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Thread: How would a reed mixture sound :?

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    Commander, Assistant Conductor Ntalikeris666's Avatar
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    How would a reed mixture sound :?

    Hello everyone,


    I was wondering, since many organs have 16', 8', 4', and even 2' Reed stops (Chamades or not) how would a Reed mixture be?
    I know that it is difficult to keep high pitched reeds in tune, so i am trying to imagine how would a 2 or 3 rank reed mixture be.

    Thanks,
    Nicholas

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    Commodore con Forza
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    What an interesting question! I'm really only guessing, but maybe reed mixtures are unnecessary because reed tone is naturally much richer in harmonics than flue tone?

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    Administrator Frederik Magle's Avatar
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    I have experimented with that, and can tell you that as far as I can tell it will sound fantastic, creating an extremely rich and colorful sound. However, it does need a relatively sizable organ to remain in balance.

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    Commodore con Forza Soubasse's Avatar
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    Pity anyone who has to tune one of those!
    Music is made to transform the states of the soul, for an hour or an instant (J. Alain)

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    Commodore con Forza
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    An interesting question indeed!

    I must confess that I have never heard such a beast. Mind you, reed mutations are already rare enough: the only one I've heard in situ is the Chamade 5'1/3 in Dudelange, Luxemburg. (I'm also aware of Orléans Cathedral: Cavaillé-Coll would have liked an actual 32', but the case was too small to house it, so he built a 16' and a 10'2/3 instead.)

    The problem is that high pitched reed stops tend to be built with reed pipes in the bass only, with the high octave(s) made of flue pipes (voiced appropriately). It's just a matter of size: if you have five octaves of, say, a 2' stop, that gives you 3/4 of an inch (i.e. less than 2cm) for the smallest pipe. Therefore the reed at the base of such a pipe would only measure a few millimeters, so building reeds that small (let alone trying to make them sound properly) hardly makes sense.

    Of course, electronic organs could produce high reed sounds synthetically.

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    Administrator Frederik Magle's Avatar
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    It's of course true what acc mentions regarding the high pitched reed-pipes. it's extremely rare to see reed pipes above the highest note of an 8' (so usually a 4' reed stop will have flue pipes in the highest octave). And there really is not much point in having very high reed pipes either as the "reedy" character becomes less and less poignant the higher they go, so much that you often can't hear when flue pipes take over.

    So, a reed mixture will have to be a deep Mixture (or perhaps a hybrid of reeds and flues), which in itself requires a larger organ to obtain good balance. What I have experienced with is not reed Mixtures per se, but rather a reed Cornet. (16'), 8', 5 1/3', 4', 3 1/5' - pretty much everything within the range of reeds, except for the highest notes as mentionend above.

    This will to the best of my knowledge, be capable of producing a wonderfully rich sound, but obviosuly requires a sizable organ. Also, like Sousbasse mentioned, the tuning will be diffucult, hence it's probably best to make it as individual stops.

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    Commander, Assistant Conductor Ntalikeris666's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frederik Magle View Post
    It's of course true what acc mentions regarding the high pitched reed-pipes. it's extremely rare to see reed pipes above the highest note of an 8' (so usually a 4' reed stop will have flue pipes in the highest octave). And there really is not much point in having very high reed pipes either as the "reedy" character becomes less and less poignant the higher they go, so much that you often can't hear when flue pipes take over.

    So, a reed mixture will have to be a deep Mixture (or perhaps a hybrid of reeds and flues), which in itself requires a larger organ to obtain good balance. What I have experienced with is not reed Mixtures per se, but rather a reed Cornet. (16'), 8', 5 1/3', 4', 3 1/5' - pretty much everything within the range of reeds, except for the highest notes as mentionend above.

    This will to the best of my knowledge, be capable of producing a wonderfully rich sound, but obviosuly requires a sizable organ. Also, like Sousbasse mentioned, the tuning will be diffucult, hence it's probably best to make it as individual stops.
    First of all, thanks for replying and providing all these details!
    Indeed higher reed notes lose their "reedy" charachter. But a reed mutation is also an interesting stop so is the Reed cornet (since the cornet has quite a different tone for a flue stop, i cant think how it will sound with reeds)
    Well, the organ in the Concert hall here in Athens, is a Klais Orgel with IV manuals 76 stops and 6080 pipes. So, its not that small, but still it doesnt have any reed mutations. On the other hand, it has a wide variety of Flue Mixtures and mutations, some of which are fairly heavy. (Scharff IV, Acuta V, Mixture V, Plein jeu VI, Cymbal IV, Cornet V, Sesquialter II, Harmonia Aetheria IV. ) and it also has 16' 8' and 4' en Chamade stops. If put together with the foundation stops for a tutti it sounds brilliant, though a bit 'screamy'. Next time i go to practice on this organ , i will conduct some experiments with the reed stops.

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    Commodore con Forza Soubasse's Avatar
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    I once encountered an organ with a curious device that enabled the player to manually alter the disposition of a Mixture rank. It consisted of a "sub-set" of mini tabs attached to a VI-rank mixture wherein you could, simply by selecting the appropriate tab, have anything from a Sesquialtera II to a III, IV, V or VI rank Plein Jeu, Fourniture, Cymbale, etc. Haven't come across anything like this since.

    The curator of this instrument said they were interested in trying out the same system on some of their reed ranks, but the instrument was moved elsewhere before I had a chance to find out if they ever did that or not.

    I think it now resides in a winery somewhere.
    Last edited by Soubasse; Aug-06-2009 at 06:13.
    Music is made to transform the states of the soul, for an hour or an instant (J. Alain)

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    Commander, Assistant Conductor Ntalikeris666's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Soubasse View Post
    I once encountered an organ with a curious device that enabled the player to manually alter the disposition of a Mixture rank. It consisted of a "sub-set" of mini tabs attached to a VI-rank mixture wherein you could, simply by selecting the appropriate tab, have anything from a Sesquialtera II to a III, IV, V or VI rank Plein Jeu, Fourniture, Cymbale, etc. Haven't come across anything like this since.

    The curator of this instrument said they were interested in trying out the same system on some of their reed ranks, but the instrument was moved elsewhere before I had a chance to find out if they ever did that or not.

    I think it now resides in a winery somewhere.
    Yea i have heard of this organ. I saw once a video on youtube about it.
    Digitally it is easy to reproduce reed tones, in any octave, so yes in this organ it would have been easy to do.

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    Commodore con Forza Soubasse's Avatar
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    Just to clear up any possible confusion, that aforementioned instrument was actually a pipe organ, not a digital.
    Music is made to transform the states of the soul, for an hour or an instant (J. Alain)

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    Commander, Assistant Conductor Ntalikeris666's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Soubasse View Post
    Just to clear up any possible confusion, that aforementioned instrument was actually a pipe organ, not a digital.

    Check out this one:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BROuHql6ni8

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