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Thread: Great gothic organs

  1. #1
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    Lightbulb Great gothic organs

    I want to discuss about gothic organs. Now they practically obsolete, and we have wery few information about this magnificent instruments, but we know about it's main constructional principles. As we know, this instruments were relatively simple (in comparision with renaissance and baroque instruments), very clumsy and rough. But it's sound were probably very and very loud (every key was play up to 90 pipes of loud Principal!).

    I heard, that huge gothic organ in Halberstadt cathedral was recently restored. But I don't know, were it modernized or no.

    About half year ago I was made a digital (not electronic!) gothic organ, based on several samples of organs from XIII to XV centuries.

    This organ based on Hauptwerk 1.0.0 technology. It works with digital MIDI keyboard, MIDI-interface and MyOrgan software. One keyboard divided into three sections: simulator of knee levers, lower manual and upper manual. Knee levers play 12 notes chromatically (Prestant 32'), lower manual - 22 notes (Prestant 8'), upper manual play 22 notes of composite blockwerk (Prestant 8' + 5 1/3' + 4' + 1').

    I was create two supernatural effects for more realistic sounding: noise from big bellows and heavy "clicks" of keys.

    Although I can't play all three sections together (because I haven't true knee levers for knees), it's possible to play on this organ medieval madrigals, hymns and gregorian chorals. The sound of this organ is very heavy, rough and loud. All stops are natural and recorded from original pipe organ stops.

    I never heard the sound of gothic organ, but my digital organ looks very naturally. If you want, I can upload sound sample of my organ.

    If you know something about this instruments, write, please. May be we'll have interesting discussion.

  2. #2
    Admiral Honkenwheezenpooferspieler Corno Dolce's Avatar
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    Hi Vimperg,

    Welcome aboard the Starship MIMF where everyone is a star. Please do make yourself feel right at home.

    Interesting title to your first thread. I'm a bit puzzled but can offer some repartee. The Halberstadt organ dates back to 1495 which, in a way, could be called the tail-end of the Gothic period. There is an even older instrument - the worlds oldest from 1390:

    http://www.uquebec.ca/musique/orgues...v.html#English

    Back to the Halberstadt organ: The main corpus was built by Herbst in 1718 which then makes the organ date from the Classical period and then restored by Eule in 1965 which puts it in the modern era. You would unnecessarily limit yourself and the repertoire you play if you just stick with sounds from the Gothic period.

    The organ has undergone much development since the Gothic period. The works of Arp Schnitger, Christian Muller, Silbermann, Clicquot, Cavaille-Coll, Sauer, Walcker, Father Willis, Robert Hope-Jones, and E.M. Skinner have bequeathed so much to the organbuilding world. Insofar as *loudness* is concerned, the organs of the XIV - XV century were voiced on very low wind-pressures and very low quantities of wind, thereby making them very soft in speech.

    The organ would accompany a choir or provide background to the chanting clergy. It wasn't intended as a solo and accompanimental instrument as we have today with pressures up to 100" of wind, as in the Atlantic City Convention Hall Organ. Most instruments today have a nominal wind pressures hovering around 3" to 4". Some builders like Father Willis had 3.5" of wind for the labial stops and 7" for the reeds, but it can vary widely from builder to builder.

    The Hauptwerk system is a great way to start building a *virtual digital organ* which is only limited by one's imagination, generally speaking.

    Cheers,

    Corno Dolce
    *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

  3. #3
    Vice Admiral Virtuoso methodistgirl's Avatar
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    Corno Dolce, that one is a baby organ! It's so cute!
    judy tooley

  4. #4
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    Corno Dolce, thanks for the information about Halberstadt organ!

    I know organ from Valere Cathedral (from your link) and think, that is not true gothic organ, because it looks more like north-european renaissance organ. Medieval organs were based on blockwerk principle (undivided massive of pipes of variety pitches, like very large Cornet mixture) and don't have individual stops. Keyboard of this organ looks like modern type keyboard, although medieval organs have very rough and primitive keys, looks more like long wide levers. May be this organ was rebuilded several times?

    About soft speech of medieval organ: it looks like speech of bearded strings (such as Bearded Gamba, Aeoline and Salicional)? You want to say, that even small Principal pipes had slow soft speech? The large pipes really have very slow speech, but smaller pipes speaks very fast.

