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The Divided Pedalboard


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Does anyone know when the pedal divide facility first appeared, where and was it solely for improvisaton?

 

AJJ

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Does anyone know when the pedal divide facility first appeared, where and was it solely for improvisaton?

 

AJJ

 

While I am sure that there are earlier examples the two that immediately come to mind are Liverpool Cathedral and the 1929 rebuild of the Alexandra Palace, both by Henry Willis III.

 

Both these jobs had a "Solo Tenor Solo to Pedal" which I believe had the effect of coupling the Solo to the Pedal from tenor C upwards while also silencing the pedal stops on that part of the pedalboard. (This is the way that the "Tenor Solo" coupler worked on the 1939 R&D in the Church of the Holy Rude, Stirling, which I always assumed was a copy by Rushworths of what the Willis coupler did).

 

I suspect that the motivation was probably more for playing transcriptions than for improvisation.

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Does anyone know when the pedal divide facility first appeared, where and was it solely for improvisaton?

 

AJJ

 

 

I'm sure AJJ is right in surmising that the pedal divide facility was introduced as an inprovisation aid, but there are some piece which really benefit from using it.

For example Dupre Angelus [published 1936] ; the whole pf the opening section ofthis piece is double-pedal with the right foot continuously repeating a high E [representing a tolling bell] whilst the left foot plays an independent bass-line in the bottom octave of the pedalboard. It seems to cry out for pedal divide - as then you can register the tolling high E appropriately and save it "clogging" up the texture by having to use the same 16+8 bourdons as the true bass requires.

 

bpf

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I was told by someone that the divided pedal-board facility was introduced in America, before it appeared either in the UK or in France.

 

Does anyone know whether or not this is correct, please?

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Does anyone know when the pedal divide facility first appeared, where and was it solely for improvisaton?

 

AJJ

 

Hi

 

Not a divided pedalboard - but didn't the German fimr of Walcker(sp?) build dual pedalboards in the mid-1800's?

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

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I was told by someone that the divided pedal-board facility was introduced in America, before it appeared either in the UK or in France.

 

Does anyone know whether or not this is correct, please?

 

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

 

For once, I'm a bit stumped for ideas.

 

I know that Liverpool Cathedral had a Solo Tenor to Pedal device, which also appeared on the Rushworth for Holy Rude, Stirling.

 

Pre-dating that, I suspect, was a similar sort of thing on the Wanamaker organ, Philadelphia.

 

Willis installed some sort of sustain device at St.George's Hall, Liverpool, which isn't the same thing of course.

 

Doesn't Truro have a divided solo coupler to the pedals, or some such, which David Briggs wanted?

 

At Notre Dame, I believe they had a divided pedal solo device, but I seem to recall that the divide is variable.

 

The Walcker double pedalboard would possibly enable to the same thing, but it must be very uncomfortable playing as if one is fastening a shoe-lace whilst sat at the organ bench.

 

I don't know why, but the name of Jehan Alain is nagging at me.....didn't he have a home organ with some trick devices, or is that simply my memory playing tricks?

 

Other than that, I know nuffin.

 

B)

 

MM

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

 

Doesn't Truro have a divided solo coupler to the pedals, or some such, which David Briggs wanted?

 

....as does Gloucester since the Nicholson rebuild - with an adjustable divide point

 

JJK

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Truro does indeed have a divided pedal, which was provided at the instigation of Mr Briggs. I've never played the organ though so don't know exactly what is involved.

 

The Alain piece you have in mind must be the Intermezzo, which was originally written for bassoon and piano. The bassoon's melody is given to the right foot. I can't remember whether or not Alain intended it to be played on a divided pedal. I've got notes somewhere, but no doubt someone else here will know. A great piece, incidentally.

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Truro, like Gloucester, has a pedal divide facility.

 

It consists of a draw-stop to enable the facility to function, a small control panel with four buttons which actuate the clavier to pedal couplers and a dial to adjust the divide point.

