Author Topic: "Synthetic Solo Organ"  (Read 9650 times)

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David Pinnegar

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"Synthetic Solo Organ"
« on: June 16, 2010, 05:09:29 PM »
Hi!

I have just picked up a booklet on the organ at St Swithun's, East Grinstead. This is a remarkably good instrument which works very well for a major parish church made by Morgan and Smith in 1937.

Harmonics are very much in fashion, with a whole division of them crowning a new instrument currently receiving a lot of attention on this forum and others . . . but the period of the 1930s is interesting. Harmonics, with the Cornet, are not new to organ building and were the organ builders' way of getting around the Papal edict that double reeds were the work of the devil, thus prohibiting imitations of the Hautbois. But in the 1930s fourier synthesis had come to the fore with the Hammond organ, based on addition together of pseudo-harmonics to create tone colour.

Wurlitzer would often make synthetic stops from ranks of pipes then and at East Grinstead, the synthetic Solo division did the same:

Clarinet: Flauto Traverso, Nazard and Tierce
Orchestral Oboe: Viole d'Orchestre, Dulciana, Nazard and Tierce
Cor Anglais: Viole d'Orchestre, Wald Flute, Nazard and Tierce
Vox Humana: Dulciana, Vox Angelica, Nazard and Tierce

I have not had the opportunity to try these - has anyone come across examples elsewhere?

Best wishes

David P
« Last Edit: October 09, 2010, 02:43:28 AM by organforumadmin »

dragonser

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Re: "Synthetic Solo Organ"
« Reply #1 on: June 19, 2010, 10:49:27 AM »
Hi,
I think that with the Hammonds, some of the Harmonics are not quite the correct frequencies, so this makes the organ sound different in different keys. ( and of course the Hammonds are not quite tuned to equal Temperament ! ).
I just wondered what temperament the Pipe Organ you mention at East Grinstead is tuned to ?

regards Peter B

David Pinnegar

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Re: "Synthetic Solo Organ"
« Reply #2 on: June 20, 2010, 01:08:53 AM »
Hi!

Yes - essentially the age old problem of all extension organs . . . Probably ET

Best wishes

David P

revtonynewnham

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Re: "Synthetic Solo Organ"
« Reply #3 on: June 20, 2010, 09:00:47 AM »
Hi

Compton often included synthetic stops - most notably their "harmonics of 32ft" to simulate a 32ft reed - and pretty successfully too.

The making of synthetic tones by the use of, particularly, wide-scle (flute-tone_ mutations is a key ingredient of the Baroque and the classical French repertoire (Tierce en Teille for example).  Just yesterday - on the Bradford Organists' Assoc annual trip, I played a Bach Chorale prelude on a 2m neo-baroque organ (I'll psot more about the trip later today or tomorrow - 3 very different organs)  Anyway, for the solo line in the Bach I used the Swell (really Brustwerk) 8ft (a Flute) and Larigot (I would also have used a Nazard, but the organ doesn't have one).  The sound approaches that of a Clarient, but has its own distinct organ characteristics.  Accomp was Flutes 8,4 on the Great and 16 on pedal.

If you have mutations on your organ, its well worth experimenting with registrations - you never know what new sounds you might find.

every Blessing

Tony

Barrie Davis

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Re: "Synthetic Solo Organ"
« Reply #4 on: June 21, 2010, 09:39:48 AM »
Hi

I agree with Tonys remarks about Comptons, I remember St Martins in the Bullring having 2 compound Pedal stops Grand Cornet 32 and Cornet 16, these really did imitate their reed counterparts. The late and great Jack Ivey who tuned the organ for many years told me once that the relays to these ranks were so complicated as they used ranks from many different sources. (He would never divulge the recipe though!) Comptons really were very advanced, but I'm afraid now a days their remarkable work is often scorned or replaced.

Halesowen Parish Church, the much lamented Rushworth and Dreaper had 2 synthetic stops a Clarinet and Musette, I assume space dictated these as the chambers were really crowded. I do have to say that the electronic that replaced this fine organ is like a damp squid.

Barrie

revtonynewnham

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Re: "Synthetic Solo Organ"
« Reply #5 on: June 21, 2010, 10:24:45 AM »
Hi

Compton often adjusted the recipe for their synthetic stops (and also mixtures) on site - so the selection of ranks & pitches may well vary between organs anyway.  I've heard that some restorers have come unstuck on this by assuming that unused relay banks for mixtures should have been connected and were overlooked(!) - and have hence changed the sound of Compton's harmonic mixtures.

Every Blessing

Tony

David Pinnegar

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Re: "Synthetic Solo Organ"
« Reply #6 on: June 22, 2010, 12:37:01 AM »
I do have to say that the electronic that replaced this fine organ is like a damp squid.

Hi!

So often electronics fail on the standard of their speakers.

I got into hot water in recent days for venturing to say on an electronics related forum that special attention should always be given to speakers and that hi-fi speakers simply made an electronic organ at best sound like a hi-fi recording and that one needed to pay acoustic attention to the nature of the electroacoustic interface in order to make the speaker sound like a pipe . . .

The hi-fi people there could not bear their assumptions of perfection to be challenged. Thank goodness for that - electronics are to continue to sound only as good as hi-fi reproductions and pipe organ builders are assured business for at least the time being!

Back to topic . . .
Quote
I've heard that some restorers have come unstuck on this by assuming that unused relay banks for mixtures should have been connected and were overlooked(!) - and have hence changed the sound of Compton's harmonic mixtures.

So many organs have lost their character by people confusing mixtures and harmonics - the removal of Harrison flat 21sts - the Septieme, 7th harmonic from harmonics can seriously take away the bite of the reed with which it's intended to be used.

Best wishes

David P

Barrie Davis

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Re: "Synthetic Solo Organ"
« Reply #7 on: June 22, 2010, 10:33:01 AM »
Hi

I suppose the recipe for the composition of compound stops depends very much on the acoustics of the building and could not really be predetermined in the factory. I have not played the Bull Ring organ since the Nicholson rebuild and wonder if they altered these 2 ranks at all.

I agree with David over the suppression of ranks such as the 21st. This is not needed and moves away from the original concept of the organ in question. I played a large 3 manual Harrison in Leigh where the 21st had been filled with cotton wool and longed to hear the original chorus.

Electronics do fail with their speaker systems a few years ago I acted as consultant with a house organ, the external speakers provided proved to be useless so I called in The Organ Workshop who replaced the lot, the alteration was tremendous and resulted in a splendid organ.

Barrie

organforumadmin

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Re: "Synthetic Solo Organ"
« Reply #8 on: October 09, 2010, 02:42:22 AM »
Quote
[size=medium]I played a large 3 manual Harrison in Leigh where the 21st had been filled with cotton wool and longed to hear the original chorus.[/size]
[size=medium]At least it was only filled with cotton wool rather than removed or re-cut. Thought the following extracts would be interesting from a 1920s-30s text book. [/size][size=medium]ForumAdmin[/size]












 


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