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Why does one organist produce a thicker sound than another on the same organ?

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  • #16
    One thing I wish the organists at my church would do is to really change the registrations completely during the hymns. Here's a good example:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YGjPQ5yitcM

    Just to make it clear, I do not know the organist in this video. This a random video I found on youtube just to show you all as an example. Notice how on each verse of the hymn, the organist COMPLETELY changes up the sound of the organ. The organ at my church is a pretty good organ and I'm fairly certain it's a better organ than the one in that youtube video. Yet, none of the organists that play at my church ever change up the sounds throughout the hymn like that guy does. Not sure why...

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    • #17
      Originally posted by mrorgan View Post
      ...I do not know the organist in this video. This a random video I found on youtube just to show you all as an example.
      The organist in the video obviously has good training and plays well. At first, I was taken aback by the breaks in his playing, but then I realized the microphone for the video was so close to the pipes/speakers in a rather large, obviously resonant church. Therefore, the breaks were necessary to keep the congregation going.

      While it might appear to be too fast a tempo for the congregation, I think it is just right. The piece is in 6/8 time and SHOULD be played with 2 beats per measure instead of 6. Also, congregations of that size tend to drag the tempo down, and then what is obviously a celebratory piece becomes a funeral dirge.

      For the 2 middle verses, I didn't hear much variation in registration, but given the microphone location, he probably changed the registration. His use of reeds on the last verse was quite prominent, but I'm sure once the sound entered the church, it was blended well and sounded great.

      One can learn from others' videos, and this one is certainly a good example. Thanks for sharing.

      Michael
      Way too many organs to list, but I do have 5 Allens:
      • MOS-2 Model 505-B / ADC-4300-DK / ADC-5400 / ADC-6000 (Symphony) / ADC-8000DKC
      • Lowrey Heritage (DSO-1)
      • 9 Pump Organs, 1 Pipe Organ & 6 Pianos

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      • #18
        Clearly the organist is aware of the text of each stanza. This is effective hymn playing. The organ is a 2 manual Dobson which works well for leading singing. It also helps to have the congregation to have the choir singing from the rear.
        Bill

        My home organ: Content M5800 as a midi controller for Hauptwerk

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        • #19
          Originally posted by myorgan View Post
          While it might appear to be too fast a tempo for the congregation, I think it is just right. The piece is in 6/8 time and SHOULD be played with 2 beats per measure instead of 6. Also, congregations of that size tend to drag the tempo down, and then what is obviously a celebratory piece becomes a funeral dirge.

          Michael
          I think it's definitely too fast for a congregation or even a choir, actually. Yes, two in a bar certainly, but I'd take it at about dotted quarter note = 72. I don't know how the congregation had time to breathe. I'd also have two beats between verses rather than just one. Just seems relentless to me.

          I think that if a congregation wants to drag it's sometimes because the tempo is too fast in the first place. I must admit that, against all the rules, I am quite prepared in my mellow old age to relax the tempo of a hymn if the congregation seems to want to sing it a bit slower. If it's a battle throughout there's something wrong.

          However he's a good organist and it's a matter of taste and tradition. (I write from the UK.)

          Stephen
          Last edited by Peterboroughdiapason; 12-26-2019, 10:01 AM.

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          • #20
            Well, the "thin" version will not load and play for me (the little circcle keeps circling) but I could hear the "thick" version. I detected a lot of low-pitched sound and would suspect a 16' flute may have been involved, or perhpas a sub coupler. Using multiple 8' flues can also produce a "thicker" sound, especiallly if their timbres are different.

            The OP says they are playing the "same organ", but that is just on the surface. Any organ with more than 1 stop has many manifestations, and the variability possible means that the 2 organists are not really playing the "same organ" at all, since both are using different sets of voices when they play. Think of a choir singing. The sound when just the females sing is much different from when just the males do, or when all sing together--yet it is the "same choir". The multiple voices in the organ function much the same way--the sound depends on which, and how many, of the various voices are employed.

            David

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            • #21
              Originally posted by Peterboroughdiapason View Post
              To me the difference is not so much in the sound, but in the harmony. The first organist plays well and, so far as I can tell, with a bright sound. That might become a little tiring if not varied, but considering that there seems to be very little singing it might have been for the best.
              Actually yeah. The first organist plays with a very bright sound and when you first hear it, it sounds amazing because due to the bright sound, you really hear the clarity in the notes. However since the organist doesn't change registrations much throughout the mass, it can lose its thrill. Make no mistake. He plays very well and obviously knows his music. But if he would change things up like that guy in the youtube video I posted, I really think it would make a big difference in his playing.

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              • #22
                The first organist plays with a rather nice sounding Plenum and if a congregant is doing it right they will be too busy singing the text of the hymn to notice or care that the organist is not using a different registration on every verse. A Mass is not entertainment. A church organist is not employed to dazzle with Theater Organist registrational excess.

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