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I had heard vague mutterings about these proposals, and a friend has since alerted me to the Daily Mail article:

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-10429251/How-cushions-help-Church-England-hit-green-targets.html
 

There is also this from The Telegraph:

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2022/01/21/church-england-could-take-softly-softly-approach-relaxing-rules/

Unfortunately it appears to be under a paywall.  

Surely the Victorian Society and Diocesan Advisers - both architectural and organ - ought to be aware of the implications for tuning.

We have had lots of discussion in the past about the problems of turning heating on and off, and people saying that keeping a constant ambient temperature is actually more economical. 

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10 hours ago, John Robinson said:

Cushions?  Carpets?
Aren't we all forgetting the organ?!

Of course not .I feel a degree of  semi-certainty that the plan will include padded organ benches  as well as the keys, stopknobs, pedals and other paraphenalia in order to keep the poor player warm.   The organists well being is, as always , of prime concern to incumbents and their Committees of Pot Dogs.

Generally, I feel, these plans will be gratefully appreciated by those sections of church audiences who enjoy spending their time in church having a cozy snooze and a good chat.   Why not provide hot drink dispensers ,comfort blankets etc.    This is the way forward to boost dwindling attendance in these hallowed places; true Christian comfort in fact under the guise of taking " global factors " into consideration.

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Lord Kelvin once said that "when you cannot express it in numbers, your knowledge is of a meagre and unsatisfactory kind".

I therefore hope that the Church will not implement these sorts of rather expensive change without knowledge of what it will do in terms of real, quantified energy savings.  The organ is actually a good starting point for this kind of discussion since it illustrates some of the issues involved.  A small single-phase single-fan organ blower might consume 1.5 kilowatts of electrical power, about the same as two small 'Henry' vacuum cleaners, meaning that the electrical energy consumed during a church service lasting an hour and a half will be 2.25 kilowatt hours (kWh) - energy equals power multiplied by time.  This figure assumes the blower would be switched on all the time during the service.  What matters here is the energy figure rather than power, because all of this except for the utterly negligible fraction which is converted into sound will get turned into heat (and so will the sound waves once they have whizzed past our ears).  All energy eventually ends up as heat, which is the most degenerate form of energy.  The blower motor energy will be completely wasted, because in the last analysis it will all percolate into the atmosphere outside the church regardless of how much carpeting and roof insulation, etc, it has, and therefore contribute to the ultimate heat-death of the Universe (Kelvin again), of which the more immediate climate change problems on our puny planet are but a harbinger of things to come.  Insulation will not prevent the energy loss but merely slow it down, meaning that we might stay a bit warmer during the service but the church will still get just as cold a day or two later once the heating (and organ blower) have been turned off.  But we might use less energy in getting the church up to temperature if the insulation is good, which is therefore a Good Thing.  Nevertheless, having an organ blower switched on, like a fan heater at home, reminds us uncomfortably of the issues involved.

There are lots of energy performance firms out there who ought to be roped in to provide quantitative guidance to dioceses on this matter.  These are the sorts of firm which issue EPC certificates when you are selling your home.  I am not saying this won't happen, merely that it's important to get specialist advice rather than just having individual bishops and PCCs wave their collective fingers in the air and say "let's put down a carpet or two to keep our feet warm and show the media that we are doing our bit". The issues are more complex and important than that.  Global warming is serious stuff, and it's with us now.  It's applied thermodynamics in action with a vengeance, and Kelvin invented a lot of this.

 

 

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3 hours ago, Colin Pykett said:

Lord Kelvin once said that "when you cannot express it in numbers, your knowledge is of a meagre and unsatisfactory kind".

