Jump to content
Mander Organs

On The Screen Or Not?


Phil T

Recommended Posts

But, I am still unmoved about the putting in of more Romantic organs (plus Triforium/Aisle/Transept 'spread' or coffined into the screen eg. K. C. Cambridge) into more ancient screen organs. The most inspiring is in Windsor, but only mostly for the organist.
I can't quite work out where Windsor fits into this, Nigel. If you had called it a Romantic organ in front of SSC he'd have poked his false teeth out at you - if he were in a good mood. As I'm sure you know really, it is an eclectic organ - a very different kettle of fish (or kist of whistles).

 

You are so right about the organ bench being the best place to experience it. It does lose a lot down below, losing rather less sparkling and rather more woolly. But I do wish they'd invest on a proper Great Cornet. The one they've got, cobbled together from leftovers, is ghastly.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 106
  • Created
  • Last Reply
A lot of sound does go up the funnel, and at the console the organ cannot be heard at all well. It goes right over your head. Interestingly, the job is voiced almost to screaming pitch, and has baffles to try to deflect sound downwards.

 

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

 

 

 

I believe this to be a completely wrong statement. on the basis that a funnel would direct sound downwards rather than upwards, if the source of the sound is lower than the lip of the funnel, which of course, it is.

 

When Denys Thurlow heard the organ played, he was quite shocked by the reltively small sound of it.

 

Interestingly, when he climbed up the scaffolding directly ooposite the organ, it sounded fine; a little bit like the "whispering gallery" effect at St.Paul's.....same eye-level, directly opposite, with identical geometry of sound to reflecting surfaces, as that between reflecting surfaces and the listener.

 

That has nothing to do with sound "disappearing into the ether" of the lantern at Liverpool, but to do with the way circular structures focus and reflect sound; whether working in the vertical plane or the horizontal plane.

 

In a more conventional building, there is not the same specific radiation of sound, but rather, a more oblique spread of sound, Furthermore, wall surfaces are much closer, and as the sound travels down a nave, or even a choir, it will zig-zag in a series of reflections which follow a particular East-West axis. York Minster is a classic example of how a wide central-space, with a huge vertical area and two large, wide-transpets, tend to scatter and break-up that sort of zig-zag focusing. (Blackburn is another building which does the same).

 

I know of two virtually perfect acoustics; though I am sure there are many more. The first is St.John's, Smith Square, and the other is the church where I play, at St.Joseph's, Keighley; both in exact mathematical proportion.

 

If you think of the Metropolitan Cathedral at Liverpool, how much secondary or tertiary reflected-sound actually reaches the ears. If you think of the walls and "cone" as being mirrors, and you shine a laser beam from the organ, you could receive a direct-hit, but almost everything else would be heavily diffuse light scattered not from ome or two surfaces, but from all directions. In a circular building, you can only ever be close to one wall-surface at a time, in addition to the floor, rather than moderately close to two walls, a rear wall. a floor and a roof, with sound zig-zagging between them.

 

Possibly the best place to hear the organ at Liverpool is directly opposite the organ, and possibly the worst place to hear it is directly beneath the pipework; hence the reflective panels.

 

Of course, were the organ console attached to the organ, there would not ba a problem for the organist, but like everyone else in the building, he/she has to cope with that diffused sound.

 

Lastly, I would dispute that the organ is voiced "to screaming pitch." I don't know that Denys ever voiced anything like that, but I'm quite sure he would voice brightly and boldly in such a building. I don't see evidence of huge scaling or excessive wind-pressure.....quite the contrary.

 

Actually, the audible clue come from the chamades, which sound very distant, in spite of projecting the sound horizontally. You hear them certainly, but they are not quite as dramatic as one expects.

 

MM

Link to post
Share on other sites

That has nothing to do with sound "disappearing into the ether" of the lantern at Liverpool, but to do with the way circular structures focus and reflect sound; whether working in the vertical plane or the horizontal plane.

