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    Suggestions for Programming Crescendo Pedal

    I need to program the crescendo pedal on the Wicks two-manual at our Parish. It was never properly programmed and I would like to fix that.

    The pedal has 60 levels (appears that it climbs the levels 2 at a time) and below is a stop list for the organ. Any suggested programming would be greatly appreciated!

    Click image for larger version

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    Last edited by blue2019; 08-09-2019, 04:13 PM.

    #2
    Blue2019,

    Without being able to hear the organ, it would be difficult for us to advise on the programming of your Crescendo pedal because we are unable to actually hear the balance. However, if you want us to postulate an order for the stops to engage/disengage, then we may be able to do that. Your results may vary.

    Please advise what your wish is.

    Michael
    Way too many organs to list, but I do have 5 Allens:
    • MOS-2 Model 505-B / ADC-4300-DK / ADC-5400 / ADC-6000 (Symphony) / ADC-8000DKC
    • Lowrey Heritage (DSO-1)
    • 9 Pump Organs, 1 Pipe Organ & 4 Pianos

    Comment


      #3
      Thanks, Michael, for your reply! I would appreciate it if you or anyone else would be so kind as to suggest a stop order. That would certainly give me a great starting point and I can then adjust based on the sound and balance.

      Comment


        #4
        A couple of questions:
        Do you want a very good crescendo on the great or an okay crescendo on each division separately?
        Do you want celestes included?

        If I were trying to put together a crescendo sequence, I'd print off a stoplist, listen to the organ and write down the relative loudness of each stop/rank. Using that information I'd set the quietest 8' stop on each division (16' on pedal) for slot/step 1.

        ​​​​​​Then I'd figure out full organ. I'd pull every stop (if the organ can handle it) including couplers, except for the celestes. Then I would play a chord with one hand and feet and remove any stops that do not add anything significant to full organ. Once I figured out the loudest and most efficient full organ registration I'd write it down and set that to slot/step 60.

        To fill in every thing else, I would probably put the stoplist into Excel (one stop per row) and sort all the stops in each division by loudness (and pitch). In 60 (or 30) columns (one for each step in the sequence) I would mark which stops I might use for each step. I'd sum up the loudness numbers for each division and try to get those sums to gradually increase with each step. Once I have something that "looks" good, I'd program that sequence and listen through the sequence a few times. If there are some bizarre sounding registration steps, those would be replaced with better-sounding similar-loudness registrations (or duplicates of other steps if there aren't enough good registrations left). I'd make a smoothing pass by marking the 5 or 6 steps that are the most out of place (in volume or timbre) and switching them with other other steps. I'd listen through the sequence a few more times and mark the 3 or 4 most out of place steps and switch them with other steps to smooth out the sequence. I think I would only do two smoothing passes in a session or I might start making it worse.

        By this point, you will probably have a good feel for how the stops sound and what they can contribute to the overall ensemble. You'll probably also be burnt out. I'd give it a rest for a day or two before adding any new registrations to the sequence or making any more tweaks.

        ​​​​​​​Good luck and I'd like to see what you come up with.
        Sam
        Home: Allen ADC-4500 Church: Allen MDS-5
        Files: Allen Tone Card (TC) Database, TC Info, TC Converter, TC Mixer, ADC TC SF2, and MOS TC SF2, ADC TC Cad/Rvt, MOS TC Cad/Rvt, Organ Database, Music Library, etc. PM for unlinked files.

        Comment


          #5
          One thing that would be good to know is if a succeeding level of the crescendo can remove stops. If it can, that gives you greater flexibility to use a stop at a lower volume and later remove it.

          It looks like your instrument has 12 stops that are borrowed and extended to provide a specification with about three times that number of stops. For this reason I would probably not use sub and super couplers, because they would result in duplicating stops that could create what sounds like dead notes.

          Samibe has provided you with a methodology that is very thorough and should give you a good result. After you have your crescendo figured out, try it with a few pieces of music to see if you are happy with it.

