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Is there an organ stop that sounds the fourth ?

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  • Is there an organ stop that sounds the fourth ?

    Hello everyone,

    I know that mutation stops are supposed to support the harmonic series (octaves, quints, thirds, seventh, etc ...), and the perfect fourth interval is not part of the harmonic series.

    But still, I was wondering if some organ builders have built a stop that sounds at a perfect (or tempered) fourth ? I.e. at a pitch of 32/3' or 16/3' for the octave + fourth ?

    And, regardless if such a stop exists, what do you think of this possibility ? Would it be interesting, or is it a fool idea ?

    Thanks for your inputs !

  • #2
    To my knowledge, there is no such thing. As you say, the natural harmonic series does not contain a fourth ... ...

    Comment


    • myorgan
      myorgan commented
      Editing a comment
      Originally posted by Leisesturm View Post
      the natural harmonic series does not contain a fourth
      I thought the harmonic series was:
      Octave, Fifth, Fourth, . . . .? Assuming C, then it would be C, C octave above, G, C, E, G, Bb.... From the G>C isn't that a fourth?

      Michael

    • Yqseim
      Yqseim commented
      Editing a comment
      Indeed, the interval G->C is a fourth. But I meant in my question a fourth starting from the fundamental (or any octave of the fundamental). In the case of a C fundamental, I meant that the fourth C-F (perfect or tempered :) ) does not appear in the harmonic series, and the closest harmonic is quite a few cents away from a F :)

  • #3
    A good place to waste a great deal of time is the Encyclopedia of Organ Stops. Look up mutations. You will find a chart with any existing stops.
    http://organstops.org/_apps/Mutations.html

    regards

    Pat



    Comment


    • #4
      I’ve spent a lot of time experimenting in Hauptwerk producing a lot of different weird mutations. It’s true a perfect fourth isn’t really represented in the harmonic series. However, there is a step in the harmonic series corresponding to half way between the third and the fifth. Half way between this there is a step corresponding to the 5 9/11 harmonic in the 8’ series (11 harmonic number in Hauptwerk), which I call a quart. The harmonic exists in nature, but there is relatively a lot less of it than the other harmonics, since the simpler the fraction, the more of it gets produced, and this harmonic has a pretty complex fraction. Also, this quart is not in tune with a perfect fourth, in fact I believe it is closer to the tritone. I produced an organ with all the harmonics up to the 1’ stop (64 harmonic number in Hauptwerk), and experimented with all kinds of combinations.

      What I found was that the quart in general sounded better if it was a higher pitched harmonic than 5 9/11. For instance, pitching it at 2 10/11 or 1 5/11. That’s probably because the higher it is, the lower the relative volume, and the more like it is found in nature. I also found lowering the relative volume of these ranks to the unison ranks made them sound better. When combined with an 8’ and 4’ flute, say with the 2 10/11 or 1 5/11, it actually sounded quite good, pretty bell-like. That is until you tried to combine it with a principal or string, then it sounded horrible. Also horrible was having a quart with the 8’ and 4’ flute against a principal or string on the other manual. Even more horrible was drawing it with a tierce or quint, or playing it against a registration with a tierce or quint on another manual. It wasn’t too bad with the Septieme though - generally I found weird mutations go best with other ones that aren’t so close to it on the harmonic scale.

      I also experimented with other steps in the harmonic scale, corresponding to all the major harmonic numbers, such as the None, which is used in Italian music, the Septieme, and a step between the Septieme and the quint which I called the Sext, and the step between the Septieme and unison that I called the Oct. There are also steps between these, that allowed quite a bit of interesting sounds. Usually the simpler harmonic numbers were the most useful though, though often at higher pitches than their lowest example in the 8’ series. Some combinations sounded a bit like a more aggressive string, some like a more aggressive flute/bell, some sounded a lot like hitting tubular bells, chimes, or other percussion (particularly in the lower octaves for some reason). Some would sound fine at the higher octaves, but horrible the further down you went. When I showed my wife, however, she said that a lot of them sound like you’re playing the wrong note with a note, or like you’re playing a synthesizer! It’s true a lot of the combinations sound a lot like a synthesizer. I did find however, that if you register a lot of loud reeds, then you can add almost any weird mutation to the mix (as long as it’s not too loud), and it will just make the reed chorus sound more aggressive.

      In the end though, I gave up on the experiment, because most of these weird mutations don’t really sound good with the stops on a traditional organ, so they don’t honestly really add much. I suppose you could use them to make a reed that sounds more aggressive without being too loud, or a string that sounds more aggressive, or a flute that sounds more aggressive, or a synthetic rank that sounds like a tubular bell (or a cow bell!), or any number of other percussion stops. The problem though, is that like a cornet, the simalcrum is less successful at different registers, and as I said, they don't sound good with most traditional ranks. So what you’re doing is basically turning the organ into a DX7, and it doesn’t do that very well! But it was a fun experiment, so I wouldn’t dissuade you from trying it yourself!​ If you like that kind of sound though, I would say a DX7 or a traditional synth does it more easily.

