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Messages - David Pinnegar

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This is really interesting and very helpful indeed. I think there's a lot of pointers to 6th Comma Meantone being in common use and used by Mozart. I've been experimenting with 1/4 comma really as a form of X-Ray to the music revealing starkly to less sensitive ears where really interesting things are going on.

How does 6th Comma Meantone compare in effect on the keys for instance with Vallotti dividing errors among 6 fifths? I have a preference for Kellner or Kirnberger III compared to Vallotti simply because I like the stronger flavour of curry and nearer to the 5th Comma meantone variation.

Are you using the Neidhardt "Village" temperament or the weaker ones?

Best wishes

David P

I was inspired by Percy Scholes' question "How could the Bach 48 have been played on Dr Burney's piano?". In the late 18th century pianos in England were tuned to Meantone. How long did this endure? My researches into Mozart suggested that Meantone was important to interpretation of Mozart's music.

What about Beethoven? A friend visited and kindly recorded The Tempest . In my view it adds to the magical atmosphere alluded to in the presumed association with Shakespeare's play.

Best wishes

David P

Miscellaneous & Suggestions / Re: Happy Christmas
« on: December 27, 2018, 08:23:51 PM »
Hoping all are enjoying the festive season and the rest after this busy period.

Something to tweak ears . . . .

May the coming year bring much good spice . . .

Best wishes

David P

Inspirational instruments / The king of all?
« on: December 01, 2018, 02:04:27 PM »
The apparently increasing decline of interest in organs is depressing. I think it's associated with a lack of familiarity and a failure of the Church, which is why in the pasty I have encouraged philosophical contemplation of theology and a rebellion against the evangelical simplitism of the 1970s to encourage something deeper. Such, indeed is encouraged "When we are a child we see as a child . . . etc  . . .  but then we put away childish things. . . .  We see as through a glass darkly but then face to face."

The problem is that because none are encouraged to grow from the child view and the child view doesn't measure up to really what is the source of creation of all, it's rejected. For this reason the modern church is empty, barren of meaning in common sense and experience, and dying.

If there's one organ in the world which demonstrates why organs, and the source of creation too, should not be neglected it's

Best wishes

David P


This instrument is for sale on account of the passing of its builder. Originally working with a pipe-organ organ builder he went on to become a connoisseur of instruments and of French Baroque in particular and the console is constructed to perfection.

Anyone interested please contact me and I will put you in touch with his widow.

Best wishes

David P

Questions of Temperament / Re: The Colour of Tuning in Mozart's time
« on: September 19, 2018, 01:23:53 AM » using a MIDI file using a Yamaha Clavinova in Meantone Temperament shows Mozart to be exploiting Meantone in ways inaudible in modern tuning, and is how one might go about playing it on a fortepiano. The resonance of the tuning with major thirds needs much more sustaining pedal and achieves a much greater singing than modern equal temperament practice induces

7 is a recording of some of the Bach preludes in the worst Meantone keys. It's not impossible to play the Bach 48 in Meantone . . .

Questions of Temperament / The Colour of Tuning in Mozart's time
« on: September 16, 2018, 02:14:56 AM »
I've recently completed research which led me into writing a paper to be published shortly in being asked to talk to the Friends of the London Mozart Players about "The Colour of Tuning in Mozart's time"

A video of the lecture is on . It was as a result of Arthur Ord-Hume writing in respect to 18th century barrel organs that the tuning made one wince, and that it was intended to, that the penny dropped that Mozart should be auditioned in no less than 1/4 comma meantone. Upon doing so, his piano sonatas revealed most interesting results - it was like developing a photograph, and Mozart's Fantasias in F minor made more sense on two ranks of pipes, as written for, rather than the muscular interpretation we've all enjoyed on full organ with equal temperament.

According with and making audible Schubart's description of the character of each key, written in 1787, I wondered if we might have got the wrong end of the stick with regard to Bach's 48 preludes and fugues for well tempered clavier. The lecture includes demonstrations and those with meantone tuned organs might experiment starting in C with a plain diapason, registering the keys known to Schubart for increasing brightness, and registering the dark keys as in the lecture demonstration, with a mournful Stopped Diapason or Leiblich Gedakt. The cycle of compositions seems to make sense and to work, indicating that it might not have been written to celebrate new tuning but actually to exploit the emotional "Affekt" of each key.

Best wishes

David P

I've recently completed writing a paper for a lecture about "The Colour of Tuning in Mozart's Time" and made some interesting discoveries.

The Mozart Fantasias written for Mechanical Organ are usually given an enjoyably muscular treatment in performance on the organ and no doubt we've all enjoyed them that way.

However, they were actually written in F minor, as most things of the period were written in F minor, on the subject of death, death of a Hero. He'd been valiant in the Battle of Belgrade and an art installation was created to commemorate his death and life, rather in the nature of what one might see at the Tate Modern. He was to be seen encased in a glass coffin, surrounded by mirrors asking for our reflection upon the scene, a mourning Turkish woman and guards, mournful, standing to attention. Surmounted by a clock, the inevitable issues of time were to come to mind, eternity, truncation of life, marching on of events, of soldiers marching.

