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  • Dictionary of Pipe Organ Stops

    I am curious about how other members of this forum feel about this book by Stevens Irwin. On another forum, there were a lot of criticisms about it being inaccurate. What say the experts here?

  • #2
    Re: Dictionary of Pipe Organ Stops

    Agree. There are better books on the subject.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Dictionary of Pipe Organ Stops

      Please, mention them, always interesting.

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      • #4
        Re: Dictionary of Pipe Organ Stops

        And what of dear Audsley's work (besides the core of Wanamaker)

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        • #5
          Re: Dictionary of Pipe Organ Stops

          He who is without any error let him cast the first organ pipe.

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          • #6
            Re: Dictionary of Pipe Organ Stops



            [quote user="Austin766"]And what of dear Audsley's work (besides the core of Wanamaker)
            [/quote]</P>


            For an arm chair organ enthusiast Audsley didnt to too bad for himself. In 1904 the St Louis organ was the worlds largest. Now it is a good part of Wanamaker. Since it is the largest playable instrument worldwide [ for now] that too is a feather in the old boys cap not to mention the exquisite sound that that organ has.</P>

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            • #7
              Re: Dictionary of Pipe Organ Stops



              [quote user="soubasse32"]There are better books on the subject.[/quote][quote user="Havoc"]Please, mention them, always interesting.[/quote]</P>


              I don't have the time to look up the titles at the moment, but will say that one of the best resources is not a book butcan be found here: http://www.organstops.org/index.html- it contains references to most of the books I would have listed anyway.</P>


              One of the best things about the organ stops website is that itevolves. I have found errors on this site and reported them - the webmaster thanked me and made the revisions. [Y]</P>


              Such 'instant' revisions are not possible with the Stevens Irwin book, which is full of inaccuracies.</P>

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Dictionary of Pipe Organ Stops

                One of my mentors told me many years ago that the Irwin book was heavily influenced by the Atlantic City organ and builders. Is that an opinion of yours too?

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                • #9
                  Re: Dictionary of Pipe Organ Stops



                  I have a copy of that book somewhere, and its companion Dictionary of Electronic Organ Stops. What kind of "inaccuracies" are you talking about?</P>


                  David</P>

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                  • #10
                    Re: Dictionary of Pipe Organ Stops



                    I was afraid you were going to ask me that. [:S]</P>


                    OK... without reading the entire book, I'll just take a stab at some random stuff.</P>


                    Regarding tracker action - "Different series of partials may be heard from the pipes when a different design of muscular motions of the player is used."</P>


                    What?! [:O]Even if I understood what a "different design of muscular motions" means []the point I think he is trying to make, is still not true.</P>


                    He describes a "Pallet" as the vibrating device in the boot of a Diaphone, but forgets that pallets are a crucial part of a slider chest action (centuries before Diaphones came on the scene).</P>


                    He mentioned that baroque Diapasons may use very low pressures, and have shallow nicking or no nicking at all - not necessarily true.</P>


                    Doublette - "a manual stop composed of two ranks of Diapason pipes." He redeems himself by mentioning that it may also be a Fifteenth (2'), but "with a very bright tone". In France, this would just be a normal 2' Principal.</P>


                    He mentions a Harmonica as being an open wooden flute, whereas in Europe it is just as likely to be a free reed.</P>


                    Harmonic Cymbal - "made from open metal pipes of harmonic length" - I'm not aware of any such mixture in any organ, whereas C-C had a Cymbale Harmonique which contained no double-length pipes. Irwin repeats this mistake when describing the Plein Jeu Harmonique.</P>


                    - "an open wood flute." What about the metal varieties of this stop, of which there are many? He also omits the possibility of metal which are rather common.</P>


                    Nachthorn - "a Foundation rank". I usually think of this as a flute.</P>


                    Octavin - - "a Foundation rank ... sounding as a Fifteenth of prominent voicing and somewhat more than the usual volume of sound". It is nothing of the sort! [^o)] It is an harmonic flute.</P>


                    Irwin describes the Salicional as being a bright, somewhat keen string stop. In France it is more likely to be a quiet Diapason. American organists seeking to register French musicwere often puzzled by this,until more thorough resources became available.</P>


