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Adding Digital Stops To Existing Instrument..

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Dear Sir,

 

I did not read the comment as if it were decrying a particular type of worship.

 

However, my experience has been, sadly, quite the opposite. I have noticed extreme intolerance from those who favour the more evangelical and charismatic type of worship. I am often given the feeling that I am in a 'lower class' of worship and really, choruses are much better.

 

On a practical point, based on years of experience with many different types of worship, the organ is often the most suitable instrument with which to accompany massed voices. (Unless, of course, you can only see merit in the 'Spring Harvest' type of band, with electrically-amplified guitars and drums.)

 

Perhaps one day, we will all get to the point where we can worship in churches which stick to their own particular styles of worship, without attempting to ape that of another church - often on the pretext of 'making it more attractive to the young people'. Again, my experience has been that this pleases no-one and can occasionally achieve the opposite - and empty a church. Surely this is not glorifying to God - I think that it is dishonest. Sorry, I am probably not explaining this well - but it is 01h01 - I am tired!!  :blink:

 

Hi

 

I quite agree that intolerance of other forms of worship is totally wrong - and I think it's the reason for the antipathy that there is between traditional and contemporary worship styles. Old and new can mix and work well together - given the right congregation - and not necessarilly younger people. We use quite a wide range of musical styles in my small church, where I'm currently the youngest in the congregation at 53!

 

I also agree that the organ is effective at leading singing - and I also firmly believe that it has a place in Contemporary Christian Music, given that the organist needs to have some knowledge of the genre, and realises that, with other instruments, he doesn't have to "do it all" - nor necessarilly play all the time.

 

Even the "Spring Harvest" type bands have their place - although not many local churches can boast the quality of musicianship that makes it work at large events.

 

As far as I'm concerned, the bottom line is that we need to worship God "in spirit and in truth", and that our worship, whatever "style" we use, needs to be done as well as we are capable of.

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

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Of course, adding a whole new digital manual would be another matter, but that hasn't been done at Blackburn.

 

MM

 

But it has been done at Bradford - actually replacing a pipe Nave division with Bradford computer electronics. I've only heard and played it once, and the digital voices aren't the best (although a more up-to-date system would undoubtedly sound better). As the hybrid organ at Addingham Parish Church shows, digital and pipes can work well together - and where space is limited, may be the only way to go. Having said that, from preference, give me pipes any time!

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

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Guest Roffensis
The digital stops at Blackburn Cathedral work very well (just 32' and 16') but of course they benefit from a very generous acoustic.

 

If you want to hear a mixed pipe/digital organ that is less than entirely satisfactory, try St Peter's, Addingham (near Ilkley).  It is a small carpeted building and has the driest acoustic I have ever come across in a church.  The organ is about 50% digital.  The individual digital stops are (largely) very nice played singly, and it can be difficult to tell which stops are digital and which pipes.  But when put together, they fails to blend into a convincing whole.

 

It is my belief that one can get away with digital stops provided:

  • There aren't too many
     
  • They are at the bass end only
     
  • The acoustics are good
     
  • You are lucky

 

The elctronic devices on Blackburn do not work well at all and are audibly electronic. The golden rule has to be that you do not put inferior stuff on an organ to what is there. There was no excuse to do this at Blackburn other than sheer whim. That's all it was. Furthermore, the electolux stops failed dismally at the reopening, and were a major embarrassment. Electronics will never match real pipes with real wind going through them, it's a very complex matter, even down to the intitial speech of a pipe and how it affects the air, and is percieved by the human ear as such. All electronics should be burnt, preferably today, they have done nothing whatever to the artistic merit of any organ, and have not helped the cause for pipe organs. You dont see the Mona Lisa being replaced by a cheap print. Ditto a whole organ, or even one single stop.......or pipe.

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Guest Roffensis
This topic shouldn't be here at all, unless we also seriously consider adding a moustache to the Mona Lisa or adding some extra columns to Stonehenge.  To seriously propose mixing digital and pipes is no less a bastardisation of ideals and principles, and one which absolutely no other field of art or culture would entertain.  If money NEEDS spending, then it's going to be something like action or soundboards or a simple wash and brush up.  Adding stops or whole divisions is NOT a need, it's a want.  Ego, ego, ego, as with so much else in this insular and confused world we inhabit...

