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Santa's Paying! You Can Have...

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Guest paul@trinitymusic.karoo.co.uk

I realised very early on that the only way to get a practice-organ of my own was to concoct it myself. [Financially, I have never been an optimist!] However, in the extremely unlikely event that Santa could have offered me my own practice organ forty years ago, I would have had only a small amount of space to put it into. I would have chosen R.H.Walker of Chesham, Bucks to build it and the spec would have been along these lines:

 

Two manuals - each with identical stops, but all drawing independently

CC - c 61 notes - all mechanical action

8 Stopped Diapason

4 Principal

4 Nason Flute

2.2/3 Nazard

2 Principal (bright but not shrill)

1.3/5 Tierce (for use as a mutation not 'chorus-topper')

 

Pedal - downwards extensions of three manual ranks - i.e. just 12 extra pipes each

CCC-g 32 notes

16 Bourdon

8 Bass Flute

4 Superoctave

 

The organ would have been in a steel cage with large castors. The whole lot (with keyboards and pedals lifted out) would go through a conventional doorway. To have asked for the treble of another 8' would have added to the space requirements, though this is what I would want if I were commissioning one today. The hard question is which stop I would sacrifice to get it....probably the Tierce.

 

Now.....assuming that you've been good boys/girls and Santa is paying,

please specify for him your ideal design/specification of house organ.

 

Rules:

1. Keep this positive! Don't waste time telling us why you are not choosing something else

2. Keep it appropriate to the space you currently have available. Santa is not giving away new houses.

3. You can't have an organ from somewhere else, this one has to be newly built.

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Rules:

1. Keep this positive! Don't waste time telling us why you are not choosing something else

2. Keep it appropriate to the space you currently have available. Santa is not giving away new houses.

3. You can't have an organ from somewhere else, this one has to be newly built.

 

What fun! Appropriate to the space, I would have to plump for a 4' organ with a soft, quick speaking but contrasting flute on each manual, shared bass from tenor F down. The pipes would be upside down beneath the keyboards, rather like the strings on an Eavestaff minipiano. The pedal would have a switchable 8' (right way up, behind the keyboards) grooved to share the pipes of the manual rank and able to be coupled to the least characterful of the two manuals. There would also be a 2' flute and a 4' Gamba-type tone useable as a solo, which could be available on any of the three divisions. A tremulant, too. This would fall within the footprint of a deep upright piano or harmonium, pedalboard easily lifting up and clipping into place beneath the manuals. As I'll be dead and gone before Bill Drake could get around to doing it (doubtless after much peering over spectacles and going "Mmm! Ooooo-k!"), it would be a Stephen Cooke.

 

Oh, one alteration - there would be a "cornet coupler" which activates the notes 8.12.15.17 when the note 1 is pressed. I've done a quick sketch and think it's doable by means of jacks along the trackers, but electrics might be an easier answer. This would be handy with the 2' flute which would obviously have to be appropriately soft to be useable.

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So Santa's paying huh? Then I'd like him to upgrade my Wyvern Toccata III to a nice juicy four manual Wyvern Concerto! (but then, he's still getting over the shock of the cost of the Toccata III !)

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Of course, if you live on a farm, like me, you would have a substantial stone barn which is bird proof and damp proof and would be able to install the following:

 

Builder: Harrison and Harrison

 

Pedal Subbass 16 Principal 8 Flute 4 Posaune 16

Great Principal 8 Stopped Diapason 8 Octave 4 Flute 4 Fifteenth 2 Mixture IV Trumpet 8

Swell Chimney Flute 8 Echo Gamba 8 Voix Celeste 8 Principal 4 Fifteenth 2 Harmonics III Cornopean 8 Oboe 8

 

However, for the living room, the following would be somewhat more feasible:

 

Great Stopped Diapason 8 Principal 4 Quint 2 2/3 Octave 2

Swell Chimney Flute 8 Spitz Fltue 4 Principal 2 Quint 1 1/3 Trompette 8

Pedal Subbass 16

 

Of course if space did not permit this you would lose the quint stops.

