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  • sub octave and unison off couplers

    Are sub octave and unison off couplers useful? I have never used them, or even thought of a way to use them (espically the unison off). Even coupling manuals to manuals. I so think superoctave couplers are useful, they add brilliance to the ensemble.

  • #2
    Re: sub octave and unison off couplers

    .

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    • #3
      Re: sub octave and unison off couplers

      They are certainly useful in the aformentioned ways. I think organists sometimes abuse the super octave couplers, such as putting them on when high pitched mixtures are drawn. Forgive me, but when I hear that, as an organbuilder it makes me cringe...

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      • #4
        Re: sub octave and unison off couplers

        I agree that they are overused. I stick to unison couplers (Swell to Great 8', choir to Pedal 8', etc.). It sounds alot better then 1/2' mixtures played an octave higher....like fingernails on a chalkboard!

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        • #5
          Re: sub octave and unison off couplers



          Only twice have I found a use for Unison off or sub couplers. I had a spritely little piece that started off with a light reed. For whatever reason it sounded great with super and sub drawn and unison off. Then later on I flipped the sub off and brought in the unison. Worked very well. The other is the final verse of Joy to the World on Christmas Eve. The congregation was so big I hit the sub and super and played up an octave. Admittedly, the organ was almost to "screaming" stage and Unison was still on. But I got the volume I needed without getting a muddy sound out of the lows end (btw, I also had to bring in the chimes. Lots of very strong singers. About 300 of them vs. a little organ).




          Also, as mentioned there is the purpose of simulating 16 footers out of single stops. Never had to do that one though.

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          • #6
            Re: sub octave and unison off couplers

            Because most bassoon stops are 16ft, I use a sub octave and unison off coupler if I want to do a bassoon solo with some accompaniment in another hand, instead of just playing the bassoon part an octave higher which would get me confused.

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            • #7
              Re: sub octave and unison off couplers

              The organ I most regularly play has Octave, Sub Octave, and Unison Off couplers on both the Swell and Choir manuals. They are useful for certain combinations, since on this instrument there isn't a true 4ft flute (which is rather strange, since it is a fairly large 3 manual instrument), unless you count the Choir Gemshorn 4ft, which is actually leaning more towards principal tone.
              I find little other use for them, except perhaps to add a climax to the tutti - there is an 8ft Tromba on the Choir, which can thus be coupled to 16ft and 4ft pitches. However, when one draws a stop, adds the Octave or Sub Octave coupler, as well as the Unison Off, one will find that a lot of the notes will not actually sound throughout the compass.
              This is most likely due to the fact that the instrument in question is an electro-pneumatic instrument in dire need of restoration!

              Tim

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              • #8
                Re: sub octave and unison off couplers



                Sub-octave and octave couplers are fab if you wanna growly full swell to bite the bums of the congregation. You can get a mini full-swell with a Bassoon and an octave coupler.




                If you don't have a 4ft reed for Chorale preludes, use a Swell trumpet or oboe add the octave coupler and unison off and couple it to the pedal and voila!




                Use couplers sparingly. A good organ would not need the use of couplers in a balanced ensemble.




                Rarely you find a an octave-coupler on the Great. But if you do it is probably because there are no stops higher than 4ft.

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                • #9
                  Re: sub octave and unison off couplers



                  If you only have unison reeds (8')on the Swell, adding sub and super couplers will simulate a proper full swell especially if there's a mixture too. OK so the top and bottom octaves don't have any pipes to couple to, but the effect can be quite convincing, especially when added to most of the Great. Useful for hymns for example.




                  Unison off couplers - not much use for anything except occasionally for transposing a stop up or down an octave for solo use.

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                  • #10
                    Re: sub octave and unison off couplers



                    I tend to stick to unison couplers (recit to g. orgue 8, etc.), although I do find use for the couplers 4 and 16 from time to time fordifferent sorts of things.What I like to do sometimes for something different is to pull the Bourdon 8 in the recit, pull the 16 coupler recit to g.orgue, and pull the prestant 4 or flute a fuseau 4 on the g. orgue to get a nice solo stop. You can also get an "interesting" celeste chorus by manipulating the 16, 8 and 4 couplers. I like to find all sorts of ways to get unique sounds.




                    On a separate note, I have a stop on the recit that only says "4" on it. Gives a nice 4 pitch for the stops when used appropriately. I once played on a tracker with a super octave on it - while playing, the keys an octave higher would play on their own at the same time. And when you pulled swell to great, the keys on the swell would play on their own at the same time as I was playing on the great. I really liked that tracker, I had a lot of fun playing it.