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

If the Mona Lisa had a moustache, we would all be able to share the enigmatic smile. I once saw a bearded lady in Blackpool.....

 

However, returning to organs and digital additions, it isn't just a case of ego, ego, ego.

 

Take the recent re-build at Blackburn Cathedral; an organ which has always been quite thrilling in recital, but one which is not the easiest on which to accompany. It has always lacked a little bit of gravity in the pedal. The ideal solution would have been the provision of a 32ft and 16ft Open Wood, but there simply wasn't room to install one in such a way that it could make sense. The "chambers" (shelves?) are just big enough to carry what is there, and no more.

 

The additional Walker Digital registers have circumnavigated the problem and they are invaluable in service music rather than recital music.

 

Perhaps they don't quite "move air" in the same way that Open Wood registers do, but they are certainly not out of place in the ensemble.

 

Of course, adding a whole new digital manual would be another matter, but that hasn't been done at Blackburn.

 

The core Walker instrument sounds just the way it did before, so nothing has been ruined by the addition of the digital stops.

 

Real rather than fake would have been nice, but what they now have  sounds quite acceptable to my ears.

 

MM

 

The lack of gravity in the pedal was part of its character, but it was not "light" and it was balanced. It had a vgour to it, quite unique. Today it does not have the same brilliance, and it certainly did not need fatting up to sacrifice on the Altar of "improvements". It was fine as it was, and it was most surely more ego, ego, ego, ego , ego. I have heard exactly the same said of my "own" local, Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral and constantly make known my own opinion to leave the thing alone, as a complete entity. It was conceived as a whole, and should remain so. Thickening up and so on just obscures the original scheme, roundness etc and cause other resultant imbalances that then have to be addressed. No one will convince me that Blackburn has not been "rebalanced" or made more polite......

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Hi

 

I quite agree that intolerance of other forms of worship is totally wrong - and I think it's the reason for the antipathy that there is between traditional and contemporary worship styles.  Old and new can mix and work well together - given the right congregation - and not necessarilly younger people.  We use quite a wide range of musical styles in my small church, where I'm currently the youngest in the congregation at 53!

 

I also agree that the organ is effective at leading singing - and I also firmly believe that it has a place in Contemporary Christian Music, given that the organist needs to have some knowledge of the genre, and realises that, with other instruments, he doesn't have to "do it all" - nor necessarilly play all the time.

 

Even the "Spring Harvest" type bands have their place - although not many local churches can boast the quality of musicianship that makes it work at large events.

 

As far as I'm concerned, the bottom line is that we need to worship God "in spirit and in truth", and that our worship, whatever "style" we use, needs to be done as well as we are capable of.

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

 

Most intolerances in the church have stemmed from worship groups and various other bodies who see the traditional line to be old hat and think we need to get the drums in. One Anglican vicars wife told me how she had to "suffer" evensong at Tewkesbury. Another so called "christian" announced that if I had the choir chanting psalms she would leave. I simply questioned why she thought she was in church. Well!...I left, and converted to the RC. Other churches relish nasty modern hymnbooks over properly set out hymns and music. A lot of modern worship is geared to actually entertain, where it should not be an entertainment. It seems to me that people these days like church to be so much an extention of their comfy living rooms, and we have become very consumerist, rather than being there to worship. People like nice plush carpets and heating that ruins organs, and no one says a thing. That's a measure of how important that pipe organ is, and yet for centuries we have survived Common Prayer and Latin masses, but hey presto it's been get the altar rails out, have kids running mayhem through the church and make sure people sense very little division between secular and sacred. Musical excellence is important, and is needed, and should ever be respected. I have a 17 boy strong choir who love to sing Latin, and the church love them and to hear it, so no one tell me that modern clappy stuff is the answer. A choir should create reverence. A bawdy music group basically emulates the local pub. My church thrives, but ask yourself this. Can you honestly say that the modern church is fuller than it was 20 years ago, since Vatican II or ASB? or whatever latest it may be? the answer is clearly no, and its high time we learn to treasure the sacred and keep tight hold of it. Music falles firmly into that category, or should. never mind emulating top of the pops. People have to experience the sacred. There has to be a divide between heaven and hell.

