Organ matters - Organs matter!

Restoring organs => Restoring pipe organs => Topic started by: Barrie Davis on April 12, 2011, 01:26:48 PM

Title: Pedal Acoustic Bass 32
Post by: Barrie Davis 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
Title: Re: Pedal Acoustic Bass 32
Post by: Colin Pykett 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
Title: Re: Pedal Acoustic Bass 32
Post by: revtonynewnham 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
Title: Re: Pedal Acoustic Bass 32
Post by: David Pinnegar 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
Title: Re: Pedal Acoustic Bass 32
Post by: Colin Pykett 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
Title: Re: Pedal Acoustic Bass 32
Post by: Barrie Davis 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
Title: Re: Pedal Acoustic Bass 32
Post by: Colin Pykett 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
Title: Re: resultant Bass and Hammonds
Post by: dragonser 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
Title: Re: Pedal Acoustic Bass 32
Post by: David Pinnegar 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
Title: Re: Pedal Acoustic Bass 32
Post by: revtonynewnham 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
Title: Re: Pedal Acoustic Bass 32
Post by: Colin Pykett 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


Title: Re: Pedal Acoustic Bass 32
Post by: David Pinnegar 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
Title: Re: Pedal Acoustic Bass 32
Post by: Barry Williams 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
Title: Re: Pedal Acoustic Bass 32
Post by: revtonynewnham 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
Title: Re: Pedal Acoustic Bass 32
Post by: revtonynewnham 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
Title: Re: Pedal Acoustic Bass 32
Post by: Barry Williams 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
Title: Re: Pedal Acoustic Bass 32
Post by: Jonathan Lane 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
Title: Re: Pedal Acoustic Bass 32
Post by: revtonynewnham 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
Title: Re: Pedal Acoustic Bass 32
Post by: Colin Pykett 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
Title: Re: Pedal Acoustic Bass 32
Post by: Barry Williams 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
Title: Re: Pedal Acoustic Bass 32
Post by: Colin Pykett on April 17, 2011, 08:11:49 PM
Barry, the tune I prefer is indeed Barnby's Laudes Domini (I should have said previously).

Interesting that you mentioned Holy Trinity Brompton.  I was told by the seller that the second-hand drawstop jambs on my 3 manual organ console came from there many moons ago, though I thought it might have been an apocryphal story.  I replaced the actual stop knobs with new ones engraved to my specification.  The old ones were solid ivory, though to my mind not in very good condition as well as bearing names that I did not want.  They were somewhat disfigured by minor cracks (called shakes I think?) among other things.  However a friendly organ builder snapped them up in return for some assistance he had kindly offered in other matters.  As a craftsman, he could no doubt have got them back into an acceptable condition.

I also had to purchase the old keyboards, but these were in very poor condition.

Re speakers for electronic 32 flue stops, the prime issue is that one has to move enough air.  This means that the speaker has to be matched to the auditorium, because what will be 'enough' for a domestic room would not be for a church, say.  A picture of the speaker I use at home is at:

http://www.pykett.org.uk/re-creating_vanished_organs.htm#Simulation%20system

(Scroll down a bit if necessary to see the 18 inch drive unit mounted in the ceiling).  This forms an acoustically large structure because it uses the ceiling itself to keep the two antiphase sound waves from the front and rear of the cone apart, and thus prevents them  cancelling each other.  It is driven by a separate 100 watt amplifier.  It rattles doors etc all over the house!

For a large building one would need several such units if using this 'infinite baffle' approach, to increase the volume of air set into vibration.  Otherwise one would need a very large cabinet or a horn, which at these frequencies could easily turn out to be as large as a 32 foot pipe itself if it is to be effective.  Depending on the size of the building, amplifiers of at least several hundred watts might be required, or even kilowatts for the largest ones.

The issues are discussed in detail in the article

http://www.pykett.org.uk/vlf_repro.htm

Colin Pykett
Title: Re: Pedal Acoustic Bass 32
Post by: pcnd5584 on July 15, 2011, 01:28:16 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

Forgive me if I correct one point, Colin. The former church of Saint Osmond, Parkstone, is now used by the Greek Orthodox Church - not Romanian.

However, I have to agree with your assessment of this instrument (which is now in a parlous state). Apart from residing behind a false 'brick' wall, it also contains a rare example of a Sub Quint (21 1/3ft.).

With regard to your last point, I was inder the impression that Robert Hope-Jones travelled to the U.S. somewhat urgently, to escape prosecution. I have been unable to discover if this is correct.
Title: Re: Pedal Acoustic Bass 32
Post by: barniclecompton on July 15, 2011, 01:48:33 AM
 @ Colin Pykett :-Theres nothing daft about it at all. Probably the "daftest" thing about it to you was because it has a horseshoe console? Oh, and its a unit organ, so that would probably be something to pick at too? Have you played it and got to know it? Or was it just a go on it or a service?
Title: Re: Pedal Acoustic Bass 32
Post by: David Pinnegar on July 15, 2011, 01:09:40 PM
Hi!

Colin has detected from the slightly tetchy response above that he might have caused offense and has asked me to reply:
Quote
"It is possible that the sentence in my post of 16 April which mentioned Hope-Jones and Compton has subsequently caused offence.  If this is so, I would like to unreservedly apologise.  No offense was intended, and the Moderators and forum owner have my full support if they deem it necessary to delete or modify my post.

