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Thread: mutations beyond the seventh and intended functions...

  1. #1
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    mutations beyond the seventh and intended functions...

    'ello, group.

    This question is put primarily to German organists and organ builders, but I'll welcome input from any others.

    A. Cavaille-Coll pioneered the usage of quints, thirds, and sevenths together for tonal colour and for the re-enforcement of the partials of a 32' reed.

    Arthur Harrison implemented his 17.19.21.22 Harmonics for use with chorus reed families.

    Some German tonal designs have called for ninths, elevenths, even thirteenths in addition to the above to simulate the sound of little bells.

    Finally, the question:
    Are there any other reasons for these curious ranks, used as either independent stops or components of mixtures?

    Thanks.


    now, am listening to the magnificent organ at York Minster (Priory's Gt. Eur. Organs #41). yessss!
    Last edited by smilingvox; Nov-23-2013 at 21:48.

  2. #2
    Captain of Water Music pcnd5584's Avatar
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    Although I am not a German organist, I hope that smilingvox will not mind if I add a reply, since I have played quite widely in the UK and continental Europe.

    I have found little use for 'odd' pitch mutations in repertoire - and absolutely none whatsoever in choral accompaniment. In some cases, it may simply be a desire to experiment on the part of the organ builder - perhaps to furnish an enterprising organist with some 'interesting' sounds to use in improvisation. (Although I note that this often seems to be a subterfuge to disguise a lack of ability to produce a well-constructed, technically fluent improvisation, instead relying on 'pretty' or 'quaint' sounds.)

    With regard to Arthur Harrison: if you have never had to play a 'vintage' Harrison organ, with these wretched stops ('Harmonics': 17-19- flat 21-22), you are indeed fortunate. I have found them to be of virtually no musical use. In Baroque music, they are an absolute hindrance to clarity and purity of sound. (I realise that they were never designed to cap the Diapason chorus.) The fact that Harrison (and Lieut.-Col. George Dixon) regarded them as necessary, in order to help to bind the G.O. reeds with the flue-work, simply serves to emphasise how fundamentally flawed was the voicing of the G.O. reeds. In the case of a vintage Harrison organ, these were invariably a family of Trombe (usually at 8ft. and 4ft. pitch), often speaking on a pressure of 300mm - but in a few cases, as high as 450mm.* With their heavy metal and thick tongues, the resulting effect was an opaque, harmonically dead 'wall' of sound.

    With reference to your comment about Pedal mutations on a Cavaillé-Coll instrument, these were intended to re-inforce the flue pitch at 32ft. The 32ft. reed on a Cavaillé-Coll organ has ample harmonic development of its own. At Nôtre-Dame de Paris the Pédale mutations are actually more effective than the 32ft. Principal, both at the console and at pavement level.

    Regarding the organ of York Minster, you might also like to investigate Regent Records' The English Cathedral series:
    http://www.regent-records.co.uk/shop...&submit=search

    I have several of these CDs and can recommend them. Aside from the fact that the organ of York Minster features, the CDs of the cathedral organs of Bristol and Ely are both excellent.





    * The three G.O. reeds on the Harrison organ in the Chapel of King's College, Cambrigde are voiced to speak on this high pressure. Thankfully, they are at lest enclosed in the Solo expression box.


    Last edited by pcnd5584; Nov-24-2013 at 02:13.
    Pierre Cochereau rocked, man.

  3. #3
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    Thank you, pcnd.
    Yours was indeed welcome.
    I believe that your comments on the German's thinking of the above are similar to my guess, which was hitherto "subliminal", but now are greeted with the nod of my head. Don't know what else it could be other than the matter of experimentation.

    Regarding Cavaille-Coll: Am now reminded of a CD Daniel Roth did at the Sacre-Coeur. In one piece, there's a quiet movement in which he uses 32', 16', 8', 4' flues and all mutations (Pedale). Tangy(even at these low notes) and gentle. Very pleasant.

    When you mentioned that you wouldn't use the odd-ball mutations in choral accompaniment, what popped into my mind was that even tierces should be avoided, as, I would imagine, they could easily clash with the choir.

    I have a number of the Regent Cath. Series, including York, Ely and Bristol. The one done at Lichfield is deffo to my liking too. Regent is a very good label. There are 4 or 5 other York Minster organ recordings in my library as well.
    Thanks again, pcnd.

    .......

    To keep on topic, are there others who want to share views on these mutations?
    Last edited by smilingvox; Nov-27-2013 at 01:57.

  4. #4
    Captain of Water Music pcnd5584's Avatar
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    You are welcome.

    I would agree entirely regarding the non-use of a Tierce in choral accompaniment. Very occasionally, I might use (on our Positive Organ) Gedeckt 8ft., Chimney Flute 4ft. and Quint 2 2/3ft. (which, despite its name, is an excellent wide-scaled flute mutation). This combination can be quite pleasant for providing a counter-melody during a Psalm, for example.
    Pierre Cochereau rocked, man.

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    Admiral Honkenwheezenpooferspieler Corno Dolce's Avatar
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    I believe that a few of us know that a 16' Principal and a 4-4/7 septieme together sometimes makes for a satisfying Double Bass string sound or that a neuvieme reinforces a reed sound.
    *If a man wants God to hear his prayer quickly, then before he prays for anything else, even his own soul, when he stands and stretches out his hands towards God, he must pray with all his heart for his enemies. Through this action God will hear everything that he asks* -Abba Zeno-

    *Protagoras: "Truth is subjective. What is true for you, and what is true for me, is true for me. Your opinion is true by virtue of its being your opinion."

    *Socrates: "My opinion is: Truth is absolute, not opinion, and that you are in absolute error. Since this is my opinion, then according to your philosophy you must grant that it is true."

    "Improvisational Art": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qSxVO3EoCRM

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    Captain of Water Music pcnd5584's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Corno Dolce View Post
    I believe that a few of us know that a 16' Principal and a 4-4/7 septieme together sometimes makes for a satisfying Double Bass string sound or that a neuvieme reinforces a reed sound.
    Although this would depend on the voicing. The mutation rank needs to be kept bland, with no harmonic overtones of its own, otherwise a fairly unpleasant and confusing noise could result.

    J W Walker (of England) used to excel in making excellent Pedal Violones, which gave a strong impression of the 'bite' of a bow on a double-bass. We have one on our own instrument, although in this case, the stop is a full-length wooden rank, of fairly small scale, and with roller-bridges, in order to assist harmonic development. It is a really excellent stop.
    Last edited by pcnd5584; Dec-13-2013 at 19:31.
    Pierre Cochereau rocked, man.

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