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The elctronic devices on Blackburn do not work well at all and are audibly electronic. The golden rule has to be that you do not put inferior stuff on an organ to what is there. There was no excuse to do this at Blackburn other than sheer whim. That's all it was. Furthermore, the electolux stops failed dismally at the reopening, and were a major embarrassment. Electronics will never match real pipes with real wind going through them, it's a very complex matter, even down to the intitial speech of a pipe and how it affects the air, and is percieved by the human ear as such. All electronics should be burnt, preferably today, they have done nothing whatever to the artistic merit of any organ, and have not helped the cause for pipe organs. You dont see the Mona Lisa being replaced by a cheap print. Ditto a whole organ, or even one single stop.......or pipe.

 

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

 

Although we are essentially here by courtesy of a very respected PIPE organ-builder, I believe that proper discussion of digital additions is valuable, if only as a way of knowing what to avoid.

 

I think we are pushing cognitive recognition a bit far by claiming that the 32ft (especially) is "audibly electronic".....John Compton could fool us all with a Polyphone which ended at EEEE, and no one ever complains about "missing notes."

Polyphones are also extremely "flat" sounding devices, and as "electronic" in quality of sound as a pipe is capable of.

 

When the "electrolux" registers broke down at the inaugural recital, it was due to a "spike" in the power supply, which could presumably have been avoided.

 

The best digital manufacturers are perfectly capable of synthesising proper individual pipe-speech these days, but the best do not come cheap. In fact, the Marshall & Ogeltree installation at Trinity Church, New York, is mighty impressive, and has prompted some favourable comment and not a little admiration.

 

However, I don't think ANYONE could be fooled into thinking that this recent Trinity Church installation is the equal of the Mander organ of St.Ignatious Loyola, also in NY.

 

Nevertheless, it is good....very good.

 

Good violinists admire Stradivari, good pianists admire Bechstein or Steinway, and what we, AS MUSICIANS must avoid, is going down a path which leads to critical acceptance of what can only, by definition, be second best rather than third-rate.

Once price dictates the pace of art, we are onto the slippery slope of increasing mediocrity, which is not the same thing as suggesting that the many very good digital instruments are mediocre....they are not. They are, neverthless, second-best, and should therefore be the last option rather than the first.

 

As organists, we may admire the efforts of digital builders, but we all know where our true affections are, hopefully!

 

MM

 

 

PS: I drew a moustache on my cheap print of the Mona Lisa, and she takes pride of place alongside the dart-board.

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If you want to hear a mixed pipe/digital organ that is less than entirely satisfactory, try St Peter's, Addingham (near Ilkley). It is a small carpeted building and has the driest acoustic I have ever come across in a church. The organ is about 50% digital. The individual digital stops are (largely) very nice played singly, and it can be difficult to tell which stops are digital and which pipes. But when put together, they fails to blend into a convincing whole.

 

It is my belief that one can get away with digital stops provided:

[*]There aren't too many

[*]They are at the bass end only

[*]The acoustics are good

[*]You are lucky

 

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

 

Oddly enough Nick, there is another church with an equally disastrous acoustic close to that abomination they call an organ at Addingham.

 

Try Ilkley Parish Church, with the sort of acoustic normally associated with the soft-furnishing section of a department-store. Low roof, side-aisles with even lower roofs, a cramped chancel, carpets....the perfect recipe for disaster.

 

Switch on the rather substantial Compton organ, with its' Lewis origins, and it sounds quite wonderful in that building.

 

What I cannot believe is the sheer stupidity of those involved with the organ at Addingham, which was probably the worst organ ever made, with its' scratchy Diapasons, opaque Flutes and characterless reeds. Why add anything digital and second best, to something which is "normally aspirated" but fifth-rate at best?

It is actually an insult to the digital-organ, but it's what happens when the consultant is a digital designer!!

 

Go up the road to Skipton Parish Church, where there is also a very dry acoustic. It is one of the finest sounds you will ever hear (at the console), but it is badly placed. That was a result of a wonderful collaboration between a consultant who knew what was needed, and an organ-builder who genuinely tried to create a half-decent instrument using second-hand pipes.....with fabulous results. It is the perfect 20-something stop Anglican instrument.

