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Guest paul@trinitymusic.karoo.co.uk

I've only met (and tangled publicly) with a Rollschweller once and it was a bit of a shock.

One doesn't like to admit to areas of ignorance, but this is definitely one for me.

 

For a start, I was alarmed to find that they work backwards from what one would expect from just reading the subject. Where a balanced Swell Pedal would usually be, you find a cylindrical treadle, about the size and shape of a small biscuit tin on edge covered with ridged rubber matting. To create your general crescendo (with blind stop addition) you paddle the thing towards you.

 

The reason I ask.... I'm currently working on a Karg-Elert score written for an organ with a Rollschweller and it is specifically mentioned. Problem: both feet are busy and if the one I met is typical (and this is the question) when you release the pedal for a second it returns to its original position .. i.e. the stops go back off again in an instant. In this piece that would be nonsense.

 

So (anyone who knows)

1. Is it always customary for the pedal to give a crescendo by pulling towards the player (bearing in mind that we all expect Swellboxes and General Crescendo pedals to work precisely the opposite way)?

2. Are these pedals usually sprung back to the neutral position, or did I meet a rogue one?

 

Not a topic for everyone, but someone 'out there' will know.

Thanks folks!

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I've only met (and tangled publicly) with a Rollschweller once and it was a bit of a shock. 

One doesn't like to admit to areas of ignorance, but this is definitely one for me.

 

For a start, I was alarmed to find that they work backwards from what one would expect from just reading the subject.  Where a balanced Swell Pedal would usually be, you find a cylindrical treadle, about the size and shape of a small biscuit tin on edge covered with ridged rubber matting. To create your general crescendo (with blind stop addition) you paddle the thing towards you.

 

The reason I ask.... I'm currently working on a Karg-Elert score written for an organ with a Rollschweller and it is specifically mentioned. Problem: both feet are busy and if the one I met is typical (and this is the question) when you release the pedal for a second it returns to its original position .. i.e. the stops go back off again in an instant.  In this piece that would be nonsense.

 

So (anyone who knows)

1. Is it always customary for the pedal to give a crescendo by pulling towards the player (bearing in mind that we all expect Swellboxes and General Crescendo pedals to work precisely the opposite way)?

2. Are these pedals usually sprung back to the neutral position, or did I meet a rogue one?

 

Not a topic for everyone, but someone 'out there' will know.

Thanks folks!

 

Definitely a rogue - where in the world can it have been?

 

It is indeed normal for crescendo to be towards the player, but most German swells until fairly recently worked this way as well (they regarded the swell as a brake not an accelerator, i.e the "normal" position was open).

 

Normally on would just take short stabs at the Walze with the foot that is currently not being used, it only takes a quaver or so....... but I#ve never encountered a RS that returns to 0 when left alone.

 

Incidentally, the "Walzen" a normally about a foot wide, so yours seems to have been a bit peculiar in that respect too.

 

Cheers

Barry

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The Rollschweller is not a Crescendo Pedal; see here page 74:

 

http://www.laukhuff.de/kapitel/8.pdf

 

The Pedal is not precise enough, while the Rollschweller allows you to add

stops one at a time if you want it.

 

This is not a gadget, but a built-in feature which has no place in any kind of organ.

It is meant to render possible a crescendo without any hearable "gap" in both tone and strenght. Accordingly:

 

-The organ must have a vast number of soft 8' stops.

 

If you drawn the softest stop of an organ, say a D******a ( :rolleyes: ), the next one must be only slightly louder, the third a little more differenciated, and so on. Towards

the end of the progression, the differences in strenght must be great, on the contrary, according to the manner our ears "interpret" strenght differencies (that is, not linearly).

 

-The order in which the stops enter must be fixed from the design, and then

implemented during the voicing.

 

Should we change anything in that order, the effect is gone, we shall have a gap since we enter a stronger stop before a softer one.

 

Hence a thing like a freely programmable crescendo to be an heresy ; should you want contrast, then you need to use others means: the combinations

 

So if we design an organ that is to have a Crescendo, it is from the very paper we need to think to the stations (the more, the better, say 50-60 in a big organ) of the Rollschweller (or "Walze").

 

-An organ like a Cavaillé-Coll, with few soft stops and "free"-voiced reeds that engulf

anything else, cannot have a Crescendo; indeed, none had it. In this kind of organ

contrasts are supreme, hence the pédales d'appel des jeux de combinaisons system.

 

Some belgian romantic organs had both systems: the Pédales de combinaisons and a Crescendo Pedal (less precise than the Walze, then, but in small organs with say 10 stations it is less annoying) with a fixed progression.

If you analyse these progressions you understand how the whole organ was tought and voiced.

 

Pierre

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...a built-in feature which has no place in any kind of organ.

 

It is meant to render possible a crescendo without any hearable "gap" in both tone and strength.