 

 

MM

 

At the time that the Liverpool Met. job was being built, I was working as a tuners boy for Walkers. We had cause to visit the works in Ruislip, where the tuner went to visit Denys Thurlow, who had recently finished the horizontal trumpets for Liverpool. He (DT) had quite a chat with my boss, and told of the time when the instrument was first switched on. Apparently it was all but inaudible from the console, even when played flat out. When they stopped, they became conscious of a very loud shouting from the middle of the roof, inviting them to 'turn that thing down - we can't hear ourselves think up here' - or words to that effect. Sounding boards were installed to improve matters, but I gather from other comments in this discussion they aren't wholly successful.

 

As far as the original question is concerned, surely it depends on too many variables to give a single answer. Size of building, nature of the music, possible alternative sites, whether or not there is an existing historic case (Exeter, Kings, Gloucester for example) and so on. My own thoughts are that the sound of the Organ coming from a screen cannot help but smother the sound of the choir as heard in the nave. Many cathedrals overcome this by having a second set of stalls in the nave area, but again, no single answer fits all situations.

 

Regards to all

 

John

Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Roffensis
===================================

I believe this to be a completely wrong statement. on the basis that a funnel would direct sound downwards rather than upwards, if the source of the sound is lower than the lip of the funnel, which of course, it is.

 

When Denys Thurlow heard the organ played, he was quite shocked by the reltively small sound of it.

 

Interestingly, when he climbed up the scaffolding directly ooposite the organ, it sounded fine; a little bit like the "whispering gallery" effect at St.Paul's.....same eye-level, directly opposite, with identical geometry of sound to reflecting surfaces, as that between reflecting surfaces and the listener.

 

That has nothing to do with sound "disappearing into the ether" of the lantern at Liverpool, but to do with the way circular structures focus and reflect sound; whether working in the vertical plane or the horizontal plane.

 

In a more conventional building, there is not the same specific radiation of sound, but rather, a more oblique spread of sound, Furthermore, wall surfaces are much closer, and as the sound travels down a nave, or even a choir, it will zig-zag in a series of reflections which follow a particular East-West axis. York Minster is a classic example of how a wide central-space, with a huge vertical area and two large, wide-transpets, tend to scatter and break-up that sort of zig-zag focusing. (Blackburn is another building which does the same).

 

I know of two virtually perfect acoustics; though I am sure there are many more. The first is St.John's, Smith Square, and the other is the church where I play, at St.Joseph's, Keighley; both in exact mathematical proportion.

 

If you think of the Metropolitan Cathedral at Liverpool, how much secondary or tertiary reflected-sound actually reaches the ears. If you think of the walls and "cone" as being mirrors, and you shine a laser beam from the organ, you could receive a direct-hit, but almost everything else would be heavily diffuse light scattered not from ome or two surfaces, but from all directions. In a circular building, you can only ever be close to one wall-surface at a time, in addition to the floor, rather than moderately close to two walls, a rear wall. a floor and a roof, with sound zig-zagging between them.

 

Possibly the best place to hear the organ at Liverpool is directly opposite the organ, and possibly the worst place to hear it is directly beneath the pipework; hence the reflective panels.

 

Of course, were the organ console attached to the organ, there would not ba a problem for the organist, but like everyone else in the building, he/she has to cope with that diffused sound.

 

Lastly, I would dispute that the organ is voiced "to screaming pitch." I don't know that Denys ever voiced anything like that, but I'm quite sure he would voice brightly and boldly in such a building. I don't see evidence of huge scaling or excessive wind-pressure.....quite the contrary.

 

Actually, the audible clue come from the chamades, which sound very distant, in spite of projecting the sound horizontally. You hear them certainly, but they are not quite as dramatic as one expects.

 

MM

 

I also well recall hearing Holsts Planets in the Met, and you could almost see the sound go upwards into the funnel. As one who has often played the job, I assure you it does go up!!! It also is heard better if you are higher in the building.....

 

R

Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Nigel ALLCOAT
I can't quite work out where Windsor fits into this, Nigel. If you had called it a Romantic organ in front of SSC he'd have poked his false teeth out at you - if he were in a good mood. As I'm sure you know really, it is an eclectic organ - a very different kettle of fish (or kist of whistles).

 

You are so right about the organ bench being the best place to experience it. It does lose a lot down below, losing rather less sparkling and rather more woolly. But I do wish they'd invest on a proper Great Cornet. The one they've got, cobbled together from leftovers, is ghastly.