 

There are many, many redundant organs....some of them tracker....which just need some decent pipework or the attention of an expert voicer. A hundred years later, long after the extra cost has been forgotten, it will still be piping away happily and making real music on its' fourth new blower.

 

MM

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The best digital manufacturers are perfectly capable of synthesising proper individual pipe-speech these days, but the best do not come cheap. In fact, the Marshall & Ogeltree installation at Trinity Church, New York, is mighty impressive, and has prompted some favourable comment and not a little admiration.

 

 

Is this really true, and have you heard it and played it? Because a source who does not wish to be named has told me that it is dreadful (in spite of the fact that even the banging noise mad by the inflating reservoirs is to be heard when you turn it on. But I suppose it's a question of what organs you choose to sample).

 

BJ

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In fact, the Marshall & Ogeltree installation at Trinity Church, New York, is mighty impressive..........

 

 

Is this really true, and have you heard it and played it? Because a source who does not wish to be named has told me that it is dreadful .....

 

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

 

Well it depends how one would use the word dreadful.

 

Everyone can hear this organ for themselves, by joining the following:-

 

http://www.organsandorganistsonline.com

 

Look under organists, and then Douglas Marshall playing works on the organ.

 

Of course it isn't pipes, but dreadful isn't the word I would use to describe it, unless one happens to be an almost unknown NY organ-builder with a chip on his shoulder.

 

MM

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Most intolerances in the church have stemmed from worship groups and various other bodies who see the traditional line to be old hat and think we need to get the drums in. One Anglican vicars wife told me how she had to "suffer" evensong at Tewkesbury. Another so called "christian" announced that if I had the choir chanting psalms she would leave. I simply questioned why she thought she was in church. Well!...I left, and converted to the RC. Other churches relish nasty modern hymnbooks over properly set out hymns and music. A lot of modern worship is geared to actually entertain, where it should not be an entertainment. It seems to me that people these days like church to be so much an extention of their comfy living rooms, and we have become very consumerist, rather than being there to worship. People like nice plush carpets and heating that ruins organs, and no one says a thing. That's a measure of how important that pipe organ is, and yet for centuries we have survived Common Prayer and Latin masses, but hey presto it's been get the altar rails out, have kids running mayhem through the church and make sure people sense very little division between secular and sacred. Musical excellence is important, and is needed, and should ever be respected. I have a 17 boy strong choir who love to sing Latin, and the church love them and to hear it, so no one tell me that modern clappy stuff is the answer. A choir should create reverence. A bawdy music group basically emulates the local pub. My church thrives, but ask yourself this. Can you honestly say that the modern church is fuller than it was 20 years ago, since Vatican II or ASB? or whatever latest it may be? the answer is clearly no, and its high time we learn to treasure the sacred and keep tight hold of it. Music falles firmly into that category, or should. never mind emulating top of the pops. People have to experience the sacred. There has to be a divide between heaven and hell.

 

I'm sorry, but I find your view of music groups downright insulting. What right have you got to say that your Latin music is any more sacred than anything else - or the BCP or anything else come to that! It's your sort of intolerance that has upset many contemporary Christian musicians.

 

Tony

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I'm sorry, but I find your view of music groups downright insulting. What right have you got to say that your Latin music is any more sacred than anything else -

 

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

 

It's called "freedom of speech" Tony.

 

;)

 

MM

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I'm sorry, but I find your view of music groups downright insulting. What right have you got to say that your Latin music is any more sacred than anything else -

 

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

 

It's called "freedom of speech" Tony.

 

;)

 

MM

 

And I still say that it's insulting. Your right to freedom of speech, as with all rights, also brings responsibilities, especially the responsibilty to respect other points of view, not denigrate them. I would have no problem if you said Latin Mass/traditional music or whatever is your (personal) preference, but to say that it's the only valid worship music is not only insulting, it's patently untrue.

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

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quote=Tony Newnham,Jul 24 2005, 04:55 PM]

And I still say that it's insulting. Your right to freedom of speech, as with all rights, also brings responsibilities, especially the responsibilty to respect other points of view, not denigrate them. I would have no problem if you said Latin Mass/traditional music or whatever is your (personal) preference, but to say that it's the only valid worship music is not only insulting, it's patently untrue.

