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Great Reed Of Choice:


Tubular_pneumatic
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Greetings,

 

    If you are building up a specification and have occasion to select one Great reed, what would it be?  Trumpet?  Tromba?  Cromorne?  Etc...  Why would you select it?

 

    Best,

 

            Nathan - Who wants to know.

 

 

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

 

Much depends on the overall style of an instrument, but broadly-speaking, only the most romantic of voicing can ever blend with a smooth Tromba.

 

I used to play on an old Brindley & Foster organ (from their best period) rebuilt by Hill, Norman & Beard, the latter installing a new Trumpet rank on the same modest pressure as the Great flues. (About 3.5 to 4" wg)

 

The reed wasn't especially assertive, but it is easily the best 8ft chorus reed I ever heard; blending perfectly with the chorus, yet just about able to perform a solo function when called upon.

 

You just can't get better than a good English Trumpet on the Great.

 

When it comes to big trumpets, I think it was America that showed us how to do it with style and panache, but that sort of effect is not suitable as the only Great reed.

 

MM

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Of course, and the volume and the acoustics of the room.

 

Greetings,

 

I am aware of this, but I am more interested in the basic functionality of one rank over another, whether one leans more heavily towards a chorus reed (Trumpet), or towards a solo reed (Cromorne). I'd be interested in examples that fill both roles effectively as well.

 

Best,

 

Nathan

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"Normally", but this is a matter historical so one may imagine

something else:

 

The Great on baroque organ has no solo reeds save the Voix humaine

in french organs.

The Great on romantic organ has only chorus reeds -from a coarse french Trompette with open shallots up to Tromba-.

The normal place of the Cromorne is on the "Positif de dos". In very big organs you may sometimes find one on a late-baroque "Récit"; nothing common with a Swell division, rather a little 30 notes of so manual with say five stops.

But once again it is permitted to try something else!

Pierre

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Greetings,

 

I am aware of this, but I am more interested in the basic functionality of one rank over another, whether one leans more heavily towards a chorus reed (Trumpet), or towards a solo reed (Cromorne). I'd be interested in examples that fill both roles effectively as well.

 

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

 

 

One of the best and most useful reeds (in this particular case a unit at 16,8 and 4ft pitches) I ever heard, was a Dulzian. Not only did it function wonderfully as a colouring chorus reed, but could be used as a solo reed on its' own or in combination with flutes especially.

 

Encouragingly, this reed was incorporated into a re-built instrument speaking into quite a small acoustic and a building of modest size.

 

Of course, the beautiful Dolcans I hear in Holland, and those beautifully nasal Vox Humanas, probably sound so good due to the acoustics as well as the voicing. They seldom seem to travel well, but perhaps organ-builders have lost the art of making such reeds.

 

As for Cromornes, I've never really appreciated them as anything but a speciailised register for French-baroque music, but others may have different views.

 

MM

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One of the best and most useful reeds (in this particular case a unit at 16,8 and 4ft pitches) I ever heard, was a Dulzian. Not only did it function wonderfully as a colouring chorus reed, but could be used as a solo reed on its' own or in combination with flutes especially.

 

Greetings,

 

How was this Dulzian constructed? I know two examples, both on Holtkamp instruments at 16' pitch on the Great. One is made of copper for most of its compass (I don't recall if it changes to something else off hand), with flapped cap slides on the top. The other example has quadrangular wood resonators with tuning flaps. It is interesting, given that the resonators are mostly covered, what a growly texture they have.

 

Best,

 

Nathan

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But once again it is permitted to try something else!

 

Indeed, and the historical reeds are certainly a good jumping-off point for something new! One interesting thing I observed about the Whitelegg Moller here (I will constantly reference it because it is the closest thing to an English organ anywhere nearby) is that the Swell reeds are somewhat darkish, and can be topped by drawing the very bright string-based Cornet IV mixture. It certainly seems like an interesting idea to allow the Mixtures to provide the crown of the Great chorus and let the reed provide the substance; perhaps making it a more versatile stop - as opposed to having the reeds blast the flue chorus into inaudibility!

 

Best,

 

Nathan

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Dark reeds associated to compound stops that are actually a synthesis

of a Mixture an a Cornet are one of the "secrets" of the romantic organ:

 

Harmonia aetherea

Dulciana Mixture/Cornet (this and the former on secondary divisions)

Progressiv harmonika/ Progression harmonique

Cornet progressif

Harmonics

The Walcker Scharff (actually not a sharp mixture, but a Tierce Mixture)

The Willis 17-19-22 Mixture

 

It is interesting to note Arthur Harrison did that on the great, using bright

reeds on the Swell.