 

Thus, at Truro, if one were to draw the Pedal Divide, the 32p flue and the Bourdon, the Swell strings, the GO Claribel Flute and the Solo Clarinet, and then press the button marked 'Solo', one could play bass notes on the pedals (let us assume that the divide point is set at middle C of the pedal-board), chords on the Swell strings, a melody on the GO flute and a counter-melody on the Solo Clarinet, but on the upper part of the pedal-board.

 

This is, of course, only an example of the versatility of this device.

 

It is important to remember that octave couplers are not set-up to 'play through' the clavier to Pedal coupler buttons. This is not to say that they could not be set thereupon - I doubt that there is much which cannot be achieved by means of Solid-State. Therefore, the stops drawn for the solo on the upper part of the pedal-board will sound only at their natural pitch.

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Truro does indeed have a divided pedal, which was provided at the instigation of Mr Briggs. I've never played the organ though so don't know exactly what is involved.

 

The Alain piece you have in mind must be the Intermezzo, which was originally written for bassoon and piano. The bassoon's melody is given to the right foot. I can't remember whether or not Alain intended it to be played on a divided pedal. I've got notes somewhere, but no doubt someone else here will know. A great piece, incidentally.

Vox - it is a great piece, yes. Actually two bassoons and piano! I think Alain's father's house organ was the instrument in question; the Pedal 16p was on permanently in the lower octave, and the drawstop for this only functioned for notes above the divide point. The rest of the registers worked normally I think - so you could draw 4p Flute and play a melody on it in the upper octave of the pedals while the lowest octave of the pedal sounded at 16p pitch. I can't find the spec anywhere, but I'm reasonably sure about this. Not an electrical device. The Variations on Lucis Creator use the possibility too I think. S
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Musically a divided pedalboard can be fun - playing it is an entirely different thing.

B)

 

Betise03.jpg

 

 

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

 

He he! That's quite a fun photograph, but a complete con of course.

 

I counted the number of sticks and the sticky-out action toe thingies, and I count 32 for both, but they have been re-arranged; with the frame "stretchers" of the pedal board looking like additional pedals.

 

You can fool some of the people some of the time..........

 

:)

 

MM

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

 

Doesn't Truro have a divided solo coupler to the pedals, or some such, which David Briggs wanted?

 

....as does Gloucester since the Nicholson rebuild - with an adjustable divide point

 

JJK

 

 

Ripon also, on the new nave console by H&H (2000), though I don't recall ever hearing it used in recitals. Another useful device à la française is Manuals I & II exchange.

 

JS

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Musically a divided pedalboard can be fun - playing it is an entirely different thing.

:rolleyes:

 

Betise03.jpg

I've just worked this out!! This is extremely bad and you will think me an extreme geek for working this out...

 

It was originally a normal straight, flat 32 pedalboard from CC to g - if you look at the groupings of the keys beyond the fronts, you'll see there's the normal collection of 5-7-5-7-5-3 keys, with spaces between the naturals between the groupings of accidentals....

 

...but the notes have been re-arranged to cover a different compass - AA to e, by the looks of things, simply by re-arranging the keys in the pedalboard frame!

 

I really hope that most mainstream Frech organbuilding is better than this - this is ever so slightly more crude than my old church organ I got rid of built by Richard Boston...

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I've just worked this out!! This is extremely bad and you will think me an extreme geek for working this out...

 

It was originally a normal straight, flat 32 pedalboard from CC to g - if you look at the groupings of the keys beyond the fronts, you'll see there's the normal collection of 5-7-5-7-5-3 keys, with spaces between the naturals between the groupings of accidentals....

 

...but the notes have been re-arranged to cover a different compass - AA to e, by the looks of things, simply by re-arranging the keys in the pedalboard frame!

 

I really hope that most mainstream Frech organbuilding is better than this - this is ever so slightly more crude than my old church organ I got rid of built by Richard Boston...

 

It could be for a "short octave" arrangement. I suspect that it would be a pig to navigate though with the odd spacings.

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

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