      Current: Allen 225 RTC, W. Bell reed organ, Lowrey TGS, Singer upright grand
      Former: Yamaha E3R
      https://www.exercisesincatholicmythology.com

      Comment


      • Larason2
        Larason2 commented
        Editing a comment
        I realize I made a mistake. The 5 9/11 mutation is a natural harmonic of the 64' series, not the 8' series.

    • #5
      Thanks for your inputs !

      After falling down the rabbit hole, I found this stop : http://www.organstops.org/t/TwentyFifth.html that sounds "almost" at the fourth + triple octave ! Indeed, as Larason2 said, it seems to confer a very "brassy" and agressive sound in combination to regular 8' or 4' stops. I must admit I am very curious to hear what can be done with this stop, artistically speaking :)

      But it seems to be a very rare one, only found in quite modern organs.

      Comment


      • Larason2
        Larason2 commented
        Editing a comment
        If you have Hauptwerk and want to play around with this I can send you the CODM custom organ I made. Just send me a private message. I think it was for St. Anne's or Friesach.

    • #6
      Originally posted by Yqseim View Post
      After falling down the rabbit hole, I found this stop : http://www.organstops.org/t/TwentyFifth.html that sounds "almost" at the fourth + triple octave!
      The Dictionary lists the following installations:
      • Twenty-Fifth 8/11', Choir-Swell; Convention Hall, Atlantic City, New Jersey; Midmer-Losh 1929-32.
      • Undezime 8/11'; Nikolaikirche, Siegen, Germany; Kemper 1955.
      • Undezime 8/11'; Dreifaltigskirche, Kaufbeuren, Germany; Schmid 1964.
      • Undecime 8/11'; Dominikanerkirche, Landshut, Germany; Schmid 1966.
      • Undezime 8/11'; St. Anna, Altötting, Germany; Schmid 1976.​
      I wonder how many of those stops have ever been used?

      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

      Comment


      • Larason2
        Larason2 commented
        Editing a comment
        You're right Michael, that's how cymbel mixtures typically are. I just also seem to recall that there were some experiments along this line that are backed up by the dictionary of organ stops.

      • myorgan
        myorgan commented
        Editing a comment
        @Larason2,

        Sorry, that wasn't a challenge. I was just looking for confirmation of what I thought to be true. I couldn't remember the break pattern of the III-rank mixtures vs. IV-rank mixtures (not that they're all the same in style).

        Michael

      • Larason2
        Larason2 commented
        Editing a comment
        That's no problem! On the St. Georgenkirche Silbermann in Rötha, the Cymbel II on the Hauptwerk has the same ranks exactly as the Mixtur III on the same division, only omitting the lowest one. It does sound distinctly higher though, so I'm guessing that it's voiced a bit louder to compensate.

        Skinner put a Zimbel on the Redeemer Aeolian-Skinner, here is the composition:

        Zimbel III
        1 36-47 = 1/2, 1/3, 1/4
        2 48-53 = 2/3, 1/2, 1/3
        3 53-59 = 1, 2/3, 1/2
        4 60-65 = 1 1/3, 1, 2/3
        5 66-77 = 2, 1 1/3, 1
        6 78-83 = 2 2/3, 2, 1 1/3
        7 84-96 = 4, 2 2/3, 2

        It's quite different from the Fourniture IV and the Plein Jeu III on the same organ though, The Fourniture breaks only three times, whereas the Plein Jeu breaks 5 times. The Fourniture is the lowest at the bottom, having a 2' rank equivalent, the Zimbell the highest going up to 1/4, and the Plein Jeu sits right in the middle. The Zimbel has a pretty typical rank composition, without a lot of gaps, it just breaks a lot. Baroque organs usually broke every octave.

        From my reading, I agree with you that the main difference between the Mixture/Fourniture and the Cymbel/Zimbel/etc. is that at the bottom end it starts higher. At the top end, they are usually the same ranks. In Baroque organs they usually broke every octave, but in Romantic and modern organs, you usually see a lot more breaks, and more creative mixtures. In the Baroque period, smaller organs often had a II rank Cymbale, but in larger organs you could get them of many different sizes, though I agree the III rank was probably the most common size. They were mostly found in French and German Baroque organs. The Cymbal made a comeback in the organ Reform movement, but as you see above they still tended to be a bit more creative with the breaks than they did in the Baroque. You rarely see a Cymbel with a third. I'm guessing that if they used cymbals with quarts in the past, they merely replaced all the fifths with the quart.

        I have other organs with a Cymbel/Zimbel, but I haven't worked out the mixture composition for those yet.
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