of the organ at all - this quite remarkable change was just a kind by-product. They just wanted to enjoy their unaccompanied singing more. A triumphant success on all fronts!

 

The newish floor at Chester Cathedral (much opposed by various experts for reasons other than acoustics) looks smarter but very similar to the old one. This has ended up absorbing quite a bit of the resonance there. Silly people! A big building has got to sound like a big building.

 

For my money the most disappointing acoustic for organ music (a major shock, especially because of the way it looks) is Lancing College Chapel. No carpets and still no acoustic!

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Hello Paul - any chance of a stop-list for Belmont Abbey, please?

 

I am sorry to hear about Chester - this seems to be an odd thing to do.

 

Yes - Lancing, I had heard that it is fairly dead - I wonder why?

 

(Sorry this is short because I now really must get to choir practice!)

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Thank you - Alastair. I keep forgetting about NPOR. In any case, sometimes it is apparently necessary to have a degree in quantum physics in order to obtain the information which I require....

 

Perhaps one day, someone can elucidate exactly how to work the search engine - particularly with regard to key words and the wild-card '%' - sometimes I am successful - and sometimes it is like trying to get gold out of Fort Knox.*

 

 

 

* For the benefit of and CIA or FBI monitoring stations, I am not proposing to attempt this feat, it was just a joke, OK?

B)

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You should hear it now! The effect at all volume levels would make pcnd weep with envy - despite his well-known affection for his own 'baroquification' job.

 

It looks interesting - if a little foundation-light on paper. I would like to hear it live.

 

Actually, with respect to my instrument, strictly it is probably 'eclectic' (Sorry, Pierre), but with heavy classical leanings.

 

I played the Dorian Toccata to-day after Mass. In view of another thread, I did consider trying it on one clavier - but I decided against it, in order to avoid a 'hand-crash' in about fifteen places.... Actually, the organ sounded good - almost like Dutch Baroque occasionally (well, minus the three-month reverberation period one normally associates with instruments from this country).I

 

It can also do a very good job of Romantic music, too - even French - and sound convincing, if a little more polite. It is just that it is not an organ where one can jump on and play effectively if you do not know it, or the effect of it in the building. However, with a good knowledge of it and some careful experimentation - and sometimes some bald-faced risks, it can do a pretty good job of most things.

 

Sorry - am I going on about it again?

B)

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Guest paul@trinitymusic.karoo.co.uk
Thank you - Alastair. I keep forgetting about NPOR. In any case, sometimes it is apparently necessary to have a degree in quantum physics in order to obtain the information which I require....

 

Perhaps one day, someone can elucidate exactly how to work the search engine -

 

 

I speak as one who originally hated the change to the BIOS site, but suspect that the inadequacies (as usual) were mine. Technology often frustrates this humble peasant!

 

My main error (I now realise) is that I did not know that the magic letters on the left hand side near the top 'NPOR' are not a description of the whole page/site but are actually a quasi-button (a disguised, and to me, very unclear icon) which opens the hidden archive.

 

Once you have clicked this, usually the best is search by address - click on this.

Then, only write the vaguest details in the search box. I find a large town or even just a county name is sufficiently specific to bring up a range of choices. You then choose and click on the entry you want more details of.

 

[Hope I've got this right - I'm sure that Tony or Alastair will post immediately any necessary correction to this!]

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I speak as one who originally hated the change to the BIOS site, but suspect that the inadequacies (as usual) were mine.   Technology often frustrates this humble peasant!

 

My main error (I now realise) is that I did not know that the magic letters on the left hand side near the top 'NPOR' are not a description of the whole page/site but are actually a quasi-button (a disguised, and to me, very unclear icon) which opens the hidden archive.

 

Once you have clicked this, usually the best is search by address - click on this.

Then, only write the vaguest details in the search box.  I find a large town or even just a county name is sufficiently specific to bring up a range of choices.  You then choose and click on the entry you want more details of.

 

[Hope I've got this right - I'm sure that Tony or Alastair will post immediately any necessary correction to this!]

 

That's it - hours of fun!

 

AJJ

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I speak as one who originally hated the change to the BIOS site, but suspect that the inadequacies (as usual) were mine.  Technology often frustrates this humble peasant!

 

My main error (I now realise) is that I did not know that the magic letters on the left hand side near the top 'NPOR' are not a description of the whole page/site but are actually a quasi-button (a disguised, and to me, very unclear icon) which opens the hidden archive.

 

Once you have clicked this, usually the best is search by address - click on this.

Then, only write the vaguest details in the search box.  I find a large town or even just a county name is sufficiently specific to bring up a range of choices.  You then choose and click on the entry you want more details of.

 

[Hope I've got this right - I'm sure that Tony or Alastair will post immediately any necessary correction to this!]

That's right. I have a degree in quantum physics and this is the way I use it.... B)

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Thank you all.

 

I did know of the 'NPOR' button - but I still have trouble with the address. From what you say Paul, I am probably trying to be too specific, so I will be more vague and see if that works.

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

 

Re:  St Joseph's, Ingrow, Keighley, W Yorks

      Laycock & Bannister 1974

 

MM

 

PS: Do I play the smallest organ on the board?

 

Hi

 

Not by a fair margin!

 

Heaton (Bradford) Baptist Church

Annon. chamber organ c.1820-1850.

1 manual GG compass, 30 note C compass pedal pull downs arranged as a return coupler.

 

Stopped Diap. Bass

Dulciana (treble)

Open Diapason (Treble)

Principal (through)

Fifteenth (through)

Flute 4 (treble) (replacing Keraulophon 8; probably the Stop. Diap Treble when organ first built.)

 

More details on NPOR, including the history that we know and a couple of pictures.

 

Anyone play anything smaller (they are out there!)

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

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Thank you - Alastair. I keep forgetting about NPOR. In any case, sometimes it is apparently necessary to have a degree in quantum physics in order to obtain the information which I require....

 

Perhaps one day, someone can elucidate exactly how to work the search engine - particularly with regard to key words and the wild-card '%'  - sometimes I am successful - and sometimes it is like trying to get gold out of Fort Knox.*

* For the benefit of and CIA or FBI monitoring stations, I am not proposing to attempt this feat, it was just a joke, OK?

:blink:

 

Hi

Is NPOR really that difficult? One thing to remember - don't put "St." in the search engine (see the instructions on the web page!) - also the apostrophe "s" at the end of the church name (i.e. St. Mark's) won't work - just the name of the saint. The local Anglican church here can be found by entering "Barnabas Heaton" for example - or just put in a town noame (make sure of your spelling) and select from the list that appears.

 

Hope this helps.

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

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Hi

Is NPOR really that difficult?  One thing to remember - don't put "St." in the search engine (see the instructions on the web page!) - also the apostrophe "s" at the end of the church name (i.e. St. Mark's) won't work - just the name of the saint.  The local Anglican church here can be found by entering "Barnabas Heaton" for example - or just put in a town noame (make sure of your spelling) and select from the list that appears.

 

Hope this helps.

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

Thank you, Tony. No, it is not that it is difficult - it is just that the information which you have just imparted is not mentioned on the site and so it appears to be very much trial and error. It would just save time if someone wrote a brief 'idiot guide' in order that we can actually get results when using the search engine.

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Tony, another thought occurs to me - there is (or appears to be) a flaw in the system. I was searching for a particular church in Plymouth and typed in the name (I might have used 'St.' because I thought that it would just ignore that word) and got no result. However, when I typed in 'Plymouth' I got the result I wanted - with, of course, about twenty I did not!

 

Am I correct in assuming that this is just because I used 'St.' ?

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