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Harmonic's Dance Partner


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If you get one harmonic 4' flute on a mid sized 3m. would you want it on the choir so you could accompany it with swell stops or on the swell and acccompany it with choir stops. [accompany as in solo -- ie. using it down the octave as a 8' solo or in combo. with another stop(s) say as part of the cornet]

WM

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If you get one harmonic 4' flute on a mid sized 3m. would you want it on the choir so you could accompany it with swell stops or on the swell and acccompany it with choir stops. [accompany as in solo -- ie. using it down the octave as a 8' solo or in combo. with another stop(s) say as part of the cornet]

WM

 

As the Great 4' flute so you could do both or use it with the larger flutes there.

 

AJJ

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Guest paul@trinitymusic.karoo.co.uk
If you get one harmonic 4' flute on a mid sized 3m. would you want it on the choir so you could accompany it with swell stops or on the swell and acccompany it with choir stops. [accompany as in solo -- ie. using it down the octave as a 8' solo or in combo. with another stop(s) say as part of the cornet]

WM

 

 

You haven't given Great as an option - I would have it there.

 

Sticking to your question: Provided that your Choir manual is unenclosed, a Harmonic Flute might be nice, maybe not as the only flute at either 8' or 4' though. I think the character of a HF is lost (for the most part) under expression. I know several on Solo organs, and IMHO they just sound loud and creamy, you don't hear the extra overtones and nuances that make a good HF sound like an orchestral flautist at work.

 

On the Great at 4' it is very useful in French repertoire (particularly) and (provided that you have a respectable example) it makes an excellent solo stop played down an octave. I used to have one once (at St.Alkmund's Whitchurch) at 8' on the Great. It was Harmonic from around Tenor G and the basses were rather narrow - mind you they'd have to be at 8' pitch on a conventional Great soundboard. The character changed as you went up the compass, but it was a first-rate stop - a real luxury to have that, two Opens and a traditional Stopped Diapason.

 

The best Harmonic Flutes have as few ordinary length basses as possible (pretty wide-scale ones, k.a. 'tubs' in the trade) and as much of the compass as possible with actual harmonic pipes.

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You haven't given Great as an option - I would have it there.

 

...

 

On the Great at 4' it is very useful in French repertoire (particularly) and (provided that you have a respectable example) it makes an excellent solo stop played down an octave.  I used to have one once (at St.Alkmund's Whitchurch) at 8' on the Great. It was Harmonic from around Tenor G and the basses were rather narrow - mind you they'd have to be at 8' pitch on a conventional Great soundboard. The character changed as you went up the compass, but it was a first-rate stop - a real luxury to have that, two Opens and a traditional Stopped Diapason.

 

The best Harmonic Flutes have as few ordinary length basses as possible (pretty wide-scale ones, k.a. 'tubs' in the trade) and as much of the compass as possible with actual harmonic pipes.

 

That's interesting, because it's quite the opposite to the nineteenth century conventions of, say, Cavaille-Coll or Lewis or Hill or Wlllis who made theirs with quite narrow bases opening out to a very full, flutey and melodic treble. As a solo rank in the treble they are excellent, but also in music by Widor and Vierne where you will be asked to play with both hands on manual with the Flute Harmonique, the gradual change of tone across the registers means that the top part always shines through melodcially, the lower registers blending into an accompanimental role perhaps with other stops coupled from the Recit.

 

Just a thought, but I think musically a bit more useful.

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..................also in music by Widor and Vierne where you will be asked to play with both hands on manual with the Flute Harmonique, the gradual change of tone across the registers means that the top part always shines through melodcially, the lower registers blending into an accompanimental role perhaps with other stops coupled from the Recit.

 

Just a thought, but I think musically a bit more useful.

 

And almost string like when coupled to the pedals or as in the small CCs when the 8' stop is duplexed to the pedals.

 

AJJ

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Cavaillé Coll did always so:

 

8' Flûte harmonique on the Great

4' Flûte octaviante on the Swell, with 2' Octavin

(As always, there are some exceptions of course).

Now in the german style, the most powerfull Flutes go on the I Manual

(Doppelflöte etc), the equivalent to the Choir being the III, you won't

have HF there, rather Flauto amabile etc, the II just in between so the

equivalent to the Harmonic Flute we shall find rather there.

But that is structural matter, not registrational.

The english Solo Manual is original in that it stands out of any

structure as a collection of Solo voices. We might have a very big 8' Flute

there, a Flute d'orchestre or a Flute mirabilis (after Skinner's Flauto mirabilis).

 

I note Paul's comment with interest about enclosed HFs, but why did nearly

all romantic builders do so then?

 

Pierre

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Guest paul@trinitymusic.karoo.co.uk
Cavaillé Coll did always so:

 

8' Flûte harmonique on the Great

4' Flûte octaviante on the Swell, with 2' Octavin

(As always, there are some exceptions of course).