 

Bit fuddled after lunch! I was perhaps not lucid. Sorry. I was not including Windsor as an ancient Case, only as an instrument on a Screen. I would certainly not call it Romantic either, - more Grand Symphonic as conceived by an British icon in a spectacular building. (Still to this day I remember a tele broadcast when I was about 15 and the best organ sound of any place for the National Anthem! A real tingle factor. Was one of my youthful Damascus 'moments'.) Anyway, to my knowledge (because it is so well focused for the player) nothing can be stashed away in hidden places like so many unfortunate great places. There, they should have a game called Hunt the Rank.

I don't think I really understand the term eclectic for organs as there is a hint of the derogatory attached to it as far as taste and opinions are concerned. (The organ equivalent of Jack of all and master of none?) I know that people are suggesting, when using the description, of a little of that tradition and a bit from somebody else's, but the builder (and in the case of St G's) and consultant/incumbant were somewhat creating a rather special instrument for these shores. What Dr S did for Coventry was a stroke of great fortune too. Three cheers. Hugely musical and focused - which is exactly what I look for all the time.

 

Best wishes,

Nigel

Link to post
Share on other sites
I don't think I really understand the term eclectic for organs as there is a hint of the derogatory attached to it as far as taste and opinions are concerned. (The organ equivalent of Jack of all and master of none?) I know that people are suggesting, when using the description, of a little of that tradition and a bit from somebody else's, but the builder (and in the case of St G's) and consultant/incumbant were somewhat creating a rather special instrument for these shores. What Dr S did for Coventry was a stroke of great fortune too. Three cheers. Hugely musical and focused - which is exactly what I look for all the time.

 

Best wishes,

Nigel

 

 

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

 

 

Three cheers for Nigel too!

 

I always smile when I hear romantic music played to such spectacular effect at St.Bavo; knowing that absolutely no-one ever designed the organ that way.

 

That's what happens when something is hugely musical and focused, and REAL musicians respond accordingly.

 

I LOVE the organ at Windsor, which I regard as one of the greatest achievements in relatively recent British organ-building.

 

MM

Link to post
Share on other sites
I also well recall hearing Holsts Planets in the Met, and you could almost see the sound go upwards into the funnel. As one who has often played the job, I assure you it does go up!!! It also is heard better if you are higher in the building.....

 

R

 

 

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

 

Well yes, it must go up, but most of it must come down again!

 

It's not the same as incense smoke!

 

Sound is sound, and it will go up, down, sideways, creep through keyholes and even convert to heat, but it doesn't just disappear upwards into a corona and swirl around like a sonic fairground-ride, for God's sake!!!!!

 

In a completely ooposite and even perverse way, the same thing as happens at Liverpool also happened at the Royal Festival Hall, but in the case of the latter, only direct sound, and one or two reflected, indirect sounds reached the ears, because the sound absorbing materials killed the rest.

 

I stand by what I stated. The shape of the building diffuses the sound at Liverpool, and what you hear is really nothing more than direct sound, plus a lot of station-esque resonance swirling around. Go up to the level of the organ, directly opposite the instrument, and a circular building will focus the sound on that exact spot wonderfully.

 

I'd love to do an experiment, and measure the sound output level of the organ close to hand, and then measure it in the building at other strategic points. I bet the results would be quite surprising and not a little interesting.

 

It may well be, having stated the obvious, that the corona area is also a focal-point for reflections; rather like a louspeaker cone working in reverse.....which would make it a sort of receiver on a par with Jodrell Bank, but upside down and static.

 

In fact, coming to think of it, if they turned the whole cathedral upside down, it WOULD be Jodrell Bank Mk2, wouldn't it?

 

I know Sir Bernard Lovell was an organist....but......

 

:)

 

MM

Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Nigel ALLCOAT
=============================

 

... the same thing as happens at Liverpool also happened at the Royal Festival Hall, but in the case of the latter, only direct sound, and one or two reflected, indirect sounds reached the ears, because the sound absorbing materials killed the rest.