Personally, I read the post without any cause for offense, mentioning as historical fact validly a reason why Hope Jones suffered a prejudice and how this came to influence the organic course of history. Of course this may not be the reason for the tone of the response. However, a forum of people can be a much more understanding place if things are discussed rather than censored or unnecessarily heavily moderated.


For the reason above, were his computer to be working properly, Forum Admin might comment that he hopes that this forum is one where good humour prevails and where differences of opinion are tolerated, indeed encouraged, as a stimulus to healthy discussion perhaps akin to an ancient Greek University.

In trying to further the analogy in suggesting the appropriate manner in which students should approach the teachings of Socrates a reference to Diogenes turned up with somewhat lurid reference to the Dog-Men and anyone tempted to brandish a plucked chicken in front of Plato might be amused and interested to read: http://www.btinternet.com/~socratic/excerpt.htm.

To Carthusians on the point of becoming Old Carthusians, Revd John Witheridge drew attention to three qualities of value - Love, Community and Confidence. Sadly I could not be there to hear exactly what he said but Love is understanding and forgiving one another, often there being nothing of reality to forgive, Community - the effect of that love in living together in common purpose - and Confidence - the confidence of all to be able to express themselves within the context of Love both within the community and beyond.

We cherish different personalities, different perspectives and differing opinions from differing experiences and sources of information, and their whole is more than, and more valuable than, the sum of their parts, a forum such as this having a valuable contribution to the spreading of enthusiasm and knowledge of organs, with all their complexities and variety.

Back on subject, the extraordinary beast of a Sub Quint at 22ft must be to give the effect of a 64ft! WOW!

Sometimes when we experience an instrument which we consider to be an oddity, it may be that someone's trying something out with which we're not familiar. This instrument with 32ft and with the Sub Quint an effective 64ft chorus appears to be leading back to Dom Bedos from which the recent instrument at Rieti gains inspiration with 32ft on manuals . . . :-) Difficult to conceive how this is used, but anyone today taking the decision to study under Philippe Bardon at St Maximin on the August course might start to gain an insight and I recommend it. Before long I'll upload a piece of De Grigny onto YouTube using 16ft chorus on pedals.

Such instruments are quite a mystery in their understanding from a conventional playing viewpoint. Luca di Donato is likely to be the leading authority of the use of a chorus of deep pitches - I wonder if anyone might be able to persuade him to join this forum and write here in the Dom Bedos section of the Forum?

Best wishes

David P
Title: Re: Pedal Acoustic Bass 32
Post by: pcnd5584 on July 15, 2011, 01:32:47 PM
However, I have to agree with (Colin Pykett's) assessment of this instrument (which is now in a parlous state). Apart from residing behind a false 'brick' wall, it also contains a rare example of a Sub Quint (21 1/3ft.).

With regard to your last point, I was under the impression that Robert Hope-Jones travelled to the U.S. somewhat urgently, to escape prosecution. I have been unable to discover if this is correct.[/font]

Better that it's in a parlous state than destroyed, it could yet be restored, there or elsewhere. It does sound rather fine on Whitlock's recordings, but I cannot imagine that the wall could help. How does it compare to other well-known Comptons (Chelsea, Fleet Street - though it was built after JC's death IIRC, Downside, Derby, Wakefield etc)?

It could indeed be restored. Sadly, the present sound of this instrument is unlikely to match up to the quality of that on Whitlock's recordings.

I have played the large Compton at Saint Luke's, Chelsea - and actually quite liked it (which may surprise Voix Cynique). Having said this, my own preference would be to change the luminous light-touches for conventional draw-stops. I realise that this would alter the appearance of the console, but I had a nasty experience with the 32ft. reed, which failed to cancel at the end of the Gloria of Howells' Colleguim Regale setting of the Magnificat. For those unfamiliar with this work, this is about as desirable as being stuck in a lift with a dead horse....

I suppose that the stop units could be converted to take LEDs, but I would sooner have draw-stops. Such a change was effected on the Compton console of Hull City Hall by, I believe, Rushworth and Dreaper, around 1985. Allowing for the rather 'busy' stop-jambs, this looks reasonably acceptable.




As for RHJ, I thought that RHJ went to the US because Wurlitzers had work for him there, while he struggled to obtain it here, and was the victim of a certain amount of ill-informed criticism by organists who simply didn't understand his organs or how to play them (remember the case of the Holdich at Lichfield Cathedral losing its pedalboard - or was it the whole Pedal organ? - because an organist appointed after its installation declared that he would not use any organ's pedals?).

This seems somewhat more plausible. Wurlitzer eventually bought him out, I believe.
Title: Re: Pedal Acoustic Bass 32
Post by: revtonynewnham on July 15, 2011, 03:49:11 PM
Hi

I would recommend David Fox's book on RHJ.  (I got a copy from OHS in the States).  It seems unlikely that he went there at the behest of Wurlitzer.  According to Fox, after contacting several organ building firms, he initially joined the Austin company and was with them 1903-04, before setting up a partnership with a Lewis Harrison in 1904-5.  Note the shortness of all these partnerships!  1905-6 sees him with Skinner - and Fox quotes Ernest Skinner:- "I regret to say that Hope-Jones was with my organization for fifteen months"  The American Hope-Jones organ co. existed 1907-1910, when lack of funds led to a virtual "takeover" by Wurlitzer (who were a long-established firm producing and retailing many types of musical instruments).  As was the case with his other partnerships. H-J soon found himself at odds with his paymasters - Fox goes into a great deal of detail about this, and is widely known, he took his own life.

