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2 hours ago, Barry Oakley said:

Another example of a very effective polyphone is at Bridlington Priory, a building with excellent acoustics. The NPOR entry covering the last rebuild by Nicholsons, attributes the 32ft Sub-Bass (Soubasse) to Anneesens. I feel with some measure of confidence that it is the work of John Compton who installed it when he rebuilt the Priory organ in 1948-1949 and also added further ranks that have not been attributed to him.

You're both right and wrong Barry. The original Anneessens instrument never had a 32ft flue......just a mere 32ft reed of vast scale. Compton indeed added a Polyphone, which he called Soubasse 32ft, while Nicholson's added a "proper" 32ft Open but also retained the Compton Polyphone, which if I recall from a mere 55 years ago while working for Laycock & Bannister, is the genuine article, and not a collection of bi-phonic pipes.

You mention Compton additions......not very many actually. The main contribution was to make the organ brighter, because Abbott & Smith had tried to make it sound like an English organ, when it was actually a very reed dominated continental sound.

However, you'd think someone would mention that Compton installed the Tuba, which was always impressive.

The biggest contribution Compton made, was increasing the scope and size of the Choir Organ, which grew to a department of 22 stops!

Don't quote me on this, because I've only been inside the instrument a couple of times, but my gut feeling is, that Compton were able to use extension for the Choir Organ, because the Choir Organ shared the same colossal windchest with the Great Organ, and was therefore not of the slider-chest type. (That windchest was the largest in Europe, and is stored against the chamber wall inside the organ as a museum piece).

When.....I hesitate to say "we"......rebuilt the beast, lots of new (Rogers of Leeds), very small pipes went into the instrument; roughly voiced and badly regulated, all paid for by Mrs Coulthurst, a local Yorkshire philanthropist. The Choir Organ became a Positive division. The end result was Anneesens/Compton and a lot of screeching new upperwork.
Enter, at this point, a quirk of fate, when the heating system flue split open, and filled church and organ with paraffin fumes. Insurance to the rescue, and new cleaning work by Laycock & Bannister; by which time the company had been taken over by Nicholson's and Dennis Thurlow. A lot of the newer pipes were tamed, voiced properly and regulated, and a much better organ emerged.

The later Nicholson re-build was radical, but long overdue, but there are still recognisable bits of Anneesens, Compton, Laycock & Bannister, early Nicholson and later Nicholson.

It now sounds wonderful, I'm happy to suggest!

MM

It's quite a complicated path to follow, but at least it's all worked out well in the end

 

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The Christchurch Priory diaphonic Contrabass was added by Degens & Rippin as part of their 1964 nave divison.  Both D and R were ex-Compton men, and Maurice Forsyth-Grant started off as a Compton enthusiast.  I suppose it's possible that D&R acquired the diaphone when Compton's pipe organ side was taken over by Rushworth's in that year.  In any event, John Degens would have known well how to voice it.  I assume the polyphonic 32 Sub Bass at Christchurch was a genuine Compton example.

The 32 Double Open at Lancing College is a diaphone - an example of the not-widely-trumpeted connection between Walker and Compton (Walker had the money but not the orders, Compton had orders but not the money, so there were Walker directors on the Compton board, the two firms made parts for each other - was the Walker double touch cancelling system borrowed from Compton? - and Walkers' were able to profit from the theatre organ boom without attaching their name to it).

Kenneth Jones used a 32 polyphone in an organ in Melbourne, Australia.  Apparently it lays horizontally near the front of the gallery and at the dedication was used as a music rest by an unsuspecting trumpeter.  At the start of the opening hymn (RVW Old Hundredth?) the music took off over the rail and ended up on the floor in various parts of the chapel.

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Quote:-.............. Walkers' were able to profit from the theatre organ boom without attaching their name to it.

Not true David!

An advert for the Kinestra cinema-organ included the following words:-

"It has behind it the combined manufacturing and financial resources of two of the most famous English organ-building firms (The John Compton Organ Co.Ltd and J W Walker & Sons Ltd) and is of British manufacture throughout."

 

As the company name for Compton had also changed by this time, into "The John Compton Organ Co.Ltd." it has to be post 1925, and as the first Kinestra was made in 1921 for the Surrey County Theatre, the firm also benefitted from the involvement of Mr Albert Henry Midgley of Huddersfield, who not only bought a 100-stop house organ, but put a lot of money into the Compton firm. He was the equivalent to a multi-millionaire before he was 30, and the alterations to his large detached residence in Uxbbrige, would have cost the equivalent of just under £1,000,000.

