Author Topic: Pedal Acoustic Bass 32  (Read 41365 times)

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Barrie Davis

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Pedal Acoustic Bass 32
« on: April 12, 2011, 01:26:48 PM »
Hi

I have never been totally satisfied with the sound produced by Quinted 32s, often they Quint is derived from the Bourdon which is often far too loud. I recently played a small organ with a synoptic spec as follows; 16, 10.2/3, 8, 5 1/3, 4, all derived from the one Bourdon unit. The 10.2/3 was useless and certainly did not produce a realistic 32 sound.
I have heard of, but never some across, organs which have a 32 the lowest octave being quinted off a seperate octave of Quint pipes, these standing on their own chest and voiced quietly to provided the needed 5th. Does any member know of any places where this has been done?

Best wishes

Barrie

Colin Pykett

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Re: Pedal Acoustic Bass 32
« Reply #1 on: April 12, 2011, 02:13:17 PM »
A resultant bass can never reproduce the effect of a full length pipe, regardless of how you derive the tones.  This is because, with a full length pipe, you have real (and considerable) radiated power in the air at the fundamental frequency.  With a resultant, you only have a beat frequency at the fundamental.  Although they are numerically the same, there is a very important difference - there is no acoustic power whatever in a beat.  Therefore there is also no power at all at the missing fundamental frequency.  (To be rigorous, power at the beat frequency would only arise if the propagating medium (the air) was nonlinear, which it is not.  It could also arise in the ear itself, which is admittedly slightly nonlinear.  But the nonlinearity is nothing like pronounced enough for it to be relevant to this discussion).

Doubters might like to try an experiment.  Try to detect the missing fundamental in the 'resultant bass' created at a higher frequency, by playing middle C and the G above it on an 8 foot flute or diapason.  If the resultant bass idea really does result in a missing fundamental being re-inserted, you should be able to hear a tone at tenor C in the experiment just described.  In practice you will not (unless you are using an electronic organ so awful that it should not be used in the first place.  Either that, or there is something seriously wrong with your ears!).

The only difference between these two situations, i.e. the experiment just described and a conventional resultant bass at lower frequencies, is that in the latter case the beat is slow enough for the ear to follow it, whereas at a higher frequency the beat is far too fast for the ear to follow.

Organ builders, or at least some, love you to believe that you can get more than you pay for.  In fact you cannot.

Regards

Colin Pykett

revtonynewnham

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Re: Pedal Acoustic Bass 32
« Reply #2 on: April 12, 2011, 02:56:25 PM »
Hi

But the fact remains, Colin, that resultant bass does work - not as well as the real thing, granted - but there's not always space for even stopped 16ft pipes.

Maybe the Compton "cube" is a better solution to the space/deep bass problem?

Every Blessing

Tony

David Pinnegar

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Re: Pedal Acoustic Bass 32
« Reply #3 on: April 12, 2011, 05:51:59 PM »
Hi!

Tony, I know that there is a hint of an illusion but Colin is quite right - there is simply too much power in the quint tone, causing confusion in the sound and only a hint of really what one's striving for.

The other day I was piano tuning - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xjhNt-ZksVw and in the treble, working with a reference frequency I heard heterodyne frequencies which gave an arpeggio as one moved down the semitones but they failed to be heard on recording - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0JpSH4YTypE

Acoustic bass can be equally ineffective.

Best wishes

David P
David Pinnegar, BSc ARCS

Colin Pykett

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Re: Pedal Acoustic Bass 32
« Reply #4 on: April 12, 2011, 07:15:54 PM »
It wasn't my intention to be too pedantic, though re-reading what I said I probably was.  Apologies.  Actually I think we are all correct.  What I said is factually true, in that there is no acoustic power at the fundamental.  However Tony contended that it's better to have half a loaf than nothing at all, and that is often true as well.  The powerful illusion of a slow beat, especially for the lowest few notes of a resultant bass, does underpin to some extent whatever is going on above in favourable circumstances.  Higher in the quinted octave it generally gets less effective, and the 'join' between B (the top note of the resultant octave) and C (the bottom note of the rank) can often be painful!  But these are generalisations, the matter is strongly subjective, and it's perfectly permissible for people to hold differing views.

