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  • Beginner's question: differences between romantic and baroque organs



    Hi all,



    I am interested in what you have to say about the differences between baroque and romantic organs, and if you care to make a further distinction between American romantic organs and French romantic organs.



    I am very curious as I know that the instruments of Widor and Frank and those of Buxtehude, Pachelbel and J.S. Bach have some fundamental conceptual differences, but could really not tell them apart if they put one in front of me without further explanation.



    In peace,



    H


  • #2
    Re: Beginner's question: differences between romantic and baroque organs



    Hey,



    Well, from the outside, baroque organs are VERY fancy and has LOTS of decorations and very artsy, whereas romantic organs show more pipe than art.



    Baroque:



    http://www.qedata.se/bilder/gallerier/Wien/snygg_orgel.jpg



    Romantic:



    http://www.binns.info/images/organ.jpg



    American romantic? I've never heard of those before, but I can tell you, French organs have a LOT of fire! (Very brazen, lots of chamdes) I dunno, I guess the French like brazen! :D



    I don't think Widor built much organs, but the organ at Saint Sulpice (the organ he played at for 64 years) was a Cavaillé-Coll, and he's really known for his baroque style in the 1800. I guess what you're hearing different from all those musicians, is their style (did Mozart really build organs? Did know that...:O) and taste. I defiantly like French romantic organs and music (OMG WIDOR <3 <3 <3) a lot more than baroque or Mozart, but that's me.



    Anyway, most baroque organs have these huge drawknobs that are so big and heavy that there has to be the page-turner, AND the stop-puller (which is of course one person)! Later builders upgraded with the new technology being developed later and adapted. Sound wise, they are not much different, but today, baroque organs sound a LOT older (you can hear the air and bellows working, somehow...) than romantic!



    Hope that helps. If you need more info, I'll be glad to help :)



    ~Dusty

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Beginner's question: differences between romantic and baroque organs



      Dusty,



      Where did you get these, uh, facts?

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Beginner's question: differences between romantic and baroque organs



        Try reading the wikipedia entry.





        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pipe_organ

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Beginner's question: differences between romantic and baroque organs



          OK, so this is what I have so far.





          A baroque organ likely will have no swell pedal and no enclosed divisions, and operate at a moderately lower wind pressure, tend to have a good number of mixtures, basically no "orchestral" stops, but instead some solid principals, flutes, reeds, and strings. No Celeste, but likely there is a vibrato lever that will affect the whole organ. There will be a coupler from one manual to the other, and from there to the pedalboard.



          A French romantic organ will have a swell box affecting one or more of the manuals, air pressure will be considerably greater and likely the action will have some type of assistance so that it is not so heavy to play, there will be a flute celeste and probably also a string celeste. Chances are that there will be lots of solo reeds, soft and louder, a possibly a few "orchestral" stops, but not a lot and consciously in good taste. There may be two swell pedals, if there are separate enclosed division, and it is quite likely that there is more than one reservoir of air, so not the whole organ is operating from the same source and at the same pressure. Couplers and vibrato like in a baroque organ. Not as many mixtures, though.



          Then an American "symphonic" organ will have up to a ridiculous number of stops, lots of them imitating orchestral instruments, and possibly with several stops connected to non-wind actual percussion instruments, like bells or drums. But the reeds may not be as distinctive as the ones in a French romantic organ. Likely only one swell pedal, but there may be also a pedal that adds stops as you press it and takes them away if you depress it. You may find couplers going all sorts of ways. Lots of air pressure and most likely an electric action so that air pressure actually no longer affects how heavy the instrument feels. Rather immediate sound across all registers.



          Sounds about right?



          I suppose that there is a lot in between, like American organs that include a Baroque set or a French set of stops.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Beginner's question: differences between romantic and baroque organs



            The last post sums it up fairly well. One more thing to mention: scales (diameters of the pipes). Principal-scaled Baroque stops arerelatively narrow compared tolater organs.




            These sorts of comparisons cangetquite complicated ifregional differences are considered.




            [quote user="Highlander"]A French romantic organ will have a swell box affecting one or more of the manuals, air pressure will be considerably greater and likely the action will have some type of assistance so that it is not so heavy to play, there will be a flute celeste and probably also a string celeste. Chances are that there will be lots of solo reeds, soft and louder, a possibly a few "orchestral" stops, but not a lot and consciously in good taste. There may be two swell pedals, if there are separate enclosed division, and it is quite likely that there is more than one reservoir of air, so not the whole organ is operating from the same source and at the same pressure. Couplers and vibrato like in a baroque organ. Not as many mixtures, though.[/quote]Some observations...



