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Ch To Sw


Westgate Morris
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Guest paul@trinitymusic.karoo.co.uk
Just a quick question about the Ch to Sw 8'. Yes... Choir to Swell. I see them on a few UK instruments.

Have you ever used one?

Why and would you consider one for a mid-sized instrument?

Thanks for any comments.

WM

 

 

I've never come across one - but there's no reason why it would not be useful if, for instance, a stop or group of stops could not be coupled across. To make this clear, imagine a Choir Tromba 8', un-couplable (dreadful word!) to Swell. Swell and Choir choruses together could be used to accompany it.

 

Of course, one traditionally draws the Swell down to the Choir rather than the other way around. Organs where this is not possible sometimes present registrational problems as a consequence. Some early period Father Willis jobs, for instance, shared this lack of an expected coupler. Bearing in mind how satisfactory a FHW can be for romantic French repertoire (in particular), this is a decided drawback.

 

These days switching of all kinds is almost ludicrously cheap in comparison to what it used to be. If you've got a solid state system being made for you, the cost of adding another coupler 'in the works' is cheaper than (for instance) providing an engraved stopknob with solenoid to control it.

 

I suppose I would still prefer the money to go on another rank of pipes......typical organist's remark, of course!

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I don't think I've ever come across one.

 

Where the Choir is the quietest manual I suppose there would be a certain logic in having a Choir to Swell coupler. Through Choir to Swell and Swell to Great one would then be successively coupling a quieter manual to a louder one. This would then leave the quietest stops - on the Choir - available in an uncoupled state. Quite why one should want to do this I can't think, but that's probably because I've never understood the point of anemic English Choir organs. I much prefer the Choir Organ to be the second manual, akin to the French Positif.

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From a couple of practice sessions before FRCO in 1981 I remember that St Augustine's, Queensgate, South Kensington, had something odd in the way of couplers. Now I've looked it up:

 

http://npor.emma.cam.ac.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch...ec_index=N00947

 

I see it's the Ch to Sw of this thread.

 

I couldn't decide why this was done here, but a lack of Sw to Ch was less than helpful for preparing for the HNB at Kensington Gore :rolleyes:

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Just a quick question about the Ch to Sw 8'. Yes... Choir to Swell. I see them on a few UK instruments.

Have you ever used one?

Why and would you consider one for a mid-sized instrument?

Thanks for any comments.

WM

I might be wrong, but didn't Cavaillé-Coll build Pos-R couplers in Toulouse, Saint-Sernin, and/or Rouen, Saint-Ouen? I seem to remember the reason was that the Récits there have their own Barker machine, whereas the Positifs-de-dos don't, which was why C-C had the usual R-Pos coupler reversed, notwithstanding the standard he himself had created. In Rouen, there seems to be the additional problem that the chorus reeds of the Bombarde manual come on together (16-8-4) always as soon as one of them is drawn and the Anches Bombarde pedal is activated; a mechanical fault that came up at some point and had never been corrected. Or did I get anything wrong here? Has anyone here been so happy as to play there?

 

I also recall that all this made the interpretation of much of the French symphonic repertoire difficult both in Toulouse and in Rouen. Those being the favourite recording venues for the repertoire says a lot about the musical qualities of the instruments.

 

Best,

Friedrich

 

P. S. Happy New Year to all. (Mine is already, my son was born on 12 December. Paul's the name.)

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I've not come across the Choir to Swell coupler, but in some cases can see the logic. Paul will remember the organ at Christ Church Cheltenham, where we had a Great to Solo coupler, which I found very useful at times.

 

If I correctly remember my studies of early French (and other contintental) organs, certainly pre-Cavaille-Coll, the order of the manuals meant that there was coupling down, i.e. higher to lower, wich originated in manuals that were pulled out to couple, these later used mechanical couplers, in which the idea of downward coupling makes the mechanism easier to manufacture. This of course is not the case with English organs where the choir is below the Great. Also, early German organs, when couplers where used, and where there was a Ruck Positiv, would generally not have couplers.

 

Paul's comments about modern digital control systems is certainly something to bear in mind, and I think there must be many instruments when this would prove valuable, although, I think you need to be careful that the organist isn't confused too much by having couplers working in all directions at varying pitches!

 

Jonathan ;)

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From a couple of practice sessions before FRCO in 1981 I remember that St Augustine's, Queensgate, South Kensington, had something odd in the way of couplers. Now I've looked it up:

 

http://npor.emma.cam.ac.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch...ec_index=N00947

 

I see it's the Ch to Sw of this thread.

 

I couldn't decide why this was done here, but a lack of Sw to Ch was less than helpful for preparing for the HNB at Kensington Gore ;)

 

'Tis gone now. I play this instrument occasionally, and there is now a Swell to Choir coupler.