    About low pressure: how huge Principal pipes can speak on low pressure, if we know, that medieval organ had very large pipes, sometimes larger, than 32'?

    And I want to ask: does medieval organs had flute and reed stops?

  5. #5
    Admiral Honkenwheezenpooferspieler Corno Dolce's Avatar
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    Hi Vimperg,

    Some good questions you ask. Here below are two links which will help you along the way:

    http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orgue#Le_sommier

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pipe_organ

    Cheers,

    Corno Dolce

    p.s. One must factor in the *quantity of air* one is letting in to the pipe, not just pressure. Soft pipe speech is not the same as slow pipe speech. A small pipe can be made to speak slowly. It would be wise if you would refrain from judging the tonal character of an organ if you base it on how it looks visually. Organbuilders can use a variety of casework design to house an organ. Very generally speaking, the casework should be how the organ best fits into the architectonal scheme of the interior space. Now, of course, the casework can also be an integral part of the sound characteristics of a specific instrument. Generally speaking, the encasing of a whole instrument with thick lumber will focus the sound and cause the sound to be directional. One gets a whole other sound with free-standing pipes. An example of encased pipework:

    http://twi-ny.com/saintpeterschurch.jpg

    An example of exposed pipework:

    http://www.uquebec.ca/musique/orgues...nciscosmc6.jpg

    pps. In the exposed pipework picture you will probably notice the swell shutters for the Swell and the Choir division. The Great and Pedal Divisions are exposed, as is the horizontal Spanish Trumpet.
    Last edited by Corno Dolce; Nov-08-2007 at 18:30.
    *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

  6. #6
    Vice Admiral Virtuoso methodistgirl's Avatar
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    Beautiful!
    judy tooley

  7. #7
    Commodore con Forza musicalis's Avatar
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    Hi Wimperg

    Your organ seems to be very interesting. I also use Myorgan and have written several ODF, one of them is a splitted keyboard that allows me to play two manuals organ works on my digital midi piano.
    Exchanging ideas and more seems very interesting.

    Jean-Paul

  8. #8
    Admiral of Fugues Contratrombone64's Avatar
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    I image unenclosed pipework offers special considerations for organ builders and voicers? As to gothic organs, can't see the reason for them surviving, but I'm glad at least one has.

  9. #9
    Admiral Honkenwheezenpooferspieler Corno Dolce's Avatar
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    Hi CT64,

    Whenever I hear the term "Gothic Organ" my mind plays tricks on me. The Gothic period is generally known to have begun in 1100 a.d. and continued to the end of 1300 a.d. The world's oldest organ is that of Notre-Dame de Valere, Sion and was built in 1434-1435, ergo, after the Gothic period. Now, the Renaissance period was generally in full bloom at the time that the oldest organ was built.

    So, with all else being equal, I am content to talk about organs starting from the Renaissance period and thusly refute the term Gothic organ. Of course the organ can have casework in the Gothic design style but that does not make it a Gothic Organ, n'est-ce pas? Give me something more to chew on my dear brother, ok?

    Cheers,

    CD
    *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

  10. #10
    Admiral of Fugues Contratrombone64's Avatar
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    Give you something to chew on? No way ... you'd bite too hard!!

  11. #11
    Admiral Honkenwheezenpooferspieler Corno Dolce's Avatar
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    Dear CT64,

    "You'd bite too hard" - hey mate, whats that supposed to mean?

    Now I'm really confused

    CD

  12. #12
    Vice Admiral Virtuoso methodistgirl's Avatar
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    Gothic things were built even during the victorian days. Think about that!
    judy tooley

  13. #13
    Admiral Honkenwheezenpooferspieler Corno Dolce's Avatar
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    Hi Ms. Judy,

    I hate to burst your bubble but "Gothic Organs" built during Victorian times were just copies. Even today we build Baroque organs and Gothic organs but they are only copies. In a previous posting I mentioned that the Gothic Period was from 1100 A.D. to 1300 A.D. The first organ didn't appear until 1434, which is the Renaissance Period. So really, the term Gothic Organ is a misnomer since the Gothic Period was already over when the first organ appeared. One may argue that the Gothic case design of an organ makes it a Gothic Organ. Nothing could be further from the truth. Here's an example of a Gothic design of organ casework:

    http://www.uppsaladomkyrka.se/bilder/464/12365.jpg

    This organ was first built in 1871, hardly during the "Gothic Period".

    Cheers,

    CD

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