How much of this scene does a conventional interpretation evoke, or rather if you can imagine the scene, how would a conventional interpretation add to the melancholy and to the reflection upon the sight before you?

The secret was in the tuning of the organ pipes to Meantone. Only then could the F minor evoke all the passions of
Deep depression, funereal lament, groans of misery and longing for the grave documented by Schubart in 1787.

And the next secret was to register the performance on the ranks of pipes which would have been used by the mechanical organ of a mechanical clock.

Contemporary accounts referred to the sound of flutes and a bassoon. So a Stopped Diapason and a reed with truncated resonators, not taking up much space in the clock organ, for the bass.

The performance was said to have taken 8 minutes. goes some way to that. But even that performance on a mechanical organ doesn't quite convey the emotion which a performance in Meantone has automatically inherent.

Does K608 and K594 might approximate to the spirit of the originally heard performance. The interaction of the key of F minor with the temperament is essential. Kirnberger can also be used.

If performing this in this manner please refer to this post!

Best wishes

David P

In researching for a lecture about tuning in the 18th century I discovered that perhaps it's time to challenge the big assumption about Bach.

In 1787 the harpsichordist Christian Schubart wrote about the effects induced by playing in the different keys of the scale.

Playing Mozart piano sonatas on a piano tuned . . . to Meantone . . . is particularly revealing.

So I decided to go for the jugular to prove how ghastly playing the Well Tempered Clavier on an organ tuned to meantone is - and I discovered that it's not the tuning that's ugly - it's the registration. In the "bad" keys Bach wrote quite differently and if you register them on a sensitive stop with suppressed harmonics such as a Stopped Diapason or Lieblich Gedakt . . . the pieces in Ab major and Bb minor and all the rest are not only playable but make sense in the emotional Affects recorded by Schubart.

Those with access to Hauptwerk or another meantone capable organ please try it. What do you think?

Start in C major with registration on a simple plain Diapason and then in the major keys add registration according to Schubart's scale of Affekt.

And if you perform or record them please give a link and credit to this post!

Best wishes

David P

A couple of weeks ago Rowan Williams from Gloucester 6th Form College came to see research historic performance times of known repertoire and we were able to do some recordings. With sight of a score we were able to register the instrument to make some sense of the music in places. is the Overture to Antaxerxes.

Best wishes

David Pinnegar

Electronic Organs / Re: Ahlborn H5 voice issue
« on: August 12, 2018, 10:18:05 AM »
Thanks for this update

I have Ahlborn expansion modules which have gone the same way :-(

Best wishes

David P

Nous sommes ravis de vous annoncer l'édition 2018 du Festival International d'Orgue de Lille.
Cette année encore , tous les dimanches après midi (16:30), du 01/07 au 27/08, et le 15/08 , nous accueillerons le fleuron des organistes européens, autour de l'orgue, de st Martin d'Esquermes à Lille . Quartier de Vauban Esquermes.

Sur la console ( lieu où joue le musicien) mobile dans la nef, les auditeurs découvriront la virtuosité des musiciens, en temps réel.
Français du nord, de Paris , Belges, Américains, Italiens,  Anglais et autres Canadiens viendront défendre leur talent dans des programmes éclectiques et virtuoses.
Une occasion 'facile' de se familiariser avec l'instrument, la musique classique, et découvrir de nouveaux horizons artistiques.

Pour découvrir nos artistes invités :

le 15 juillet :

le 5 aout : Thomas Mellan des etats Unis, lauréant de concours Jeunes Organistes à San Diego

le 15 Aout : nicolas PICHON

Le 1 juillet : l'ensemble Vocal Clara Voce

Clôture du Festival par Josep Scolle COL, Organiste de St Pierre de ROME !!

The barrel organ of c1790 from the Colt Collection has now been acquired for public access and study -

With a repertoire of 60 items spread across 16 rolls drawn from opera, popular and sacred music as well as two of Handel's concertos the instrument is a unique insight into 18th century performance style.

Best wishes

David P

Miscellaneous & Suggestions / Re: Pipe organ insurance
« on: May 05, 2018, 02:47:04 PM »
I was at a church in Staines the other day and the organist said that Harrisons had put a replacement value on their instrument of £800,000

Best wishes

David P

Miscellaneous & Suggestions / Re: Is this forum dead? Is the organ dead?
« on: February 12, 2018, 10:35:27 PM »
Ian - thanks for your wonderful contributions and although the path might seem lonely, contributing from the wealth of knowledge you, and others, have is the only way of encouragement forward into the future generations.

Best wishes

David P

The Silk Road from China to the west has received a lot of attention recently with the publication of Peter Francopan's book on the subject linking the dots of the routes in the rise of production of and export of silk in the second half of the first millennium BC.

