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innate

Just a bit of fun with a pipe dream spec.

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I know many frown on this sort of thing but the board is hardly overwhelmed with posts at the moment so here goes:

An Organ for a Large Parish Church

GREAT (II)

Bourdon 16'

Open Diapason 8'

Stopped Diapason 8'

Gamba 8'

Principal 4'

Flute 4'

Fifteenth 2'

Mixture IV 1⅓' (19, 22, 26, 29)

Swell to Great

Choir to Great

Bombarde to Great

Cymbelstern

 

SWELL (III—enclosed)

Open Diapason 8'

Stopped Diapason 8'

Salicional 8'

Voix Celestes 8' (from AA)

Gemshorn 4'

Fifteenth 2'

Sesquialtera II 2⅔' (12, 17)

Bassoon 16'

Oboe 8'

Tremulant

 

CHOIR (I)

Chimney Flute 8'

Principal 4'

Flute 4'

Nazard 2⅔'

Gemshorn 2'

Tierce 1'

Sharp Mixture IV 1' (22, 26, 29, 33)

Cremona 8'

Tremulant

Swell to Choir

 

BOMBARDE (IV)

Flute 8'

Flute 4'

Cornet V 8' (from Ten F/mid C?)

Tremulant

Bombarde 16'

Trumpet 8'

Clarion 4'

 

PEDAL

Open Diapason 16'

Subbass 16'

Principal 8'

Mixture IV 4' (15, 17, 19, 22)

Trombone 16'

Swell to Pedal

Great to Pedal

Bombarde to Pedal

Choir to Pedal

 

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You’re not wrong, Jonathan! I love the enclosed Resonance division at St Michael’s; I’m in two minds about enclosing the Bombarde here. Obviously with the lack of a large chorus reed at 8' in the Swell it would be useful in the late romantic repertoire to have the Bombarde reeds under expression but there’s something exhilarating about unenclosed and untameable (?) fiery reeds. Maybe the flues in the Bombarde division could be enclosed and the reeds not; a little like at St John’s, Oxford.

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Great - Make 4’ Flute ‘harmonic’, add 12th 2 2/3.

Swell - Change 2’ to Flageolet, add 15.19.22 Mixture, add Cornopean 8, add Vox Humana 8’ add Clarion 4.

Choir - Add Dulciana 8’, add Larigot 1 1/3 and maybe even enclose.

Pedal - Add Violone 16’, add Flute 8’, take 4’ from Mixture and make independent 15th, add Contra Bassoon 32’.

Couplers - Add Bombarde to Swell

i don’t usually do these things......

A

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I don’t know whether any of this was consciously (or unconsciously) inspired by the organs of G Donald Harrison in the US.  He built instruments without Great reeds, sometimes large ones like the Tabernacle organ at Salt Lake City, relying on coupling the Bombarde to the Great.  That was reversed at Salt Lake City in the subsequent rebuild by Schoenstein, but I’m sure there are other GDH organs still in their original format. 

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It would have to be an unconscious reference to GDH! I do have a copy of a book about the American Classic Organ (or whatever it’s called) but reading it made very little impression on my thinking. The separating of the big reads from the Great is to allow Trumpet voluntaries and other music that needs the reeds to be separate. I didn’t say, but I would want this instrument to have mechanical key action and this design is a sort of mechanical Gt Reeds duplexed on Choir!

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37 minutes ago, AJJ said:

Great - Make 4’ Flute ‘harmonic’, add 12th 2 2/3.

I hadn’t thought that Harmonic Flutes would necessarily fit the “sound” of this slightly more “classical” (for want of a better word) instrument. But certainly worth considering.

Swell - Change 2’ to Flageolet, add 15.19.22 Mixture, add Cornopean 8, add Vox Humana 8’ add Clarion 4.

Hm. Lot of extra stops there. I was aiming for a slightly leaner feel. 2' flute would be useful. Probably because of the repertoire I generally play I never find myself saying “I wish this organ had a Vox Humana.”!

Choir - Add Dulciana 8’, add Larigot 1 1/3 and maybe even enclose.

I used to play an organ that had a Choir Dulciana amongst an otherwise “Baroque” stoplist. I hardly ever used it. Sometimes useful in Reger or Howells. Larigot would be nice but, again, an extra stop.

Pedal - Add Violone 16’, add Flute 8’, take 4’ from Mixture and make independent 15th, add Contra Bassoon 32’.

Making the 4' independent, or a half-draw, might work. The idea was that you could couple from any manual to the pedals if you needed 8' or 4' flutes. Two open 16's are quite extravagant these days, and there might not be space … Same reasoning for nit having a 32' reed.