The homosexual incident has not been proved (and H-J himself refuted it) but seems to be the most likely reason for his sudden departure from the UK.

Other sources of info about H-J Are David Junchen's book "Wurlitzer" - primarily about the cinema organs, but covering the earlier H-J work, including the UK and the subsequent developments of the company.  Roger C. Fisher's book "From Wittal to Wurlitzer" is primarily about H-J's early years, and there was also an article (or short series) in "The Organ" magazine IIRC several years ago.

Every Blessing

Tonyt
Title: Re: Pedal Acoustic Bass 32
Post by: pcnd5584 on July 15, 2011, 04:03:44 PM
Hi

I would recommend David Fox's book on RHJ.  (I got a copy from OHS in the States).  It seems unlikely that he went there at the behest of Wurlitzer.  According to Fox, after contacting several organ building firms, he initially joined the Austin company and was with them 1903-04, before setting up a partnership with a Lewis Harrison in 1904-5.  Note the shortness of all these partnerships!  1905-6 sees him with Skinner - and Fox quotes Ernest Skinner:- "I regret to say that Hope-Jones was with my organization for fifteen months"  The American Hope-Jones organ co. existed 1907-1910, when lack of funds led to a virtual "takeover" by Wurlitzer (who were a long-established firm producing and retailing many types of musical instruments).  As was the case with his other partnerships. H-J soon found himself at odds with his paymasters - Fox goes into a great deal of detail about this, and is widely known, he took his own life.

The homosexual incident has not been proved (and H-J himself refuted it) but seems to be the most likely reason for his sudden departure from the UK.

Other sources of info about H-J Are David Junchen's book "Wurlitzer" - primarily about the cinema organs, but covering the earlier H-J work, including the UK and the subsequent developments of the company.  Roger C. Fisher's book "From Wittal to Wurlitzer" is primarily about H-J's early years, and there was also an article (or short series) in "The Organ" magazine IIRC several years ago.

Every Blessing

Tonyt

Thank you for this, Tony. I found it helpful.

I was interested to read the comment attributed to Ernest M. Skinner. Recently, I have been re-reading back-issues of The Organ. Some years ago, there was a somewhat terse exchange of correspondence between Skinner and other readers, mostly regarding G. Donald Harrison. I gained the distinct impression that, if he thought that he could have got away with it, Skinner would have had a contract put out on Harrison. The stench of thinly-veiled hate phlebotomised from each missive....

The responses were, if predictable, at least occasionally amusing. To quote (I believe) Christopher Dearnley, who wrote to one writer in another periodical: 'You confess to crying over spilt milk, but your letter tastes more of sour grapes....'

And, no, I cannot recall to whom CD had addressed that riposte.
Title: Re: Pedal Acoustic Bass 32
Post by: pcnd5584 on July 15, 2011, 04:09:08 PM
Roger C. Fisher is not, I presume, the Roger Fisher of Chester Cathedral?

So it would seem that RHJ may have been involved in some kind of homosexual encounter and left the UK to escape prosecution for it... and why, I wonder, did the gentlemanly E.M. Skinner use those words?

With regard to your second sentence, I have yet to see any evidence to confirm this.

Ernest M. Skinner was not always so gentlemanly - see my previous post in this thread....
Title: Re: Pedal Acoustic Bass 32
Post by: revtonynewnham on July 15, 2011, 04:52:26 PM
Hi

1) No, it's a different Roger Fisher - this one is involved with the Peel Green theatre organ heritage centre (and H-J museum)
2) I did say that he "MAY have been involved".  Fox's book and the article in "The Organ" (at least) both mention the episode.  I can't remember offhand if Junchen or Fisher make any mention of it, so it's not proved, but does look as if something unsavory was going on.

I'm planning to re-read Junchen later in the year - I'll be out of circulation for a while recovering from hip replacement surgery.

Every Blessing

Tony

Every Blessing

Tony
Title: Re: Pedal Acoustic Bass 32
Post by: David Drinkell on December 06, 2011, 03:26:48 PM
Hope-Jones - His last British association was with Ingram of Hereford.  During the construction of the organ for St. John's Anglican Cathedral, Newfoundland (pipework from which survives in the present organ, which I play every day), something happened which caused him to depart for North America in some haste.  It has been said that Ingram caught him in flagrante with an apprentice in the voicing shop.  HJ turned up unannounced in St. John's, offering to supply an organ from an American firm with whom he was now associated (Austin), which he said would be better and cost less.  At about the same time, the Rector was on leave in England and had visited the organ works, being much disconcerted to find that the instrument was not ready.  The adviser, Sir Percy Buck, urged the Vestry to keep to the contract with Ingram, which they did, and the organ was eventually dedicated in 1904.  It had a scheme almost identical to the Hope-Jones/N&B organ at Llandaff Cathedral, was rebuilt and moved by N&B in 1915 and totally replaced in 1927 with a four-manual Casavant incorporating some of the old pipes.