Now in the german style, the most powerfull Flutes go on the I Manual

(Doppelflöte etc), the equivalent to the Choir being the III, you won't

have HF there, rather Flauto amabile etc, the II just in between so the

equivalent to the Harmonic Flute we shall find rather there.

But that is structural matter, not registrational.

The english Solo Manual is original in that it stands out of any

structure as a collection of Solo voices. We might have a very big 8' Flute

there, a Flute d'orchestre or a Flute mirabilis (after Skinner's Flauto mirabilis).

 

I note Paul's comment with interest about enclosed HFs, but why did nearly

all romantic builders do so then?

 

Pierre

 

 

I think this one is pretty easy. Harmonic Flute tone can be made seriously powerful while avoiding coarseness of tone. For a flute to be really good (in the romantic sense) under expression, it has to be really quite strong when the box is open. Rule of thumb, deduct 10% for the effect of the box, even when open. Therefore, for a flute solo to sing out over a pretty dense accompaniment, the ideal stop sometimes needs to be virtually as strong as the voicer can make it. A fiercely blown stopped pipe veers towards the Tibia for dullness or the Quintadena. An open wood or metal flute heavily blown (and therefore radically cut up) loses much of its charm. By contrast, Harmonic Flutes just get stronger and purer (or overblow to the next harmonic, of course).

 

The continuing quest for pure flute tone leads to the Zauberflote (even more over-length) and to the Doppleflute that you mention.

 

This does not change my opinion that one of the nicest aspects of a well-voiced Harmonic Flute is the pretty-well exact imitation of a genuine flautist - the initial speech and continuing overtones. The subtleties of these (I maintain) are partially lost when the stop in question is enclosed.

 

I think that Harmonic Flutes (or rather the use of them) has further to go. The most interesting developments I have heard recently have come from Detlef Kleuker and the compound stops he has made to the designs of Jean Guillou. Purity of tone leads to superb blend - superb blend in mutations can make for really seductive colours. Take that plus the ability to make them very loud.....

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  • 2 weeks later...
I think this one is pretty easy.  Harmonic Flute tone can be made seriously powerful while avoiding coarseness of tone. For a flute to be really good (in the romantic sense) under expression, it has to be really quite strong when the box is open. Rule of thumb, deduct 10% for the effect of the box, even when open. Therefore, for a flute solo to sing out over a pretty dense accompaniment, the ideal stop sometimes needs to be virtually as strong as the voicer can make it. A fiercely blown stopped pipe veers towards the Tibia for dullness or the Quintadena. An open wood or metal flute heavily blown (and therefore radically cut up) loses much of its charm. By contrast, Harmonic Flutes just get stronger and purer (or overblow to the next harmonic, of course).

 

The continuing quest for pure flute tone leads to the Zauberflote (even more over-length) and to the Doppleflute that you mention.

 

This does not change my opinion that one of the nicest aspects of a well-voiced Harmonic Flute is the pretty-well exact imitation of a genuine flautist - the initial speech and continuing overtones. The subtleties of these (I maintain) are partially lost when the stop in question is enclosed.

 

I think that Harmonic Flutes (or rather the use of them) has further to go.  The most interesting developments I have heard recently have come from Detlef Kleuker and the compound stops he has made to the designs of Jean Guillou. Purity of tone leads to superb blend - superb blend in mutations can make for really seductive colours. Take that plus the ability to make them very loud.....

An interesting comment ...

 

The Solo flues at the Hill firm's magnum opus at the Sydney Town Hall have always been unenclosed, but I don't think that the flutes (in particular) suffer at all. It's actually hard to pick between them for the most beautiful voices - Flauto Traverso, Doppelflöte and Stopped Diapason (all wood) of 8', Harmonic Flute (metal) and Flauto Traverso (wood) of 4', and Harmonic Piccolo (metal) of 2'. (If forced to pick, I suppose I'd go for the Doppelflöte, Stopped Diapason and 4' Flauto Traverso.)

 

Although they're only on a wind pressure of 3" (I think), they "sing" - I can't think of a better word for it - strongly without sounding at all forced - and I think they're perfect for the job without being under expression.

 

Rgds,

MJF

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Guest paul@trinitymusic.karoo.co.uk
An interesting comment ...

 

The Solo flues at the Hill firm's magnum opus at the Sydney Town Hall have always been unenclosed, but I don't think that the flutes (in particular) suffer at all.  It's actually hard to pick between them for the most beautiful voices - Flauto Traverso, Doppelflöte and Stopped Diapason (all wood) of 8', Harmonic Flute (metal) and Flauto Traverso (wood) of 4', and Harmonic Piccolo (metal) of 2'.  (If forced to pick, I suppose I'd go for the Doppelflöte, Stopped Diapason and 4' Flauto Traverso.)

 

Although they're only on a wind pressure of 3" (I think), they "sing" - I can't think of a better word for it - strongly without sounding at all forced - and I think they're perfect for the job without being under expression.