Couplers - Add Bombarde to Swell

Yes. I didn’t want to overload the spec with couplers, although I see that some large all-mechanical instruments have many more couplers than used to be considered possible 40 or 50 years ago. This coupler might obviate the need for chorus reeds on the Swell. If more couplers were possible I’d be tempted by a Swell or Choir 8ve to Pedal.

i don’t usually do these things......

So I see …

A

 

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St Mary's Twickenham has a lovely mechanical action and a swell sub octave coupler which might mean you didn't need the bassoon.

 

I sometimes wonder about this 4' harmonic flute business. Doesn't it mean if you want that as a solo colour you have to play down the octave. It's a different timbre for the 8+4 combination, but I'm not sure I'd much to have a 4' harmonic over an open 4'. More open 8' flutes would be good though. I remember playing at St Michael's Highgate and being overwhelmed by 3 stopped flutes at 8' and no harmonic flutes at all! I had assumed your 8' flute on the bombarde would be harmonic.

 

I miss a mixture under expression. I don't miss a third pedal 16' flue.

 

I occasionally regret not going for a vox humana on the recit at Bedford Park. One was mooted, and after we added the Basson it was just about the only other possible addition, but at the time I couldn't see the point. Ah well, I've left that for my successor to do.

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There’s a Swell sub-octave to Great at the Swiss Church, Endell Street, which really beefs up the potential. Some have said that the Gt. 8' flute at St Michael’s Highgate, an organ I know quite well, although identified on the stop knob as Stopped, is in fact an open flute at least in the upper register.

Thanks for the inside info.

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This was my list of omissions from when I made the spec:

 

Omissions

Tuba/Chamade solo reed

Voix Humaine

2' flute

1⅓'

1'

Choir: 8' Dulciana or Open Diapason, Larigot

Great: 8' Open Flute, Twelfth, Cymbale

Swell: 16' flue, 4' flute, “standard” Mixture, chorus reed

Pedal: 32' Reed, 32' flue, 3rd 16' flue, Quint 10⅔', 8' flute, 4' flue, 8' or 4' reed

Octave couplers (mechanical)

eg Sw/Gt Suboctave; Sw/Gt Superoctave; Sw/Ped Superoctave; Ch/Ped Superoctave

Enclosed Choir

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6 hours ago, AJJ said:

Choir - Add Dulciana 8’, add Larigot 1 1/3 and maybe even enclose.

Just to add my four penn'orth, I do agree with the Larigot as I have always seen the Choir organ (in modern organs) as a 'colour' division to supplement the usual Great and Swell (and Solo, but in a different way).  I'd go further, though, and add a Septime 1 1/7' as well, and even a 1'!

I have to disagree with enclosing the Choir, though.

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From personal experience one has to take care with ‘all things to all people’ stoplists that what one actually needs to play actual repertoire does actually work. As an example I recently played a comprehensive two manual where everything ‘looked’ splendid but in fact nothing on the Great was quiet enough to accompany the Swell Oboe or 8’, 4’, 2 2/3 & 1 3/5 combination. The Swell Mixture was also too high to be used properly in choral accompaniment and also sounded decidedly weird coupled down to the Pedals in combination. Likewise deviously fiendishly put together stoplists can often often defeat their own purpose namely to play music or accompany liturgy...speaking as a frequent inventor of such in my misspent youth!

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I think that the Pedal and Swell organs are too small in proportion. In addition, the foundation work is somewhat slender. My preference is for at least one chorus reed on the G.O. The problem with a separate Bombarde Organ is, while it may increase flexibility on the one hand, on the other it necessitates adding a coupler every time that the reeds are required on the G.O. In French symphonic music, this would quickly become wearisome.

I note that this scheme is intended for a large parish church; I think that it may be a little small for that - depending on what it will be expected to do. If the musical duties involve choral accompaniment of roughly 'cathedral-type' repertoire, I should wish for a greater spread of 8ft. tone. And a somewhat larger Swell Organ, with a chorus mixture and a conventional reed chorus.

 

 

I did once design a small cathedral organ, which I tried to ensure that not only was there a good variety of foundation tone, but that there was adequate chorus-work, and that it would work convincingly as a tonal entity:

 

 

 

 

Small cathedral organ 9-04-10 (2).xls

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8 hours ago, pcnd5584 said:

I think that the Pedal and Swell organs are too small in proportion. In addition, the foundation work is somewhat slender. My preference is for at least one chorus reed on the G.O. The problem with a separate Bombarde Organ is, while it may increase flexibility on the one hand, on the other it necessitates adding a coupler every time that the reeds are required on the G.O. In French symphonic music, this would quickly become wearisome.