 

Hence a thing like a freely programmable crescendo to be an heresy 

 

Pierre

 

Sorry - but utter rubbish! It's meant to render possible a crescendo very quickly and dramatically. When an orchestra plays very quietly and then very loudly, it is the difference in tone and strength that creates the excitement. On a reasonably big and highly colourful organ like Buckfast Abbey (rollschweller) or St Mary's Southampton (gen cresc) their value is immense, even for hymn playing on occasions. I know I'm always on about the Elgar Spirit of the Lord but there are two passages which are nearly impossible to do without one.

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A quick Crescendo you can produce with others means, if a sharp contrast

is needed.

I'll try to find back this example of Crescendo in Reger by Mr Wunderlich...

 

Here is it. Crescendo:

 

http://www.walckerorgel.de/gewalcker.de/Wu...Reger_Cresc.mp3

 

Decrescendo:

 

http://www.walckerorgel.de/gewalcker.de/Wu...ger_Decresc.mp3

 

That is the use for which the Rollschweller was conceived.

 

Pierre

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A quick Crescendo you can produce with others means, if a sharp contrast

is needed.

I'll try to find back this example of Crescendo in Reger by Mr Wunderlich...

 

Pierre

 

Not if there are too many notes! Plenty of examples in Karg-Elert, and heaps more in choral repertoire (a good deal of which is basically orchestral transcription), the Elgar being a prime example - pppp to fffffff in one bar of big arpeggios and clusters, and then do it again about 2 pages later. If you've a sequencer you can just about hit + ten times during the bar or work your way along an entire row of generals but it's unnecessarily hard work.

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Not if there are too many notes!  Plenty of examples in Karg-Elert, and heaps more in choral repertoire (a good deal of which is basically orchestral transcription), the Elgar being a prime example - pppp to fffffff in one bar of big arpeggios and clusters, and then do it again about 2 pages later.  If you've a sequencer you can just about hit + ten times during the bar or work your way along an entire row of generals but it's unnecessarily hard work.

 

For this you often had a hand control at the console, which an helper could use.

With huge romantic organs it was customarily to have helpers; at Riga, the player

cannot even reach some stop knobs!

 

In a new romantic organ the solution would be easy to find trough the modern combinators we have, with commands duplicated both sides of the console plus at the feet of course. But the Rollschweller should remain how it was, that is, not programmable, precise and slow.

 

Pierre

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But the Rollschweller should remain how it was, that is, not programmable, precise and slow.

 

Pierre

 

Oh - I see - you ARE allowing Rollschwellers - from your first post ("a built-in feature that has NO place in any kind of organ") I thought you were forbidding them.

 

Not familiar with any romantic organs where you couldn't reach the stops. Over here playing aids (from early piston systems to Willis' blowpipe-operated swell) have, as far as I know, been de rigeur since the 1851 Exhibition. Even so, there is only so much a piston system can do.

 

The Willis 3 crescendo pedal is very precise - at St Mary's Southampton there is a row of lights so you can safely and comfortably judge how far you want to go. Buckfast Abbey has a swingometer.

 

Strangely enough the Musicom system I posted another thread about has the facility to set 4 different crescendos of up to 58 stages (and so I believe does the standard SSL Scope kit) which I can see having significant uses in the things I have to play week upon week.

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The Willis 3 crescendo pedal is very precise - at St Mary's Southampton there is a row of lights so you can safely and comfortably judge how far you want to go.  Buckfast Abbey has a swingometer.

 

When I had lessons at St Mary's I only used this device in one piece - a Prelude by Kodaly (I think!) and it worked fantastically - up to a ff then back down to a ppp - I could not have achieved the effect any other way!

 

AJJ

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-The order in which the stops enter must be fixed from the design, and then implemented during the voicing.

 

Should we change anything in that order, the effect is gone, we shall have a gap since we enter a stronger stop before a softer one.

 

Hence a thing like a freely programmable crescendo to be an heresy

Pierre, if I understand correctly, what you are saying is that these organs are designed to so that the stop crescendo is achieved by adding particular stops in a particular order. The Rollschweller adds the stops in this optimum order. Since this is the optimum solution, there is no point is providing a facility to programme the Rollschweller differently, since any other solution will be less satisfactory. Am I right?
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Pierre, if I understand correctly, what you are saying is that these organs are designed to so that the stop crescendo is achieved by adding particular stops in a particular order. The Rollschweller adds the stops in this optimum order. Since this is the optimum solution, there is no point is providing a facility to programme the Rollschweller differently, since any other solution will be less satisfactory. Am I right?

 

my twopenneth - all well and good until you want a crescendo without reeds, without upperwork, maintaining a loud reed solo at 8 or 4 pitch in the pedal, whatever. then, the ability to individually programme is indispensable - I suspect one of those things you can't live without once you've tried it.

