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  • A Principal Question

    Hello all,

    I have been thinking quite a bit about this, but have not reached any conclusions.

    Bedient Organs builds a small pipe organ with 3 stops, called the "Boston." It has 3 ranks, 3 stops... an 8' Gedeckt, a 4' Rohrflute, and a 2' Praestant.

    However, I think it would be much better to have an 8' Gedeckt, a 4' Principal, and a 2' Flute.

    I think that an 8' Flute, 4' principal, and a 2' flute sound much more plesant together than having an 8' flute, 4' flute, and 2' principal - the latter just seems too "shrill". Plus, an 8' flute and a 2' flute sound better together than an 8' flute and a 2' principal do.

    So I suppose my question is: what is the purpose to having a 2' principal instead of a 4' principal, and a 4' flute instead of a 2' flute?

    http://www.bedientorgan.com/text-boston.html

  • #2
    Re: A Principal Question



    With all due respect (and no disrespect) to Gene Bedient, I agree with you, Soundboarddude. My guess is that he may also agree, but that the bass octave of a Rohrflute 4, even with the chimneys, takes up less height than a Principal 4. This might be the logic here. Also, There might be a slight cost savings in doing it his way rather than your way. I bet if you asked him, he would be happy to provide this model with your suggested modifications at a modest increase in cost. I would be interested to hear what other forum members think about this. I would be even more interested in knowing Gene Bedient's thoughts.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: A Principal Question



      OK, I'll be the voice of dissent. []




      Perhaps you are mainly thinking of solo literature?




      As a solo instrument the spec is indeed limiting. Only when one considers this organ in the context of accompanying does it begin to make sense.




      No doubt many more of these organs are sold for the purpose of accompanying, than for playing solo literature.




      I've played continuo for many oratorios and can vouch for the following:




      An 8' is good for accompanying a single voice or a small group. When a little more volume is required, a 4' Flute is the perfect thing. In accompanying it is always better to be too soft than too loud! Especially on an entirely unenclosed organ.




      If I only had a 4' Principal, I'm afraid I could only accompany with the 8' stop - clearly not enough when a small group of singers is singing forte. If I add a 2' - even a Flute - it may tend to squeak a bit too much, and call attention to itself.




      If I have a large choir, I need to draw all stops; and it is precisely the principal-toned 2' that I need in order to cut through the texture and lead the sopranos on the melody. If the choirand orchestra arevery large, three stops probably won't cut it; but at leasta 2' Principal has a better chance of holding its own than would a 2' Flute.A 4' Principal would meld into the texture more, and not be as audible to choir or audience.




      Whenever possible it is always nice to have two 4' stops, but I'm sticking to the topic as posed here. []

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: A Principal Question



        My thoughts exactly. It is an issue of both space and cost. Though lead and tin are still classed as base metals, they are by no means cheap. If the Rhoreflute is wood, I'm thinking that a 4' principle would almost double the cost: anyone know for sure?[:-*]




        When I first saw the specification in SBD's post before looking at the Bedient link, I supposed it was for a little continuo (portable, short cabinet) organ. I have seena fewwith that spec in continuo form. A bright, narrow 2' princ. is a very different sound from a 2' flautino, though both can contribute to a nice ensemble, or to clear contrpuntal lines(8' & 2').




        I find the challenge of making a pedal line sound clearly on anything more complicated than a simple tonic bass when it's sound is only from a coupled single manual to be academiclyinteresting, but tonally unsatisfying.[] I think the pedals are a waste. My $.02.




        Lee

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: A Principal Question

          Just think of the 2' Principal as a one-rank Mixture! (C:

          Seriously though, I know of an A/S instrument that has literally nothing but flute flues plus a Dulciana/Unda Maris. And yet, in addition to the Clarinet and English Horn, there is a Choir Trumpet which is not a loud reed. Why a Choir Trumpet without a Principal chorus?

          - Nate

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: A Principal Question

            [quote user="KleinErzahler"]Just think of the 2' Principal as a one-rank Mixture! (C:

            Seriously though, I know of an A/S instrument that has literally nothing but flute flues plus a Dulciana/Unda Maris. And yet, in addition to the Clarinet and English Horn, there is a Choir Trumpet which is not a loud reed. Why a Choir Trumpet without a Principal chorus?

            - Nate[/quote]
            I know exactly what you're saying KE....
            I played a large Letourneau organ (55+ ranks) in Atlanta yesterday and I was in organ heaven playing around with a principal chorus in every division...the Great having a 16' Principal as well.
            I say EVERY medium size and larger organ needs a Principal chorus in every division. The newer organs I'm seeing these days indicates organ builders are thinking along those lines.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: A Principal Question

              I have played a small 1 manual organ that CB Fisk made (Opus 54). It
              has a 8' Gedeckt (wood), 4' Rohrflute (wood), 2' principal (tin) and a
              wooden 8' regal. It was winded on 1 3/4" wind and what a beautiful
              sound! I love the "baroque" sound of the gedeckt rohrflute and
              principal. The 2' principal tops everything off in my opinion.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: A Principal Question

                I have played on a small organ that uses a 2' principal instead of a 2' Flute. The result is that the instrument has somewhat of a mini-mixture sound, especially if the 2' is voiced louder than the rest of the stops.

                The 8' Flute and 2' Principal do not combine well without the 4'. A 8' Principal or 8' Stopped flute and a 2' flute are a very nice sound for either Bach or any solo line. The 2' Principal is too intense for an 8' - 2' combination without the 4'.