 

MM

 

We await the 'new' sound at RFH with the greatest of interest. The best place to hear the old one was about the 3rd desk of the Viola section. Let's hope the reincarnation will at least get to the Stalls. But by the time it is all in - 2011? - I will have to ask Matron if I can attend a Matinée.

 

Best morning greetings,

Nigel

 

But back to the original topic - I would say that the Pulpitum arrangement in Aberdeen's King's College Chapel without a swell box blocking egress, sounds wonderful either side (I think). With the Pedal 16ft Principal on the Ante-Chapel side and some of the 8' octave too, the clarity is really lovely. It is a way of enjoying some instruments (and evaluating their effectiveness) in similar positions that were happily built to adorn chapels and cathedrals in earlier centuries. Here is what it looks like if readers have not yet viewed it. http://www.organconservatoire.org/22401/22406.html

 

Apropos old Pulpitum organs:proportion, I argue, is not the only thing that is lost when enlarging screen cases beyond their original sizes.

 

Best wishes,

Nigel

Link to post
Share on other sites
=============================

 

Well yes, it must go up, but most of it must come down again!

 

It's not the same as incense smoke!

 

Sound is sound, and it will go up, down, sideways, creep through keyholes and even convert to heat, but it doesn't just disappear upwards into a corona and swirl around like a sonic fairground-ride, for God's sake!!!!!

 

MM

 

Be that as it may, some impact of the sound at Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral is lost at floor level. According to several people who have played it - and a couple of organ builders - this is due to some channelling (or possibly attenuating) effect of the corona. I am sure that sound does travel all over the place. Nevertheless, perhaps due to either absorbent or reflective properties of contrasting surfaces and shapes, the sound waves travel differently from building to building.

 

The same is true at Exeter Cathedral. A number of organists and organ builders are of the opinion that some sound is lost in the nave because it tends to disperse almost immediately into the transepts.

 

Sorry - this is a very quick reply, not fully-thought through, due to the fact that I now have to return to class to teach.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Andrew Butler
===================================

 

Lastly, I would dispute that the organ is voiced "to screaming pitch." I don't know that Denys ever voiced anything like that, but I'm quite sure he would voice brightly and boldly in such a building. I don't see evidence of huge scaling or excessive wind-pressure.....quite the contrary.

 

MM

 

Err, he did at St Laurence's, Hawkhurst, Kent - Great OD cut up drastically and an open-foot Gt mixture, and a screaming Swell mixture, both of which I had altered when I was DOM there. (My successor(s) have had the Great one changed again since... :huh:

Link to post
Share on other sites
Err, he did at St Laurence's, Hawkhurst, Kent - Great OD cut up drastically and an open-foot Gt mixture, and a screaming Swell mixture, both of which I had altered when I was DOM there. (My successor(s) have had the Great one changed again since... :huh:

 

 

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

 

I was thinking more in terms of new organs, but I expect this was probably a fashionable attempt to get more power out a Diapason which probably had small foot-holes, and may well have been underscaled to start with.

 

I suspect that the shrillness of the Mixture possibly owed much to the sharpness of the pitches, which just doesn't work in the average English parish-church. That was the neo-broke fashion of the day, and one which I find regrettable. Perhaps the Snetzler/Early Victorian use of Sequialteras was the logical way of providing brightness, yet somehow acting as a tonal-binder, for reasons which escape me.

 

The organ I play is open-foot voiced and largely un-nicked or with just the odd scratch on the languids here and there. It has a very bright, plain-metal Mixture of 4 ranks, but the building is so good, it sounds wonderful. In fact, as I demonstrated to Paul Hodges, it is possible to accompany with the 8ft Principal and just the 4 rks Mixture, played an octave lower!

 

In referring to the "Met Pot" at Liverpool, we are in a very different territory; of buildings with huge acoustics, like Blackburn Cathedral just up the M6 and right a bit. These are building in which you could have 40 ranks of Mixture pipes, and still have a musical instrument.

 

If organ-consultants specify a 10rks Cymbel to be added to a Hope-Jones organ buried under the chancel-arch of an acoutsically unflattering building, they get what they deserve!

 

It's very easy to blame the organ-builder/voicer when it is often the cloth-eared twit who acted as consultant.