 

I agree with Tony. No classical organist should write off the musical ability and spiritual integrity of those who play in quality church music groups. Some worship bands such as those of the Hillsong churches are extremely sophisicated and play with sensitivity and skill. That's more than could be said for SOME organists. I actually find no difference in ideology between those who play digital organs with artificial audio devices and guitarists or keyboardists. The days of the organist dominating the entire musical culture of a church are greatly over and full credit to the musician in a parish who cooperates with and encourages the work and talents of other musicians.

 

I too love latin and renaissance motets and here at St Mark's Auckland our Agnus Dei settings are such but I also have able clarinet and flute players in my choir and congregation and not to give them opportunity to express there talents is down right wrong and theologically unsound.

 

It IS a question of balance. ;)

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To return to the subject - is anyone out there able to enlighten me on exactly how organ builders (of either kind) have apparently solved the problem of tuning discrepancies when there are instruments with an entire department (for example) in which the sound is produced digitally.

 

Someone has suggested that a temperature sensor has been placed above the soundboards and this, in turn, communicates to the digital part of the organ. Well, all-right; but, what happens next - are the electronics now so advanced that this can introduce slight variations in the pitch of individual ranks of the toaster part?

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Hi

 

Since this topic has resurfaced, perhaps I can share some further thoughts. There are 2 organs in the Bradford area that have digital additions. Addingham Parish Church has a substantial digital contribution - pretty well all the upperwork and reeds, plus a harpsichord. I was able to spend a morning playing it recently. I found I was able from the console to identify the digital ranks fairly easily in isolation, but once the fine tuning was adjusted they sounded acceptable in context - not as good as pipes, but then that's not really the point. I don't know the type of services and other uses that the organ has, so I shall refrain from comment on the ethical and aesthetic aspects of the additions - at least they have retained a nucleus of pipes, and produced an instrument which is more versatile than prfeviously - and it sounds reasonable (the acoustics of the building don't help!).

 

The other instrument is Bradford Cathedral, where a pipe Nave department was replaced by Bradford system electronics in 1990. I was there practicing this afternoon (I'm playing for a funeral on Friday) and was warned by the deputy organist not to use the Nave organ as it's unreliable - there are several missing notes. When I've heard it previously, the Nave organ sounded dated - typical digital sound of the period. Again, I can't comment on why the digital section was installed, but the life-span is an issue that needs to be considered.

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

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Guest Roffensis
I'm sorry, but I find your view of music groups downright insulting.  What right have you got to say that your Latin music is any more sacred than anything else - or the BCP or anything else come to that!  It's your sort of intolerance that has upset many contemporary Christian musicians. 

 

Tony

 

I am sorry and did not mean to pontificate, I think there is wrong on both sides. Please also forgive a delay in responding, I only actually looked at this page earlier today. I certainly do not think music groups, or any group, should be ruled out or any put above any other, but I do see a lot of damage, and that damage is right accross the board, and the Catholic Church is far from exempt of criticism. I wish that my own church would actually get a music group for sunday mornings. The saturday Mass is always traditional and I am concious that a congregation can get bogged down with so much organ and choir. There just aren't people coming forard to do anything else, so I have to do the lot. Meanwhile, a new priest could just come in and want the choir and I out. It happens, and this is what I am trying to point out. For any injury and upset, I again apologise, in particular to Tony.

All best, :lol:

Richard

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I am sorry and did not mean to pontificate, I think there is wrong on both sides. Please also forgive a delay in responding, I only actually looked at this page earlier today. I certainly do not think music groups, or any group,  should be ruled out or any put above any other, but I do see a lot of damage, and that damage is right accross the board, and the Catholic Church is far from exempt of criticism. I wish that my own church would actually get a music group for sunday mornings. The saturday Mass is always traditional and I am concious that a congregation can get bogged down with so much organ and choir. There just aren't people coming forard to do anything else, so I have to do the lot. Meanwhile, a new priest could just come in and want the choir and I out. It happens, and this is what I am trying to point out. For any injury and upset, I again apologise, in particular to Tony.

All best, :lol:

Richard

 

Hi Richard

 

Apology accepted. It's very easy to mis-interpret e-mail correspondence.