                    Under Larigot, Irwin refers the reader to the stop called Nineteenth, which he (correctly) describes as a Foundation-toned stop. A Larigot however, is a Flute-toned stop.</P>


                    Of the Bourdon, Irwin mentions that they "always give a dull tone". He seems to be totally unaware thatthe French Bourdon is almost always a Chimney Flute (which is rarely dull).</P>


                    When describing all of the names of the tonal divisions for European organs he omits the FrenchPositif. Perhaps he thought the German spelling of Positiv would suffice? [^o)]</P>


                    Under "Romantic Stops" he lists the Tibia Clausa, Diapason Phonon, Viole d'Orchestra, and Kinura. These stops are not at all representative of the Romantic era, but appeared over 50 years later! [8-)]</P>


                    Alright,that was a little more thorough than a "random stab". [8-|]</P>


                    [quote user="Jay999"]One of my mentors told me many years ago that the Irwin book was heavily influenced by the Atlantic City organ and builders. Is that an opinion of yours too?[/quote]</P>


                    Quite possibly. I saw many references to the word"Stentor" throughout (many such stops and a division by the same name).</P>

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Dictionary of Pipe Organ Stops

                      [quote user="soubasse32"]


                      OK... without reading the entire book, I'll just take a stab at some random stuff.</P>


                      ...</P>


                      Alright,that was a little more thorough than a "random stab". [8-|]</P>
                      <P mce_keep="true"></P>


                      [/quote]</P>


                      Thanks. I knew I could count on the people here, esp. Soubasse32. It sounds like Soubasse32 could write a better book!</P>


                      Bill</P>

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Dictionary of Pipe Organ Stops



                        Thank you. It would seem that perhaps his book might have better been named the Dictionary of American Pipe Organ Stops. Obviously, he was not as aware of European organs as you and others here are. I am not really well-educated in this area: at the time Irwin wrote his books, how many significantly better ones were available here in the United States? I guess I am asking: did his book fill a need? I must admit that I read both his dictionaries from cover to cover, but of course I was not aware of the errors. What percentage of his writings would you say are accurate? I have also read the Audsley book on the subject--it was part of my preparation for participation in our Organ Selection Committee. I would be interested in your opinion of that book. I have read others who have said some very critical things about him. I believe it is good to get varied opinions on controversial subjects.</P>


                        Thanks again.</P>


                        David</P>

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Dictionary of Pipe Organ Stops



                          Dear Mr Critic[s]</P>


                          Iam seated in the smallest room in my house.</P>


                          Ihave you [your criticisms] before me.</P>


                          Soon I will have you behind me!</P>


                          --Max Reger</P>
                          <P mce_keep="true"></P>


                          Ihave yet to see or hear of any critic as good as the person they are critiquing let alone better than. So either put up or shut up!</P>

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Dictionary of Pipe Organ Stops

                            [quote user="sesquialtera16"]

                            Dear Mr Critic[s]</p>


                            Iam seated in the smallest room in my house.</p>


                            Ihave you [your criticisms] before me.</p>


                            Soon I will have you behind me!</p>


                            --Max Reger</p>
                            <p mce_keep="true"></p>


                            Ihave yet to see or hear of any critic as good as the person they are critiquing let alone better than. So either put up or shut up!</p>

                            [/quote]</p>

                            </p>

                            I know I sure couldn't do it, but all the same, I would like to get an accurate guide to stops, and this sort of topic is helpful in getting information on an otherwise obscure (but useful!) subject. I know I sure wouldn't be able to find those innacuracies from a cursory glance-through.
                            </p>

                            </p>So thank you for posting this topic. I'll stick to the organ stop website then. []

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Dictionary of Pipe Organ Stops



                              I have the Irwin book and have found it to be quite helpful. Another book is the one by the Rev. Noel Bonavia-Hunt (sp?). It has a somewhat different point of view which helps a lot in sorting fact from opinion. Audsley is of course the definitive pair of books on the pipe organ. His tonal ideas are interesting but not always practical unless you have unlimited space and money.</p>

                              Any book may have inaccuracies, perfection is an ideal to strive for but rarely achieved.</p>
                              Allan

                              My home organ
                              Style D Wurlitzer pipe organ
                              http://bluemoonwalkinghorses.com/Sty...tion5_rev3.htm
                              Five Newfoundland dogs
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