          Good luck. It is a lot of work, but it sounds like you will be pleased you did it in the end.
          Bill

          My home organ: Content M5800

          Comment


            #6
            I agree with voet. Understanding exactly how the pedal works will affect how you set up the sequence.
            If you have a registration set and start using the crescendo pedal, does it reset the registration or does it only add/remove stops that aren't already selected in the registration?
            Are there stops or couplers that the crescendo pedal cannot control?

            Often adding the Sw to Gt coupler early in the sequence makes for strange jumps in volume if there is a solo registration currently selected. You might try to build each division separately up to a point and then back them off and couple divisions together to finish building to full organ for the Gt and Pd.
            If you can set multiple sequences, it would be interesting to set one that couples everything early and does the smoothest build possible on just the Gt and Pd and set another that builds each division separately as far as possible.
            Sam
            Home: Allen ADC-4500 Church: Allen MDS-5
            Files: Allen Tone Card (TC) Database, TC Info, TC Converter, TC Mixer, ADC TC SF2, and MOS TC SF2, ADC TC Cad/Rvt, MOS TC Cad/Rvt, Organ Database, Music Library, etc. PM for unlinked files.

            Comment


              #7
              With a handful of assumptions about how loud the stops might be based on their names, I put together a spreadsheet and a very rough draft of a crescendo sequence. I only did 30 steps. I did not include the celestes in the sequence. I also added the couplers around 2/3 of the way through the sequence. I'm quite certain that this sequence will not sound smooth, but it should be an okay starting place.

              The spreadsheet can be downloaded here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1FGH...ew?usp=sharing
              Or a pdf version can be downloaded below.
              Attached Files
              Sam
              Home: Allen ADC-4500 Church: Allen MDS-5
              Files: Allen Tone Card (TC) Database, TC Info, TC Converter, TC Mixer, ADC TC SF2, and MOS TC SF2, ADC TC Cad/Rvt, MOS TC Cad/Rvt, Organ Database, Music Library, etc. PM for unlinked files.

              Comment


                #8
                In addition to ranking the individual stops according to volume, I'd take note of the strengths of their fundamentals and overtones. As an example, I know organs where the 8' Principal has a strong enough 4' overtone that you don't notice the addition of the 4' flute. And... on some organs, adding the 8'Flute to the 8' Principal makes no difference; on other organs, the 8' Flute can add a lot of fundamental (warmth) to the 8' Principal tone.

                I'd leave the celestes out altogether. If you want, you can add them when the crescendo pedal is low, and remove them by hand once you start to climb the dynamic ladder.

                In general, I'd add all unison couplers from the outset except perhaps the Gt/Ped. That one can usually be easily added with a rocker tab, a thumb piston and/or a toe stud.

                Before you program any possibilities into the organ, why not just sit at the console with one hand holding a single note on each manual, eg. C on the Great, E on the Swell, and G on the Choir. If your hand doesn't reach, use a pencil or weight to hold the key(s) down. Then go through the stops, adding one at a time from softest to loudest. Fine tune as you go. Realize that on some organs, you may have more than one option to go from one volume level to the next - a standard "six of one, half a dozen of the other" kind of arrangement where, in the end, that particular choice may not matter too much - either option would bridge between the previous and the next volume level. By using a simple chord, you can also hear more clearly how the individual stops on various manuals affect the build up of tone.

                Reeds and Mixtures - depending on their relative brightness/richness, they might be added in different orders on different organs. Same goes for Principals and Flutes.

                Comment


                  #9
                  OK, I'll bite. I've attached a Crescendo recommendation in a spreadsheet. Please note stops removed as the ensemble grows. Combined elements could be separated, but I arranged the stops based on name only and the suggested character of the stop. As already stated, crescendo sequences vary greatly–depending on purpose.