 

I'm very sorry to hear that your new priest is trying to oust the choir and organ - what a waste of a resource which should be encouraged - and with goodwill on both sides can happily co-exist with a music group. I'm pretty surfe that my organist here at Heaton feels his ministry is more accepted since I came here - and I hope the music group do as well. I hope your priest sees sense before it's too late.

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

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Guest Roffensis
Hi Richard

 

Apology accepted.  It's very easy to mis-interpret e-mail correspondence.

 

I'm very sorry to hear that your new priest is trying to oust the choir and organ - what a waste of a resource which should be encouraged - and with goodwill on both sides can happily co-exist with a music group.  I'm pretty surfe that my organist here at Heaton feels his ministry is more accepted since I came here - and I hope the music group do as well.  I hope your priest sees sense before it's too late.

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

 

 

Goodo!

He hasn't ousted us and doesn't want to so far!......but it has been so in the past elsewhere.

All best!

R

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...not as good as pipes, but then that's not really the point.... 

Hi Tony, I don't think I quite understand what you mean. Can you explain what you mean here?

 

Again, I can't comment on why the digital section was installed, but the life-span is an issue that needs to be considered.

Excellent point! :lol:

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Hi

 

There are 2 organs in the Bradford area that have digital additions. Addingham Parish Church has a substantial digital contribution

 

The other instrument is Bradford Cathedral, where a pipe Nave department was replaced by Bradford system electronics in 1990.

 

Again, I can't comment on why the digital section was installed, but the life-span is an issue that needs to be considered.

 

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

 

 

I cannot for the life of me understand why anyone would have wanted to retain that ghastly instrument at Addingham Parish Church, and then add second-division digital voices.

 

The cathedral at Bradford has had more than its' fair share of troubles, and in living memory, it was ever thus. The Nave Organ as was, was a nice little division which served a vital function. Due to the fact that the main organ is buried in a chamber which speaks out into the chancel only, any sound which made it beyond the crossing was always going to be ineffective. For the larger gathering, the nave organ drove the congregation along nicely.

 

"They" who had to be obeyed, decided that four wooden stilts were an obstruction at the West End, and wanted the free space; presumably for celestial dancers with fans, or somesuch.

 

Then there was the Ayatollah, who mercifully departed Bradford and went elsewhere to promote his personality cult and create mayhem.

 

As he surrounded himself with "yes men" (and women), one might well imagine that the removal of the nave organ was a mere formality at the time.

 

"Oh! Holy one, what a wonderful idea! Praise the Lord!"

 

MM

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Hi Tony, I don't think I quite understand what you mean. Can you explain what you mean here?

Excellent point! :lol:

 

Hi

 

The digital sounds are identifiably different to real pipes - possibly because they're "too good" - not random in the same way pipe speech is - perhaps slightly artificial. It's rather intangible...

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

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Hi

 

There are 2 organs in the Bradford area that have digital additions. Addingham Parish Church has a substantial digital contribution

 

The other instrument is Bradford Cathedral, where a pipe Nave department was replaced by Bradford system electronics in 1990.

 

Again, I can't comment on why the digital section was installed, but the life-span is an issue that needs to be considered.

 

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

I cannot for the life of me understand why anyone would have wanted to retain that ghastly instrument at Addingham Parish Church, and then add second-division digital voices.

 

The cathedral at Bradford has had more than its' fair share of troubles, and in living memory, it was ever thus. The Nave Organ as was, was a nice little division which served a vital function. Due to the fact that the main organ is buried in a chamber which speaks out into the chancel only, any sound which made it beyond the crossing was always going to be ineffective. For the larger gathering, the nave organ drove the congregation along nicely.

 

"They" who had to be obeyed, decided that four wooden stilts were an obstruction at the West End, and wanted the free space; presumably for celestial dancers with fans, or somesuch.

 

Then there was the Ayatollah, who mercifully departed Bradford and went elsewhere to promote his personality cult and create mayhem.

 

As he surrounded himself with "yes men" (and women), one might well imagine that the removal of the nave organ was a mere formality at the time.

 

"Oh! Holy one, what a wonderful idea! Praise the Lord!"

 

MM

 

Hi

 

I must say that I found the organ at Addingham pretty reasonable - not top class, but a competent instrument, and I suspect the rebuild and digital additions cost rather less than a replacement.