 

 

:)

 

 

MM

 

 

PS: I've just remembered that I know a Hope-Jones organ which was "turned neo-classical" in just such a building and in the exact same position. It is horrible!

Link to post
Share on other sites
===================================

 

Lastly, I would dispute that the organ is voiced "to screaming pitch." I don't know that Denys ever voiced anything like that, but I'm quite sure he would voice brightly and boldly in such a building. I don't see evidence of huge scaling or excessive wind-pressure.....quite the contrary.

 

Actually, the audible clue come from the chamades, which sound very distant, in spite of projecting the sound horizontally. You hear them certainly, but they are not quite as dramatic as one expects.

 

MM

 

I would agree with this, MM. As far as I know, Denys Thurlow also voiced my own instrument. There is not an ugly sound anywhere in the organ - apart from (in the opinions of certain contributors) the chamades. The GO chorus is one of the most musical and satisfying known to me. The Positive is also excellent, the Swell is equally good. Flutes are quite beautiful and the solo mutations work well in the most unusual combinations. The Pedal foundations are likewise good, with the wooden Violone being one of the best I have heard and played. The reeds are good light-presure examples, with a fine Hautbois on the Swell and a good Cromorne (spelled 'Crumhorn', but it has French shallots) on the Positive. Perhaps the only disappointing stops are the Pedal Trombone (wood), which is in the process of being loudened, the GO Dulciana (now exchanged for a really excellent Gamba - open metal right down to CC) and the GO Koppel Flute (now exchanged for a beautiful Harmonic Flute).

Link to post
Share on other sites
I would agree with this, MM. As far as I know, Denys Thurlow also voiced my own instrument. There is not an ugly sound anywhere in the organ - apart from (in the opinions of certain contributors) the chamades. The GO chorus is one of the most musical and satisfying known to me. The Positive is also excellent, the Swell is equally good. Flutes are quite beautiful and the solo mutations work well in the most unusual combinations. The Pedal foundations are likewise good, with the wooden Violone being one of the best I have heard and played. The reeds are good light-presure examples, with a fine Hautbois on the Swell and a good Cromorne (spelled 'Crumhorn', but it has French shallots) on the Positive. Perhaps the only disappointing stops are the Pedal Trombone (wood), which is in the process of being loudened, the GO Dulciana (now exchanged for a really excellent Gamba - open metal right down to CC) and the GO Koppel Flute (now exchanged for a beautiful Harmonic Flute.

 

All the work I've seen of Thurlow's has been good and generally respectful of old material (as at Wimborne) to the same extent as anyone else was at the time - e.g. Roger Yates and a good deal of early Mander stuff. It is always possible to lower cutups again (are you sure this wasn't an earlier rebuild - most common to see this done 1900-1945) and surely it's better that this was done than old material being melted down and replaced altogether. Everyone was feeling their way in the dark to some extent but I don't think there's anything to suggest that Thurlow or any of the others mentioned weren't working with the best of intentions, unlike numerous others.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Andrew Butler
=========================

 

I was thinking more in terms of new organs, but I expect this was probably a fashionable attempt to get more power out a Diapason which probably had small foot-holes, and may well have been underscaled to start with.

 

I suspect that the shrillness of the Mixture possibly owed much to the sharpness of the pitches, which just doesn't work in the average English parish-church. That was the neo-broke fashion of the day, and one which I find regrettable. Perhaps the Snetzler/Early Victorian use of Sequialteras was the logical way of providing brightness, yet somehow acting as a tonal-binder, for reasons which escape me.

 

The organ I play is open-foot voiced and largely un-nicked or with just the odd scratch on the languids here and there. It has a very bright, plain-metal Mixture of 4 ranks, but the building is so good, it sounds wonderful. In fact, as I demonstrated to Paul Hodges, it is possible to accompany with the 8ft Principal and just the 4 rks Mixture, played an octave lower!

 

In referring to the "Met Pot" at Liverpool, we are in a very different territory; of buildings with huge acoustics, like Blackburn Cathedral just up the M6 and right a bit. These are building in which you could have 40 ranks of Mixture pipes, and still have a musical instrument.