He was a founding director of CAV-Lucas Ltd., and had, before his end, over 900 inventions to his name.  (He may have designed the fuses for the bouncing bomb).

😁

 

MM



 

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On 18/06/2019 at 10:11, MusoMusing said:

It always happens.....everyone gets confused about what is what and what it does.

Just for the record:-

    When people refer to "Polyphones", they are often referring to "bi-phonic basses" , where six stopped pipes (producing two notes each) play the full 12 notes of the 32ft Octave. They work by having a tube attached at to the pipe, closed off by a valve arrangement. When the valve opens, the additional volume of the pipe + tube produces a lower note. So bottom C is the lowest bi-phonic pipe with the valve open, and bottom C# is the same pipe sounding with the valve closed and isolating the additional volume created by the attached tube.

The Polyphone proper, is a single large pipe; often laid horizontally, like a large coffin. The "pipe" has one very large mouth, and usually produces just 8 notes, using valves to increase/decrease the speaking length of the pipe in what is a complex internal labyrinth.  The principle is not unrelated to the Haskell Bass....the "pipe within a pipe" idea. The usual range is low EEEE to CCC (16ft)....anything lower requiring a much larger pipe. They are usually about 8ft in length, and there is a picture of one at the following link:-  https://www.theladyorganist.com/rco-summer-course-name-pipe/    

The Diaphone is a bit like a reed pipe, but usually fatter and squatter....often mitred and folded. The principle of operation is not far removed from a conventional reed, except that the reed is replaced with a sprung valve, which oscillates against a hole .....a bit like a rapidly oscillating version of a Saxophone or Clarinet valve.

MM

My grovelling apologies.  I meant to write DIAPHONES and not POLYPHONES, the former being what was under discussion.

It was late and I was tired (that's my excuse anyway)!  

Of course, these are two completely different animals.  Whereas I think that diaphones could be very useful in respect of the sounds they can produce, I'm afraid I'm no fan of polyphones which I regard as a cheap substitute.  They must be tantamount to producing a rank of conventional pipes, each of exactly the same diameter/scale, in which case the sound would become increasingly more foundational as the notes progress upward.

Edited by John Robinson
Missed out a letter!

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11 hours ago, MusoMusing said:

You're both right and wrong Barry. The original Anneessens instrument never had a 32ft flue......just a mere 32ft reed of vast scale. Compton indeed added a Polyphone, which he called Soubasse 32ft, while Nicholson's added a "proper" 32ft Open but also retained the Compton Polyphone, which if I recall from a mere 55 years ago while working for Laycock & Bannister, is the genuine article, and not a collection of bi-phonic pipes.

You mention Compton additions......not very many actually. The main contribution was to make the organ brighter, because Abbott & Smith had tried to make it sound like an English organ, when it was actually a very reed dominated continental sound.

However, you'd think someone would mention that Compton installed the Tuba, which was always impressive.

The biggest contribution Compton made, was increasing the scope and size of the Choir Organ, which grew to a department of 22 stops!

Don't quote me on this, because I've only been inside the instrument a couple of times, but my gut feeling is, that Compton were able to use extension for the Choir Organ, because the Choir Organ shared the same colossal windchest with the Great Organ, and was therefore not of the slider-chest type. (That windchest was the largest in Europe, and is stored against the chamber wall inside the organ as a museum piece).

When.....I hesitate to say "we"......rebuilt the beast, lots of new (Rogers of Leeds), very small pipes went into the instrument; roughly voiced and badly regulated, all paid for by Mrs Coulthurst, a local Yorkshire philanthropist. The Choir Organ became a Positive division. The end result was Anneesens/Compton and a lot of screeching new upperwork.
Enter, at this point, a quirk of fate, when the heating system flue split open, and filled church and organ with paraffin fumes. Insurance to the rescue, and new cleaning work by Laycock & Bannister; by which time the company had been taken over by Nicholson's and Dennis Thurlow. A lot of the newer pipes were tamed, voiced properly and regulated, and a much better organ emerged.

The later Nicholson re-build was radical, but long overdue, but there are still recognisable bits of Anneesens, Compton, Laycock & Bannister, early Nicholson and later Nicholson.

