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A Curious Willis Custom?


Anthony Poole
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I have a recollection that Father Willis had an interesting, if not unique, method of planting pipework in organs where the swell division was placed behind the great.

 

Am I right in thinking that in the swell division, he used to put the C# side on the left and the C side on the right, while on the Great organ he placed the C side on the more customary left and the C# side on the right? I believe the reason was to improve egress of tone into the room, rather than Father Willis wanting to be a contrarion. If I am right in this, was the idea carried through to Willis III, and do other organ builders use it?

 

Thanks in advance for any replies.

 

Anthony

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Guest Geoff McMahon

Anthony Pool's note about the way Fr. Willis planted the Great and Swell organs is quite correct. It was usual for the C to be on the left of the Great but on the right in the Swell. However, I can't see any acoustical advantages in doing this. My suspicion is that it was simply easier to plant the two soundboards on the same rod so that in all instances the C was on the right as you faced the soundboard from the side with the face boards. We have often wondered why he did this and this is the only explanation we have been able to come up with.

 

John Pike Mander

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  • 7 months later...
Guest Roffensis
I have a recollection that Father Willis had an interesting, if not unique, method of planting pipework in organs where the swell division was placed behind the great.

 

Am I right in thinking that in the swell division, he used to put the C# side on the left and the C side on the right, while on the Great organ he placed the C side on the more customary left and the C# side on the right? I believe the reason was to improve egress of tone into the room, rather than Father Willis wanting to be a contrarion. If I am right in this, was the idea carried through to Willis III, and do other organ builders use it?

 

Thanks in advance for any replies.

 

Anthony

 

At Clubmoor Presbyterian Church,Liverpool, there is a 1877 2 decker original Willis ,13 stops, tracker with the swell "reversed".I wondered about that myself, and always put it down to an effort to enhance the tone somewhat by diffusion?.

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Guest Geoff McMahon

More likely it made making the soundboard rod and planting easier. I can't see any tonal advantage.

 

John Pike Mander

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