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Here you go.............

 

Great

Stopped Wood 8

Principal 4

Fifteenth 2

Sesquialtera II

 

Swell

Gemshorn (stopped bass) 8

Voix Celeste (TC) 8

Harmonic Flute (metal) 4

Flageolet (wood) 2

Hautboy (TC) 8

 

Pedal

Stopped Bass (from Great) 16

 

S-G

G-P

S-P

 

Tremulant to whole organ

 

 

AJJ

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Guest Barry Williams
I realised very early on that the only way to get a practice-organ of my own was to concoct it myself. [Financially, I have never been an optimist!] However, in the extremely unlikely event that Santa could have offered me my own practice organ forty years ago, I would have had only a small amount of space to put it into. I would have chosen R.H.Walker of Chesham, Bucks to build it and the spec would have been along these lines:

 

Two manuals - each with identical stops, but all drawing independently

CC - c 61 notes - all mechanical action

8 Stopped Diapason

4 Principal

4 Nason Flute

2.2/3 Nazard

2 Principal (bright but not shrill)

1.3/5 Tierce (for use as a mutation not 'chorus-topper')

 

Pedal - downwards extensions of three manual ranks - i.e. just 12 extra pipes each

CCC-g 32 notes

16 Bourdon

8 Bass Flute

4 Superoctave

 

The organ would have been in a steel cage with large castors. The whole lot (with keyboards and pedals lifted out) would go through a conventional doorway. To have asked for the treble of another 8' would have added to the space requirements, though this is what I would want if I were commissioning one today. The hard question is which stop I would sacrifice to get it....probably the Tierce.

 

Now.....assuming that you've been good boys/girls and Santa is paying,

please specify for him your ideal design/specification of house organ.

 

Rules:

1. Keep this positive! Don't waste time telling us why you are not choosing something else

2. Keep it appropriate to the space you currently have available. Santa is not giving away new houses.

3. You can't have an organ from somewhere else, this one has to be newly built.

 

 

My wife and I had the opportunity to have a new organ. We declined the use of new pipes on the grounds that we did not like any new house organ that we heard, that mistakes are expensive to rectify and we wanted a warm, relaxed tone for use in the house. All the advice counselled against having any stops above 4', though we retained the 2'Flageolet. The instrument is new but the pipes are second-hand. We heard what we were getting. The result has been a total delight and the absence of a swell box has not been the slightest problem. The instrument is on NPOR, though there have been minor changes. The delight of real pipes is immense.

 

 

 

Barry Williams

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My wife and I had the opportunity to have a new organ. We declined the use of new pipes on the grounds that we did not like any new house organ that we heard, that mistakes are expensive to rectify and we wanted a warm, relaxed tone for use in the house. All the advice counselled against having any stops above 4', though we retained the 2'Flageolet. The instrument is new but the pipes are second-hand. We heard what we were getting. The result has been a total delight and the absence of a swell box has not been the slightest problem. The instrument is on NPOR, though there have been minor changes. The delight of real pipes is immense.

Barry Williams

 

Wasn't it written up in Organists' Review a few years back?

 

AJJ

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Guest Barry Williams
Wasn't it written up in Organists' Review a few years back?

 

AJJ

 

 

Yes, that's the one.

 

Barry Williams

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Yes, that's the one.

 

Barry Williams

 

Hi

 

My first requirement would be a house to put it in! Then I'd probably look at one of the many redundant instruments around the place.

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

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Now.....assuming that you've been good boys/girls and Santa is paying,

please specify for him your ideal design/specification of house organ.