                    I don't have a lot ofuse for unison off couplers, though.




                    Cheers!

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                    • #11
                      Re: sub octave and unison off couplers



                      Unison off is quite handy.




                      I'm always playing a 16' stop at 8' pitch, or a 4' stop at 8' pitch. Yes, this can be done by transposing manually, but it doesn't always work to do that.




                      About Unison off - it can be useful to reassign the location of a division. Perhaps you want to play the Clarinet stop from the Solo division on the Choir manual (but you have Choir stops on for another purpose).




                      Just couple Solo to Choir, add Choir Unison Off, and then couple Choir to Great.




                      Why not just play the Clarinet on the Solo, and keep the Choir accompaniment on the Choir?




                      Well normally you would do that. But perhaps you are touring about, and are more comfortable approximating the stop layout to your home instrument. Or, you might want to keep one hand on the same keyboard for a variety of stop changes.




                      Another handy use for Unison off is when you have a floating division (as I do) and do not want the 'home' division to sound simultaneously with the floating division.

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                      • #12
                        Re: sub octave and unison off couplers



                        Wow ... there's some good ideas in here that I hadn't thought of. I think what we are all getting at though is that you can use them or abuse them. I think (personally) the couplers are very useful for small organs. The 'best' solo stop I have on my organ is when I hit the 8' Oboe Gamba, 8' Trompette, 1 1/3 + 4 foot and 16 foot couplers. However, throwing on the 16' coupler with the diapason or Gedeckt makes it just muddy and annoying.




                        So anyways, the extra couplers give a small instrument much more flexibility. And lets face it ... sometimes onsmaller instruments you can't register 'by the book.' But rather you have to use what's available and bea bit more creative. But you have to be smart about when you use them. If you have most of your great and swell on, and then you throw in the 4' couplers you might get overpowered or too bright. If you add the 16' couplers on for the sake of volume it can become a big muddled mess.

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                        • #13
                          Re: sub octave and unison off couplers



                          [quote user="Bombarde32"] However, throwing on the 16' coupler with the diapason or Gedeckt makes it just muddy and annoying.




                          If you have most of your great and swell on, and then you throw in the 4' couplers you might get overpowered or too bright. If you add the 16' couplers on for the sake of volume it can become a big muddled mess.




                          [/quote]




                          Well yes, and no...




                          Consider these ideas when playing classical repertoire:




                          In Reger (thick chords low on the keyboard) a supercoupler may be just the thing.




                          When playing loud French romantic pieces, which often end at the top of the keyboard (such as Widor's famous Toccata), consider using the suboctave coupler. Widor probably did just that! (It is idiomatic).




                          I should add, the one thing I do in moderation is to use subs AND supers. The only time I do that is if I really need LOTS of celestes. Or maybe a giant mass of reed tone for a grandfff statement. Hopefully, the organ has enough reed stops so that is uneccessary - but it works in a pinch.

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                          • #14
                            Re: sub octave and unison off couplers



                            Apologies ... When throwing the super and subs at the same time ... that's a big no-no on our organ if the diapasons are on. However, b/c the diapasons are almost always coupled down to the pedal (8') to beef it up ... throwing the 16' coupler takes your manuals down below the pedal pitch in many cases. Then it truly gets annoying. It would be different if you were moving up the manual on a solo piece though ... on that I agree.




                            Again ... there's a time and place for everything, including couplers :O) And on our organ, no, there is only one reed that tries to be a solo and chorus reed at the same time. The Oboe Gamba is more gamba than oboe. Of course, when the new one comes in a few weeks that problem will be rectified.

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                            • #15
                              Re: sub octave and unison off couplers



                              Oh, I should have been more clear...




                              I rarely ever use subsand supers simultaneously. The only exception is when I need a big wash of celeste tone. But that is a very special effect. Most organ music does not require it.




                              And, when I need a great big blast of reed tone, such ason thefinal page where you might find tubas/chamades versusthe rest of the (full) organ - AND if no suitable big reed exists to balance the full organ.




                              I don't ever use subs and/or supers on a diapason chorus. Unless [] we're talking about the final pages in French romantic stuff (subs) or German romantic stuff (supers). Of course, the reeds & mixtures will be drawn as well.




                              Most of the time, when these subs or supers are used, we're not looking at passages with voice-crossing between manuals& pedals. I'm only speaking of the final pages / final measures, where Tutti is required.

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