It now sounds wonderful, I'm happy to suggest!

MM

It's quite a complicated path to follow, but at least it's all worked out well in the end

 

If you look at the NPOR entry for Bridlington Priory you will come across a photograph of the diaphone. I've been in the organ chamber and it's definitely from the Compton stable. The tuba also shouts out that it's definitely Compton, lovely and fat.

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2 hours ago, John Robinson said:

My grovelling apologies.  I mean to write DIAPHONES and not POLYPHONES, the former being what was under discussion.

It was late and I was tired (that's my excuse anyway)!  

Of course, these are two completely different animals.  Whereas I think that diaphones could be very useful in respect of the sounds they can produce, I'm afraid I'm no fan of polyphones which I regard as a cheap substitute.  They must be tantamount to producing a rank of conventional pipes, each of exactly the same diameter/scale, in which case the sound would become increasingly more foundational as the notes progress upward.

I suppose a 32ft Polyphone is better than nothing, and acoustics play a very important part. This is probably why Barry likes the 32ft Polyphone at Hull Minster. The better arrangement were the 6 X bi-phonic pipes, which sound just like a Contra Bourdon rank, as they should.

MM

 

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On 16/06/2019 at 14:17, MusoMusing said:

I shall dig out a You Tube extract and edit the link in when I've finished writing. It is probably the best example of just how massive a 32ft Diaphone can sound, even in a big space.

MM

PS:   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P_npr5vxqVA

 

Hahahaha!  That poor girl!

How useful such a stop might be for when congregations' singing goes off-key.

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12 hours ago, MusoMusing said:

I suppose a 32ft Polyphone is better than nothing, and acoustics play a very important part. This is probably why Barry likes the 32ft Polyphone at Hull Minster. The better arrangement were the 6 X bi-phonic pipes, which sound just like a Contra Bourdon rank, as they should.

MM

 

Absolutely.  And the bi-phonic option would be even better and nearer to the conventional type of stop.
This, of course, is only for the bottom octave, presumably, and the rest would be conventional pipes.

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1 hour ago, John Robinson said:

Absolutely.  And the bi-phonic option would be even better and nearer to the conventional type of stop.
This, of course, is only for the bottom octave, presumably, and the rest would be conventional pipes.

In a word....yes!

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On 18/06/2019 at 11:28, MusoMusing said:

You're both right and wrong Barry. The original Anneessens instrument never had a 32ft flue......just a mere 32ft reed of vast scale. Compton indeed added a Polyphone, which he called Soubasse 32ft, while Nicholson's added a "proper" 32ft Open but also retained the Compton Polyphone, which if I recall from a mere 55 years ago while working for Laycock & Bannister, is the genuine article, and not a collection of bi-phonic pipes.

You mention Compton additions......not very many actually. The main contribution was to make the organ brighter, because Abbott & Smith had tried to make it sound like an English organ, when it was actually a very reed dominated continental sound.

However, you'd think someone would mention that Compton installed the Tuba, which was always impressive.

The biggest contribution Compton made, was increasing the scope and size of the Choir Organ, which grew to a department of 22 stops!

Don't quote me on this, because I've only been inside the instrument a couple of times, but my gut feeling is, that Compton were able to use extension for the Choir Organ, because the Choir Organ shared the same colossal windchest with the Great Organ, and was therefore not of the slider-chest type. (That windchest was the largest in Europe, and is stored against the chamber wall inside the organ as a museum piece).

When.....I hesitate to say "we"......rebuilt the beast, lots of new (Rogers of Leeds), very small pipes went into the instrument; roughly voiced and badly regulated, all paid for by Mrs Coulthurst, a local Yorkshire philanthropist. The Choir Organ became a Positive division. The end result was Anneesens/Compton and a lot of screeching new upperwork.
Enter, at this point, a quirk of fate, when the heating system flue split open, and filled church and organ with paraffin fumes. Insurance to the rescue, and new cleaning work by Laycock & Bannister; by which time the company had been taken over by Nicholson's and Dennis Thurlow. A lot of the newer pipes were tamed, voiced properly and regulated, and a much better organ emerged.

The later Nicholson re-build was radical, but long overdue, but there are still recognisable bits of Anneesens, Compton, Laycock & Bannister, early Nicholson and later Nicholson.

It now sounds wonderful, I'm happy to suggest!