Skinner - EMS was a victim of the times.  His organs were wonderful but went out of fashion and he spent the latter half of a very long life bemoaning the fact.  Some of his venom was directed at G. Donald Harrison, who acquired control of Aeolian Skinner after Hudson Marks died.  The latter had gained financial control from Skinner, and had supported the rise of Harrison.  Some of Skinner's claims were downright untrue, such as the letter in 'The Organ' claiming that the organ in St. Thomas, Fifth Avenue, New York was entirely his work, when it had been completely rebuilt and revoiced by Harrison (whom Skinner claimed to be nothing more than an office assistant).  Harrison never entered publicly into the controversy, considering that Skinner was making enough of a fool of himself and any reply would serve little purpose.

Acoustic Basses - Ah! back on thread!  The organ here has 12 tubby stopped quint pipes which draw with the bottom octave of the Tibia Profunda (sic - it's a normal Open Wood) produce, in our acoustic, a pretty good 32'.  One can use it alone with the Swell strings. The Presbyterian Church up the hill (an otherwise wholly excellent early Letourneau rebuild) quints the 16' Open on itself, resulting in an effect which is unsatisfactory even under full organ.

The Willis at St. Magnus Cathedral, Kirkwall, uses the Bourdon in quints on itself for the lowest five notes, but the fourth below the 16' in the remainder of the bottom octave.  Now, although this is against the rules of physics, it works very well and avoids the 'Pink Panther' effect which most 10 2/3 quints display when you get out of the lowest notes.

Another superb Letourneau - Holy Trinity RC, New York City - has an electronic 32 sub bass, which helps to produce a very big-organ sound from a relatively small (but very cleverly planned) instrument.
http://www.nycago.org/Organs/NYC/html/HolyTrinityRC.html

St. Patrick's, Ballymacarrett, Belfast
http://www.npor.org.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch.cgi?Fn=Rsearch&)rec_index=D01426
has a 32' which is the open wood quinted on itself in the bottom octave, then playing at 32' pitch but with the quint as well for the rest of the way up.  The result is something between a diaphone and a nuclear explosion.  Whether this is an original feature or perhaps a mistake in the wiring from a subsequent overhaul, I don't know.  The church is quite big and the organ originally just a normal Great-to-Fifteenth, Swell-to-Mixture-and-two-reeds job.  Somewhere along the line, it acquired a 16-8-4 trumpet rank firing west, which is of tuba power and completely obliterates everything else.  I suppose that in the heyday of Harland & Wolff, congregations were so big that something drastic was needed to keep them in tow.

Title: Re: Pedal Acoustic Bass 32
Post by: David Drinkell on December 06, 2011, 05:40:04 PM
Thinking on about 32's , an acoustic bass is probably best if the 32' effect is quiet.  If the rumble is there, it doesn't have to be loud to be effective.  On the other hand, a big 32' Open Wood can be used under quiet combinations.  The 32-and-strings beloved of cathedral organists was reputedly invented by Father Willis, who demonstrated it at St. Paul's Cathedral with the 32' wood and the Choir Dulciana.

I remember playing a two-manual, mostly extension organ in Walkers' works at Brandon in the seventies.  It was bound for Nigeria and it had an acoustic 32' although the only 16' flue bass was the Bourdon.  Walter Goodey said that they liked that sort of thing in that part of the world.

Those with back numbers of 'The Organ' will remember A Gordon Miller, who harped on about 32' stops incessantly.  Even the smallest organ ought to have one, according to him.  He even suggested using harmonium reeds.

Compton cubes - I think a lot of them weren't effective because of standing waves and such mysteries, and at best were rather amorphous.  There's quite a good one in the early Compton at All Souls, Belfast, but a much less successful example at St. Mark's, Dundela.  Polyphones worked much better and I think Comptons' used them in later instruments.  The early Miniaturas had 16' cubes, which sounded like blowing over the top of a bottle.  They switched to more conventional means in later models.

Ken Jones made a polyphone for an organ in Australia.  At the opening recital, a trumpeter used one of the basses, which was horizontal, to rest his music.  When the pipe spoke, the draught blew all the music sheets up in the air and over the edge of the gallery.
Title: Re: Pedal Acoustic Bass 32
Post by: Barrie Davis on December 06, 2011, 07:49:10 PM
David has suggested quite rightly that it is better to have the notes of the Quint even for the bottom octave independent, I have often played Quinted Bourdons which simply do not work.

Best wishes

Barrie
Title: Re: Pedal Acoustic Bass 32
Post by: David Pinnegar on December 06, 2011, 10:44:59 PM
The other day a friend of mine mentioned Haskelled pipes . . . and search for that I found another solution to accommodating long pipes - rather shocking:
(http://www.reuter822.com/sept18montre.jpg)

http://www.organstops.org/_apps/HaskellBasses.html describes Haskell pipes. In the type known by my friend, possibly championed by Walker or HN&B they were open pipes with a stopped pipe inserted in the end. This means that one should have the fundamental note and odd harmonics from the stopped component and the octave up providing a full harmonic sequence to fill in the gaps. My friend said that the examples he knew were very successful.

Perhaps one might be very clever with the octave up open section and drill a hole  in the appropriate place to kill off the harmonics unneeded by the lower pitched stopped pipe . . .

Best wishes

David P
Title: Re: Pedal Acoustic Bass 32
Post by: David Drinkell on December 06, 2011, 10:54:00 PM
How the heck do you tune those??  I hoped they're properly fastened at the back (memories of a note in a tuner's book: 'One of the front pipes has fallen out').

