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When did 5 octaves become the standard?

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  • When did 5 octaves become the standard?



    ...or is it a standard? I have noticed that many historic organs have manuals with less than 5 octaves on them. Of course there is the oddball organ like the Atlantic City Convention Hall organ that has one or two manuals with more than 5 octaves.




    So... is 5 octaves per manual a standard or not? If so, when did it become a standard?




    Bill



  • #2
    Re: When did 5 octaves become the standard?



    Many baroque organs have a four octave compass, plus two notes (up to D).




    Someorgans went up to G.




    Gamut to top A (58 notes) wasfairly standardduring theromantic era; it was widespread and lasted a very long time.




    Around the turn of the 20th century you can see organs appearing with 61 note compasses. That became the new standard pretty quickly.




    Today the standard seems to be 61 notes, but you will find quite a few organs being built with 58 notes. These are more likely to be built by 'boutique' builders,continental European builders, or are trackers, etc.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: When did 5 octaves become the standard?

      [quote user="soubasse32"]


      Many baroque organs have a four octave compass, plus two notes (up to D).




      Someorgans went up to G.




      Gamut to top A (58 notes) wasfairly standardduring theromantic era; it was widespread and lasted a very long time.




      Around the turn of the 20th century you can see organs appearing with 61 note compasses. That became the new standard pretty quickly.




      Today the standard seems to be 61 notes, but you will find quite a few organs being built with 58 notes. These are more likely to be built by 'boutique' builders,continental European builders, or are trackers, etc.




      [/quote]




      Thanks. I figured you, at least, would know.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: When did 5 octaves become the standard?



        Could it have something to do with the AGO standards adopted in the early 1900s (referenced in another thread on the Forum)?




        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)
        • 11 Pump Organs, 1 Pipe Organ & 7 Pianos

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        • #5
          Re: When did 5 octaves become the standard?

          I know that the AGO standards largely dictate 61 note manual compass (five octaves), but why did they choose a full five octaves? But why not stick with 56 or 58? How was it that they settled on five octaves when they drafted the standards in the 30's(?)?

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: When did 5 octaves become the standard?



            [quote user="Austin766"]I know that the AGO standards largely dictate 61 note manual compass (five octaves), but why did they choose a full five octaves? But why not stick with 56 or 58? How was it that they settled on five octaves when they drafted the standards in the 30's(?)?
            [/quote]




            That standard has influenced electronic synthesizers as well.Some synth makers will offer a model in 61 note (5 octave), 76 key and 88 key variations. I'm sure that 5 octaves are used because of organs, just like the 88 key models come from pianos having that standard. I suppose the question could be expanded to ask when and why pianos ended up with 88 keys and even how spinet organs came to have 3 1/2 octave keyboards.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: When did 5 octaves become the standard?



              [quote user="Austin766"]I know that the AGO standards largely dictate 61 note manual compass (five octaves), but why did they choose a full five octaves? But why not stick with 56 or 58? How was it that they settled on five octaves when they drafted the standards in the 30's(?)?[/quote]




              A'chicken or egg' question. What came first: organs with 61 notes, or organ music that used those notes?




              If an organ builder decided to build one of the first 61 note compasses in their region of the world, was it because he was asked to do so by an organist/composer? Or was it simply a matter of symmetry?




              I think the symmetry is the biggest part of theanswer. If the keyboard starts at low "C" why would it then only go up to an "A"? Why not just have it go up to "C" as well?It islogical.




              Once several 61-note organs started appearing in a region it seems logical that organists would have wanted to have them, 61 notes seeming to be an 'improvement' over a shorter-compass keyboard.




              No, there is not much written music thatmakes useof those extra notes. They are also not easy to tune. [^o)]

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: When did 5 octaves become the standard?

                I have a 56 note manual compass Holtkamp console and to date I've yet to encounter any music that *i* can play that misses those missing top notes....I do have the pipes for those notes that I can get to via pitch couplers, but no keys for them....


                When I had two new chests built by Reuter this year for the additions to the 822...a Tibia 8' and a Montre 4' chest I had them make them to be a 8'/4' Tibia up to the top G leaving off the top notes I didn't have keys for.....same on the Montre 4' chest...it is exactly 56 notes (at 4') to match the console..

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