MM

It's quite a complicated path to follow, but at least it's all worked out well in the end

 

I can possibly shed a little light on some of this.  Back in 1989, Michael Smith and I spent some time crawling around the innards of the Priory organ as part of its 100th anniversary commemoration - a lot of photographs and a back-of-church display ensued.  

The Soubasse 32ft was definitely a Compton polyphone, at the time it was laid horizontally on the ground floor beneath the reservoirs.  The Double Grosse Flote 32ft was in fact large scale stopped 16ft wood pipes.  I think they were second hand; they were (and possibly still are) located immediately behind the display pipes in the Sanctuary.  Incidentally some of the middle flat of Sanctuary display pipes were the bottom octave of the Solo Contra Dulciana 16ft.

The big Anneessens windchest was indeed a traditional slider windchest.  It was split, with action motors at both ends and two sets of underaction.  The 1967 Great upperwork was on unit chests between the main windchest and the front display pipes in the Choir, which themselves formed parts of Open II / III and Double Open 16.  I think (although it's before my time!) that a lot of the Compton extension-work was on unit chests above the main chest;  in 1989, Open I and the solo Tromba were mounted on platforms above.

The Anneessens 32ft CT was on a strange chest near the north wall (the large Pedal flues were behind).  It was basically the bottom octave of 32ft, 16ft and 8ft reeds, C and C# sides (C was to the west), and went in the order 32, 16, 8... and then bizarrely the bottom octave of the 4ft flute (stopped metal pipes).   Quite odd to see these little pipes sharing space with the monsters!

To say the organ was a maze inside was an understatement.  Wherever you looked, something was stuffed somewhere.  It was amazing that it worked as well as it did for so long.

I've attached a pic of the east end of part of the main Anneessens chest - somewhere I've got my notes on which rank is which.  And for those interested further, there's a selection of other pics on my Flickr page at https://www.flickr.com/photos/virtual_pkh/albums/72157594250160915 - I've more if anyone's interested!

Paul H

 

PKH_A600.jpg

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Excellent!     This is what we needed at the start!
My tour of the organ was about  55 years ago, and it wasn't in any way comprehensive.  The big surprise was to learn that the big windchest was a slider one, because there was a lot of criticism directed at Charles Anneesens, due to the fact that on certain organs,  stops were sometimes duplexed. They may have been later instruments, and if I recall correctly, the exhibition organ which was purchased and installed in St Mary's, Bradford. had electro-pneumatic action of the Schmoele & Mols patent  type.  (Schmoele & Mols were an American/Belgian partnership of electrical engineers.

I should have read my own Compton tome, which includes the following:-

 

The first re-build of the 1889 organ at Bridlington Priory, by the Leeds firm of Abbot & Smith, in 1909, saw the introduction of tubular pneumatic action; replacing the original mechanical action, but retaining the Anneessens wind-chests.

Beyond that, I didn't investigate very much, because the Compton work was limited to e.p. action, the 32ft Polyphone,  the Tuba rank and the usual extended mutations on the Choir Organ.

MM

 

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On the subject of polyphones, I have just happened across a small passage in Sumner which mentions that one Dr Edward Hodges, organist of St James's, Bristol "devised polyphonic pedal pipes, an example of which was shown by Ducci in his organ at the Great Exhibition of 1851 and later were perfected and used by John Compton in recent years."

Hodges described  these pipes (in the Quarterly Musical Magazine and review of 1827)  as "on the flute principle ... in one of the sides of the pipe, apertures are cut, near which pallets or stoppers are affixed so as to cover or close them tightly", and goes on to describe their function.

So could Hodges be the inventor of polyphone pipes?

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Hodges may have been the first, but like all things, the idea existed long before, and what Hodges created was an attempt to replicate woodwind instruments such as the Bass Recorder (or the fingered Bass Ocarina) and apply it to a large organ-pipe. I can't imagine that it was much of a success, because the scaling for different notes would be all wrong.

The thing which marks Compton out from the rest, was his amazing intellect and comprehensive knowledge of the new science of sound, which had only really got going with the work of Hermann Helmholtz in Germany.  Helmholtz created quite a stir with his book "On the sensations of tone", which attempted to bridge the gap between music and physiology; even spilling over into the psychology of perception.