I therefore hope that the Church will not implement these sorts of rather expensive change without knowledge of what it will do in terms of real, quantified energy savings.  The organ is actually a good starting point for this kind of discussion since it illustrates some of the issues involved.  A small single-phase single-fan organ blower might consume 1.5 kilowatts of electrical power, about the same as two small 'Henry' vacuum cleaners, meaning that the electrical energy consumed during a church service lasting an hour and a half will be 2.25 kilowatt hours (kWh) - energy equals power multiplied by time.  This figure assumes the blower would be switched on all the time during the service.  What matters here is the energy figure rather than power, because all of this except for the utterly negligible fraction which is converted into sound will get turned into heat (and so will the sound waves once they have whizzed past our ears).  All energy eventually ends up as heat, which is the most degenerate form of energy.  The blower motor energy will be completely wasted, because in the last analysis it will all percolate into the atmosphere outside the church regardless of how much carpeting and roof insulation, etc, it has, and therefore contribute to the ultimate heat-death of the Universe (Kelvin again), of which the more immediate climate change problems on our puny planet are but a harbinger of things to come.  Insulation will not prevent the energy loss but merely slow it down, meaning that we might stay a bit warmer during the service but the church will still get just as cold a day or two later once the heating (and organ blower) have been turned off.  But we might use less energy in getting the church up to temperature if the insulation is good, which is therefore a Good Thing.  Nevertheless, having an organ blower switched on, like a fan heater at home, reminds us uncomfortably of the issues involved.

There are lots of energy performance firms out there who ought to be roped in to provide quantitative guidance to dioceses on this matter.  These are the sorts of firm which issue EPC certificates when you are selling your home.  I am not saying this won't happen, merely that it's important to get specialist advice rather than just having individual bishops and PCCs wave their collective fingers in the air and say "let's put down a carpet or two to keep our feet warm and show the media that we are doing our bit". The issues are more complex and important than that.  Global warming is serious stuff, and it's with us now.  It's applied thermodynamics in action with a vengeance, and Kelvin invented a lot of this.

 

 

Interesting points made here.      Environmental issues caused by organ blowers?    Simple solution - just go digital  -  though the potential problem of chips overheating could be yet another issue.

The problem could be resolved,in part at least, by redirecting some of the hot air which is spouted from the podiums in these institutions.

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Not quite as simple as this with digital organs I'm afraid.  Their typical power consumption in a small to medium sized building could quite possibly be comparable to that of the small organ blower I mentioned above (1.5 kW).  The several power amplifiers required to drive an array of beefy speakers in a sizeable building such as a church, including at least one big subwoofer, could consume the same order of peak power as an organ blower.  Lots of people have a 1 kW (or so) audio power installation in their homes or even cars these days!  These figures are necessary because loudspeakers are very inefficient at converting the electrical audio power from the amps into enough sound power in the air.  However the difference with digitals is that this sort of power is not usually being supplied all the time, as with an organ blower motor, but only when loud sounds are being demanded by the organist.  This is because the amplifiers usually operate in what is called class B, C or D modes rather than class A - an important technicality in the power context.

When digitals with lots of speakers are installed in really big buildings such as cathedrals it is sometimes impossible to apply the mains to all of the many power amplifiers at once because the total inrush current will trip the circuit breakers of the building - a little known but embarrassing fact.  So the installers have to employ a sequential switch-on arrangement which applies power to each amplifier (or group of amplifiers) in turn with a short delay between each one to prevent this happening.

Even when you switch something on as apparently innocuous as your TV, you  might sometimes notice the room lights flicker slightly owing to the initial inrush current.

And the myriad little LEDs telling us that our various devices at home are on standby (TVs, hifi, wifi routers, central heating controllers, laptops - you name it) consume enough power over the country as a whole to hog the output of two entire power stations supplying around 1 GW each (gigawatt or 1000 megawatts) - just to keep the LEDs lit plus a small amount of standby current inside.  A large coal fired power station can provide around 1 GW - only half the power required.  I wrote an article about this which was published by the Institute of Physics.  See:

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/290148267_Can_an_LED_really_be_green

So electronic devices, including digital organs, do consume a lot of power one way or another.  Pipe organ blowers are not the only culprits!

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23 hours ago, John Robinson said:

Aren't we all forgetting the organ?!

I thought John’s comment was in jest, but he hit the nail on the head in the light of what has followed here. This is about the organ, not wider environmental issues, heating bills and similar matters!  

When I posted this topic I had in mind (1) the impairment of acoustic, specifically reverberation and ‘bloom’, by carpets and additional soft furnishings being introduced, and (2) potential problems with tuning resulting from temperature variations (with which we are all familiar) when churches turn heating on just for Sunday services.  This subject is also being discussed in the Church press and on Christian blogs without the above issues being considered or even mentioned.  Hence my gentle admonition that people like Diocesan Advisers and the Victorian Society really should know better.

I also foresaw that raising these matters would be likely to provide ammunition for people saying “you don’t get these problems with digital organs” - but DOAs and the Victorian Society (not to mention the members of this Board!) should be in the front line defending the pipe organ.