 

The french did not work that way, to the point if you tell them today

about a Cornet made with string pipes they won't believe you.

The "Harmonics", tough, was probably at least partly inspired by

Notre Dame Paris organ, which had Quint, Tierce and Septièmes

as independant mutations ranks.

 

The Dulzian is a short-lenght reed from the Regals family.

This is the extreme opposite to the Tromba and the Trompette harmonique

(the former being an evolution of the second) which are double-lenght reed stops.

Let's say some may not like the Tromba, I myself cannot help finding Regals

a bit of a KRRRRRRRRRRR thing. A matter of taste.

Best wishes,

Pierre

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Greetings,

 

How was this Dulzian constructed? I know two examples, both on Holtkamp instruments at 16' pitch on the Great. One is made of copper for most of its compass (I don't recall if it changes to something else off hand), with flapped cap slides on the top. The other example has quadrangular wood resonators with tuning flaps. It is interesting, given that the resonators are mostly covered, what a growly texture they have.

 

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

 

I'm afraid I don't know the answer to that, as I never looked inside the instrument, but it would almost certainly have been a metal one, knowing who supplied the pipes.

 

My guess is that it would have cylindrical cans stitched to the top, with holes in the sides.

 

Another nice register is the Oboe da Caccia at Blackburn Cathedral, built by J W Walker in the 1960's, which has more than a hint of the Dulzian type of sound, being less smooth and 'woody' than an conventional Oboe, but attractive as a solo register nontheless.

 

I think a good Dulzian has growl, but also a certain "body" in the sound.

 

The thing that amazes me about some of the old organs I hear in the Netherlands, is just how ACCURATE some of the organ registers are, in being true to the original

instruments. So often, romantic-style "orchestral reeds" are far wide of the mark.

 

I do admire Fr.Willis Clarinets however, which have a deliciously "woody" quality in the tenor-alto range, and which so many Anglican composers have exploited in choral works.

 

MM

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Guest paul@trinitymusic.karoo.co.uk
======================

 

 

You just can't get better than a good English Trumpet on the Great.

 

I'm very much of the same opinion.

I would add, a pre Willis/H&H Trumpet too.

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The thing that amazes me about some of the old organs I hear in the Netherlands, is just how ACCURATE some of the organ registers are, in being true to the original

instruments. So often, romantic-style "orchestral reeds" are far wide of the mark.

 

Greetings,

 

This is something that interests me very much. Although I appreciate highly imitative orchestral-styled instruments, my eyes were really opened by listening to the dedication of an 1874 Hook instrument. The reeds were not at all imitative, yet they were very refined and beautiful to hear - truly what one would consider "organ tone".

 

It was through this experience that I gained interest in the English style of organ building. (Although the hauntingly beautiful consoles and cases played a large part as well!)

 

- Nathan

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I'm very much of the same opinion.

I would add, a pre Willis/H&H Trumpet too.

 

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

 

 

Absolutely!

 

That said, a typical Harrison (usually Swell) TRUMPET is quite impressive and splashy in tone. (Heavy pressure of course....usually about 6"wg?) It's the Trombas which are so awful.

 

Diverting ever so slightly, I do admire those old Schnitger "Trometten" with the leathered shallots, which sound so close to the real baroque item; especially the pedal reeds, which sound so much like a trombone of the period.

 

Also, my apolgies for misspelling "Dolciaan" as "Dolcan," the latter being an inverted conical labial-register sounding not that much different to a Dulciana.

 

I think most UK organists would agree that the best pre-Willis/Harrison reeds came from the Hill stable, and indeed, often came from the post-romantic era of Hill, Norman & Beard.

 

MM

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Greetings,

 

       This is something that interests me very much.  Although I appreciate highly imitative orchestral-styled instruments, my eyes were really opened by listening to the dedication of an 1874 Hook instrument.  The reeds were not at all imitative, yet they were very refined and beautiful to hear - truly what one would consider "organ tone".

 

       It was through this experience that I gained interest in the English style of organ building.  (Although the hauntingly beautiful consoles and cases played a large part as well!)