The Harrison at Holy Trinity, St. Andrews, has the bottom octave of the 32' reed slung from the chamber roof (the only example of a 32' reed en chamade I know of!).

Barrie mentions quinted basses that just don't come off.  It seems to be a bit of a lottery at the best of times, with factors like position and acoustic affecting the result.  In any case, I have seldom met a satisfactory example of a 10 2/3 Quint - it's nearly always better to quint only the bottom octave and borrow the rest from the 16'.
Title: Re: Pedal Acoustic Bass 32
Post by: David Pinnegar on December 06, 2011, 11:46:48 PM
The pedal Quint by Frobenius at Kingston Parish church is extremely successful http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zZCQ3cMr4pk at around 10:00

Best wishes

David P
Title: Re: Pedal Acoustic Bass 32
Post by: David Drinkell on December 07, 2011, 01:07:40 AM
Hmmm - always an exception to prove the rule! :)
Title: Re: Pedal Acoustic Bass 32
Post by: KB7DQH on December 07, 2011, 08:21:06 AM
32 ft. pitch in the manuals???  See the spec of the "nearly new" Opus XIX built by Martin Pasi for the Sacred Heart Co-Cathedral in Houston, Texas.  The "Grand Choir" manual controls pipework found mostly in the pedal division, those ranks being extended in compass accordingly 8)

Then I got to thinking about the chore of mitering a Haskell bass but then with a bit of thought reasoned out how such a thing could be constructed 8) 8)  and depending on the scale required for a given space it would compare favorably to the cabinet space required to build an appropriate speaker enclosure necessary to provide a competent electronic equivalent.   The one time I experienced a REAL 32' in action it was felt as much or possibly to a greater degree than heard-- and as such speakers in typical HI-FI arrangements at these frequencies fail miserably.  Even in a small domestic environment credible reproduction demands some rather extreme measures to make electronic reproduction come remotely close to the real thing, let alone in a large concert hall or worship space :o

Eric
KB7DQH
Title: Re: Pedal Acoustic Bass 32
Post by: David Drinkell on December 07, 2011, 03:24:44 PM
Stephen Hamill, who builds Phoenix electronic instruments, has/had a big three manual example with a 64' reed on the pedal.  Big rumble!!
Title: Re: Pedal Acoustic Bass 32
Post by: David Pinnegar on December 07, 2011, 04:08:43 PM
Stephen Hamill, who builds Phoenix electronic instruments, has/had a big three manual example with a 64' reed on the pedal.  Big rumble!!

:-) The Hammerwood beast has a 128ft . . . ! Whilst this is purely electronic, I have been looking for the opportunity to work with a pipe organ builder making a 32ft or 64ft electronic derivation from an existing 16ft pipe rank.

I think it is used on one or two notes in Jeremy Filsell's playing on the YouTube video "Latrobian Dionysian Whirl" and, reading the comments about having measured 4Hz on the recording, by Ben Scott http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gOyMKVM0tvA

It would be fun to do this sort of thing wih a pipe organ. St Mary's Edinburgh with 3 32ft ranks might be a candidate . . .

Best wishes

David P
Title: Re: Pedal Acoustic Bass 32
Post by: pcnd5584 on December 12, 2011, 10:27:59 PM
... The Harrison at Holy Trinity, St. Andrews, has the bottom octave of the 32' reed slung from the chamber roof (the only example of a 32' reed en chamade I know of!). ...

Christchurch Priory has one: the 32ft. Bombarde (Nave Pedal Organ: GD&R/Nicholson) is placed horizontally in the south Nave triforium. In addition, the Compton/Osmond Organs instrument at Saint Peter's, Parkstone (Dorset) has a sort-of en chamade 32ft. reed. The lower portion is slung at an angle over the sloping roof of the Swell box. This is a slightly strange instrument - in addition to being seriously loud.
Title: Re: Pedal Acoustic Bass 32
Post by: David Drinkell on December 13, 2011, 07:03:00 AM
Thanks - I didn't know about those.  I haven't been in Christchurch Priory since the early days of the Compton-Makin, when Geoffrey Tristram was still alive.  Parkstone looked interesting when it was written-up after the rebuild.  A conscientious attempt to produce something like a Compton.  I've often wondered if it was a success.
Title: Re: Pedal Acoustic Bass 32
Post by: pcnd5584 on December 13, 2011, 01:41:04 PM
Thanks - I didn't know about those.  I haven't been in Christchurch Priory since the early days of the Compton-Makin, when Geoffrey Tristram was still alive.  Parkstone looked interesting when it was written-up after the rebuild.  A conscientious attempt to produce something like a Compton.  I've often wondered if it was a success.

I have played the instrument at Parkstone for recitals, concerts and services on a number of occasions. I must admit that I do not particularly like it. It is a little too loud for the building (which is a good reason not to use absolutely full organ). In addition, whilst Compton's voicing was not always of top quality (for example, orchestral reeds), Osmond's was even less so. My own preference, to be honest, would have been to have had a smaller instrument - and with considerably less extension.
Title: Re: Pedal Acoustic Bass 32
Post by: Barrie Davis on December 13, 2011, 07:42:23 PM
Out of interest and off the subject, whats happened to the other large Compton in Parkstone, I think the Greek Orthodox took over the building.