As someone who must have spent countless hours experimenting with this and that, when everyone had gone home, J C only ever seemed happy when he was working out new ways of doing things and voicing organ-pipes. (He was quite proud of the fact that he avoided general organ-building, and seldom went to the workshop or got his hands dirty). We can thank the cinema-organs for that, because they generated big profits for the company, and made research at this sort of level possible. He was even dabbling with mean-tone and enharmonic keyboards, when no-one else even knew what they were.

The Polyphones were quite complicated things, but to this day, copies of the original Compton drawings are still being sold to anyone who wants to make one.

MM

 





 

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On 18/06/2019 at 15:34, MusoMusing said:

Quote:-.............. Walkers' were able to profit from the theatre organ boom without attaching their name to it.

Not true David!

An advert for the Kinestra cinema-organ included the following words:-

"It has behind it the combined manufacturing and financial resources of two of the most famous English organ-building firms (The John Compton Organ Co.Ltd and J W Walker & Sons Ltd) and is of British manufacture throughout."

 

As the company name for Compton had also changed by this time, into "The John Compton Organ Co.Ltd." it has to be post 1925, and as the first Kinestra was made in 1921 for the Surrey County Theatre, the firm also benefitted from the involvement of Mr Albert Henry Midgley of Huddersfield, who not only bought a 100-stop house organ, but put a lot of money into the Compton firm. He was the equivalent to a multi-millionaire before he was 30, and the alterations to his large detached residence in Uxbbrige, would have cost the equivalent of just under £1,000,000.

He was a founding director of CAV-Lucas Ltd., and had, before his end, over 900 inventions to his name.  (He may have designed the fuses for the bouncing bomb).

😁

 

MM



 

Thank you for the correction.  I was writing on the basis of a passage in Ian Bell's article "A Survey of the Work of John Compton" in BIOS Journal 23:

"That Year [1925] the company was reconstituted with additional directors including two members of the board of J.W. Walker & Sons [footnote says information from Elvin's book "Pipes and Actions"].  Walker had money but little work; Compton had the prospect of a lot of work, but as always a shortage of capital.  The arrangement suited them both, and Walker managed to profit from the cinema boom without being publicly associated with it, quietly making parts for Compton, to Compton designs - some of which they adapted to use themselves."

Perhaps "cinema boom" is pertinent.  Early British theatre and cinema organs tended to have schemes not far removed from contemporary concert or even church jobs.  I don't know the scheme for the County Cinema, Sutton, but the console was illustrated in "The Organ" and did not have the horse-shoe arrangement of tabs which became the norm after the first Wurlitzers appeared in England (e.g. New Gallery, Regent Street,1925).  Shepherd's Bush Pavilion (1923) was an early major cinema job, but in its original form was much like a concert organ.  It acquired a full set of 'whizz-bangs' and a theatre-style Tibia in 1931 (the original Tibia Minor would have been much more mild, something like a stopped diapason).  Once the Wurlitzers started arriving, Compton was ideally placed and experienced to provide the principal British competition (being confident in using extension and having the same sure touch with electric action as American builders), so the appointment of Walker directors to the Compton board at this time was timely for both firms.  Compton continued to use the term "Kinestra" for some years, but the Walker name seems to have disappeared from Compton's advertising.

It is interesting to speculate how much technical stuff Walker borrowed from Compton (or, indeed, vice versa).  Double touch cancelling comes to mind, as does the production of a range of standard small jobs - the Compton Miniatura and the Walker Model organs.  (I find the smallest Comptons more impressive than the smallest Walkers, but not everyone would agree).  The Midgeley connection is interesting, too.  He had a lot to do with Compton at one time, but I believe they had a row.  A spin-off was that Maurice Forsyth Grant was a student frienjd of Midgeley's son, thereby gaining access to Compton's works and getting to know the staff, presumably including John Degens and Ted Rippin.  Ian Bell says that, around the time of World War II, the electronic side of Compton's work was "for a while handed to the Walker half of the company".  There was a "Midgeley-Walker" electronic organ, but was it at around the same time?

I guess that MM will have much to reveal following his research and that we shall all have much to learn.  I look forward to some interesting reading!

 

 

Image result for kinestra organ

 

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I'm having the very devil of a job trying to get everything set out on the page, which has to be in two formats; one for digital format and the other for hard print. You would't believe the problems it causes!