 

        - Nathan

 

The whole Great chorus of the 1875 Hook & Hastings at The Cathedral of the Holy Cross, Boston is an amazing sound. Right from 16 Double, Quint 5-1/3 and the rest up to Mixture IV (with tierce I think), Cymbale VII (best used to top a 'contrapuntal' effect) and Acuta VII (with flat 21st and tierce - maybe best with the reeds) AND 16, 8 and 4 reeds (the latter two made by Zimmerman in Paris). The reeds are big but just as described by TP above. The whole lot together is quite splendid!! This organ was not in good shape when the recordings I have were made (by Thomas Murray) - the earlier (1863) and smaller E & GG Hook at the Church of the Immaculate Conception in Boston is in better shape - the overall effect is similar though.

Funnily enough the Great reeds on the latter sound to me (on CD at any rate) just like the Hill (?) trio on the Great at Bath Abbey before the Klais rebuild.

 

AJJ

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"Also, my apolgies for misspelling "Dolciaan" as "Dolcan," the latter being an inverted conical labial-register sounding not that much different to a Dulciana."

(Quote)

 

Indeed, a certain Johannes Schnetzler immigrated in Britain with precisely

that stop....

He named it Dulciana.

Later a certain Samuel did it with normal pipes, and the lovely british

Dulciana commenced its long career...That may well continue in Belgium!

 

Best wishes,

Pierre

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Not strictly on topic, so apologies.

 

I heard Margaret Phillips play a selection of the Eighteen on Saturday, on the QEH Flentrop. The only reed on this instrument is the Swell Cremona 8', which proved extremely versatile as both a chorus and solo stop. Very nice.

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Guest Andrew Butler
and the lovely british

Dulciana commenced its long career

 

What exactly does everyone use a Dulciana for? There is one on the Great at one of the churches where I play regularly, and I recently used it alone for the 1st time - after 33 years! - while improvising before a very late-starting service. On some organs I have tried it as an accompaniment for say the swell oboe, but it is invariably too quiet.

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Originally, it was an accompanying stop, like the original Dolcan

in southern Germany.

These stops were a special feature of the southern Germany

Orgellandschaft, where the multiplication of the 8' flues began

as early as 1700 with Casparini's synthesis of the german and

the italian baroque organs.

His Görlitz's "Sonnenorgel" was a milestone in this respect in the

evolution that lead later to the romantic organ.

 

Coming from Switzerland, Johannes Schnetzler (aka John Snetzler)

tried to introduce these soft 8' in Britain.

The british became fond of the Dolcan, not of the others (Gambas maybe?)

so this one rooted in Britain uner the name Dulciana.

It seems to be Samuel Green who made it with parallel rather

than inverted conical pipes in the first place.

 

But of course these soft 8' were still baroque stops intended for the

baroque organ, deprived of the wide dynamic range of the romantic one.

 

So the Dulciana, taken from a Green "music box" (one may like such music boxes!)

and introduced in a huge instrument with high-pressures reeds and the like, became

rather a british equivalent to the german "DOLCE", a soft accompanimental 8' that

took place on the great to be used with the other division's solo stops.

Here is an example of a Dolce (Schlimbach 1907):

 

http://www.aeoline.de/Schultheis_Schlimbac...NR_Dolc8_UW.mp3

 

(This stop is slightly stringy in the bass, and a Flute in the treble, while the

Dulciana is a Diapason, but the roles are the same)

As far as I know, maybe it was Arthur Harrison (or a Dixon's idea?) that placed the

Dulciana on the choir with a complete chorus as an echo Diapason chorus.

 

In a little organ the Dulciana may serve as a kind of Open Diapason II, enlighting

the One in combination, as well as an accompanimental stop for the second manual.

 

Of course such a stop makes deal of a logic that was completely dismissed and forgetted since WW II, a kind of "horizontal chorus" in which all 8' flues are made

to work togheter in a very precise way.

If one still believes what we were told in the sixties, that is, "you draw only one 8' at a time", the Dulciana is really an oddity then.

 

Best wishes,

Pierre

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Originally, it was an accompanying stop, like the original Dolcan

in southern Germany.

These stops were a special feature of the southern Germany

Orgellandschaft, where the multiplication of the 8' flues began

as early as 1700 with Casparini's synthesis of the german and

the italian baroque organs.

His Görlitz's "Sonnenorgel" was a milestone in this respect in the

evolution that lead later to the romantic organ.