 

Rules:

1. Keep this positive! Don't waste time telling us why you are not choosing something else

2. Keep it appropriate to the space you currently have available. Santa is not giving away new houses.

3. You can't have an organ from somewhere else, this one has to be newly built.

 

I'd like one of these, as is:

 

http://www.orgues-bancells.com/show?ar_id=26

 

But if Santa was paying for a custom job:

 

Man I 61 notes C-c''''

Principale 8'

Spire Flute 4'

 

Man II 61 notes C-c''''

Bourdon 8'

Recorder 2'

 

Pedal 30 notes C-f

Quint 5 1/3'

 

II/I

II/I 4'

 

I/P

I/P 4'

II/P

 

Tremulant to whole organ

Some interesting and useful "well" temperament, eg Niedhart, Valotti, Kellner

Mechanical action, of course.

 

Maybe, and this would involve a lot of soul-searching and research, either an ability to transpose the organ, or low or high pitch. In other words, not just a practice organ, but one that could be used for intimate performances with other instruments, eg baroque flute, oboe, tromba di tirarsi etc.

 

If anyone feels like being my Santa I can provide my bank details... :unsure:

 

Michael

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Well volume would not be a problem for me as my landlady is exceedingly deaf, as confirmed by the fact that even though I sometimes playback organ CDs at floor shaking levels, she is always saying what a quiet person I am and that she never knows when I am in or out! :unsure: However, a distinct lack of floor space would mean a house organ would have to be constructed along the lines of those employed at Philadelphia's Girard Chapel, i.e. suspended from the ceiling, which given the weight bearing issue, could be a problem! B)

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I have always fancied something exactly along the lines of what paul@trinitymusic.karoo.co.uk has suggested. I think I'd be even more 'modest' though (for a living room organ anyway):

 

Man I & II:

 

Gedackt 8

Prestant 4 (case)

Wood Flute 4

Spire Quint 2 2/3

Fifteenth 2 (not too narrow)

 

Ped:

 

Subbass 16 (from Gedackt, if space)

Gedackt 8 (from flute and gedackt)

 

I - Ped

Tremulant (maybe)

 

I believe this could be made to fit in a normal room if the 16' was mitred. There would be folding doors to keep the sound in and the cats out.

 

Now, if I had a barn to play with ... well, of course there'd be the vintage Ford Triumph Spitfire, the recording studio equipment and the 3-manual console (hooked up to hauptwerk) to fit in, as well as the harpsichord(s) and baby grand, the 4" scale live steam Fairground engine I'd be restoring, the home brewery, oh and a big leather sofa with a very exclusive Hi-fi (not to mention my office with an iMac, and my library). But it would never be complete without one of these delightful organs. They seem to be one of T&B's 'standard models' which they roll out for small chapels and such - after all, the exchange rate is very favourable at the moment. When I die it can go to a worthy recipient, such as a school chapel.

 

I intend to do my mid-life crisis in style; ideally I'd only enter the main house to eat and sleep (shh, don't tell the wife). When I'm bored I can take my chocolate-brown labradors out for walks on the moors. All I need is a barn and a bit of pocket-money...

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Guest paul@trinitymusic.karoo.co.uk
I have always fancied something exactly along the lines of what paul@trinitymusic.karoo.co.uk has suggested. I think I'd be even more 'modest' though (for a living room organ anyway):

 

Man I & II:

 

Gedackt 8

Prestant 4 (case)

Wood Flute 4

Spire Quint 2 2/3

Fifteenth 2 (not too narrow)

 

Ped:

 

Subbass 16 (from Gedackt, if space)

Gedackt 8 (from flute and gedackt)

 

I - Ped

Tremulant (maybe)

 

I believe this could be made to fit in a normal room if the 16' was mitred. There would be folding doors to keep the sound in and the cats out.

 

Now, if I had a barn to play with ... well, of course there'd be the vintage Ford Triumph Spitfire, the recording studio equipment and the 3-manual console (hooked up to hauptwerk) to fit in, as well as the harpsichord(s) and baby grand, the 4" scale live steam Fairground engine I'd be restoring, the home brewery, oh and a big leather sofa with a very exclusive Hi-fi (not to mention my office with an iMac, and my library). But it would never be complete without one of these delightful organs. They seem to be one of T&B's 'standard models' which they roll out for small chapels and such - after all, the exchange rate is very favourable at the moment. When I die it can go to a worthy recipient, such as a school chapel.