Rant over, I'll address one or two points. J Martin-White was probably the man who made the relocation to London possible. He was, at the time, a director of the Compton company, after the dissolution of the Mills & Compton partnership at Measham, (I seem to recall that Harry Smith Mills wanted to retire, but it's not terribly important). Compton left Measham and set up business in an old tin-tabernacle in Nottingham, of which I actually found a very old photograph. It was from here that the Selby re-build was done, followed by the infamous fire which destroyed all his handywork.

The year after, there was a fire at the organ-works in Nottingham, so he decided to uproot and pop off to London.

It all gets a bit murky at this point, and I can find no further reference to J Martin-White; either as a benevolent friend or a director of the company.

What we do find, are the two Walker brothers getting involved, but not in an official capacity at that point. I think they were just dragged in as sub-contractors; their factory being only half-a-mile away from Turnham Green. We have it on some authority, that a lot of the Walker workforce just uprooted and went to Compton's, but they remained Walker employees.

The cinema boom caught everyone by surprise, I suspect, and suddenly there was cash to be made in the organ business......a lot of cash!

1925 is the critical year, when the company was re-hashed. The principal directors became John Compton (of course) Reginald Walker and his brother Pickering Walker. (No sign of J Martin White at this point). The other big name was that of A H Midgley, who had already bought a 100 stop house organ from Compton's, and modified his almost new abode to the modern day sum of around £1,000,000, just to get the organ in!  Midgley must have made a stash of cash when he and Charles A Vanderwell established CAV in Acton, which was bought out by Lucas to become CAV-Lucas Ltd., one of the biggest auto-electrical industries in Britain eventually.

I learned something from what you wrote......always happy to learn something....every day is a school-day!

Somewhere, I have a photograph of the second Surrey County Cinema console, which is definitely horseshoe style, and it was installed quite soon after the original. I didn't realise that the first one was any different.

I wonder......it all seems to co-incide with Midgley's involvement at Comptons, because he had a row at CAV and left. He set up his own car-lighting company, which failed, but he had money....loads o'money.....and I think he realised the potential of the cinema organ market. He became Technical Director and revolutionised the way Compton's worked.....almost mass-production thereafter.

His spat with John Compton was about the electrostatic organs, which Bourn had designed, based on Midgley's earlier ideas. I think he wanted a piece of the action, because a new pre-war electrone cost as much as a house in those days. In a fit of pique, he designed his own instrument, took the idea to Walker's, and they developed the Midgley-Walker organ. (1937?)  It was never the same as the Compton Electrone which used the Melotone technology. By the start of WW2, Walkers had sold their Compton shares (to J J Broad....the Compton Financial Director). With wartime just around the corner, cinemas closed for the duration, factories turned over to war work and the odd falling bomb from time to time, Compton's never really recovered.  They had a jolly time after the war for a short while, and some big jobs in the 1950's, but what they didn't have were the huge profits from cinema organs, which by that time were dead in the water.

It's a bit sad really, because poor old JC was holed up in Italy as a POW, Midgley had seen the writing on the wall in 1937 when the cinema market started to contract, and Walkers withdrew when the war was obviously a dead certainty. It was really "Jimmy" Taylor who held the show together, along with Ted Rippin, Johnnie Degens and reed voicer Frank Hancock. I think, at the very end, only Leslie Bourn was still a director of the company, once JC and Taylor had shuffled off this mortal coil, and the others beetled off to set up Degens & Rippin Ltd.

As for Maurice Forsyth-Grant, he had lots of whisky to enjoy, probably a shed-load of money after setting up what is now Vodafone, and all the time in the world to dabble at organ-building.  (What a story that is!  I'm too tired to even contemplate it).

In some ways, the whole Compton story is an object lesson in "how to run and grow a company" as well as "how to kill a company."

Fascinating stuff!

MM

PS: All the research is complete and most of the writing is over.....it's just the layout which is the sting in the tail.

 

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7 hours ago, MusoMusing said:

Hodges may have been the first, but like all things, the idea existed long before, and what Hodges created was an attempt to replicate woodwind instruments such as the Bass Recorder (or the fingered Bass Ocarina) and apply it to a large organ-pipe. I can't imagine that it was much of a success, because the scaling for different notes would be all wrong.
 

Yes, that was the problem I mentioned on Tuesday.  Did Compton, in improving Hodges' idea, manage to overcome to any extent this disadvantage, other than the use of a separate pipe for each two notes of course?