            • The pressures are not really considerably greater in a French Romantic organ; Cavaillé-Coll organs have a fairly moderate pressure (lower than might be expected); however eariler French Classical organs tend to have a higher pressure thanwe might expect; the difference is not all that great, at least in France.

            • AFlûte Céleste is actually quite rare in French Romantic/Symphonic instruments; the only one that comes to mind is the Voix Éolienne on the Cavaillé-Coll organ at St-Ouen in Rouen.

            • The French RomanticRécit (Swell) was initially rather small; the Positif (Choir) tends to be rather large on French instruments.

            • String stops do appear in Baroque instruments butRomantic organs will have more, perhaps in each division. Multiple celesteswere not commonuntilrather late in the Romantic era.

            • The French Romantic organ is actually based upon the classic plenum, so yes, there are mixtures; it is worth noting that these tend to be rather low-pitched and of arelatively large (flutey)scale. As the French Romantic organ evolved into the French Symphonic organ Cavaillé-Coll began to include more mixtures and mutations.

            • French Romantic organs tend to have many harmonic stops (double-length, overblowing flues and double length reeds). Tonally the effectcan befuller, smoother, darker, more powerful.

            • 16' manual tone is very well represented in 19th-century French organs. Thereare oftenmore 16' stops on the manuals than in the Pedal.

            • French Romantic organs are voiced in such a way as to optimize blend (horizontal/homophonic); there isalso an emphasis on treble ascendency, which gives a very singing, expressivemelody. Baroque organs are optimized for clarity (vertical/polyphonic).

            • Baroque chorus reeds tend to blendwith the foundations (especially on Germanic/Dutch instruments); the upperwork tends to be prominent in full combinations. In a Romantic organ the emphasis of the tutti shifts towards reed tone, especially in French instruments. The reeds of German Romantic organs are still rather mild.

            • Many of the German Baroque organs we know and love are in small to moderately-large parish churches, where articulate pipe speech and careful voicing can be appreciated; the most famous French Romantic/Symphonic organs tend to be in very reverberant stone cathedrals and churches, where the reed emphasis gives a thrilling effect. These powerfulorgans can sound quite rough up close, but are wonderfully balanced from a distance.
            • [/list]


              One key point about wind systems: earlier instruments had difficulties with adequate wind supply so it became customary to be very selective when registering full combinations. As the wind supply improved it became possible to combine all the wind-hungry stops (such as 8' and 16' stops); it also became possible to combine reeds,mixtures, and flues (and as was mentioned, assisted mechanical action made it physically possible to couple everything and draw all stops). So in effect, the Baroque organo pleno and the Romantic grand chœur are completely different.




              Now that I've started a bulleted list [:D] it becomes obvious that we've only scratched the surface - there are many differences, depending on the level of detail you wish to examine. [8-|]

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Beginner's question: differences between romantic and baroque organs

              [quote user="FrenchHorn8"]

              Dusty,



              Where did you get these, uh, facts?



              [/quote]





              You sound like I'm talking complete nonsense. Aren't French organs very brazen? Or is that just the organs I hear? [:^)]



              The rest are yes, uh, facts. Yes. They're only the basics, so that it would be easier to understand from the basics on down, so of course I didn't go much into detail xD



              ...Unless they are not 'facts'? Please let me know if they aren't!



              But now I"M curious, DID composers like Widor, Mozart and Pachelbel build organs? [:O]

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Beginner's question: differences between romantic and baroque organs



                @Dusty-It's good to see another young organist joining us! I'm 16 btw.

                Most of the info in your post seems to concern the differences between the technology and case designs of the 17th-cent. German organ and the 18th-early19th-century French orgues when it is really stoplists and voicing and winding that make most of the difference.

                [quote user="DustyWolf"]



                Hey,



                Well, from the outside, baroque organs are VERY fancy and has LOTS of decorations and very artsy, whereas romantic organs show more pipe than art.



                Baroque:



                http://www.qedata.se/bilder/gallerier/Wien/snygg_orgel.jpg



                Romantic:



                http://www.binns.info/images/organ.jpg [/quote]



                I would not necessarily agree. Many romantic organs in England have nowhere near as many facade pipes as do the Silbermann organs of the Baroque times. Why? Because most of the pipes are in swellboxes and/or tucked away behind screens or grilles.





                [quote user="DustyWolf"]



                American romantic? I've never heard of those before...[/quote]



                In a broad sense, it could be argued that this term would encompass most of the organs built in America in the late 19th and 20th centuries! Orgelbewegung aside, essentially ALL organs in America could be so classified (not trackers, one or more enclosed divisions, larger pipe scales, many 8' stops, a thicker texture...) This would encompass nearly all organs by EM Skinner, Aeolian, A-S, Moller, Austin, Kilgen, Schantz, and many others.