 

If organ-consultants specify a 10rks Cymbel to be added to a Hope-Jones organ buried under the chancel-arch of an acoutsically unflattering building, they get what they deserve!

 

It's very easy to blame the organ-builder/voicer when it is often the cloth-eared twit who acted as consultant.

:huh:

MM

PS: I've just remembered that I know a Hope-Jones organ which was "turned neo-classical" in just such a building and in the exact same position. It is horrible!

 

Funnily enough, I had the Hawkhurst mixture replaced witha Sesquialtera type. (The Tierce rank has since been removed and made available separately) The diapason that was cut up was the old No.1; the No.2 became a 4' Choral bass on the pedals, apparently with no revoicing - and that was pretty firm toned...

Link to post
Share on other sites
=============================

 

Well yes, it must go up, but most of it must come down again!

 

It's not the same as incense smoke!

 

Sound is sound, and it will go up, down, sideways, creep through keyholes and even convert to heat, but it doesn't just disappear upwards into a corona and swirl around like a sonic fairground-ride, for God's sake!!!!!

 

:huh:

 

MM

 

The propagation of sound through air is a highly complex subject. Whilst sound doesn’t just disappear upwards into a corona, what comes back down could be highly attenuated. In the Royal Albert Hall (as built, pre “mushrooms”), the reflected sound was focused in such a way that the echo was louder than the sound producing it. Different air temperatures may even cause a refraction of sound. The following is “borrowed” since its author obviously knows a lot more about this subject.

 

“In acoustics, however, sound waves usually don't encounter an abrupt change in medium properties. Instead the wave speed changes gradually over a given distance. The speed of a sound wave in air depends on the temperature (c=331 + 0.6 T) where T is the temperature in oC. Often the change in the wave speed, and the resulting refraction, is due to a change in the local temperature of the air. For example, during the day the air is warmest right next to the ground and grows cooler above the ground. This is called a temperature lapse. Since the temperature decreases with height, the speed of sound also decreases with height. This means that for a sound wave traveling close to the ground, the part of the wave closest to the ground is traveling the fastest, and the part of the wave farthest above the ground is traveling the slowest. As a result, the wave changes direction and bends upwards. This can create a "shadow zone" region into which the sound wave cannot penetrate. A person standing in the shadow zone will not hear the sound even though he/she might be able to see the source. The sound waves are being refracted upwards and will never reach the observer.”

Link to post
Share on other sites
The propagation of sound through air is a highly complex subject. Whilst sound doesn’t just disappear upwards into a corona, what comes back down could be highly attenuated. In the Royal Albert Hall (as built, pre “mushrooms”), the reflected sound was focused in such a way that the echo was louder than the sound producing it. Different air temperatures may even cause a refraction of sound. The following is “borrowed” since its author obviously knows a lot more about this subject.

 

“In acoustics, however, sound waves usually don't encounter an abrupt change in medium properties. Instead the wave speed changes gradually over a given distance. The speed of a sound wave in air depends on the temperature (c=331 + 0.6 T) where T is the temperature in oC. Often the change in the wave speed, and the resulting refraction, is due to a change in the local temperature of the air. For example, during the day the air is warmest right next to the ground and grows cooler above the ground. This is called a temperature lapse. Since the temperature decreases with height, the speed of sound also decreases with height. This means that for a sound wave traveling close to the ground, the part of the wave closest to the ground is traveling the fastest, and the part of the wave farthest above the ground is traveling the slowest. As a result, the wave changes direction and bends upwards. This can create a "shadow zone" region into which the sound wave cannot penetrate. A person standing in the shadow zone will not hear the sound even though he/she might be able to see the source. The sound waves are being refracted upwards and will never reach the observer.”

 

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

 

 

At risk of this becoming tedious to the casual reader, let's just consider the "Met Port" structure for a moment.

 

Essentially a cone dropped on top of a ring of concrete, there are two principal factors at work in that building, which I know well. The first is the circular shape at "ground zero," and then the enormous conical creation, set at what I would guess is a simple 45 degree angle or thereabouts.

 

First the circle of concrete........