 

Regarding the cathedral, I wasn't in the area when the pipes were removed, so I can't comment on the politics involved (and probably wouldn't anyway!). The lack of the Nave department today was slightly problematical, even with the centre of the nave about 3/4 full for the funeral, I was having to use plenty of organ. The deputy organist had advised nothing less than Swell 7 + Great 6 (out of 8 pistons) which wasn't far out - although I did go rather lower once the singing was under way - but suprisingly, not even the Purcell Trumpet was too much to solo the melody in "Thine be the Glory" for the last verse - with Gt7+full swell for the final refrain - the congregation certainly sang well! Had the Nave organ been available I would have been able to add that and use less "up front".

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

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I have a largeish organ in the shires which was rebuilt in 1990 or so. It is split with swell/great/pedal at the East End and the same plus a choir division on the West End.

 

It's played from a bespoke console (draw stops for the west organ, tabs for the east)..

 

Whilst the instrument is eminently fit for purpose, it does lack in two respects. The first is the west pedal division is wholly underwhelming, especially when pitted against a full congregation. It has Trombone 16' extended into a Trumpet 8', an Open Diap 16' which extends to a 8' principal and a 4', and a Bourdon 16' which extends to a 8' flute and a 4'. The second respect is the East End lacking variation for accompanying the choir. The great overpowers, the swell is small and there is no choir division.

 

I have funds available to remedy this. The Southwell Minster idea of digital pedal stops is an obvious means of solving the west end problem.

 

Can anyone comment on the success or otherwise of this approach? How does the digital part of the instrument fare when pitted against the tuning changes that will come about from changing temperature and humidity?

 

 

 

If the idea works for low-end stops, can it be applied to provide a whole new division (i.e. the east end choir in my example). Do you think it would be possible to blend a digital chorus across the whole range of the pipe organ?

 

If anyone can contribute some ideas I would be most grateful ! With thanks !

 

--mrb

 

Surely this is one of the most inartistic marriages? It puts into question the whole integrity of organ building. How on earth can you attach electriconic stuff to mechanical actions? This is not the way forward, is it? Paul Hale for me dropped off the earth when Southwell went that way. A nightmare of schoolboy fantasy specifications returning. Spend the money on a Bose for the home.

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Just had another thought - if you want a 32' reed, I had the concept of a bass cornet - 10 2/3, 6 2/5, 4 4/7 - demonstrated to me yesterday very successfully on some really tiny organs where you wouldn't expect one. Funny, really. A couple of ranks should do it for you, wouldn't have the temperature problems of eletronics (plus all their other problems) and it would sate your appetite for more organ. Perhaps as well you could add a cornet separate derivied from a single flute rank but if' you're a good orgnaists, you don't really need the derivations if you can play the left hand with your feet. :-D

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Just had another thought - if you want a 32' reed, I had the concept of a bass cornet - 10 2/3, 6 2/5, 4 4/7 - demonstrated to me yesterday very successfully on some really tiny organs where you wouldn't expect one. Funny, really. A couple of ranks should do it for you, wouldn't have the temperature problems of eletronics (plus all their other problems) and it would sate your appetite for more organ. Perhaps as well you could add a cornet separate derivied from a single flute rank but if' you're a good orgnaists, you don't really need the derivations if you can play the left hand with your feet. :-D

 

Absolutely - quite the best 32' Contra Violone I have ever heard, and it was on a 15 stop Gray & Davison with a lone Bourdon on the pedal. Player was Geoffrey Morgan who demonstrated numerous other "tricks". Try Gt fonds possibly to 4' and Pedal bourdon coupled, play chord of G major with right hand & pedal, then on Sw 8' flute go for bottom D, B, tenor F, A if you can manage it. Might need to close the box a little. Shuffling into different keys gives you some better notes than others. I know it sounds naff but it really was incredibly effective when the balance was right. We all howled with laughter when we heard these sounds coming out of these little instruments.

 

Cornet trick on a really tiny instrument was 4' flute alone, tenor G mid G then DGB, 8' Principal alone coupled to pedal in two parts. If you can shuffle your hands around accurately enough and keep the right foot doing something interesting you can make a very passable sound. Whatever happened to ingenuity! Any other tricks like these people know?

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