                [quote user="DustyWolf"] But I can tell you, French organs have a LOT of fire! (Very brazen, lots of chamdes) I dunno, I guess the French like brazen! :D[/quote]



                I beg to differ! A genuine Voix Celeste is so beautiful-not brazen in any way. Also a French Flute a Cheminee is like a gentle breeze in character. Lovely! That said, some French reeds can be quite loud, but I would not really call them brazen or obnoxious, unless you're playing bass 2nds or something. [:D]



                [quote user="DustyWolf"]



                Anyway, most baroque organs have these huge drawknobs that are so big and heavy that there has to be the page-turner, AND the stop-puller (which is of course one person)! Later builders upgraded with the new technology being developed later and adapted. Sound wise, they are not much different, but today, baroque organs sound a LOT older (you can hear the air and bellows working, somehow...) than romantic!



                [/quote]
                I have played many organs built since 1950 which are entirely Baroque in tonality. They were not necessarily bad mechanically and proved to be quite manageable alone-often easier to use than a sophisticated sequencer on an orchestral organ with 256 steps or whatever!
                An organ can be built to emulate any time period. I wouldn't say that when it was built qualifies it as Baroque or Romantic/Orchestral. Proof of this is that Schoenstein and Austin and Kegg are still going strong, while Wahl, Andover, Pasi, are building away too!



                [:)]

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Beginner's question: differences between romantic and baroque organs



                  [quote user="Philip the organist"]@Dusty-It's good to see another young organist joining us! I'm 16 btw.[/quote]



                  And I'm an ancient 17.[;)]



                  Thanks for your post Philip, I learned a lot from it.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Beginner's question: differences between romantic and baroque organs

                    Hee-hee! To give due credit, I was mostly repeating what I have learned from SB32 and Sesquialtera16 and David Casteel and pipecutter and my teacher and various books et al in the past year and a half.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Beginner's question: differences between romantic and baroque organs



                      Well, that was really interesting. To learn more about American organs you might want to try reading All the Stops: the Glorious Pipe Organ and It's American Masters by Craig R. Whitney, I liked that book a lot. You can get it off the Organ Historical Society (ohscatalog.org) or maybe you can find it at a library (I ordered the copy I read through my library system).





                      Also, DustyWolf, I'm 15.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Beginner's question: differences between romantic and baroque organs

                        [quote user="PipeOrganKid"]Well, that was really interesting. To learn more about American organs you might want to try reading All the Stops: the Glorious Pipe Organ and It's American Masters by Craig R. Whitney, I liked that book a lot. You can get it off the Organ Historical Society (ohscatalog.org) or maybe you can find it at a library (I ordered the copy I read through my library system).[/quote]

                        I got my copy of All the Stops on Amazon.com for $1.00 plus shipping.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Beginner's question: differences between romantic and baroque organs



                          Thanks Philip for clearing it up to me! I really apologize though if I really did give wrong info. xD I feel so stupid :( Oh well, I'm basically still learning! xP All the info seems very interesting :) I just like how the organist at Notre-Dame uses the Chamades for most of his Widor performances. That's why I thought French organs were brazen. Also this French Baroque organ has excellent bombardes: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vPGDiA3fidA&feature=channel_page



                          Thanks again! I don't feel so bad anymore xP That's why I want a teacher! D:



                          ~Dusty

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Beginner's question: differences between romantic and baroque organs

                            [quote user="DustyWolf"]

                            Thanks Philip for clearing it up to me! I really apologize though if I really did give wrong info. xD I feel so stupid :( Oh well, I'm basically still learning! xP All the info seems very interesting :) I just like how the organist at Notre-Dame uses the Chamades for most of his Widor performances. That's why I thought French organs were brazen. Also this French Baroque organ has excellent bombardes: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vPGDiA3fidA&feature=channel_page



                            Thanks again! I don't feel so bad anymore xP



                            ~Dusty



                            [/quote]



                            Don't feel stupid! Many of us on this forum are still learning. In fact, before this thread, the only difference that I knew of between Baroque and Romantic instruments was that the Romantic was very likely under expression and the Baroque was much less likely (if at all). [:$] [:#]



                            That just brought up a thought--why are expression pedals used in Bach's baroque Sinfonia from Cantata # 29 (We Thank Thee, God, We Thank Thee)? Maybe because of the original instrumentation?

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Beginner's question: differences between romantic and baroque organs



                              Dusty-don't feel bad! All of what you said was true, I just wanted to add some extra dimensions.[:)]



                              Johan/Sarah, aren't the chapters on VF just awesome? What an individual!



                              Comment

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