 

In the style of "Blue Peter," you take a piece of paper and draw a circle; around which you mark out 0 -24 hrs of the clock as a reference point. Using one which I did earlier (actually a truck tachograph card) I then drew a blob of organ between 11.00 and 13.00, and then radiated lines outwards from that direction. As all reflective waves bounce away from a surface at the same angle as they arrive, in a circular structure, that means that the sound waves all radiate in all direction, but then re-group in perfect mirror-image, at the exact opposite side of the circle. (This is the "Whispering Gallery" phenomenon; further enhanced by a dome in mathematical proportion)

 

This exactly confirms what the organ-voicer Denys Thurlow heard at Liverpool; suggesting that nothing unexpected is happening in the building.

 

The addition of the conical roof adds a different dimension, because not only do the same circular reflections apply, but being at a higher level, there are also reflections which will elevate upwards and then downwards again.

 

I tried to make a paper cone, but the cat jumped on it and ran off with it between its teeth.

 

Science confounded by 'Felix Catastrophica' I am left with a distinct memory of the "Met Pot" whilst listening to the organ being played. If you care to stand directly beneath the centre of the cone, you hear quite a lot of sound. Move a few yeards in any direction, and it dies. That again confirms the complaints of workmen working on the glass corona, who were effectively inside a "collector"........hence my humourous reference to it being an inverted Jodrell Bank.

 

So in essence, it would appear that there are two distinct "hot-spots" in the building.....directly opposite the organ, and somewhere in the ether of the conical roof.

 

As for attenuation, that almost certainly occurs in a conical structure, and it would certainly be very interesting to hear what the organ sounded like at the level of the Edward Lutyens/John Piper glass-work.

 

It might even explain why Beethoven never wrote organ-music...... but I digress!! :huh:

 

It's quite interesting to compare the "Met Pot" with a building like Coventry Cathedral; the ground-plan of the latter not far renoved from many modern concert-halls, and almost pillarless. I would guess that the interior volume of the two buildings is quite similar, and yet the latter is much better for music. To some extent, the organs are broadly similar also, yet one sounds distant, and the other sounds splendid.

 

Finally back to York Minster, with those enormous spaces into which sounds move and then get lost; the only sound which gets into the nave being the direct sound-waves from the organ, plus a lot of scattered sound.

 

It is surely that lack of near reflective surfaces which is the key, both at York Minster and at Liverpool RC Cathedral, and which result in that "distant" sort of sound other than in specific places.....at York in the Choir, and at Liverpool, against the opposite side of the circle.

 

This, of course, is the reason why so many organs in Holland sound so wonderful, because not only are they set against a wall, the churches are usually very lofty and quite wide, but not have great transepts or central towers into which sound disappears.

 

In thinking about this, a sudden truth dawned.

 

I'd like to bet, that if the dimensions of St Lauren's, Alkmaar, were compared to those of York Minster, I reckon that the York Transpets and the centre nave to the west of the screen, would probably be about the same size as the whole of St.Lauren's, Alkmaar.

 

I must look that up and see if I'm right.

 

MM

Link to post
Share on other sites

Further to my previous suggestion that the cossing and transepts of York Minster might be about the same size as the whole of St.Lauren's, Alkmaar, I checked out a few rough facts; with the help of "Google Earth" close-ups and the built-in measuring device. (Very clever is "Google Earth").

 

Unfortunately, I don't know the internal-height of the vaulting, but I would estimate about 80ft, if only because the organ starts about 20ft off the ground, has 16ft pipes in the front and is built in classic tiered werk-prinzip style.

 

It works out that St.Lauren's is 85m long (about 280ft), the nave is 30m wide (99ft), and including the transepts, about 55m wide (181 ft).

 

The crossing at York Minster is 76m North-South ( about 250 ft) and from what I can work out, the total width of the transepts at York I have roughly calculated as about 32m in width (East wall to West wall), or about 105 ft.

 

So I wasn't far wrong, in that the main body of St.Lauren's would "almost" fit inside the transept crossing of York Minster but for a few feet, but there would be 40ft each of North/South transepts which would have to go East-West inside York Minster.....but it's incredibly close to what I guessed, and puts the sheer scale of that central crossing at York into perspective. IT IS ABSOLUTELY HUGE! No wonder the sound gets lost!