 

I intend to do my mid-life crisis in style; ideally I'd only enter the main house to eat and sleep (shh, don't tell the wife). When I'm bored I can take my chocolate-brown labradors out for walks on the moors. All I need is a barn and a bit of pocket-money...

 

 

Start looking for a barn, that's my advice!

'Thrifty 'til fifty then spend to the end' is advice I've heard offered which seems very applicable to those with unfilfilled dreams. After all, it is highly probable that we come this way but once.

So.....If that's your dream, S.C. there will be the right barn out there somewhere.

 

I like the look of the T&B jobs too, but I bet they come pretty expensive. Mind you, if you've been really good, maybe Santa can cover it.

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What fun Mr. Derret is having building a Santa type organ. Lets hope he doesn't do it to another Nicholson and Lord like the one he added a 15th on a clamp to in Ketley near Telford. I tune the poor thing and it's suffering! I'm not amused!

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Sorry I didn't mean to sound hurtful but I'm just a little concerned about certain people doing certain things. However I'd love an organ in the house. Probably an American organ builder would be best, or J.W.Walker & Sons. In the 80's JWW did a fantastic series on producing home type organ that were affordable. There is one at the Birmingham Conservatoire.

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There seem to be some interesting trends here - some seem to want fairly 'classical' ('can't think of another term for it) stoplists - rather like expanded continuo organs whereas others see things differently. There is a house organ somewhere in the US (maddeningly I can not find the details) with nothing above 4' (a Harmonic Flute), a couple of contrasting 8's on the two manuals (one a TC Principal) and a string - all enclosed on mechanical action. I seem to remember also an Oboe and a 16 pedal stop of some sort. It all looked a bit like a French 'Choir' organ. From this one can get basic solo/accompaniment resources. big/small effects and it can all shut down nicely with the swell box - consideration for neighbours etc.! I personally could live with something like this - dare I say it perhaps more than something more 'perky' - especially in our current housing situation and keeping in mind the sort of music I would want to (and perhaps more importantly not want to) play on it.

 

AJJ

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Guest paul@trinitymusic.karoo.co.uk
What fun Mr. Derret is having building a Santa type organ. Lets hope he doesn't do it to another Nicholson and Lord like the one he added a 15th on a clamp to in Ketley near Telford. I tune the poor thing and it's suffering! I'm not amused!

 

mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.

Thinks: for all that, someone must have wanted a Fifteenth pretty throughly (and been prepared to pay) if I put one in.

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There is a house organ somewhere in the US (maddeningly I can not find the details) with nothing above 4' (a Harmonic Flute), a couple of contrasting 8's on the two manuals (one a TC Principal) and a string - all enclosed on mechanical action. I seem to remember also an Oboe and a 16 pedal stop of some sort. It all looked a bit like a French 'Choir' organ. From this one can get basic solo/accompaniment resources. big/small effects and it can all shut down nicely with the swell box - consideration for neighbours etc.!

 

AJJ

 

From memory (not having the books to hand at the moment), this sounds very familiar to the chamber organ disposition suggested in Audsley Vol. 1. He also speaks favourably of the Cavaille-Coll `Orgue de Salon` design which is also listed somewhere in the book.

 

Also, on this topic, has anyone ever read `How to Build a Small Two Manual Chamber Organ` by H.F. Milne (http://www.amazon.com/Build-Small-Manual-Chamber-Organ/dp/0913746037)...comes complete with fold-out working drawings.