I note that this scheme is intended for a large parish church; I think that it may be a little small for that - depending on what it will be expected to do. If the musical duties involve choral accompaniment of roughly 'cathedral-type' repertoire, I should wish for a greater spread of 8ft. tone. And a somewhat larger Swell Organ, with a chorus mixture and a conventional reed chorus.

I couldn’t open your spreadsheet spec.

One particular I could have mentioned is that this might be for a relatively small historic case, hence the slightly small pedal and swell divisions.

I think the idea is that the Bombarde reeds are available via the coupler rather like an “Appel” (if that’s the right word); possibly easier to add and subtract than if they were on the Great, especially if there is a reversible pedal and/or thumb piston.

With 9 8' flues on the manuals it beats some “classical” Cathedral organs. Christ Church, Oxford has only 7!

 

 

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On 19/10/2019 at 09:37, innate said:

I couldn’t open your spreadsheet spec.

One particular I could have mentioned is that this might be for a relatively small historic case, hence the slightly small pedal and swell divisions.

I think the idea is that the Bombarde reeds are available via the coupler rather like an “Appel” (if that’s the right word); possibly easier to add and subtract than if they were on the Great, especially if there is a reversible pedal and/or thumb piston.

With 9 8' flues on the manuals it beats some “classical” Cathedral organs. Christ Church, Oxford has only 7!

 

 

Spreadsheet - odd; I'm not sure why. It opens fine for me - but then, the original is saved on my computer, so it might just be reverting to that.

Slender foundations - I was thinking particularly of the Choir Organ, which has a fair amount of upper-work, but only a single 8ft. Chimney Flute with which to support it. This was (and is) a serious failing of the Minster organ. I should want at least two other 8ft. ranks on the Choir  Organ.

In addition, on the Bombarde Organ, it would be helpful to specify the type of flutes available. Are they open, stopped, chimney, harmonic....? The Cornet is complete, so it doesn't require an 8ft. stopped Flute to be drawn at the same time.
 

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3 minutes ago, pcnd5584 said:

Spreadsheet - odd; I'm not sure why. It opens fine for me - but then, the original is saved on my computer, so it might just be reverting to that.
Slender foundations - I was thinking particularly of the Choir Organ, which has a fair amount of upper-work, but only a single 8ft. Chimney Flute with which to support it. This was (and is) a serious failing of the Minster organ. I should want at least two other 8ft. ranks on the Choir  Organ.
In addition, on the Bombarde Organ, it would be helpful to specify the type of flutes available. Are they open, stopped, chimney, harmonic....? The Cornet is complete, so it doesn't require an 8ft. stopped Flute to be drawn at the same time.

Spreadsheet unavailable [see attached graphic]

There could, hypothetically, be an existing chair case for the Choir which would limit the number of foundation flues. Maybe, as in some “box organs” there might be room for an open 8' from Middle C, but I suspect that won’t satisfy you 🙂 I quite like having my choices limited in some regards and I hadn’t really thought of this department as being a traditional English choral tradition accompanimental division at all; the Swell and Great are designed to be sufficient in that regard.

The Bombarde Flutes I imagined to be open, quite strongly voiced, particularly in the treble, definitely not Stopped or Chimney (those are specified elsewhere) but capable of being used as pedal flutes when required in eg trio sonatas. I like to leave some room for the builder to choose. I wouldn’t initially have thought of harmonic flutes for either but there’s a lovely one at St Michael and All Angel’s, Bedford Park (referred to above) which seems very at home in an otherwise quite classical stop list.

Screenshot 2019-10-21 at 22.06.14.png

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23 hours ago, innate said:

Spreadsheet unavailable [see attached graphic]

There could, hypothetically, be an existing chair case for the Choir which would limit the number of foundation flues. Maybe, as in some “box organs” there might be room for an open 8' from Middle C, but I suspect that won’t satisfy you 🙂 I quite like having my choices limited in some regards and I hadn’t really thought of this department as being a traditional English choral tradition accompanimental division at all; the Swell and Great are designed to be sufficient in that regard.

The Bombarde Flutes I imagined to be open, quite strongly voiced, particularly in the treble, definitely not Stopped or Chimney (those are specified elsewhere) but capable of being used as pedal flutes when required in eg trio sonatas. I like to leave some room for the builder to choose. I wouldn’t initially have thought of harmonic flutes for either but there’s a lovely one at St Michael and All Angel’s, Bedford Park (referred to above) which seems very at home in an otherwise quite classical stop list.