 

Rgds,

MJF

 

Your second paragraph is the key to this

'....only on a pressure of 3"'

I think it was one of the Hill family who wrote (and I'm paraphrasing)

'on a pressure of about 3" a pipe simply voices itself'.

 

3" or just above it is a superb compromise pressure - strong enough for good rich chorus reeds and not too much to make Diapasons and Flutes sing with a still- interesting tone. Not suprisingly most Hills were on about 3" as were the early Norman and Beards and the vintage Walkers. Much above this and you have to start arching the upper lip to remove unwanted overtones or (of course) cover the upper lip with leather!

 

The quest for lighter and faster actions got builders into raising their available pressures and this tempted them to experiment with higher pressures for solo stops generally. I don't have a problem with this at all - solo stops, after all, don't have to blend so much as contrast. However, few builders have ever able to produce genuinely musical choruses on 4" plus IMHO - huge buildings excepted, of course.

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Your second paragraph is the key to this

        '....only on a pressure of 3"'

I think it was one of the Hill family who wrote (and I'm paraphrasing)

'on a pressure of about 3" a pipe simply voices itself'. 

 

3" or just above it is a superb compromise pressure - strong enough for good rich chorus reeds and not too much to make Diapasons and Flutes sing with a still- interesting tone.  Not suprisingly most Hills were on about 3" as were the early Norman and Beards and the vintage Walkers. Much above this and you have to start arching the upper lip to remove unwanted overtones or (of course) cover the upper lip with leather!

 

The quest for lighter and faster actions got builders into raising their available pressures and this tempted them to experiment with higher pressures for solo stops generally. I don't have a problem with this at all - solo stops, after all, don't have to blend so much as contrast. However, few builders have ever able to produce genuinely musical choruses on 4" plus IMHO - huge buildings excepted, of course.

In my view, the least satisfactory of the Harmonic Flutes on the STH is the 4' on the Great. It's on the same pressure as the reeds - 5" or so - and I find it just doesn't have any blend; nor is it as good a solo voice as those in the Solo (or the enclosed 4' Harmonic Flute in the Swell).

 

Rgds,

MJF

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Worth bearing in mind when answering this question that a Cavaille-Coll flute harmonic is massive scale - take a montre and bore a hole in the middle of it - while English harmonic flutes tend to be half the scale.

 

Also C-Cs have much more treble ascendency than we're used to in England.

 

So the two are not the same but I've grown rather fond of both varieties.

 

On a 3m scheme, I'd have the harmonic flutes on the Great. Came across a lovely (english) 4' example on a Hele in Andover a few years ago - I think harmonic flutes are due for a bit of a revival, along with dulcianas.

 

Now, let's try combining the two... :D

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On a 3m scheme, I'd have the harmonic flutes on the Great. Came across a lovely (english) 4' example on a Hele in Andover a few years ago - I think harmonic flutes are due for a bit of a revival, along with dulcianas.

 

Now, let's try combining the two...  :D

 

St Mary's?

 

AJJ

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St Mary's?

 

AJJ

That's right - St Mary's Andover. The organ is now sadly rather baked from over-zealous heating and I understand the church is going rather happi-clappi and the last organist retired, finding it impossible to work there any longer in the environment. I don't believe he's been replaced by another competent organist.

 

The organ is rather fine, but for the rather useless additions added by later builders to the choir organ and pedal organ, which seem to combine being anemic with not blending at all with anything. The tubas on the choir/great are not especially lovely, either. But a fine organ, none the less.

 

http://npor.emma.cam.ac.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch...ec_index=D05969

 

and in its original state:

 

http://npor.emma.cam.ac.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch...ec_index=N08177

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That's right - St Mary's Andover. The organ is now sadly rather baked from over-zealous heating and I understand the church is going rather happi-clappi and the last organist retired, finding it impossible to work there any longer in the environment. I don't believe he's been replaced by another competent organist.

 

The organ is rather fine, but for the rather useless additions added by later builders to the choir organ and pedal organ, which seem to combine being anemic with not blending at all with anything. The tubas on the choir/great are not especially lovely, either. But a fine organ, none the less.

 

http://npor.emma.cam.ac.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch...ec_index=D05969

 

and in its original state:

 

http://npor.emma.cam.ac.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch...ec_index=N08177

 

The school where I teach is in Andover - the church is right next door to our local ABRSM centre so in gaps between playing for students' exams I used to pop in for a reasonably enjoyable blast. That was about three organists ago.

 

AJJ

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  • 3 years later...
On a 3m scheme, I'd have the harmonic flutes on the Great. Came across a lovely (english) 4' example on a Hele in Andover a few years ago - I think harmonic flutes are due for a bit of a revival, along with dulcianas.

 

Now, let's try combining the two... :blink:

 

Hmmm, I wonder what a Harmonic Dulciana would sound like?...

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  • 3 weeks later...

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