I guess most will have noticed that electronic organs never have resultant bass stops (at least, I've never seen one that did).  The reason is that they don 't need to unless a customer insisted on it.  Many of them have pathetically inadequate speakers at the lowest frequencies of a 32 foot flue stop so that, as you go down the compass, the fundamental gradually fades out - usually in the bottom octave.  But at the same time the 2nd harmonic of the 32 tone (at 16 foot) and the 3rd (at 10 2/3 foot) will remain, or at least not fade out so rapidly, so you will get a resultant effect automatically which takes over as the real fundamental itself vanishes.  The best of both worlds?  Maybe - it depends on how charitable one is feeling.  I'm feeling very charitable at the moment, having just returned from a walk along the shore at Southsea in gorgeous sunshine, after which we partook of Speckled Hen in a favourite watering hole.

All the best

Colin Pykett

Barrie Davis

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Re: Pedal Acoustic Bass 32
« Reply #5 on: April 12, 2011, 07:20:39 PM »
Hi Colin

Thank you for the reply. I think I would enjoy some Speckled Hen as well!!!!
Wish I could find a Compton Cube!!!!

Best wishes

Barrie

Colin Pykett

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Re: Pedal Acoustic Bass 32
« Reply #6 on: April 12, 2011, 10:27:32 PM »
Sorry, me again, but as Compton polyphone cubes are so rare I doubt any other builder would feel confident about making one.  Although H&H have some experience, having provided a few over recent years which were (I believe) made according to the original Compton drawings.

But, surely, here is one of the best excuses one could have for mixing electronics with pipes.  Not a new idea of course, in fact it's quite common, as with the Copeman Hart digital 32 stops on the Nicholson at Southwell Minster.  It requires a very good speaker system though, but that's not really too much of a problem provided you have enough space for the necessary cabinets (or horn if you go that way) and are prepared to pay the necessary price.  Whether full length pipes, polyphones or electronics, 32 foot tone is large and expensive if it's done properly.

Having said that, it's a wonderful luxury to be able to use a quiet 32 foot purr with celestes or colour reeds such as the Vox Humana, sometimes called for explicitly by composers such as Franck or Guilmant.  If you like that sort of thing, that is!  If anyone is interested, the latest recording on my website (the Pastorale from Guilmant's 1st sonata) can be heard in the link below.  He asks for Vox Humana, 8 foot flute and tremulant on the manuals, with a 32 foot flue on the pedals in the 'chorale' sections (presumably intended to indicate singing emanating from a distant monastery and reaching the ears of the happy rustic tum-ti-tumming away on his oboe and/or clarinet).  But unless you have very good speakers or headphones you won't be able to hear much of it!

http://www.colinpykett.org.uk/Pastorale_Guilmant.mp3

Hey ho.

Colin Pykett

dragonser

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Re: resultant Bass and Hammonds
« Reply #7 on: April 13, 2011, 01:38:48 AM »
Hi,
I have seen someone play a Hammond Organ with the Drawbars set so that I think
they were getting a resultant Bass from the lower manual. there were only three ? of the lowest drawbars used
they were playing single notes in a bass line.
I don't know if this would work with playing chords ?

regards Peter B

P.S this isn't related to the above but on some of the Hammonds the Drawbars on the manuals control  near sine waves but the couple of Drawbars on the pedals have a combination of sine waves mixed in on each one.





I guess most will have noticed that electronic organs never have resultant bass stops (at least, I've never seen one that did).  The reason is that they don 't need to unless a customer insisted on it.
 
All the best

Colin Pykett

David Pinnegar

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Re: Pedal Acoustic Bass 32
« Reply #8 on: April 13, 2011, 03:23:29 AM »
Dear Peter

Not sure it's possible as the drawbars are 16ft, 5 1/4ft (or whatever the quint length is) and 8ft.