Screenshot 2019-10-21 at 22.06.14.png

 

(Spreadsheet copied as .rtf, and posted above.)

Having spent twenty-six years accompanying the Minster Choir (in Wimborne), with similar G.O. and Swell flues, I would state that these are insufficient for either variety or in order to avoid aural boredom. If the proposed instrument is not intended to accompany a good choir, with a fairly wide repertoire, then it is probably okay. However, again from experience, a single Chimney Flute won't be enough adequately to support that much upper-work.

 

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13 hours ago, pcnd5584 said:

 

(Spreadsheet copied as .rtf, and posted above.)

Having spent twenty-six years accompanying the Minster Choir (in Wimborne), with similar G.O. and Swell flues, I would state that these are insufficient for either variety or in order to avoid aural boredom. If the proposed instrument is not intended to accompany a good choir, with a fairly wide repertoire, then it is probably okay. However, again from experience, a single Chimney Flute won't be enough adequately to support that much upper-work.

 

I like your 4-man spec. Thanks for posting that. On paper it’s less “sparkly” and more “gravitas” than mine 🙂

Funnily enough the choir accompaniment isn’t the main thing, although there might be occasional choral evensongs. I respect your experience but aren’t there many examples from the 17th and 18th century of secondary divisions with no 8' principal base?

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15 hours ago, pcnd5584 said:

image.png.5492ff30c369d2e356fc9f321a3a8af9.png

I'm struck by how similar (on paper) this is to the Willis/H&H organ of Christ Church Cathedral (pre-Rieger...), which was a fine accompaniment instrument.  Most obvious differences are that Oxford had tierce mixtures, and less 16-ft reed tone on manuals (Gt had 8, 4 reeds, and Sw had Double Oboe).  Oxford also had a couple of harmonic flutes, a 16 ft on the Choir, a heavy OD...

Paul

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2 hours ago, pwhodges said:

I'm struck by how similar (on paper) this is to the Willis/H&H organ of Christ Church Cathedral (pre-Rieger...), which was a fine accompaniment instrument.  Most obvious differences are that Oxford had tierce mixtures, and less 16-ft reed tone on manuals (Gt had 8, 4 reeds, and Sw had Double Oboe).  Oxford also had a couple of harmonic flutes, a 16 ft on the Choir, a heavy OD...

It’s not that dissimilar to the secular instrument up the road: https://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=N08021

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18 hours ago, pcnd5584 said:

image.png.5492ff30c369d2e356fc9f321a3a8af9.png

Nice! I would however like a 2’ on the Swell and as someone mentioned above, a Gamba 8’ or suchlike on the Great  might be nice too. A not too narrow Sesquialtera II and 2’ Fifteenth on the Choir would also broaden resources as would a 4’ Fifteenth on the Pedal. Maybe a Cornet V from TG on the Solo to go with the big reed? Is this yours PCND? I seem to have lost the thread...or plot...or something!

A

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On 23/10/2019 at 16:18, AJJ said:

Nice! I would however like a 2’ on the Swell and as someone mentioned above, a Gamba 8’ or suchlike on the Great  might be nice too. A not too narrow Sesquialtera II and 2’ Fifteenth on the Choir would also broaden resources as would a 4’ Fifteenth on the Pedal. Maybe a Cornet V from TG on the Solo to go with the big reed? Is this yours PCND? I seem to have lost the thread...or plot...or something!

A

It is indeed mine, AJJ.

The Gamba is on the Choir. With a Choir to Great, this can be achieved;  a desire to keep to the smallest practicable stop-list was the aim, here. The Swell Fifteenth is in the Mixture. It occurred to me how little I used the Swell Fifteenth on the Minster Organ, when accompanying the choir. In fact, on my 'accompanimental' channel, the Hautbois is set to draw before the Fifteenth. The Pedal upper-work - again, the smallest practical size. Truro is only one stop larger (and that's another 8ft. open metal stop). The Sesquialtera and Cornet: once again space precludes these registers. In any case, it was drawn-up with a Romantic/Victorian bias, so these wouldn't necessarily feature.

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On 23/10/2019 at 11:15, innate said:

I like your 4-man spec. Thanks for posting that. On paper it’s less “sparkly” and more “gravitas” than mine 🙂

Funnily enough the choir accompaniment isn’t the main thing, although there might be occasional choral evensongs. I respect your experience but aren’t there many examples from the 17th and 18th century of secondary divisions with no 8' principal base?

There are indeed. However, I suspect that most of these work better than many English examples, because of the design and voicing of the individual ranks. And generally because these instruments are often situated in buildings with a more favourable acoustic ambience.

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