 

Coming from Switzerland, Johannes Schnetzler (aka John Snetzler)

tried to introduce these soft 8' in Britain.

The british became fond of the Dolcan, not of the others (Gambas maybe?)

so this one rooted in Britain uner the name Dulciana.

It seems to be Samuel Green who made it with parallel rather

than inverted conical pipes in the first place.

 

But of course these soft 8' were still baroque stops intended for the

baroque organ, deprived of the wide dynamic range of the romantic one.

 

So the Dulciana, taken from a Green "music box" (one may like such music boxes!)

and introduced in a huge instrument with high-pressures reeds and the like, became

rather a british equivalent to the german "DOLCE", a soft accompanimental 8' that

took place on the great to be used with the other division's solo stops.

Here is an example of a Dolce (Schlimbach 1907):

 

http://www.aeoline.de/Schultheis_Schlimbac...NR_Dolc8_UW.mp3

 

(This stop is slightly stringy in the bass, and a Flute in the treble, while the

Dulciana is a Diapason, but the roles are the same)

As far as I know, maybe it was Arthur Harrison (or a Dixon's idea?) that placed the

Dulciana on the choir with a complete chorus as an echo Diapason chorus.

 

In a little organ the Dulciana may serve as a kind of Open Diapason II, enlighting

the One in combination, as well as an accompanimental stop for the second manual.

 

Of course such a stop makes deal of a logic that was completely dismissed and forgetted since WW II, a kind of "horizontal chorus" in which all 8' flues are made

to work togheter in a very precise way.

If one still believes what we were told in the sixties, that is, "you draw only one 8' at a time", the Dulciana is really an oddity then.

 

Best wishes,

Pierre

 

 

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

 

 

I just cannot understand why Pierre is such an enthusiast for what is such a lost cause ie: The Dulciana.

 

The Dulciana only ever served one purpose, which was to give the note for the responses; the other 60 pipes being a complete waste of time and money to install.

 

The typical Dulciana doesn't blend with anything at all, for the simple reason that it is immediately swamped by the sound of even the most gentle Lieblich Gedackt and simply cannot be heard.

 

Furthermore, it is NOT a Diapason, for it is not a "full voice" at all. More likely, the typical Dulciana resembles the last dying breath of the Mute Swan, and tonally, one never quite knows whether to give them a meal or put them out of their misery.

 

Why has no-one ever written "A voluntary for the Dulciana?"

 

Not even "The colours of the organ" album discovered this particular gem.

 

Forget the Dulciana Pierre, they are a waste of space and wind.

 

:o

 

MM

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Guest Andrew Butler
=========================

 

Why has no-one ever written "A voluntary for the Dulciana?"

 

Actually, they have - see "Soloing The Stops" (Kevin Mayhew) a piece entitled "De Profundis" (haven't got the book to hand so can't tell you the composer). Quite a nice piece, echoes of Howells in places, but really needs Dulciana to be under expression.

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

I just cannot understand why Pierre is such an enthusiast for what is such a lost cause ie: The Dulciana ...

Forget the Dulciana Pierre, they are a waste of space and wind.

 

I too have heard Dulcianas that are really quite boring -- soft to the point of having lost all character. I don't think there is any use, in any music, for neutral sounds.

 

There is, however, a Dulciana 8' on the Schuke in my congregation's former church (I tend to boast with that organ which, after all, I haven't anything to do with any more, but then it is so beautiful an instrument). Karl Schuke specified it for the enclosed Positive; it sits next to an 8-foot Rohrgedackt. It is soft, but still exquisitely so, and has the most delicate of chiffs in the lower and middle ranges. It really is a sound to listen to for its own beauty.

 

On the Great, there is an 8-foot Gemshorn that starts 'cello-like in the bass and becomes a rather big flute in the treble. Take that Gemshorn, the Dulciana for accompaniment, and the Pedal Subbass with the Great coupled, and you have a sound that is almost catholic in its sweetness (*gasp*). Would I go so far as to add the tremulant to the Dulciana? Smell the incense ...

 

Best,

Friedrich

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Dear Friedrich,

 

The german Dulciana is not the same stop as the english one; it belongs

to the Gamba family.

The true Dulciana does not exist in any continent-build organ.

And of course it is permitted not to like it, I'd just add not all Principals

are full-blown.

The baroque french was not, the italian Principale even less so.

Best wishes,

Pierre

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