For some time I've been saying that the Gospel of Thomas is Buddhist in its spirit with a sprinkling of Confucius, and others say that John shows origins in Zoroastrianism.

The reason why the Church isn't mainstream any more is that people are seeing that its singular approach to the Divine isn't the whole picture, not relevant to the real world and for many I believe the Cross and the figure of Jesus is an idol.

Only when the Church moves in a more holistic approach to the Divine will it find relevance, and the future of the Organ survive.

We don't give credit to the ancients, their facility for transcontinental trade, communication of goods and communication of thought in any way as different brands of a common currency. It was with this, perhaps that Jesus gave in a reform to Judaism.

"Sacred by thy Name"

In other words - it should not be pronounced. In the Name of Jesus, we replace a name that should not be pronounced by another Name, and it should not be pronounced, uttered.

It's worth contemplating perhaps the similarity with

The Tao that can be trodden is not the enduring and unchanging Tao.
The name that can be named is not the enduring and unchanging name.

"I am the Light. I am the Way" says Jesus. Was he usurping competing religions? Or was he bringing them together? Not to replace but be part?

Those "pagan" religions oh so to be derided . . . In the wisdom of Apollo, again representative of light, the Name was never to be uttered. Light not of the world but of the mind. Holman Hunt's painting is misleading in so far as depicting a light of material form.

Ideas of the ancient world were much more universal perhaps than we give credit for, and now to be shown up as such in the universalism inherent in a World Wide Web. We think that modern technology is so much more effective than that of the ancients but perhaps in the days of old our ideas were bound by the communication spawned by a web of silk.

Best wishes

David P

Miscellaneous & Suggestions / Re: Is this forum dead? Is the organ dead?
« on: January 30, 2018, 01:48:08 AM »
It's good to see you back. 

The Organ needs INSPIRATION from such proponents as you!

Best wishes

David P

The reason why I try to push the boundaries of what the Christian religion can mean is that without churches the organ is dead.

Meanwhile churches are dying because people don't see them as being capable of being relevant to or in their lives.

It's only by the explorations of meaning that people might not perhaps throw the baby out with the bathwater in the rejection of the wisdom of Jesus with which their lives can be enhanced, and the resulting death of the church . . . and of organs.

The two go hand in hand and unless the church finds understandings which make its texts relevant to every day people, both organ and church will die.

Best wishes

David P

Perhaps let this joyous day to come be a celebration of the idea of the Creator which can echo in us the power of creation even when others don't understand how to create.

Not the Creator known by Religion.

By Creator I don't mean that person who people ask about external to the cosmos who created the cosmos, but that power of creation within the cosmos of which the cosmos is its own mind, and of which we are part.

Quarks come together to make protons. The ones that haven't aren't here.

Protons come together to make atoms. The ones that haven't aren't here.

Atoms come together to make molecules. The ones that don't aren't here.

Molecules come together to make . . . etc etc etc

That ability to work together to Create is the Creator.

When we understand that then we are part of the work of the Creator creating.

Today, if you're alone perhaps see if you can find other people who celebrate the birth of the idea of the son of the creator, who understand. Those who don't understand cause troubles because they don't know how to create.

They cause the pains of others and most of all themselves - but they don't understand that.

Only when people have discovered pain do they really understand the Creator better. Unfortunately some people cannot get enough pain and so create it themselves. It's best to avoid them and instead find people who understand.

Working together - the cosmos is self fertilising - if it can happen it will happen and what produces produces more than what creates less and what creates less produces more than that which produces nothing at all. So what creates nothing at all isn't here - or it dies. What doesn't work with the rest of creation and doesn't create becomes irrelevant.

There are many who believe time for the human race is short. That's because humans who have only the understanding of animals will be victim of their own uncreation. But if humans understand their part in creation and create in harmony with all else created by the process I've described above, then humans will flourish as part of the mind of the cosmos.

For anyone interested, the little baby whose birth we celebrate was visited by three Magi. It was Hermes Tre-Magistus who taught that the universe, cosmos, was
- eternal
- self fertilising
- itself the mind of God

So today perhaps we may find somewhere to sing praises to the power of creation, working together, love in the real sense. And in doing so, goodness knows who else we might meet who also understands. And we might find transformation.

We're made of the stuff that at every level of sophistication has followed the spirit and power of working together - quarks, protons, atoms, molecules, proteins, DNA, genes, species . . . . but so many people have forgotten what we're made of.

Even though some people might feel having been kicked in the teeth this year, to compost are those who don't understand how to create, mere raw materials to be used by that which understands how to do it. And a rather wise bloke whose birth we celebrate today talked of the mathematics of it all. So in life we don't need to be that compost to feed what creates most, that talent buried in the ground.

Praise to the invisible, all powerful and everywhere, that process of creation of love and working together that brings us about. May we recognise all our part in it.

Today's the day to find the other people who understand. Forget those who haven't understood - go find those who do.

That's what Christmas is about, and all the more to rant about!

Best wishes

David P

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