Barrie
Title: Re: Pedal Acoustic Bass 32
Post by: David Drinkell on December 13, 2011, 08:02:31 PM
There was some discussion about this (St. Osmund, Parkstone) on the Mander Invision Power Board a few months ago.  Apparently, the organ is still there, but in poor shape - at least partially playable.  I gather that the resident Orthodox congregation are cognisant of its historical importance, but obviously it doesn't fit into their way of worship.  Therefore, they are unlikely to try to get rid of it, but one can't expect them to maintain it either.
Title: Re: Pedal Acoustic Bass 32
Post by: pcnd5584 on December 13, 2011, 10:08:59 PM
There was some discussion about this (St. Osmund, Parkstone) on the Mander Invision Power Board a few months ago.  Apparently, the organ is still there, but in poor shape - at least partially playable.  I gather that the resident Orthodox congregation are cognisant of its historical importance, but obviously it doesn't fit into their way of worship.  Therefore, they are unlikely to try to get rid of it, but one can't expect them to maintain it either.

This is indeed the case.

The last time I played this instrument (about three years ago), it was in a fairly bad state, with a number of stops not working and others only partly so. It seems unlikely that it will be restored in the forseeable future.
Title: Re: Pedal Acoustic Bass 32
Post by: makemoreandmore on February 25, 2012, 01:33:48 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

I am hoping that it will be possible in our project to have an independent 10 2/3 , made up of a second hand small scale Swell Bourdon. The proposed pedal department is a large scale Open Wood,  a solid Bourdon, Principal and fifteenth (metal) and a wooden Trombone.

I read somewhere the other day (maybe on here?) about the most convincing acoustic being produced by an organ where instead of using a fifth, a fourth was employed.

That reminded me of an old organ which had a 12' rank on the pedal.

Since we are using Solid State, electronically we can do anything, and it has been suggested that in addition to (or instead of, if the 10 2/3 rank doesn't materialise) that we quint off the Open Wood for a big ground shaker as one stop, then use another quint off the Bourdon for a soft one.

I have never met an resultant 32' that I have been happy with, and wondered if anyone has any experience of any of the above configurations, and especially if you know of an organ with  a 12' pedal stop.
Title: Re: Pedal Acoustic Bass 32
Post by: matt h on February 25, 2012, 06:29:19 PM
Hi

I remember reading somewhere that the best combination for an acoustic bass is an open pipe for the 16' and a soft stopped pipe for the 10 2/3'.

If the 16' stopped pipe is too quiet in relation to the 10 2/3', in my opinion the result sounds very 'heavy', without producing the desired effect.
One thing I have done in the past is to try and produce the effect an octave higher on the manuals (where there are usually more ranks to experiment with), which can give a good indication of what is required in a given acoustic.

Regards,
Matt.
Title: Re: Pedal Acoustic Bass 32
Post by: David Pinnegar on February 25, 2012, 06:57:23 PM
Hi!

Some time ago Matthew Copley kindly talked to the Surrey Organists's Association demonstrating the Frobenius at Kingston Parish Church.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zZCQ3cMr4pk is a record of some of his talk in which the 32 Acoustic was demonstrated and there it was rather effective.

Use of a fourth . . . The acoustic 32 depends on the harmonics, resultant beat notes between any adjacent harmonics being the fundamental note. So taking C as a fundamental, the harmonics are sequentially C, G and C then E and G above. So if one plays the C and G above, it will synthesise the C below. To use a fourth one uses the G and the C two octaves above the desired note. In this case in order not to sound muddy, the unison rank needs to be stronger than the fourth below.

Best wishes

David P
Title: Re: Pedal Acoustic Bass 32
Post by: AnOrganCornucopia on February 26, 2012, 11:17:25 PM
I may have said this earlier, but the 1912 Walker of the Sacred Heart, Wimbledon, possesses three 32ft stops - a Double Open Wood, an Acoustic Bass and a Contra Trombone (full-length). The Acoustic Bass uses the Bourdon as its fundamental, but has a 12-note independent quint rank (it simply being the Bourdon from TC up). I believe that the quint rank is made up of very small-scaled wooden stopped flute pipes. It is most effective and provides a useful alternative to the Double Open Wood, particularly for underpinning the soft undulating strings on the Choir organ (the DOW being really too powerful for that).

The organ at St Michael-upon-Cornhill, London, which is a mix of 1684 Harris, 1790ish Green, several Hill rebuilds and 1926 Rushworth & Dreaper, likewise has an independent quint rank for the bottom octave. This is, rather cleverly, enclosed in the Choir box, enabling the 32ft effect to be reduced (along with the strings) to near-inaudibility. It's one of a number of truly magical effects on that (IMO) criminally-underrated organ... I'd say it's closely comparable with King's Cambridge as a happy mix of high-pressure Romantic and low-pressure Classical... and has a similarly beautiful acoustic, resonant and clear, into which to speak.
Title: Re: Pedal Acoustic Bass 32
Post by: Contrabombarde on February 29, 2012, 12:04:55 PM
Stephen Hamill, who builds Phoenix electronic instruments, has/had a big three manual example with a 64' reed on the pedal.  Big rumble!!

:-) The Hammerwood beast has a 128ft . . . ! Whilst this is purely electronic, I have been looking for the opportunity to work with a pipe organ builder making a 32ft or 64ft electronic derivation from an existing 16ft pipe rank.

