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Messages - David Pinnegar

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Pipe organ gravestones and plaques / Paris Notre-Dame
« on: April 15, 2019, 11:00:10 PM »
A friend has this evening drawn my attention to the terrible event in Paris

One might think that the instrument would be one of the most studied instruments in all of organ history but could it be re-created?

It's on account of total destructions such as this that it's incumbent upon all to preserve whatever wisps of  heritage in our care.

Best wishes

David P

From organs to pianos. Experience of organ tuning with pianos can improve piano tone, performance, emotional communicationi and musicianship . . .

The Importance of Tuning
for Better Performance
Monday 6th May 2019 - Arrival 10.30 for 11am - 5pm

This unique seminar day organised by Hammerwood
Park, supported by the Finchcocks Charity for Music
Education and PIANOTEQ, aims to look importance
tuning plays in the appreciation of musical performance,
creativity in music and the ability of music to
The day will be hosted by tuning specialist David
Pinnegar and will include presentations and
demonstrations given by professional musicians who
have experienced creative differences from tuning in
different ways. These musicians include the international
renowned pianist and Chopin expert Adolfo Barabino
and a host of musicians with international performance
and recording experience.
The day will include tea/coffee and refreshments, but
will not include lunch. Please bring your own lunch.
Tickets for the day are £30 and include access to all
presentations and performances.
For further information and ticket sales please contact
Hammerwood Park on : 01342 850594
Website :
Tickets are also available on PayPal at the following
email :
Hammerwood Park, Hammerwood, East Grinstead,
East Sussex, RH19 3QE

We are gutting out the church in order to do some repairs, the organ is going to be sold in order to generate some funds for elsewhere in the building.

Well good luck with that. Organs are like stray dogs. To be loved or given away. Getting anyone to pay much for one which needs rebuilding. . .  Well put it another way - who'd buy a stray dog knowing that it will need substantial vets' fees.

Best wishes

David P

Organ Builders / Re: The Stumm Organ Dynasty (I)
« on: March 10, 2019, 12:23:17 PM »
Dear Ian

Thanks for bringing this wonderful and interesting account to the forum. It's certainly stimulus to the ears when we hear organs unaltered from the 18th century, there being a paucity in Britain and even in France ravaged by the French Revolution. I'm aware there of just one instrument from 1715 and another from 1775 with a couple of 1790 and 91 in the Savoie.

The continuity that the German heritage displays is amazing.

Best wishes

David P

Among electronic organ facilities I have a soft spot for the versatility of their CM100 extension module. For that reason I was looking at their site and found with news of an instrument needing urgent rescue.

Full marks to them also for helping with the Blenheim Palace appeal

Electronic manufacturers have been thought of as the deathknell of pipe instruments but when one sees enthusiasm such as we see here, it's really wonderful to see where David Mason's heart is.

Best wishes

David P

This is the sorriest of sagas. It's a pity that those responsible could not be contaminated with asbestos and dealt with accordingly thereby.

Best wishes

David P

Thanks so much for these thoughts and considerations on temperament history.

I'm organising a temperament awareness day on 6th May rather more specifically geared to the piano but on the basis that attention to tuning encourages listening, by players, and better more sensitive playing in an effort to reinvigorate people's interest in classical music.

On account of this and the need to demonstrate alternatives to equal temperament I've encompassed Pianoteq which is great for research and demonstration purposes. To tune a whole instrument for instance from Kellner to 6th Comma Meantone doesn't really allow instant comparison :-) but the ability to simulate electronically is a great privilege. The extent to which 1/6 Comma still retains features of the strength of 1/4 comma is remarkable but whether the temperament is 1/6 Comma or Werkmeister III or Kirnberger III or whatever, they all have common features and not greatly differing strengths of spice. Certainly with pianos I think that many temperaments were variously used and that there wasn't a "right" temperament universally in use, the only wrong temperament being the universal one as used now.

The specifications of your instrument are really wonderfully comprehensive and a feat of which to be very proud. This forum is a place where people can talk unashamedly about their works and their instruments. We have to kindle the spirits of enthusiasms.

Best wishes

David P

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

54 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 !!

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