The Oboe and Clarinet are gone as well. There's nothing I would want to play on the swell that would want the choir coupled to it while accompanying on the choir - about the only use I can imagine for it at the moment. The swell to choir now there enables some beautiful sounds in the quieter registers.

 

I'll have to submit an update.

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Just a quick question about the Ch to Sw 8'. Yes... Choir to Swell. I see them on a few UK instruments.

Have you ever used one?

Why and would you consider one for a mid-sized instrument?

Thanks for any comments.

WM

 

Hi

 

One of my regular organs in the 1970's had one - see http://npor.emma.cam.ac.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch...ec_index=N07334 - apparently is incorrect - I must have missed that when I looked at the survey soon after starting with NPOR.

 

I'm not sure if the Ch-Sw was original Henry Jones or if it was a Nicholson change - but it was a nuisance, as my other regular organ at the time was Christchurch, Summerfield http://npor.emma.cam.ac.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch...ec_index=N07298 also a 3m Nicholson with a similar "feel" to the console (apart from the extra Pedal & Nave organ stops - so remembering which way the coupler was on which organ could be interesting!

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

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I might be wrong, but didn't Cavaillé-Coll build Pos-R couplers in Toulouse, Saint-Sernin, and/or Rouen, Saint-Ouen? I seem to remember the reason was that the Récits there have their own Barker machine, whereas the Positifs-de-dos don't, which was why C-C had the usual R-Pos coupler reversed, notwithstanding the standard he himself had created. In Rouen, there seems to be the additional problem that the chorus reeds of the Bombarde manual come on together (16-8-4) always as soon as one of them is drawn and the Anches Bombarde pedal is activated; a mechanical fault that came up at some point and had never been corrected. Or did I get anything wrong here? Has anyone here been so happy as to play there?

 

I also recall that all this made the interpretation of much of the French symphonic repertoire difficult both in Toulouse and in Rouen. Those being the favourite recording venues for the repertoire says a lot about the musical qualities of the instruments.

 

Best,

Friedrich

 

P. S. Happy New Year to all. (Mine is already, my son was born on 12 December. Paul's the name.)

 

Congratulations, Friedrich! So you are not calling him 'Johann Sebastian'....?

 

You are correct. There is one further interesting detail regarding the organ at S. Ouen, Rouen. The claviers are arranged in the traditional 'British' order of:

 

I - Positif

II - G. O.

III - Récit

IV - Bombarde

 

I was interested to hear of the 'fault' with the Bombarde reeds. However, is it certain that it was a mistake and not an intentional short-cut by Cavaillé-Coll? Remember that on most instruments by Cavaillé-Coll, the G. O. reeds come on together (with the upperwork and occasionally a larger 4p Octave) - unless, of course, the player has not drawn all the reed stops on the jambs. The Bombarde reeds at S. Ouen are not voiced in the same way that climax (or at least fourth clavier) reeds tend to be in Britain or the U.S. Therefore, the effect is quite different to adding tuba ranks at 16p, 8p and 4p pitches. It is possible that Cavaillé-Coll never expected that players would wish to add these ranks severally and therefore simplified the mechanism of an already large and complicated instrument.

 

On a practical point - since that soundboards at S. Ouen are presumably of slider design, is it possible that at some point the slides have been joined together at the ends? There are a number of organs in this country in which this is the case, often involving undulating ranks. For example, the H&H instrument at Exeter Cathedral. If one draws the Voix Céleste on the Swell stop jamb, the slider of the Salicional is also activated - without affecting visibly the draw-stop.

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I was interested to hear of the 'fault' with the Bombarde reeds. However, is it certain that it was a mistake and not an intentional short-cut by Cavaillé-Coll? Remember that on most instruments by Cavaillé-Coll, the G. O. reeds come on together (with the upperwork and occasionally a larger 4p Octave) - unless, of course, the player has not drawn all the reed stops on the jambs. The Bombarde reeds at S. Ouen are not voiced in the same way that climax (or at least fourth clavier) reeds tend to be in Britain or the U.S. Therefore, the effect is quite different to adding tuba ranks at 16p, 8p and 4p pitches. It is possible that Cavaillé-Coll never expected that players would wish to add these ranks severally and therefore simplified the mechanism of an already large and complicated instrument.

 

On a practical point - since that soundboards at S. Ouen are presumably of slider design, is it possible that at some point the slides have been joined together at the ends?

 

This might also be interesting - the organ in general is discussed as are the 3 'conjoined' Bombarde reeds:

 

http://www.gerardbrooks.org.uk/index.php?d=8&a=1

 

AJJ

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