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  • Tremulants during Hymns



    How many of you use tremulants during hymns? This might sound stupid, but I use them a little bit for some quiet hymns. I would try and never make it sound too wierd, I mostly play a digital organ so it wouldn't really.




    Jezza


  • #2
    Re: Tremulants during Hymns

    I use them all the time, but then I don't play for a congregation singing along.

    I'd use them on occasion though to keep the people singing on their toes.

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    • #3
      Re: Tremulants during Hymns

      I think it depends on the Church you are playing for. Down here in the deep south small Churches using electronic organs with smaller congregations use tremulants all the time. In my Church, a larger UMC down in the city one would NEVER get by with doing that!!! IMO tremulants should not be used during congregational singing.

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      • #4
        Re: Tremulants during Hymns

        I was taught to only use the tremulant for a solo line, never with chords, and never, under any circumstances for hymn accompaniment.

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        • #5
          Re: Tremulants during Hymns



          [quote user="Delirious Dan"]I was taught to only use the tremulant for a solo line, never with chords, and never, under any circumstances for hymn accompaniment.[/quote]




          Jah, i vas taught zat alzu, But on my ownI learned that you use the tremulant when it works! Now I would not use it on reformation style anthems - but I have the advantage of independent tremulants in different divisions, so on quiet and contemplative VERSES, I can introduce some tremulous voices under straight voices, For Example, the second verse of "How Great Thou Art" (When in the woods and forest glades I wander, and hear the birds...) I couple swell flutes 8 & 4 with tremelo to principle 8 & 2on the Great;3rd verse allGT flues minus mixture. Forthe last verse (When Christ shall come with shout and aclaimation...) I play an all flue pleinum on the great with the quieter reeds (chromhorne/ Oboe) for the verse, and on the last chorus add the Sw trumpet and pedal Fagotto. Also, on the last verse I am filling out the chords ie. six parts or more - and if the tenors get lost they can sing unison!! [:#]




          Back when I played a TG Hammond of the -2 or -3 variety in Church, I would keep chorus 1 on the Lower and vibrato off on the upper where I played the right hand. It was just too flat otherwise. Likewise on older electronics with a chorale speed on the Leslie, I would always use it.




          Lee

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          • #6
            Re: Tremulants during Hymns

            Personally, I would refrain from using a tremulant during accompaniment. However, I have been known to use some undulating strings (eg. Vox Angelica) during some quieter hymn tunes, for example, Silent Night.

            I'm generally frightened of tremulants - I used toplay an Italian instrument in a large parish church here (before its eventual fall into disrepair) - and only experimented with the tremulant there once. It was frightfully violent, and from the en-fenetre console, it was impossible to hear what one was playing, if using the tremulant with quieter registrations. It served no other real purpose than to attempt to move the organ an inch or so to the side, when engaged...

            On the instrument I currently play, neither of the two tremulants, so I am sans-tremolo over there. Overall, there are only two instances when I really long for one - the quieter chorale preludes of Bach (eg. Schmucke Dich) and for Franck.

            Sorry to go off topic from tremulants in accompaniment...

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            • #7
              Re: Tremulants during Hymns

              I'm not a professional church organist, but fill in on rare occasion at my church. It's funny the tremulant topic came up because last week we did "Soon and Very Soon" (I do sing in the choir) and the organist and I were talking about how the tremulant might give the piece a more "gospel" feel. Anyway, after mass, we tried out the tremulant on the Allendigital organ and it sounded pretty poor. I guess it depends on the quality of the tremulant (nothing beats a "real" Leslie IMHO), and the type of song being played. I tried it out on my Gulbransen and it sounded good (also threw some grace notes in, etc.). I still think that the gospel/spiritual tunes sound nice with it, but maybe that's cultural conditioning! As far as most other hymns, I would stay far away from it. If you are playing the standard old-world hymn tunes on an electronic organ in a smaller church, you might want to try a little light reverb instead. Again, just my opinion from a musical taste point of view. I guess what really matters is how the congregation, and especially the pastor, feels about it!
              Jimmy Williams
              Hobbyist (organist/technician)
              Gulbransen Model D with Leslie 204

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              • #8
                Re: Tremulants during Hymns

                Generally speaking, I avoid the use of tremulants during hymns. It depends on the situation. If you are in a church that is lit only by candlelight and they are all singing "Silent Night," for example and the congregation is singing it confidently, then that would be a nice opportunity to use it, but not for the hymn in it's entirety. I think it also depends on the organ - practically every organ I've played on the tremulant is different. In one instance, it felt like there was a mini-earthquake and the sound of the notes quivered like crazy. In another instance, when I tried the tremulant there was only a slight difference. The organ I play on regularly each Sunday, when it's activated, there is no earthquake sensation and it sounds just right - it does not quiver too much or too little. Although if you're playing on an organ with a tremulant that shakes like an earthquake, and the floor starts toquiver, you'll get to see the look of surprise and giggles from the choir! (Hey, who says choir practice isn't supposed to be fun!)

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                • #9
                  Re: Tremulants during Hymns



                  Never!! It is a golden rule not to use tremulants during hymns. Tremulants are good for solo-parts as an extra decoration, and maybe also in the introduction of a melody, but not during the hymns singing. Beside that, if the singing begins, you already enable extra stops for extra forte...And tremulants sound horrible when they are played with reeds or above FF. The only thing I do sometimes is that I enable a cornet or sesquialtra etc for playing the main-melody solo, but mostly in cases where it is a relative unknown melody.




                  with kind regards,




                  etude57

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                  • #10
                    Re: Tremulants during Hymns



                    I must, with all due respect, whole heartedly disagree. While I think the situation where tremolos are appropriate is few and far between ... there are hymns where it can be useful. We did an old gospel tune a couple of weeks ago (I'll have to see if I can find the name) and I switched over to our theatre organ spec (digital - gotta love it). I pulled all the trem's on with flues only (no mixture or reed) and it sounded fantastic. Several people after the service said they liked it.