Colin - yes - the quiet 32ft is luxurious and . . . a quiet 64ft is an even better use for electronics! Very lovely. You're welcome (and anyone else is) to come and try it at some stage if you'd like.

I have an idea that the lower pitches can be derived electronically from existing pipework which might be philosophically more acceptable to some . . .

Best wishes

David P
David Pinnegar, BSc ARCS

revtonynewnham

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Re: Pedal Acoustic Bass 32
« Reply #9 on: April 16, 2011, 08:23:06 PM »
Hi

Talking of strange 32fts - St James, Edgbaston has a very unusual arrangement - see http://www.npor.org.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch.cgi?Fn=Rsearch&rec_index=N07334.  There are 2 32ft stops - one is derived by quinting, and runs from C-B only - the other is, in effect, a sub-octave coupler on a 16ft rank, and runs from c to the top of the pedal board.  Very strange!

The Compton polyphone bass at South Harrow Baptist http://www.npor.org.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch.cgi?Fn=Rsearch&rec_index=E01335 is quite effective as a soft 32ft - I've not knowingly heard the "Harmonics of 32ft" which was intended as a substitute for a 32ft reed.  There are plenty of Diaphones still in use in theatre organs!

Digital (or other electronic) bass units have the common problem of a shorter life expectancy than the pipe organ they're part of - and it's not easy to reproduce the 32ft fundamentals - whilst a 32ft reed, which relies more on the upper harmonics,  is rather simpler - not needing such bulky cabinets.

Every Blessing

Tony

Colin Pykett

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Re: Pedal Acoustic Bass 32
« Reply #10 on: April 16, 2011, 10:20:58 PM »
The organ at Christchurch, Portsdown (small 2 m&p quite nicely rebuilt and electrified by Peter Wells - NPOR http://www.npor.org.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch.cgi?Fn=Rsearch&rec_index=D06483 - church is on the brow of the hill climbing out of Portsmouth) has a 16 foot Bourdon rank quinted downwards to provide a 32' and borrowed upwards to give an 8'.  On such a small organ I could not really understand why a 32 foot was needed at all though, let alone  a makeshift one.

As for 'Harmonics of 32 foot'. there is a 9 rank example on Compton's organ at St Osmund's, Parkstone near Poole.  Church was C of E but is now Romanian Orthodox.  Organ is protected by Grade 1 HOC.  NPOR http://www.npor.org.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch.cgi?Fn=Rsearch&rec_index=N07503.  Sorry if I offend Compton enthusiasts, but this is definitely one of the least pleasant and daftest instruments I have ever played, partly because of this stop.  If this had been invented and used by Hope-Jones it would have been loudly and widely derided.  But because it was by Compton (most of whose electric technology and some of whose tonal ideas were purloined from H-J), it has people drooling over it.  (Can anyone explain this phenomenon please?.  Someone whom I cannot now recall surmised that it was because Compton was not gay whereas H-J was, at a time when it mattered more than it does now!  There might be some truth in that).

Best

Colin Pykett


« Last Edit: July 15, 2011, 01:29:20 AM by pcnd5584 »

David Pinnegar

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Re: Pedal Acoustic Bass 32
« Reply #11 on: April 17, 2011, 12:17:59 AM »
Hi!

With regard to 32ft electronic pedals, I have been commissioned to design speaker rigs for outside use in Ibiza to certain specific novel design considerations and the requirement for bass is not really revolutionarily different for organs . . .

The client could not understand my desire to use a disgusting frisbee mounted on a voice coil intended for car use:
http://www.audiomate.co.uk/proddetail.php?prod=L042C
rather than what would appear to be a rather higher acoustic quality more traditional Eminence 15inch unit.

But when I put both on the bench and applied a large low frequency signal, it was apparent that the cone of the Eminence and a similar but cheap DAP Audio units, probably intended for a wider range more up into the midrange, flexed towards the edges at high levels and I presume gave out a good deal of 2nd harmonic. In contrast, the concave cone of the car speaker is much more pistonic at such frequencies and pressure levels. Perhaps those installing 32ft electronic pedals might take note.