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22 minutes ago, Rowland Wateridge said:

I thought John’s comment was in jest, but he hit the nail on the head in the light of what has followed here. This is about the organ, not wider environmental issues, heating bills and similar matters!  

When I posted this topic I had in mind (1) the impairment of acoustic, specifically reverberation and ‘bloom’, by carpets and additional soft furnishings being introduced, and (2) potential problems with tuning resulting from temperature variations (with which we are all familiar) when churches turn heating on just for Sunday services.  This subject is also being discussed in the Church press and on Christian blogs without the above issues being considered or even mentioned.  Hence my gentle admonition that people like Diocesan Advisers and the Victorian Society really should know better.

 

Yes.  That's exactly what I was intending to refer to, bearing in mind that this is an organ forum!  There have been many discussions about churches installing carpets, etc., to the detriment of the acoustics and the sound of the organ.

I'd be happy with a bit of soft padding on the seats of the pews, as they can be quite harsh on the bot, but that's all really.  I see no need for carpets certainly and their cost could be better spent on maintaining the organ!

Just my opinion, of course.

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10 hours ago, Rowland Wateridge said:

I thought John’s comment was in jest, but he hit the nail on the head in the light of what has followed here. This is about the organ, not wider environmental issues, heating bills and similar matters!  

When I posted this topic I had in mind (1) the impairment of acoustic, specifically reverberation and ‘bloom’, by carpets and additional soft furnishings being introduced, and (2) potential problems with tuning resulting from temperature variations (with which we are all familiar) when churches turn heating on just for Sunday services.  This subject is also being discussed in the Church press and on Christian blogs without the above issues being considered or even mentioned.  Hence my gentle admonition that people like Diocesan Advisers and the Victorian Society really should know better.

I also foresaw that raising these matters would be likely to provide ammunition for people saying “you don’t get these problems with digital organs” - but DOAs and the Victorian Society (not to mention the members of this Board!) should be in the front line defending the pipe organ.

I don't quite see where you are coming from here Rowland.  Your original post explicitly mentioned "keeping a constant ambient temperature is actually more economical" - which is to do with heating bills isn't it? -  and the  Daily Mail article you linked to was all about your "wider environmental issues".  Yet you now seem to be saying that your post was not about "wider environmental issues, heating bills and similar matters"!

But I'm sorry if I have inadvertently not followed the path you intended.

(Retires thoroughly confused and calls Uber ...)

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I wasn’t sufficiently specific.  My original post mentioned tuning - that’s what the heating issue was all about, and that the effects on the organ and acoustics don’t appear to have entered anyone’s thinking in these proposals.  I hope I’m not being unduly pessimistic - see Martin’s post about cathedral organs - but except for a minority of people I feel that the fortunes of the church pipe organ in our country are currently at a low ebb.

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I think that Rowland's point about acoustics is a good one.  I know of one excellent Neo-baroque organ which is almost ruined by being in a carpeted church with a low wood-covered ceiling - there is literally no reverberation and the use of what should be an excellent Mixture is almost painful on the ears.   The old adage of the building being the most important stop on an organ is not far from the truth in my view. 

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All most interesting.    Suggestion:-  1)   Turn heating down to minimum .

                                                           2)   Wear extra clothing.

                                                           3)   Reduce length of services

That`s pretty much the appliance of science to the matter. 

 

 

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5 hours ago, Adnosad said:

All most interesting.    Suggestion:-  1)   Turn heating down to minimum .

                                                           2)   Wear extra clothing.

                                                           3)   Reduce length of services

That`s pretty much the appliance of science to the matter. 

 

 

Well said.  Especially no. 3!

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13 hours ago, Adnosad said:

All most interesting.    Suggestion:-  1)   Turn heating down to minimum .

                                                           2)   Wear extra clothing.

                                                           3)   Reduce length of services

That`s pretty much the appliance of science to the matter. 

 

 

And linked to this - and point 3 in particular - reverse all the emphasis on the Eucharist and return to Matins as the norm for the morning service. Eucharist is not a good point of entry for people trying out church - just the whole thing of having to leave your seat to go and receive communion takes people out of their comfort zone - much better to come to Matins where one can shelter in the BCP with reasonable anonymity. On the whole though, clergy don't buy this and the vast majority of them haven't experienced it themselves as children so Matins is just something they do on their own, or they endure in one of the churches in their multi-church benefices because the PCC insists - but there is no choir and no proper organist who can lead things like the Venite, Psalm, Te Deum & Jubilate/Benedictus so it's grim all round. 