I think it is used on one or two notes in Jeremy Filsell's playing on the YouTube video "Latrobian Dionysian Whirl" and, reading the comments about having measured 4Hz on the recording, by Ben Scott http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gOyMKVM0tvA

It would be fun to do this sort of thing wih a pipe organ. St Mary's Edinburgh with 3 32ft ranks might be a candidate . . .

Best wishes

David P

If you have 16 feet of roofspace there is nothing to stop you from creating a resultant 64 foot from quinting a stopped 32 foot (ie 16 foot long) bourdon though I can't imagine it would be very effective.

As few organs have even one 32 flue let alone two I can't say I have been able to compare between a 32 open and a 32 stopped flue. My previous church's organ was originally specified for a 32 wood open, but the cost of the bottom twelve pipes was prohibitive. I'd have thought an octave of 16 foot long stopped pipes would be far cheaper (and there must be plenty of open 16 woods on the used market - could they be converted to a 32 foot rank by stopping them)?

As an earlier post said, no easy way round the cost - a digital 32 foot in a church requires such a huge and expensive amp and speaker that you might almost go for the real thing.  But if a 32 foot bourdon or a COmpton polyphone could do something similar for much less space and cost, why don't we use them more often?
Title: Re: Pedal Acoustic Bass 32
Post by: David Pinnegar on February 29, 2012, 02:43:18 PM
As an earlier post said, no easy way round the cost - a digital 32 foot in a church requires such a huge and expensive amp and speaker that you might almost go for the real thing.  But if a 32 foot bourdon or a COmpton polyphone could do something similar for much less space and cost, why don't we use them more often?

Well not quite. I'm using two cheap 18 inch units in parallel with a 50W amp, probably capable of 100W peak. One is really only looking at mathematical sonic underpinning rather than anything intended for nightclub  fairground effects on the stomach . . .

Best wishes

David P
Title: Re: Pedal Acoustic Bass 32
Post by: AnOrganCornucopia on February 29, 2012, 07:25:49 PM
I think that the 32ft stopped flue comes up against problems with standing waves. Many have been made in recent times but I'm told they are rarely satisfactory.
Title: Re: Pedal Acoustic Bass 32
Post by: Holditch on February 29, 2012, 10:27:37 PM
Quote
Well not quite. I'm using two cheap 18 inch units in parallel with a 50W amp, probably capable of 100W peak. One is really only looking at mathematical sonic underpinning rather than anything intended for nightclub  fairground effects on the stomach . . .


Hi David

Are these 2 x 18" drivers mounted in an infinite baffle that extends under your floor? I seem to remember you mentioning this on one of your Youtube clips?

True 16Hz fundamentals usually require large boxes

Best Regards
Marc
Title: Re: Pedal Acoustic Bass 32
Post by: David Pinnegar on March 01, 2012, 11:45:56 AM
Are these 2 x 18" drivers mounted in an infinite baffle that extends under your floor? I seem to remember you mentioning this on one of your Youtube clips?

True 16Hz fundamentals usually require large boxes

Hi!

Yes - one mounted above the other in a shallow box venting into the floor, and inadvertantly a partition wall that needed strengthening against vibration . . . (used expanding foam). It's in a corner of the room taking advantage of the efficiency increase of radiation into 1/8th space.

Best wishes

David P
Title: Re: Pedal Acoustic Bass 32
Post by: pcnd5584 on April 17, 2012, 10:04:37 PM
I think that the 32ft stopped flue comes up against problems with standing waves. Many have been made in recent times but I'm told they are rarely satisfactory.

I am not sure about standing waves - I would need to do some more research. However, I know of a few examples of stopped Bourdon-type ranks which make excellent 32ft. pedal stops. One or two are situated in quite dry acoustics and are still most effective. Some are even better than open pipes. (As an example of a bad open stop in a superb acoustic, I would cite the 32ft. wood stop at Truro Cathedral. I am not alone in finding this to be most disappointing. Some notes are inordinately loud - low A, for example - whilst several others are virtually inaudible anywhere in the cathedral.) This said, the 32ft. metal stop at Salisbury is excellent, as is the metal Contra Violone at Exeter - apart, that is, from the lowest four notes, which are rather poor. Whether they would be better if the area around the mouths was spotted metal, instead of zinc *, I am not sure.



* Experiments have shown that, whilst there is a perceptible difference in the quality (in both senses) of the tone of a flue pipe when different materials are used around the mouth area, there is virtually no difference with regard to the body of the pipe above the mouth.
Title: Re: Pedal Acoustic Bass 32
Post by: AnOrganCornucopia on April 18, 2012, 12:55:20 AM
Interesting. It has to be said that a really good Acoustic can be excellent where height is at a premium. I do love a big metal Contra Violone, too - they do seem to be the most effective type of open 32.

What are Compton Polyphones and Cube Basses like?
Title: Re: Pedal Acoustic Bass 32
Post by: pcnd5584 on July 19, 2012, 09:55:26 AM
Interesting. It has to be said that a really good Acoustic can be excellent where height is at a premium. I do love a big metal Contra Violone, too - they do seem to be the most effective type of open 32.

What are Compton Polyphones and Cube Basses like?

Yes - although the Double Open Diapason (of wood) at Bristol Cathedral is also an excellent stop - and in superb acoustics.
Title: Re: Pedal Acoustic Bass 32
Post by: David Drinkell on July 20, 2012, 07:55:20 PM
Interesting. It has to be said that a really good Acoustic can be excellent where height is at a premium. I do love a big metal Contra Violone, too - they do seem to be the most effective type of open 32.