Best wishes

David P
David Pinnegar, BSc ARCS

Barry Williams

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Re: Pedal Acoustic Bass 32
« Reply #12 on: April 17, 2011, 02:08:45 AM »
"Organ is protected by Grade 1 HOC"

I would be interested to know exactly what protection is afforded by a 'Grade 1 Historic Organ Certificate'.

As I understand it (and I may well be totally mistaken), the HOC scheme has no legal basis whatsoever and affords no protection at all.  There has been at least one case where BIOs has tried to issue an HOC and the organ's owner(s) have refused it.  There is no comparison to the Listing of a building, which is a matter of law.

Attempts to have a statutory basis to Listing organs have failed largely because of the way it has been approached, with masses of near identical letters bombarding MPs.

At one time Parkstone had passed out of ecclesiastical jurisdiction and into the Local Authority's control because it was no longer used for public worship.  I know this because I had a potential home for the organ, but the 'organ anaorak brigade' tried to put so many conditions on its restoration that the potential new owners backed off - and rightly so, for it would have been a financial liability.

Colin's comments about the organ give me comfort that it was left as it is.

Barry Williams
« Last Edit: April 17, 2011, 04:02:25 AM by Barry Williams »

revtonynewnham

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Re: Pedal Acoustic Bass 32
« Reply #13 on: April 17, 2011, 02:43:46 AM »


As for 'Harmonics of 32 foot'. there is a 9 rank example on Compton's organ at St Osmund's, Parkstone near Poole.  Church was C of E but is now Romanian Orthodox.  Organ is protected by Grade 1 HOC.  NPOR http://www.npor.org.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch.cgi?Fn=Rsearch&rec_index=N07503.  Sorry if I offend Compton enthusiasts, but this is definitely one of the least pleasant and daftest instruments I have ever played, partly because of this stop.  If this had been invented and used by Hope-Jones it would have been loudly and widely derided.  But because it was by Compton (most of whose electric technology and some of whose tonal ideas were purloined from H-J), it has people drooling over it.  (Can anyone explain this phenomenon please?.  Someone whom I cannot now recall surmised that it was because Compton was not gay whereas H-J was, at a time when it mattered more than it does now!  There might be some truth in that).

Best

Colin Pykett

Hi

Compton was a generation later than H-J, so what was revolutionary then was beginning to become accepted - as is so often the case.

Every Blessing

Tony

revtonynewnham

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Re: Pedal Acoustic Bass 32
« Reply #14 on: April 17, 2011, 02:46:46 AM »
"Organ is protected by Grade 1 HOC"

I would be interested to know exactly what protection is afforded by a 'Grade 1 Historic Organ Certificate'.

As I understand it (and I may well be totally mistaken), the HOC scheme has no legal basis whatsoever and affords no protection at all.  There has been at least one case where BIOs has tried to issue an HOC and the organ's owner(s) have refused it.  There is no comparison to the Listing of a building, which is a matter of law.

Attempts to have a statutory basis to Listing organs have failed largely because of the way it has been approached, with masses of near identical letters bombarding MPs.

At one time Parkstone had pased out of ecclesiastical jurisdiction and into the Local Authority's control because it was no longer used for public worship.  I know this because \i had a potentail home for the organ but the 'organ anaorak brigade' tried to put som many conditions on its restoration that the potential new owners backed off - and rightly so, for it would have been a financial liability.

Colin's comments about the organ give me comfort that it was left as it is.

Barry Williams

Hi

The HOC doesn't protect anything - nor, as Barry says, does it carry any legal weight - although if some people get their way, that may change.  The HOC simply acknowledges that an  organ is of historic interest (and is, now,, graded in a similar way to buildings) and can encourage the organ's owners to think before making changes or disposing of the instrument.  It doesn't always work - but is better than nothing.

