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Cornet: Principals or Flutes?

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  • Cornet: Principals or Flutes?

    Something that I really want some clarification on: Every book that I have read on organ building written by a European that has described a Classical French Cornet, has described it as being composed of wide-scale principal pipes, with a Bourdon or Flute a Cheminee making up the bass, as they are supposed to not only work as a solo stop, but also strengthen the upper ranges of the Trompettes and Clairons, as the upper octaves of Baroque reeds were not of equal power to the basses.
    "...the Grand Cornet has the function of strengthening and brightening the treble of the Grand Jeu, which contains the Trompettes and Clairons. ... The Grand Cornet must increase in strength as the Trompettes and Clairons weaken, and conversely" Dom Bedos, translated.
    When did the Cornet become a flute mixture?

  • #2
    In accordance with Audsley the following is said about the mixture.

    The old cornet was a large scaled and corisponding to the diapason and the principle.

    He goes further saying:

    Unbroken it was to hide the breaks in the screaming mixtures at the time.

    This mixture was not a complete because the old ones went from middle C and up. the newer ones and what A. recommends is that it can be composed of
    Flutes
    Strings
    Diapason

    All at small scale. So it looks like the cornet can be a flute mixture as well.
    Instruments:
    22/8 Button accordion.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Ben Madison View Post
      In accordance with Audsley the following is said about the mixture.

      The old cornet was a large scaled and corisponding to the diapason and the principle.

      He goes further saying:

      Unbroken it was to hide the breaks in the screaming mixtures at the time.

      This mixture was not a complete because the old ones went from middle C and up. the newer ones and what A. recommends is that it can be composed of
      Flutes
      Strings
      Diapason

      All at small scale. So it looks like the cornet can be a flute mixture as well.
      But that's in direct contrast with what was said by Dom Bedos. And, looking at the part of Audsley's "Art of Organ Building Vol.1" where he describes the Cornet, he gives a composition of, and I quote directly here, "Unison, 8 FT. - Octave, 4 FT. - Twelfth, 2-2/3 FT. - Fifteenth, 2 FT. - Seventeenth, 1-3/5 FT". What I want to know is where along the line it went from being a wide-scaled diapason mixture to a small scaled anything you want mixture. And I think Audsley is wrong about it being used to hide the breaks of the mixtures, as the two would never be heard together.
      "Plein Jeu: All the Fonds, Bourdons, Prestants, Doublettes, Fournitures and Cymbales on both Grand Orgue and Positif, Manuals coupled. On the Pedale, all Bombardes, Trompettes and Clairons, or all Flues. Grand Jeu: Cornet, Prestant, all Trompettes and Clairons on the Grand Orgue, the same on the Positif with the Cromorne, Manuals coupled." Dom Bedos, paraphrased
      I think there was some fundamental misunderstanding of the classical organ in general in the early twentieth Century, what with the Romantic organ and all its foundation tone being in direct contrast with the large quantities of upper work present on earlier organs. The Mixtures of Baroque French and German organs never "screamed", the provided brightness and sparkle that no organ of the romantic period could produce. "Screaming" implies they are of an overpowering, raucous, unpleasant nature, which they just aren't.
      Anyway, I'm still looking into it, but finding some solid evidence is proving tricky.

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      • #4
        A Cornet was traditionally built up from flute pipes, or possibly large scaled foundation pipes, and was used as a solo stop. It was not intended to be used as part of the Principal chorus. There is another stop somewhat similar to this, called Sesquialtera, which was made from Principal pipes. If labeled "Sesquiltera II", it consisted of 2 2/3"and 1 3/5' ranks, and would usually be combined with Principals 8', 4', and 2'. The Sesquialtera was sometimes used with Mixture(s) added.

        Don't take anything Audsley said for granted. He was not in favor of Baroque ideas about voicing, and preferred orchestral type organs. To him, even the Wanamaker organ bordered on being a failure because it had too many unenclosed pipes!
        Mike

        My home organ is a circa 1990 Galanti Praeludium III, with Wicks/Viscount CM-100 module supplying extra voices. I also have an Allen MDS Theatre II (princess pedalboard!) with an MDS II MIDI Expander.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by m&m's View Post
          A Cornet was traditionally built up from flute pipes, or possibly large scaled foundation pipes, and was used as a solo stop. It was not intended to be used as part of the Principal chorus. There is another stop somewhat similar to this, called Sesquialtera, which was made from Principal pipes. If labeled "Sesquiltera II", it consisted of 2 2/3"and 1 3/5' ranks, and would usually be combined with Principals 8', 4', and 2'. The Sesquialtera was sometimes used with Mixture(s) added.
          As has been stated quite clearly previously, the Classical French Cornet was NEVER made up from flutes with the exception of the 8'. It was originally made of large scale Principal pipes, and as I have just spent four weeks touring around Northern Europe playing many such organs I can attest to their severely un-flute nature. What I am trying to find out is WHEN the modern concept of them being made up of flutes came from. The main difference between a Sesquialtera and a Cornet is that the Sesquialtera is made from narrow scaled principal pipes and the Cornet of wide scale principal pipes, giving it its rather less stringy tone. The Cornet was designed to strengthen the upper octaves of the Trompettes and Clairons in the Grand Jeu, as they were so much quieter than the basses.

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