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Martin, I will limit this comment to my experience of Matins and Evensong.

Until my retirement my main job was playing for Matins, with an admittedly largely elderly congregation (and equally elderly organist!) who sang this liturgy as to the manner born.  Over the years the choir dwindled to maybe one or two or three, more frequently none in latter years.  Notwithstanding, we sang Matins totally unabridged - the full works - every Sunday except the first in the month.  Some congregation members sang from pointed psalters - they were available for all in that church - but in the main, that congregation had absorbed Anglican chant, and we changed the chants at every service.  The organist’s role is to lead decisively and rhythmically, not over-obtrusively, and that worked.  Similarly we had hearty hymn-singing.  Our repertoire did not extend to any settings or anthems. With a sermon of reasonable length, average service time was one hour.  I greatly miss doing it!  In other places where I played occasionally, there were variations, in one church omitting parts of the Te Deum but having Venite complete.  I don’t count myself as any great organist, but playing these services, and latterly mainly without a choir, became second nature.  Similarly, Evensong at another country church was much simpler.  They insisted on the same chants every time for Mag. and Nunc!  

There are still organists capable of playing Matins and Evensong at parish level, albeit we might feel part of a largely dying breed (except in cathedrals, of course).  In our parish the clergy were entirely supportive, but we had the luxury of two churches and the other one had the inevitable Family Service with Communion every week.  

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The discussion has turned well away from where it began, so I don't feel too guilty about taking it further.

I share the hankerings expressed above for a return to the Anglican environment in which I too was raised.  It is a pity that so many today will never get to know the glories of the BCP and the music of Matins at parish level because these things remain just so beautiful, as beautiful in an absolute, objective sense as can possibly be.  As beautiful as the Bible and the other Holy Books I've dipped into (and you don't need to be religious to appreciate them as great works of literature), or great art or music.  'When I were a lad' Matins (not Communion) was the regular Sunday service I grew up with, and the first at which I played while still at school on a substantial 3-decker in a large church with a big choir when the organist and all the deputies happened to be on holiday.  Memorable!

But I can't see that doing things like bringing Matins back, even if it were possible, would do much to encourage wider church attendance any more than playing more classical music to people would encourage its significantly wider uptake.  The issues are wider than that, I would suggest.  Just for starters, in my view the organ world in this country is still too closely connected to a politicised State church, which in turn is still (like the BBC with its pompous Reith lectures) rooted in the traditions of Empire and the social divisions of a century ago.  As one example, the way that members of its top team seem incapable of dissociating themselves from their Establishment legacy by continuing to fawn in public over the aristocracy revolts me in this day and age.  It's all so backwards facing.  Don't they realise that today's population expects something different, for goodness' sake?  So it is with sadness that I concluded a good while ago that there's little wonder the whole lot - the Church, organs and all - are dying these days.

As far as the organ is concerned I'd love to be proved wrong though.  Maybe I can't see enough of the picture and I'm being too iconoclastic.  Please tell me that this is actually the case, then I'll feel better.

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The morning and evening canticles which derive from St Luke’s Gospel are all outstandingly beautiful, but from the morning ones I have to single out the Benedictus (also mentioned by Martin in his post above).  Can there be a clearer, more inspired and beautiful statement of Christian belief?  I used to ask for this to be substituted in place of Jubilate when the day or season made it especially appropriate.  

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20 hours ago, Colin Pykett said:

But I can't see that doing things like bringing Matins back, even if it were possible, would do much to encourage wider church attendance any more than playing more classical music to people would encourage its significantly wider uptake. 

I know you're right, Colin... I just feel that if you said to someone, why don't you come to church with me on Sunday, it would be just a little easier for a first-timer if they could come and just listen and absorb as you can at Matins. And there's more variety and no great long intercessions (which are usually several minutes too long) and prayer of consecration. And so much is lost with all these modern translations (of the Bible as well as the liturgy) that in my view don't make anything any more digestible. Why is it that after so many years, I still cannot recite the modern version of the Lord's Prayer? It's because there is nothing distinguished and special about it. Anyway, it's all an un-win-able argument so there is no point in hankering after a change.