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Sorry David, my mistake:

I meant indeed "that has not its place in all kind of organs".

 

Pierre

 

At first I was confused but reading the rest of your post and knowing some of your background (!) I was quickly able to work out what you meant!

 

Renatus Harris's scheme for a crescendo device for St Paul's cathedral of perhaps 7 unison stops being brought into operation gradually by a pedal is an interesting relative of the Rollschweller, I suppose.

 

The linked mp3 crescendo is a very good indicator of a slow, stop-by-stop use of the RS but I can also imagine its use over a short time in just the same way as we might use a general crescendo pedal, assuming that the RS can be operated in such a fashion, although these sudden effects can be perceived of, by some, as even less musical than pressing a few generals in quick succession.

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When I had lessons St St mary' I only used this device in one piece - a Prelude by Koldaly (I think!) and it worked fantastically - up to a ff then back down to a ppp - I could not have achieved the effect any other way!

 

AJJ

 

I rarely use it. I did use it, however, in my audition for the job... By mistake. I was on swell strings, went to open the box rapidly, got the general cresc instead. Bang - 3 auditioners blown out of their seats (in front of the pipes)...

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"Pierre, if I understand correctly, what you are saying is that these organs are designed to so that the stop crescendo is achieved by adding particular stops in a particular order. The Rollschweller adds the stops in this optimum order. Since this is the optimum solution, there is no point is providing a facility to programme the Rollschweller differently, since any other solution will be less satisfactory. Am I right? "

(Quote)

 

Yes, that is it.

This is the "normal Crescendo" you pay an enormous attention to when writing the stop-list (and next to that, "Repertoire" seems rather superficial a method).

 

Now we may want something else, of course. It is for that reason organs fitted with a Rollschweller ALWAYS have some form of a combination system.

And now that we have these electronic combinators, we can stick to the traditionnal Rollschweller for Reger, for instance, or any case when we need a gap-less, smooth, slow crescendo, and use the combinator for the rest.

Michel Chapuis demonstrated he could make a crescendo on the little, 12 stops baroque Gerpinnes organ, so we can make Crescendis many ways, the Rollschweller being only one. But this one is the basic solution with a romantic organ.

 

Pierre

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A quick Crescendo you can produce with others means, if a sharp contrast

is needed.

I'll try to find back this example of Crescendo in Reger by Mr Wunderlich...

 

Here is it. Crescendo:

 

http://www.walckerorgel.de/gewalcker.de/Wu...Reger_Cresc.mp3

 

Decrescendo:

 

http://www.walckerorgel.de/gewalcker.de/Wu...ger_Decresc.mp3

 

That is the use for which the Rollschweller was conceived.

 

Pierre

 

 

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

 

 

This really is THE most stunning demonstration of the effectiveness of the Rollschweller, and a salutory reminder that playing Reger (or Karg-Elert for that matter) demands certain very specific things, which are actually quite impossible to achieve satisfactorily on most UK organs.

 

MM

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Guest Lee Blick

I have a crescendo pedal on my organ at home. It's bloody annoying cos I keep stepping on it instead of the Swell Pedal, and it is even crappier cos there are only four steps to it.

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Karg-Elert knew the british organ; like Dupré later, he often travelled, encountering more success in Brtain than in already "Orgelbewegt" Germany of his time.

His music is quite varied, and can be well rendered by a british organ, like Paul demonstrated it:

 

http://www.ohscatalog.com/karderatnorc.html

 

(Now maybe the ideal K-E organ would be one designed round the Normal Crescendo with multicultural colors... :P:lol::P )

 

Pierre

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Guest paul@trinitymusic.karoo.co.uk
I have a crescendo pedal on my organ at home.  It's bloody annoying cos I keep stepping on it instead of the Swell Pedal, and it is even crappier cos there are only four steps to it.

 

 

Dear Lee,

is this the same electronic organ-substitute which you chose to show us for a while as your (enormous) avatar? I thought it walked on water!

P. :lol:

 

 

More helpfully:

The answer might well be for you to find a strip of metal (preferably brass or aluminium) about 6" long x 1.5 " wide and to screw this onto the side of your crescndo pedal so that this stops your foot drifting across from the 'normal' swell pedal. Obviously you'll need to file the edges down just a little so that your favourite shoes don't get damaged. I hope this explanation is sufficiently clear, can't draw it here!

 

If there's a sufficiently large gap between the pedals, you might find that a plastic 6" school ruler would do the job. This might be a bit thicker than your metal above. In both cases, the screws would need to be countersunk so that they do not stick out.

 

Plan B.

Why not ask the manufacturer to show you where in the wiring to/from the Crescendo Pedal you could introduce a switch? A small additional length of wire and a little switch on the console could put this safely out of action and reserve it for special occasions.

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