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Seeing as the house where I live is not very big I would like a box organ with a stoplist somewhere along the lines of:

 

Manual I (Fixed):

Flute 8'

Chimney Flute 4'

Octave 2'

Tierce 1 3/5'

Quint 1 1/3

 

Manual II: (Detachable):

Regal 8'

 

Pedal:

Principal 8' (outside of main case)

Manual II -> Pedal (if Manual II is attached)

 

Stops divided bass / treble at Middle C

Transposible pitches (not sure what I would choose here)

 

Would like the Tierce in as I find that an 8' + 4' + 2' + 1 3/5' combination is good for playing Bach (well, it works on by local church organ so it might work here)

 

Dave

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What fun Mr. Derret is having building a Santa type organ. Lets hope he doesn't do it to another Nicholson and Lord like the one he added a 15th on a clamp to in Ketley near Telford. I tune the poor thing and it's suffering! I'm not amused!

 

SHOCKING!!!!! A clamp! Why go to all that trouble when you could have thrown away one of those dreadful boring 8' stops and kept the 2' (or perhaps a nice Scharffzimbel) on the soundboard (or, better still, just cut the pipes down in situ, carefully storing the tops under the reservoir)?

 

A far bigger threat than the individual is the large company that will completely recast and revoice a good instrument, altering cutups and adding inappropriate upperwork, often on different actions and wind supplies. There are far too many of these around even still and seem to pass through with much less comment than the occasional individual who helps to keep an old instrument in service and prevent it from being toaster-usurped. At least a clamp can be undone again and there's no reason why it should cause anything to "suffer"...

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What fun Mr. Derret is having building a Santa type organ. Lets hope he doesn't do it to another Nicholson and Lord like the one he added a 15th on a clamp to in Ketley near Telford. I tune the poor thing and it's suffering! I'm not amused!

Tsk tsk.....

 

;)

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Now.....assuming that you've been good boys/girls and Santa is paying,

please specify for him your ideal design/specification of house organ.

 

Rules:

1. Keep this positive! Don't waste time telling us why you are not choosing something else

2. Keep it appropriate to the space you currently have available. Santa is not giving away new houses.

3. You can't have an organ from somewhere else, this one has to be newly built.

 

I've been thinking about this a bit. I much prefer to practice on an 8' Open Diapason - I find I can hear the pitches far more clearly than with a gedact. I can live with a stopped or helper bass octave if space is a problem.

 

My spare bedroom has become my musicroom/study so the organ go in there. The spec I would go for, taking into account the size of the room would be:

 

Manual I (Great)

Open Diapason 8 (stopped or helper bass - prefer indepedant of Stopped diapason bass if space allows)

 

Manual II

Stopped Diapason 8

Flute 4

 

Pedal - no stops - couplers only

II-I

 

Having manual 2 enclosed would be good so I can practise use of the swell pedal

 

Naturally, all mechanical action.

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Manual I (Great)

Open Diapason 8 (stopped or helper bass - prefer indepedant of Stopped diapason bass if space allows)

 

Manual II

Stopped Diapason 8

Flute 4

 

Pedal - no stops - couplers only

II-I

 

Having manual 2 enclosed would be good so I can practise use of the swell pedal

 

Naturally, all mechanical action.

 

The OD can be a bit loud in a small room, although I don't know how big your spare bedroom is, of course. How about a tapered flute?

 

I would recommend transmissions instead of couplers to the pedals, very good for your trios....you could have pedal Stopt D, rh Man 1 with its only stop, lh with the 4' down an octave. That wouldn't work with your OD though.

 

Cheers

B

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The OD can be a bit loud in a small room, although I don't know how big your spare bedroom is, of course. How about a tapered flute?

 

I would recommend transmissions instead of couplers to the pedals, very good for your trios....you could have pedal Stopt D, rh Man 1 with its only stop, lh with the 4' down an octave. That wouldn't work with your OD though.

 

Cheers

B

 

 

 

Definately NO to a tapered flute!! You can make a small scale OD which isn't overpowering - and besides, isn't a 4 principal found on many of these beasts in theory just as loud but pitched an octave up so it's more shrill? People have so many misconceptions about Open Diapasons... What's in a name anyway?

 

 

 

Transmissions are OK but the problem is that you get problems with 2 pallets per pipe. I don't believe clack valves solve the problem adequately. So I'll just lump it and have couplers, thank you and just accept the lack of flexibility.

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