I must re-read the Benedictus, Rowland - it's along time since I have sung it. A favourite morning canticle for me was always the Benedicite - such colourful words, and, of course, some terrific choral settings. I particularly think of FJ's and have great memories of John Dykes Bower enjoying playing it on the Choir School grand piano at St Paul's. And the organ part in William Harris's is tremendous. But I even enjoy the Benedicite to that extended double chant. 

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13 hours ago, Colin Pykett said:

As beautiful as the Bible and the other Holy Books I've dipped into (and you don't need to be religious to appreciate them as great works of literature), or great art or music.  'When I were a lad' Matins (not Communion) was the regular Sunday service I grew up with.

So it is with sadness that I concluded a good while ago that there's little wonder the whole lot - the Church, organs and all - are dying these days.

As far as the organ is concerned I'd love to be proved wrong though.  Maybe I can't see enough of the picture and I'm being too iconoclastic.  Please tell me that this is actually the case, then I'll feel better.

I agree.  Although I am not religious now, and to be honest I probably never really was, I do remember enjoying Matins as a choirboy 'wen ah wer a lad'.

Yes, I still enjoy religious music, choral and especially organ and it certainly is sad that all of this seems to be dying today.  Sad, but nil desperandum, it may one day come back into fashion.

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2 hours ago, Martin Cooke said:

Why is it that after so many years, I still cannot recite the modern version of the Lord's Prayer? It's because there is nothing distinguished and special about it.

Yes, why change the old version, and the words that appear in the KJV bible?  I find traditional wordings far more interesting and attractive.

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Not surprisingly to some, I expect, I disagree with almost everything that has been said here about Mass v Matins, new v old etc. 

I'd like to spend more time explaining but I have to get out to play for the morning Mass -  said/sung in a modern French translation, not Latin, with music written, I suspect, within the last five years, in a church that is regularly full for the service and where the people join in with the both the said and sung responses. 

Perhaps I'll come back to it - or, perhaps, I'll just end up upsetting people - again!!!! 

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1 hour ago, S_L said:

Not surprisingly to some, I expect, I disagree with almost everything that has been said here about Mass v Matins, new v old etc. 

I'd like to spend more time explaining but I have to get out to play for the morning Mass -  said/sung in a modern French translation, not Latin, with music written, I suspect, within the last five years, in a church that is regularly full for the service and where the people join in with the both the said and sung responses. 

Perhaps I'll come back to it - or, perhaps, I'll just end up upsetting people - again!!!! 

In this short message you have encapsulated just about all of the important issues:

"a church that is regularly full" - how do they do that in France when we can't?

"a modern French translation" - why don't people object over there as much as we do here?

"people join in" - I wish they would here.

"upsetting people" - good on you, and let's have more of it.  They obviously know how to run their churches better than we do.

Vibrant churches mean the pipe organ is more likely to survive, which is what matters to this forum.  And vice versa.  Sliding towards the opposite situation, as we seem to be doing, means the end game will be that organ music will eventually only be playable on a few instruments maintained by some means in secular buildings, or in cathedrals repurposed as museums and owned by English Heritage.  Together with a host of digital instruments in people's homes, much as now but more so.

 

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5 hours ago, S_L said:

Not surprisingly to some, I expect, I disagree with almost everything that has been said here about Mass v Matins, new v old etc. 

S_L,  I’m not in any sense advocating abandonment of Mass in favour of Matins!  I have occasionally played for services combining both, although I concede those have been on ‘high’ days like Christmas, Easter and Pentecost. But churches ought to be able to work out something to accommodate both ‘camps’ and those, like myself, with a foot in both.  I realise this must be a major headache for those C of E incumbents with huge combined benefices, but somehow we achieved it in one with four parishes.  Some of the faithful would commute between them.

Your French services sound very interesting, and I’m sure we would all like to know more about the music, including what is chosen for the voluntary on the forthcoming great Abbatiale occasion.- which I have just realised is on the Cathedral Organs thread, not this one!  There has been some overlap in these discussions!

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2 hours ago, Rowland Wateridge said:

.Your French services sound very interesting, and I’m sure we would all like to know more about the music, including what is chosen for the voluntary on the forthcoming great Abbatiale occasion.- which I have just realised is on the Cathedral Organs thread, not this one!  There has been some overlap in these discussions!

Would you, kindly, like to point me to that!

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