                Personally, I prefer the 2' Flute (open) for most purposes. If I want the 2' Diapason sound, use the 16', 8' (any rank), and the 4' Diapason and play an octave higher.

                With a weak 4' in the combination gives a thinner, high pitched sound that some singers find difficult to find the pitch.
                Allan

                My home organ
                Style D Wurlitzer pipe organ
                http://bluemoonwalkinghorses.com/Sty...tion5_rev3.htm
                Five Newfoundland dogs
                Sixteen Tennessee walking horseshoes

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: A Principal Question

                  Well, I think AllanP briefly mentioned what I was going to suggest...

                  What if the organ was simply 8' 4' 2' flutes, but the 4' was voiced just slightly louder than the 8', and the 2' just slightly louder than the 4'... That way, it's kindof a combination of the two - good for both literature and accompanying

                  I find the challenge of making a pedal line sound clearly on anything
                  more complicated than a simple tonic bass when it's sound is only from
                  a coupled single manual to be academiclyinteresting, but tonally
                  unsatisfying.[img]../emoticons/emotion-6.gif[/img] I think the pedals are a waste. My $.02.


                  The pedals are somewhat of a waste, but I would prefer to play the bass line in my feet (even if it doesn't sound bass-y) - it just feels more natural! Besides, the organ could be used for more than just performance, and could be used as a practice instrument Continuos are a bit of a waste when you're trying to practice you're pedaling...

                  If I get some time tomorrow, I'll e-mail Mr. Bedient about it.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: A Principal Question

                    I e-mailed Mr. Bedient today, waiting on a response...

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: A Principal Question

                      Greetings,

                      Thanks for your message and question.

                      There are many ways to design an organ, even a little one.

                      A Principal 4, even on a little organ is always a very nice thing to have if it can be accommodated. The Boston model by Bedient is a very small organ. The entire case is somewhat under 8' in height and the space available from the top of the windchest to the underside of the case ceiling is only about 2' 8". Low C of a Principal 4 occupies about 4' 8" including the foot. The largest pipes of our Gedackt 8 extend down into the lower part of the case, behind the windchest. In this particular case configuration, which looks quite attractive and is so small that it will fit into a lot of small spaces that might be available, the Principal 4 is not a practical consideration. The bottom octave could be stopped, but that really defeats the purpose of having a Principal 4. The Gedackt 8 and Rohrflute 4 are very useful stops for continuo work and they also provide a certain amount of color and dynamic variety for playing organ literature and accompanying. Certainly, if the case were larger in all dimensions, then the specification 8-4-4-2 would be very fine. With a little organ like the Boston, one has to be very creative. There are certain hymns that permit one to play them an octave lower than written. In this case, using the Rohrflute 4 and Praestant 2, one has the effect of a Principal 4.

                      There are many ways to scale and voice a 2' stop. It is a fact that if you have a compliment of 8, 4, 2....with all three pitches being flute-scale pipes, the entire ensemble will sound like a chorus of flutes. However, if the 2' is a Principal, then the ensemble will sound more like a Principal chorus. One often sees this Neo-Baroque idea of a Great division on a larger organ that has the 2' level as a Waldflote, Nachthorn, Flachflote, or some such thing. This is a mistake because the 2' in the Principal chorus is very important. If you have such a design as this, it just does not work to add the 2' flute to the Principal ensemble.

                      Beyond that, there are 2' Principals and then there are 2' Principals. In all of our instruments, the 2' Principal, while a Principal for certain, is a warm, broad sound, not a thin, shrill one, that one so often encounters on organs.

                      Thus, all things considered, I think our Boston with its compliment of stops provides quite a versatile pallet of sounds and can lead a sizable congregation in singing if the acoustics of the room are at all reasonable.

                      Finally, the 2' Praestant as we call it on the Boston organ, forms the facade of the instrument. A Flute 2' would be difficult to use in a facade.

                      There is always a place for 2' flute stops in good organs. If one has to choose in a small organ, a Principal 2 might be a better choice.


                      Gene


                      *****

                      Makes sense to me

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: A Principal Question



                        My points exactly!




                        Mr. Bedientalso mentioned something I forgot to say: the part about playing the 4' Flute and 2' Principal down an octave. That is always a nice option if the organ is too small for a 4' Principal. The only consideration is that your music can't go below tenor C, or you might need to re-write it a bit.




                        For continuo work, pedals are nice but probably not worth the extra expense. Of course on a practice organ, pedals are quite necessary.




                        I've often seen this compromise made: the 2' stop is a Gemshorn. It can sound like either a flute or a principal.




                        Speaking of voicing - Mr. Bedient mentioned how warm his 2' Principal is. I think that is the key. In a tiny organ, every single pipe must be beautiful.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: A Principal Question

                          2' Gemshorn... I hadn't thought of that, I kind of like that idea as well. However, it'd probably be more of a 2' Bourdon - Gemshorn is a flute/string hybrid, where a Bourdon is more of a flute/principal mix.

                          Once I get access to a real pipe organ again (I'm stuck on electronics for long periods of time) I'll play around with just those 3 stops. Might be interesting to hear how it sounds...

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: A Principal Question



                            [quote user="soundboarddude"]Gemshorn is a flute/string hybrid, where a Bourdon is more of a flute/principal mix.[/quote]




                            I think you might be thinking of a or a Spitzprinzipal (which is a flute/principal hybrid). A bourdon is a true "flute", in spite of the fact that some of them are called stopped 'diapasons'...




                            The 2'Gemshorn that I found very endearing on one organ, was more like a flute than a string. Since it was tapered, it was very similar to a .

                            Comment

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