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3 hours ago, John Robinson said:

Yes, that was the problem I mentioned on Tuesday.  Did Compton, in improving Hodges' idea, manage to overcome to any extent this disadvantage, other than the use of a separate pipe for each two notes of course?

The first attempt at a "space-saver" bass was, of course, the Compton Cube, which was quite a complicated beast using the ocarina principle, and not unrelated to Helmholtz resonators. Not many cubes were made, and few survive
The later polyphone, with its' system of labyrinths and valve ports, may well have included "tuned" scaling which might have acted as compensators.
The simple answer is, I haven't a clue, but when one considers something like a Bass Tuba, there isn't a sudden change of tone or power from one note to the next, even if a Tuba is nearer a diaphone or reed than a flue pipe. I've played Compton organs fitted with polyphones, and I've never been aware of major problems.
The bi-phonic basses are very good, but being stopped-pipes, they are not over powerful.

All the 32ft devices (including the Harmonics of 32ft) sound much better in a good acoustic.

MM
 

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On 15/06/2019 at 19:54, MusoMusing said:

Every self-respecting organist knows the saying, that ......."churches are there to keep the organs dry."

MM

PS: Does anyone know the source of that quote?

 

Reputedly Sidney Campbell:

When asked by the Dean of one of his Cathedrals in a heated exchange   "Well Dr. Campbell, what exactly do you think the Cathedral is here for?",  the retort came back "To keep the rain off the bloody organ!".

DW

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6 hours ago, Henry Willis said:

Reputedly Sidney Campbell:

When asked by the Dean of one of his Cathedrals in a heated exchange   "Well Dr. Campbell, what exactly do you think the Cathedral is here for?",  the retort came back "To keep the rain off the bloody organ!".

DW

Thank you David. I've oft used the quote in lighter vein, and it always raises a smile, but I didn't realise it was said angrily in the first instance.

Whatever happened to British spirit, and the monster in the organ loft?

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19 hours ago, MusoMusing said:

The first attempt at a "space-saver" bass was, of course, the Compton Cube, which was quite a complicated beast using the ocarina principle, and not unrelated to Helmholtz resonators. Not many cubes were made, and few survive
The later polyphone, with its' system of labyrinths and valve ports, may well have included "tuned" scaling which might have acted as compensators.
The simple answer is, I haven't a clue, but when one considers something like a Bass Tuba, there isn't a sudden change of tone or power from one note to the next, even if a Tuba is nearer a diaphone or reed than a flue pipe. I've played Compton organs fitted with polyphones, and I've never been aware of major problems.
The bi-phonic basses are very good, but being stopped-pipes, they are not over powerful.

All the 32ft devices (including the Harmonics of 32ft) sound much better in a good acoustic.

MM
 

Thanks for that information, MM.

Yes, the 32' harmonics at Gloucester Cathedral do sound very effective in creating a 32' tone, going by the Priory DVD in which the organist demonstrates them.  Of course, I have only heard them on my TV's sound system.

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Forty six posts on a thread about the organ in St. Michael-le-Belfry in York being, at last after years of neglect, being rebuilt and removed to St. Laurence's in York!

…………………………………………………………… and not a single one, apart from the first, mention it! And I'm as guilty as the rest!

Interesting if rather wayward thread though!!!

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I was wondering where it was going myself!

It seems to have become a little bit "extended" rather than "derived".  Call it borrowing!

MM

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On 19/06/2019 at 01:29, David Drinkell said:

Kenneth Jones used a 32 polyphone in an organ in Melbourne, Australia.  Apparently it lays horizontally near the front of the gallery and at the dedication was used as a music rest by an unsuspecting trumpeter.  At the start of the opening hymn (RVW Old Hundredth?) the music took off over the rail and ended up on the floor in various parts of the chapel.

This organ (1997-1998) is located in the chapel of Trinity College, the University of Melbourne. More information about this instrument can be found at:

https://www.ohta.org.au/organs/organs/TrinityMelbUni.html

The polyphone lies alongside where the organist enters the gallery and provides an inviting surface for all sorts of items to be placed. I had to move a box from off the mouth some years ago when I went to play there.

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16 hours ago, Fiffaro said:

The polyphone lies alongside where the organist enters the gallery and provides an inviting surface for all sorts of items to be placed. I had to move a box from off the mouth some years ago when I went to play there.

It sounds very draughty!

I think I'd be wallpapering over the mouth; never mind resting things on it.

MM

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