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Thread: French Romantic Organ Registration

  1. #1
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    French Romantic Organ Registration

    Hi all, I have a question that I admittedly feel a bit silly asking, but when in reference to French romantic organ registration, can someone either give me a 101 refresher course in registration or point me to a resource that might describe different combinations in detail? I can't seem to find a clear resource anywhere...

    Specifically my issue is with using mixtures and reeds. I feel that there are often implications with certain combinations and I always forget what they are (for example: when voix humaine is called for you also need an 8' Fl. and tremulant).

    When music calls for "anches" in the swell or something like that, what exactly is implied? JUST reeds (which sounds a bit thin an uninteresting on my organ) or reeds with upperwork and/or mixtures? (Which sounds better to my ear for the sound I want). I feel I always hear that in french romantic literature you don't use mixtures and reeds together and that it's one or the other. However full organ on my 4 manual Schantz with reeds and no mixtures is quite underwhelming to my ears. Naturally I'm aware that a Schantz and Cavaille-Coll are two entirely different beasts I'm just curious what the "rules" for registration are.

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  3. #2
    Rear Admiral Appassionata John Watt's Avatar
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    OrganoPleno105! I'm not here to answer any questions, just admiring what you typed.
    I'm a pro player, playing a lefty guitar I put together myself, as a Watt, hot on electronics.
    That said...
    I asked the as-yet-untitled Frederik Magle some questions about the organ playing here,
    seeing his videos where I can watch him, the organ, and hear what it sounded like.
    That was more about working to make sounds, yeah, you know more about that than me.

    If I hadn't of seen Jimi Hendrix playing onstage, I wouldn't have started banging my guitar around so much,
    or be so serious about changing settings on effects, amplifiers and his guitar, between every song.
    He also had speakers in all four corners of the arena, sound moving all around, up and down,
    side to side, with everyone looking up in the rafters when "Angel" was flying away.

    Frederik Magle had a lot to say about how he worked to get the sounds,
    but your posting here furthers my understanding, just what you're saying.

    Reeds! When I hear a bagpipe played properly, I hear the sound of a one-string violin.
    Admit it, OrganoPleno105, with a name like that, you must have started on a Hammond B3,
    or a Thomas Organ with the Happy Feet option.
    Last edited by John Watt; Apr-13-2017 at 03:46.

  4. #3
    Captain of Water Music
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    Quote Originally Posted by OrganoPleno105 View Post
    Hi all, I have a question that I admittedly feel a bit silly asking, but when in reference to French romantic organ registration, can someone either give me a 101 refresher course in registration or point me to a resource that might describe different combinations in detail? I can't seem to find a clear resource anywhere...

    Specifically my issue is with using mixtures and reeds. I feel that there are often implications with certain combinations and I always forget what they are (for example: when voix humaine is called for you also need an 8' Fl. and tremulant).

    When music calls for "anches" in the swell or something like that, what exactly is implied? JUST reeds (which sounds a bit thin an uninteresting on my organ) or reeds with upperwork and/or mixtures? (Which sounds better to my ear for the sound I want). I feel I always hear that in french romantic literature you don't use mixtures and reeds together and that it's one or the other. However full organ on my 4 manual Schantz with reeds and no mixtures is quite underwhelming to my ears. Naturally I'm aware that a Schantz and Cavaille-Coll are two entirely different beasts I'm just curious what the "rules" for registration are.
    Interested in your question, for correct registration is not my strong point! However, your question inspired me to try to find some sort of answers, so googled 'Registration Guide for French Organ Music', which elicited the following, some of which may answer some of your questions:
    1. Playing Organs - Peter King www.peterking.org Lecture 'Making Music on the Organ' Oct. 2007
    2. Understanding the French Organ - 2 - Organ matters www.organmatters.com 31st Dec. 2010
    3. www.organforum.com 9/11/2008 10.55 pm Thread: Clarification of French Registration
    4. www.organduo.It 23/4/13 32 Organ Registration Tips
    5. Sonus Paradisi Registration of French Romantic Music/Blog www.sonusparadisi.cz

    Hope this list proves to be of some help; I plan to use it also.
    Best wishes - and enjoy the 'bedtime reading'!

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