Every Blessing

Tony

Barry Williams

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Re: Pedal Acoustic Bass 32
« Reply #15 on: April 17, 2011, 04:28:31 AM »
"....if some people get their way, that may change.  "

This has been considered at a very high level and is simply not practical.  If enforced in the way that certain people wish it to be, it will do more harm to pipe organs than good.  The wholesale and thoughtless lobbying over Listing of organs that went a couple of years back did immense harm to the cause of pipe organs.  English Heritage and some Amenity Societies have come badly unstuck when opposing the introduction of straightforward facilities such as lavatories and simple kitchen provisions in Listed Buildings.  Costs in the Consistory Court can be (and are) awarded against parties (including Amenity Societies) that enter unreasonable opposition to modern facilities.  I ws involved in one such case, which centred around an organ.  The Chancellor (the Judge) stopped the case after three days and told English Heritage and the Amenity Socities that they had not got a case.  The parish got its costs and, rather nicely, within a few weeks, a legacy arrived in the Rector's post that paid for just over half the cost of the full rebuild. 

The vast majority of pipe organs are in churches and have a job to do.  That job changes over the years and it is not unreasonable to change the organ to meet that need.  The harm has come from mere fashion, and here I refer expecially to the 'neo-baroque' 'Positives', uncomfortably converted from Choir organs, by changing Clarinets into Tierces, for example, allegedly for the purposes of playing Baroque music adequately, and similar ill-judged alterations of whim.

More recently, some have obtained significant Lottery money to create their impression of a severe reproduction of an historic organ which then languishes unused in services, whilst an electronic is played for divine worship.  Such things do nothing for the credibility of the organ world in worship.  In the home one can have whatever one wants, but in church a measured approach is needed.  Those who seek to keep instruments unchanged and unused do as much harm as those who alter organs for fashion.

There is one London church that has a fine pipe organ contaning much historic pipework.  The Organs Adviser on the DAC wanted to retain the Tenor C Swell.  Happily, commonsense prevailed and the Swell manual was completed  to bottom C in the historic style.  However, as the organ is in the West end, the church bought an electronic instrument which is used to accompany worship and almost all the choir concerts, because the distance between singers and pipes is too great and there is insufficient room for the choir in the West gallery.

All of these things are very difficult and require the careful consideration of many factors.  Historicity is but one factor and by no means the dominant one, save in a tiny minority of cases where the organ is overwhelmingly important in that aspect alone.

Nowadays the issue is often that churches have little enough money to repair the roof, let alone restore the organ!  Many parishes cannot afford to contribute their Diocesan Quota/Parish Share.  In such circumstances even tuning the organ can been seen as a luxury.

Tony's explanation as to why electronic  32' reeds are more successful than 32' flues is interesting.  I have only come across oneinstallation, that at Godalming Parish Church. I was impressed with both the flue and reed, though neither is especially loud.

Barry Williams
« Last Edit: April 17, 2011, 04:40:49 AM by Barry Williams »

Jonathan Lane

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Re: Pedal Acoustic Bass 32
« Reply #16 on: April 17, 2011, 04:57:25 AM »
"Those who seek to keep instruments unchanged and unused do as much harm as those who alter organs for fashion."

Hear hear!

"The harm has come from mere fashion, and here I refer expecially to the 'neo-baroque' 'Positives', uncomfortably converted from Choir organs, by changing Clarinets into Tierces, for example, allegedly for the purposes of playing Baroque music adequately, and similar ill-judged alterations of whim."

This is why we have included an unenclosed choir at Astwood Bank which includes four 8' flues, a Clarinet, as well as mutations.  Although my influence is more French Romantic than Baroque!