What are Compton Polyphones and Cube Basses like?

Yes - although the Double Open Diapason (of wood) at Bristol Cathedral is also an excellent stop - and in superb acoustics.

I'll second that!  A really fine 32'.  Clifford Harker used to use it to wonderful effect in the psalms.

Compton cubes tended to be very temperamental.  At their best, they could give an effective 32' down to EEEE, repeating on the lowest notes, but they were very sensitive to placement, standing waves, acoustics, and everything else.  Polyphones were more reliable and less likely to do funny things when put in position.
Title: Re: Pedal Acoustic Bass 32
Post by: Bobbell9 on August 18, 2012, 09:17:53 PM
I regularly play a four manual Copeman-Hart organ which was originally installed in 1972 (at that time the largest electronic in Europe) and was digitised in 2003. The Bass speaker is built into a pair of huge brick chambers approximately 20 foot high. You can hear the 32' basses both reed and flue.

The other point to note is among the pedal stops are harmonics of 32' 10 2/3, 6 2/5 and 4 4/7' all correctl;y tuned (i.e. not derived from any other rank. When these are used with  reasonably loud 16 stops, a very convincing 32 reed tune is produced.

The Solo organ contains a full string chorus from 16' to mixture. ;D
Title: Re: Pedal Acoustic Bass 32
Post by: Bobbell9 on August 18, 2012, 09:23:46 PM
By the way has anyone heard of rotary woofers for pedal notes.

see http://www.rotarywoofer.com/telarc/telarc%20carpenter%20recording.html (http://www.rotarywoofer.com/telarc/telarc%20carpenter%20recording.html)
Title: Re: Pedal Acoustic Bass 32
Post by: revtonynewnham on August 19, 2012, 09:01:02 AM
Hi

More on the "technology" at http://www.rotarywoofer.com/ - but given the prices I don't think I'll be considering one!

Every Blessing

Tony
Title: Re: Pedal Acoustic Bass 32
Post by: David Pinnegar on August 19, 2012, 02:45:34 PM
Hi!

They are like a fan with variable pitch helicopter blades. They rotate constantly but the fin angles are varied so that they pull or push air through a hole.

Best wishes

David P
Title: Re: Pedal Acoustic Bass 32
Post by: flared_ophicleide on March 12, 2013, 10:49:18 PM
I was told that there's a Compton 32' Cube Bass at St. Gregory's Parish, Preston, Lancashire.  When I looked this up, I found a Pendlebury which is no longer there.  Nothing about Compton. 

Any help here?
Title: Re: Pedal Acoustic Bass 32
Post by: Barrie Davis on March 13, 2013, 11:31:05 AM
There was one at St Oswalds Preston, the organ has now moved on and if you look it up on NPOR it will show you where it went to.
Title: Re: Pedal Acoustic Bass 32
Post by: David Wyld on March 13, 2013, 02:49:34 PM
Hi!

They are like a fan with variable pitch helicopter blades. They rotate constantly but the fin angles are varied so that they pull or push air through a hole.

Best wishes

David P

From the pricing (as noted by Tony) it appears that one buys a helicopter!   :o :o ???

DW
Title: Re: Pedal Acoustic Bass 32
Post by: David Drinkell on March 14, 2013, 05:06:48 AM
A question for DW:  one of the better acoustic basses, IMHO, is on the Willis at St. Magnus Cathedral, which I played daily for nine years and still visit when I am in Orkney to see my in-laws (there's even a locked level on the pistons called 'David's Settings').  It used the bourdon to play the fourth below for the top seven notes of the bottom octave and the fifth above for the lower five notes.  Maybe the acoustics helped, too!  Do you still do Willis acoustic basses like that?
Title: Re: Pedal Acoustic Bass 32
Post by: David Wyld on March 14, 2013, 10:33:36 AM
Hello David,

yes we still do it like that though there have been problems in the past with some solid-state systems which don't make it easy so we have to do a hard-wired 'fudge'.   We've now designed and manufacture our own system so it isn't a problem any longer and we're back to normal.

What is your level number there?  We always leave a setting on level 69 for when we visit - its our experience that players usually start at level 1  or at 255 and work back, so they rarely get to level 69!

Regards,

DW
Title: Re: Pedal Acoustic Bass 32
Post by: JBR on March 14, 2013, 10:09:56 PM

What is your level number there?  We always leave a setting on level 69 for when we visit - its our experience that players usually start at level 1  or at 255 and work back, so they rarely get to level 69!

Regards,

DW

Good idea!  But why not level 127?
Title: Re: Pedal Acoustic Bass 32
Post by: David Drinkell on March 15, 2013, 02:42:38 AM
What is your level number there?  We always leave a setting on level 69 for when we visit - its our experience that players usually start at level 1  or at 255 and work back, so they rarely get to level 69!

I can't remember!  I just flick through the settings until I find the right one!  When I was there, there weren't any generals and the pistons were set by switches on frames which slid out behind the stop jambs.  This was handy because one could reset the pistons while playing, and of course there was a neutral position (thus, for example, if one had the Hautboy on the Full Swell setting on 5 and neutral on 4 - Swell to Mixture - pressing 5-4 gave you Swell to Mixture plus Hautboy.  It only works if the pistons are quick!).

Give John McCarron my best and tell him that piston 4 on all manuals wasn't working last August!