                  Also, as already stated, there are a few deficiencies in the stoplist provided, but the sequence I have provided tries to avoid some of the pitfalls (i.e. Mutation stops being used with Mixtures, removing softer stops which will not add to the overall ensemble, like celestes, etc.). Personally, I detest octave couplers because they have very little use in most classical repertoire. However, if your organ has a theatre feel to it, then the octave couplers might be useful, as theatre organs are generally highly unified.

                  Bottom line–take it as it is, think about it, try it out on your organ and see if it works. Then make your own decisions from there.

                  Michael
                  Click image for larger version

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                  CrescendoRecommenation.pdf
                  Attached Files
                  Way too many organs to list, but I do have 5 Allens:
                  • MOS-2 Model 505-B / ADC-4300-DK / ADC-5400 / ADC-6000 (Symphony) / ADC-8000DKC
                  • Lowrey Heritage (DSO-1)
                  • 9 Pump Organs, 1 Pipe Organ & 4 Pianos

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Update... As an exercise, I just now sat down at the console of my Allen R-230, which has a 22-step programmable crescendo sequence. It's pretty simple to program, and easy to test and check your program, make modifications on the fly, etc. To do it, you enter the "Program Secondary Crescendo" mode (by using the SET+R piston presses). Then without any other actions, you simply set up the desired 22 steps using General pistons 1 through 10, followed by great pistons 1 through 6 and swell pistons 1 through 6, in that order. (While in this mode, the divisional pistons on the great and swell function as if they were simply additional general pistons, for the purposes of setting the crescendo sequence.) In the process, you can simply press any piston and see which stops are in that step (they will all come on), and you can alter any given step by adding or deleting stops and pressing the SET piston + the general or divisional for that step.

                    Without any planning at all, I just now set up a very smooth sequence in a matter of minutes. The R-230 has about 32 speaking stops, but I didn't want to use either of the celestes in the sequence, nor did I use the 16' Lieblich Gedeckt on the swell, nor of course the chimes or any other percussion effect. So I set crescendo step #1 with the swell to great and swell to pedal couplers and a single speaking stop, the 8' gedackt in the swell. On step #2 I added the 8' flute in the great. Then on each succeeding step I added a single stop, simply browsing the stops that were not already down, adding what I thought to be the softest and least obtrusive stop to add each time, so as not to create abrupt changes from step to step.

                    Of course I eventually had to add some stops that truly did "stick out" -- the 2' superoctave is quite assertive, adding each mixture made a noticeable difference, and at the end I added the two softer reeds (oboe and krummhorn) on the next to last step, and the big reeds (French trumpet and Posaune) on the last step. As you can see, at least two or three times I actually added more than one stop in a single step, which was going to be necessarily in order for me to be at near-tutti by the end of the sequence. But still the changes are quite subtle from step to step.

                    The overall effect of this sequence is quite pleasing. While it's nearly impossible to move the crescendo shoe with the kind of precision required to bring in the 22 steps one at a time, it is possible to get a very smooth and consistent buildup with the shoe. I'm actually very surprised at how this turned out, as the crescendo sequence I had previously programmed, one that was carefully planned out on a paper chart, is much less useful for getting a subtle change in texture. That is true partly because I didn't even attempt to use all 22 steps, choosing instead to add 3 stops each time, and to use a total of only 10 steps instead of all 22 of them. I think I'll go to church tomorrow and see if I can set up this same sequence on the MDS45, as it would make my job a little easier on Sunday morning.

                    Bottom line -- it may actually be quite useful to program as many steps as your crescendo allows, as long as you have enough stops to do it. You won't regret doing it this way!
                    John
                    ----------
                    Church: Allen MDS-45 with Allen MIDI-DIVISION-II expander
                    Home: Allen Renaissance R-230 with expanded four-channel audio and MIDI-DIVISION-II
                    Shop: Bunch of organs in varying conditions, some good, some not...
                    Half of an incredible two-man organ service team -- servicing all the major digitals in Arkansas churches
                    https://www.facebook.com/pages/Birds...97551893588434

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