                    But I agree with most on here that every piston shouldn't be set to turn on the trems. It's a "sometimes" stop, not an "always" stop.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Tremulants during Hymns



                      No, tremulants should not be used during hymns. They are for funerals when a deacon dies or when the collection plate is passed. Of coarse, we all have our opinions. I guess this one is a big debate among organists, but those of us who "know" better wouldn't use them in the main line churches during congreational singing. I just can't picture a pipe organist using tremulant at all during congregational singing.




                      I hate to admit here, but when I was very young and the Presbyterian church where I played had a Hammond which was NOT the correct type of organ for our worship, I did use V1 or C1. The organ sounded literally dull with no vibrato. This organ had a poor installation, and the key clicks were so prevelant that it seems some vibrato was best used. One organist used the V2 which was a bit too much for thehymns in thePresbyterian worship. There was no Leslie period.




                      It seems that people associated the Hammond with that vibrato sound. I have heard churches use V3 on the Hammond, and it was the most god awful sound. It was so mechanical, just like something extremely nervous just beating the tone to pieces. My ears could only stand very little of that "nervous, twitter plaited sound." It is "like a Cornet V in drag" on those old Hammonds. Such as that was for the TV soap operas, "nightclub, and dance hall floor." I had one Presbyterian minister tell me he was most shocked to learn our church used a Hammond organ when he first came as the Pastor. He is the one who said Hammond was made for the "dance hall floor, and the nightclubs." It is true that Laurens Hammond was most surprised when churches began purchasing his organs in droves. The first one sold went to a Methodist Church.




                      When I was very young, the main line churches used the old Wurlitzer ES organs, a reed organ, or a Baldwin. Conncame on the scene a bit later. These mentionedorgans sound better withoutvibrato or tremulant anyhow. The Wurlitzer ES organs could sound fairly decent for background music with thevibrato on the lowestsetting. Reed organs rarely had a tremulant worth using anyhow, and Baldwin sounds horrible with vibrato. They sound like a "tissue paper and comb" as well as a big brassy sound combined. So, churches were limited a bit, but some decent tones could be had from a competent organist who knew how to used a given organ correctly. I have had one professional organist tell me that Baldwin made some very impressive consoles which I am aware of too, yet their tone was such a disappointment being such as that mentioned above by me. The old Wurlitzer ES organs get my vote for being a nice organ for churches back in the good old days. Nowdays, I am impressed with Allen more than any of the current ones available. A decent pipe organ is most desired if at all possible.




                      Then here comes dear old Hammond, and unfortunately thePresbyterian church purchased one when I was in Jr. highschool. Little did I know that five years later I would be playing on thatorgan for services.My grandmother who could only play a little said the Hammond was nothing but artifical music at best. I have played on some of the modern cheaper keyboards which proved the same to me as I grew older.




                      Now, on the other hand if you are playing a Hammond in a holy roller church, you might use vibrato or Leslie on fast all the time since that is the sound desired. As one of their pastors told me, Hammond has the "evangelistic sound." Well, whatever, etc. He also said it was either "holiness or hell," but Iam sure he was referring to his way of holiness. LOL





                      James

                      Baldwin Church Organ Model 48C
                      Baldwin Spinet 58R
                      Lowrey Spinet SCL
                      Wurlitzer 4100A
                      Crown Pump Organ by Geo. P. Bent, Chicago, Illinois


                      Organs I hope to obtain in the future:

                      Conn Tube Minuet or Caprice even a transistor Caprice with the color coded tabs
                      Gulbransen H3 or G3, or V.
                      Wurlitzer 44, 4410, 4420, ES Reed Models, 4300, 4500, Transistor Models

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Tremulants during Hymns



                        You know the more I read this thread and think about it I've come to the conclusion that it's got EVERYTHING to do with the sophistication of the service/church. What I guess I mean by that is there is a huge difference in Mass and a service in the rural countryside Freewill Baptist church with 25 members and a B3. Not that there is anything wrong with the latter but it's the truth. You are not going to find a church on Peachtree Road here in Atlanta with BIG pipe organs that would ever use the tremulants for a hymn but drive 30-40 miles out in the country and you will find a lot of tremulants used on everything. I use to play for a little church in rural Mississippi with a small Hammond. I refused to use the tremulant and got in trouble via the minister's wife. I quit!!!!!



                        I use tremulants all the time but NOT on hymns with folks singing. Nothing wrong with a small church....nothing wrong with a large church. But there IS a difference.



                        This of couse in only my opinion.



                        Don

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                        • #13
                          Re: Tremulants during Hymns

                          There's definitely a mixed response then!

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                          • #14
                            Re: Tremulants during Hymns



                            Ha ha!




                            This bit about differing churches and differing music styles is so true...parallels my own experience.




                            And when you get REAL good at the Hammond you can become an expert at the precise moment to speed up or slow down the leslie...something about that leslie a'pickin up speed in between verses...with a glissando Just over in the Gloryland! [6]

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Tremulants during Hymns



                              Generally speaking, I never use tremulants. Just to clarify, in my example the congregation were all singing "Silent Night," with the only lighting in the church being the candles theyheld in their hands. They sang it so well, so confidently, and so beautifully, that I knew I could get away with using the tremulant for a wee bit with some quiet stops such as Flute a Chemineeand know it would stay together which it did. Tremulants do sound horrible when they are played with reeds or above F, or even MF, but they do have a purpose they just have to be used judiciously as with everything else. As Bombarde said, tremulants are a "sometimes stop" not an "always stop."

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