 

The next staggering statistic is the sheer size of the "Met Pot" at Liverpool.

 

It is a 194ft circle (actually 58.8 metres)....that's almost twice the width across the nave of York Minster ( 30 metres), but it is the HEIGHT of the corona which bowled me over. The total height, including the extrenal masts (not yet used as microwave transmitters), is a staggering 87 metres, and lopping a bit off to reach an approximate internal dimension, I reckon that the internal height above the cathedral base-level could be about 80 metres, leass whatever the internal floor-elevation is from street-level. At a guess, I reckong we could remove 30ft from that, which still gives a gueestimate internal corona height of about 230+ ft (about 70 + metres).

 

This compares to the dizzy height of the York Minster vaults, which reach a mere 27 metres (90 ft or so), but obviously a good bit more for the internal height of the central tower.

 

In fact, both Liverpool and York share a similarly immense volume of vertical space, into which sound can vanish before breaking up into scattered reverberation.

 

Of course, the only answer is to put the organ at Liverpool up the cone, and the organ at York at the West End, after demolishing the central-screen and bricking up the Great West Window, but I expect that would be considered a bit radical. :huh:

 

MM

Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Roffensis

Ande to Liverey Poole dide wee wee wende, fore toe see theye suche greate rowe of tinne pypes of fantastique shaype and syze thate wee dide marvele suche mirthe and joye at the beholde of it. The Missise Bulle dide playe on her fagote ande dide it bounde aboute the bige playce, that fill with suche awe. Mighty boundes dide bounde aboute in bouncy bouncy, thate Mr. Flagolete, a man of uncertaine year, dide he try toe catche in his nette, whiyche the Missise hade her fishe in from rivere. To followe hithere Messiane ande Xenakise, wee buns and tea dide tayke, ande marvele at yondere fibreglasse spyres thate made us wonte toe muse.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Ande to Liverey Poole dide wee wee wende, fore toe see theye suche greate rowe of tinne pypes of fantastique shaype and syze thate wee dide marvele suche mirthe and joye at the beholde of it. The Missise Bulle dide playe on her fagote ande dide it bounde aboute the bige playce, that fill with suche awe. Mighty boundes dide bounde aboute in bouncy bouncy, thate Mr. Flagolete, a man of uncertaine year, dide he try toe catche in his nette, whiyche the Missise hade her fishe in from rivere. To followe hithere Messiane ande Xenakise, wee buns and tea dide tayke, ande marvele at yondere fibreglasse spyres thate made us wonte toe muse.

 

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

 

 

Excellent Mr.Chaucer!

 

I think the reality would be like the two boys at St George's Hall, who looked in awe at the organ; before one turned to the other and said, " ere our kid....imagin' fillin' all those pipes wi wacky-backy."

 

:rolleyes:

 

MM

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 6 months later...
Guest Voix Mystique
===============================

Excellent Mr.Chaucer!

 

I think the reality would be like the two boys at St George's Hall, who looked in awe at the organ; before one turned to the other and said, " ere our kid....imagin' fillin' all those pipes wi wacky-backy."

 

:huh:

 

MM

B)

Link to post
Share on other sites
... Guildford ...

 

A few points.

 

The voicing was not re-worked in 1961. The instrument was greatly enlarged from this:

 

http://npor.emma.cam.ac.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch...ec_index=D04420 to create this:

 

http://npor.emma.cam.ac.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch...ec_index=A00957

 

As a well-known former assistant could tell you, the organ is far from gutless. He once informed me that he could accompany a full cathedral with little more that the Swell Cornopean and the octave couplers. Having heard the instrument (and played it on a few occasions), it is quite loud enough for the building. However, I would agree that there are serious problems of balance.

Link to post
Share on other sites
He once informed me that he could accompany a full cathedral with little more that the Swell Cornopean and the octave couplers.

Don't believe a word of it! Are you quite sure he was talking of this organ? As I have mentioned before I have listened to this organ from relatively near the rear of the nave and heard a fine Full Swell that actually turned out to be full organ. If there were lusty singing at the back of the nave I very much doubt that the organ would be audible at all.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.


×
×
  • Create New...