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Guest Roffensis

Arundel Opening Recital

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I am always interested when someone claims to have "Perfect Pitch" - which one I wonder. Even today some of the great Symphony Orchestras have their own pet pitch.

 

FF

 

I don't know why, or how, but if you care to phone me up at any time of day or night I can sing you a 440 A fairly readily. Other pitches bother me and make me think I'm playing wrong notes.

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Guest drd

Personally, I don't care about perfect pitch (perhaps that is explained by my being a horn player as well as an organist), but I do not wish to have to preside at an organ that cannot be used with other instruments.

 

Some are so far removed (and I'm not talking about historical instruments here, where some historical pitch and possibly temperament is appropriate) from a standard pitch that serious problems occur in orchestras - particularly for string players.

 

Of course, with many churches finding other priorities for funds rather than keeping their organ in decent condition, a paucity of tuning visits and inconstant heating means that these instruments are only ever in any kind of reasonable tune with themselves immediately after a tuning visit (one hopes) let alone anywhere near to A440.

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Guest paul@trinitymusic.karoo.co.uk
Personally, I don't care about perfect pitch (perhaps that is explained by my being a horn player as well as an organist), but I do not wish to have to preside at an organ that cannot be used with other instruments.

 

Some are so far removed (and I'm not talking about historical instruments here, where some historical pitch and possibly temperament is appropriate) from a standard pitch that serious problems occur in orchestras - particularly for string players.

 

Of course, with many churches finding other priorities for funds rather than keeping their organ in decent condition, a paucity of tuning visits and inconstant heating means that these instruments are only ever in any kind of reasonable tune with themselves immediately after a tuning visit (one hopes) let alone anywhere near to A440.

 

Little story to back up your second comment:

Some years ago (10? 15?) I was engaged to play at a Churchill Memorial Concert at Blenheim Palace. I'm not sure why, but nobody had bothered to check the pitch of the (totally splendid Father Willis) organ. Needless to say, it did not occur to me to ask about pitch when I was invited to present three solo items and a Handel Organ Concerto in which I was to be partnered by The Orchestra of St.John's, Smith Square. When the great day arrived (nobody having done their homework, as it were) the orchestra and director (John Lubbock) were seriously distressed to find how far adrift the organ was.

 

It was a major effort for them all to tune up to the organ, and as a result the programme had to be totally re-jigged to enable them to re-tune thoroughly before playing anything subsequently on their own. Not a lot of happy bunnies! Of course, the B.Palace staff etc. were totally blase about the whole thing and just thought that the musos were being 'artistic' as usual.

 

I think if a half-decent venue does not know whether their instrument is or is not at concert pitch they certainly ought to! Mind you, this was the same occasion upon which my wife had to be instructed to give a sign to His Grace for when to stand during Pomp & Circumstance no.1 (Land of Hope and Glory) because the dear man did not know one end of his favourite piece from the other!

 

You live long enough, you see it all!

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Guest Lee Blick
Even today some of the great Symphony Orchestras have their own pet pitch.

 

Which pet do they use to base it on? :D

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