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Your favourite stops and combinations

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  • Your favourite stops and combinations

    Is there a particular stop or combination that really makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up?

    For myself I would have to go back to my very first instrument at the church where I was brought up. It was (and still is - though now mothballed) a modest 2 manual HN&B.
    A melodic hymn tune (say Repton) on the Dulciana coupled to, and accompanied by, Lieblich Gedeckt, Viole d'Orchestre and Voix Celeste with the box just "cracked" open and the ubiquitous Pedal Bourdon. Pretty unsophisticated stuff, no doubt, but in a silent, darkened church with a faint, lingering smell of incense and candle smoke, it is the sort of thing memories are made of.

  • #2
    As a solo stop, accompanied by a Flute at 8 or 8 & 4 on a different manual, I enjoy a really nice Cornet - either partial or complete:

    8, 2-2/3, 1-3/5

    8, 4, 2-2/3, 1-3/5

    8, 4, 2-2/3, 2, 1-3/5

    Of course, the full Cornet may require more than just Flutes at 8 & 4 on the accompanying manual.

    These compound solo voices can be delightful, especially if they are on a division (usually Swell) where they were intended to be used in this manner.

    On a small instrument that may lack the 1-3/5, you can try a 4 and a 1-1/3 with the 16-foot coupler. For a softer voice, you can add the Unison Off which will effectively give you an 8 and a 2-2/3.

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    • #3
      I love the French "fonds" combination: Great 8' Diapason, 8' stopped and/or open flutes , 8' Gamba or Gemshorn and the Swell 8' Oboe and String coupled with the box mostly closed. I use it for the usual Franck sorts of things, but also Mendelssohn and nearly anything English- hymns or otherwise.

      I'm also a huge sucker for a good Aeolian-Skinner or Austin metal tapered Flauto Dolce and Celeste. Box closed or open. One of my favorite things in life.

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      • #4
        This can sound extremely majestic on the right instrument, but don't you find that it takes a somewhat "airy" quality of tone in the Diapason and Flutes to carry this off without all that unison work becoming cloying?

        I suspect that the ability to properly emulate the jeux de fonds can be a bit hit-and-miss on English and American instruments with the relative tonal and dynamic qualities of the various components of the ensemble being somewhat arbitrary compared to those of Cavaille-Coll where the whole tonal structure of the instrument was designed around the balance needed to create the various jeux.

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        • #5
          - just a simple single Rohrflute can be wonderfull if it is a good one. Certainly if is like a fundamental flute in tha bass going to a prestant-like sound in the highs.
          - a raunchy french baroque Cromhorne that bites through everything with equally strong Cornet on another manual in a dialogue...heaven.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by nsa66 View Post
            This can sound extremely majestic on the right instrument, but don't you find that it takes a somewhat "airy" quality of tone in the Diapason and Flutes to carry this off without all that unison work becoming cloying?

            I suspect that the ability to properly emulate the jeux de fonds can be a bit hit-and-miss on English and American instruments with the relative tonal and dynamic qualities of the various components of the ensemble being somewhat arbitrary compared to those of Cavaille-Coll where the whole tonal structure of the instrument was designed around the balance needed to create the various jeux.
            Certainly, it doesn't work on every instrument (especially poorly-voiced ones in general, or baroque organs designed more for vertical ensembles than horizontal ones), but many American Classic organs can pull off a reasonable job. The key seems to be the construction and voicing of the Great 8' flute, and the presence and timbre of a third 8' blender flue voice in the Great more than anything. If the Great flute has too much attack or too many odd harmonics, it won't work. And if there's a Gemshorn or Gamba that glues the Diapason to the flute, broadening both, rather than sticking out on its own, we're good to go.

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            • #7
              Having just completed my summer tuning of these ranks today, I'm again reveling in an unlikely but lovely combination available on my equally unlikely residence instrument.

              The Swell has a fairly typical 1910 Salicional and Voix Celeste, very quiet and moderately keen. Someone later added a Dulciana that is almost inaudibly quiet. The Choir has a Viola, more keen than the Salicional, and a celeste revoiced from a flute rank, of all things, which is less keen than the Viola but works beautifully with it. These five ranks together make a nice string registration.

              The surprise comes when you add the Rohrflute on the Positiv. This is a gentle, chiffy, 1970s neo-Baroque unit rank with a simply gorgeous sound. Added at 8', it broadens the string ensemble just slightly more than the Dulciana, but without muddying it. Added at 4', it is a sonic miracle, transforming the other five ranks into a shimmering, three-dimensional, ethereal chorus. The Rohrflute blends so well that it's nearly impossible to identify it in the mix, but what a sound it creates. It doesn't alter timbre, nor noticeably add the 4' octave...it creates magic. It's a Zauberfloete!

              I tune the celestes to a slow beat, and allow the beat to vary slightly from one note to the next at random. As a former orchestral musician, I prefer that subtle chorusing effect to a more mechanical, vibrato-like effect.

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              • #8
                I tuned a 1920s Kimball pipe organ at Bennett College in Greensboro, NC last fall. It had a diapason that was to die for! It was one of the most lovely diapasons I've heard in a long time! It has a 2 2/3 in every division, but the Great 2 2/3 was moved up to a 1 1/3. I really like the Great chorus 8' Diapason, 4' Octave, 2' Super Octave and 1 1/3' Quint. It was surprisingly bright.

                I also love the sound of an 8' Gedackt and 2 2/3'. That sound is soooooo sweet!

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                • #9
                  In our Klais, I think there are several solo voices I'd call favorites:
                  In the Choir, the 8' Dulciana is lovely.
                  In the Great, the is hauntingly beautiful.
                  In the Swell, I like the 8' Flute Harmonique and the .
                  In the Pedal, the 16' Posaune is very good.
                  In the Antiphonal, one would be expected to specify the 8' Fanfare Trumpet (which is very nice), but I actually favor the 8' Principal and 4' Octave drawn together.
                  The 8' Tuba doesn't really belong to a particular Division (it can be drawn in 3 of them), but it physically resides in front of the Swell chamber and behind the Great--it is powerful and very smooth, a really superb voice.

                  cantornikolaos, your vote for the 8' and 2 2/3' combination is also one of my favorites.

                  David

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