Jonathan

revtonynewnham

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Re: Pedal Acoustic Bass 32
« Reply #17 on: April 17, 2011, 02:11:56 PM »
Hi

I thoroughly agree Barry.  The church is NOT here to work as a museum curator of either buildings nor their contents - which is why I have too have reservations about applying legal force to the HOC.  Agreed - it's nice to retain historic organs - and I enjoy playing them - but a church organ has to be "fit for purpose"  Mind you, some organists seem to want a blandness and every modern console gadget imaginable when a little imagination and though would enable the existing provision to do a more than adequate job.  Last year's BOA trip was a case in point - we visited 3 very different organs - a neo-baroque 2m, the 4m Wadsworth at Ruthin, and a "traditional" 3 manual Binns.  Personally, I hated the latter - but that was more to do with a detached console too far from the pipes - but that seems to be the favourite instrument of the 3 by most players.  Personally, I preferred the Wadsworth - despite its many idiosyncrasies (but I did have the advantage of having spent a morning getting to know it a couple of years earlier).  Even the neo-baroque job was pleasant - but, I can appreciate, not ideally suited to Anglican liturgy!

When our c.1820 chamber organ here was restored, my brief to Wilis' was a "historically informed restoration" - but I insisted on retaining A=440 pitch and equal temperament as we use it with other modern instruments most of the time, although neither would be historically accurate for 1820.  If we'd been tied to a fully historical restoration, it just wouldn't have got done, as the cost couldn't be justified for such little potential use.

Every Blessing

Tony

Colin Pykett

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Re: Pedal Acoustic Bass 32
« Reply #18 on: April 17, 2011, 02:30:58 PM »
Coming back to 32 foot tone again, Tony was right to point out that it is easier to make an electronic 32 reed rather than a 32 flue.

The reason is that, when there are lots of harmonics as there are with a reed, the ear is tolerant of a weak or even missing fundamental.  Therefore, strangely enough, you do not need a speaker which can actually radiate down to 16 Hz.  But this is not so for a flue stop, where there are not enough harmonics for this fortuitous psycho-acoustic effect to take place.  In these cases you do need a very good low frequency loudspeaker, and these have to be very large if they are to work properly.

Forgive me for blowing my own trumpet (the pun might well be apposite), but you might like to listen to the couple of sound clips in my web article which can be found below.  Fear not, you won't have to wade through it all, and the clips themselves are very short.  But they do demonstrate that, when there are lots of harmonics as there are with a pedal reed, the fundamental can be completely removed without the ear noticing.

http://www.pykett.org.uk/reedpipetones.htm#MissingFundamental

All the best for this gloriously sunny Sunday morning.  On days like this I have been known to play 'When Morning Gilds the Skies' as soon as I wake up - a gorgeous hymn both in words and music.  Were it not for the fact we are in the throes of decorating and I can't get to the organ, I might well have done so today!

Colin Pykett

Barry Williams

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Re: Pedal Acoustic Bass 32
« Reply #19 on: April 17, 2011, 06:28:47 PM »
"All the best for this gloriously sunny Sunday morning.  On days like this I have been known to play 'When Morning Gilds the Skies' as soon as I wake up - a gorgeous hymn both in words and music.  Were it not for the fact we are in the throes of decorating and I can't get to the organ, I might well have done so today!"

Although off topic, it is so nice to know that someone else enjoys doing this.  'When morning gilds the skies' has been a favourite of mine since childhood, when we used the much (and unjustly) maligned Songs of Praise hymn book - it is No 696, though we always used the tune  Laudes Domini by Joseph Barnby, which seems to fit the words better than the other tunes offered by editors.

On the question of sub-unison tones, I recall John Degens playing a C major triad on a Tube and then adding a Dulciana.  The latter was, of course, inaudible.  He then played just Tenor C on the Dulciana against the Tuba chord.  It was perfectly audible because of the sub-unison pitch.  So many 32' reeds, especially, are far too loud, obliterating the music.  There was a very effective 32' Contra Fagotto in the original organ at Holy Trinity Brompton.  It stood behind the Swell box and could be used to give gravitas to the closed full Swell, without dominating the music.

It would be interesting to know more from Colin of what is considered an adequate speaker for a 32' flue stop.  I suspect that many of the installations have utterly inadequate provision in this respect.

Barry Williams

 


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