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Nicking - What good is it ?

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  • Nicking - What good is it ?

    I received some Stopped Diapason pipes that had the nicking filled in.
    What was the purpose?
    Was it to give them a more chiffy classical sound?
    Some books say nicking is absolutely necessary and
    others say it ruins the sound of the pipe.
    Who's right?


  • #2
    Re: Nicking - What good is it ?

    You are right about unnicked pipes. They are more articulate (chiffy). I prefer them that way if there isn't too much in the organ as a whole. I think the whole thing is subjective, so...., you take your pick as to who is right.


    • #3
      Re: Nicking - What good is it ?

      Depends on what sound you want to achieve. Normaly they are added to obtain a more "stringy" sound. So if you lean towards the romantic period they are "good". But for baroque they are "evil". Take your pick. Most organ builders today don't use it anymore. Problem is that you cannot go back once it is done. Many excellent pipes were thus ruined when old organs were "modernised" in the beginning of the 1900's.


      • #4
        Re: Nicking - What good is it ?

        Oh dear!

        Same old myths and legends.....same ignorance!

        Go to the Netherlands, where there are probably more historic baroque instruments than almost anywhere else in the world.

        When Marcussen "restored" the organ of St.Bavo, Haarlem, they and the consultants involved, decided that the nicking on the languids was the work of organ-builders who had worked on the instrument after Muller (the original builder). They thus went to some lengths to rub-out the nicking, reduce the wind-pressures and return the instrument to a more "authentic" baroque sound.

        On hearing the "restored" instrument, there were many who complained that the organ no-longer sounded like a Muller....and they were right. (It is, of course, the most wonderful instrument, but perhaps no-longer "authentic"). The nicking and higher wind-pressures were almost certainly as Muller intended!

        Light nicking was used even during the baroque period, and not every instrument had open-foot, un-nicked voicing by any means.

        As for "chiffs" and other spitting noises, most Baroque organs have not a trace of it; though a few do....often very attractively....but of course, always in the perfect acoustic, where such noises sound musical.



        • #5
          Re: Nicking - What good is it ?

          I love the chiffing strings to be found in many a Phelps Casavant! (C:

          - Nate