View Full Version : Beginner Organist

Jan-11-2006, 17:09
I am a beginner organist and have just learned stops, drawknobs, couplers, ect...

I am learning the manual names and location and I have learned up to four manuals: choir, great, swell, solo.
but there is another called echo.

where is it in location to the other manuals? https://www.magle.dk/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/confused.gif

Jan-11-2006, 18:43
Hi bonh-101,

I have quite often found that the Echo division is a *floating division*, that is to say, a division that can be coupled to any other *fixed division* . It might contain some very colorful stops which can be used to highlight a melody or contra-melody line. If it is a fixed division it would probably be on the fifth or sixth manual, dependent upon many factors e.g. budget, space, tonal composition, acoustic, the playing action of the instrument -electrical, mechanical, pneumatic or electro-pneumatic. In short, there are a whole host of variables. Hope this is of some help to you.


Giovanni https://www.magle.dk/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/tiphat.gif

Jan-11-2006, 22:22

Giovanni is right: there are no absolute rules about order or even names of manuals. Usually, Great is the first or the second manual; if it is the second, then Choir will be the first.

Historically, having Choir first comes from the baroque tradition of Rückpositiv in Germany or positif de dos in France, i.e. where the Choir division is located behind the player: in this case, it is technically much easier for the organ builder to put the Choir manual first and the Great second.

On other baroque organs (e.g. those by Silbermann), both divisions are in the same case, with Great below (and the other division is, quite appropriately, called Oberwerk). You would than have Great as first manual, and the Oberwerk second.

On some big instruments, you can also have a Brustwerk, a division located right above the manuals and at the front of the case (Brust=chest). The builder would then find it most convenient to put its manual closest to it, i.e. the last manual.

In French baroque organs, you sometimes have an Écho division, which indeed tends to be the last manual. For example, the Cliquot organ in Poitiers has the following order:
1 - Positif (Choir)
2 - Grand-Orgue (Great)
3 - Récit ("Swell", except that it's not swellable)
4 - Écho
and in the Dom Bedos organ in Bordeaux, we have:
1 - Positif
2 - Grand-Orgue
3 - Bombarde (contains strong reeds)
4 - Récit
5 - Écho

In French romantic organs, the Positif(=Choir) division is often located inside the main organ case, so there is no reason to have it as the first manual, and the most common order in a three-manual instrument is Great-Choir-Swell (with the Swell now being swellable, i.e. enclosed inside a box with shutters).

If an organ has electrical action, the builder could of course order the manuals any way he likes (rods can't be bent, but cables can!), but for convenience, most builders just stuck to the (by then well established) order of manuals that was customary in their particular country and time period - so that accounts for a great variety of possibilities, as Giovanni mentioned.

Probably the only absolute rules (i.e. with no exceptions known to me) are that Great comes before Swell and Solo, and that Choir comes before Solo.

Jan-12-2006, 01:43
Hi acc,

I thank you profusely for your so beautifully filling in that which I left out. You certainly know your stuff - A full salute to you.


Giovanni https://www.magle.dk/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/tiphat.gif

Jan-12-2006, 01:48
I hereby publicly petition the Owner/Administrator to promote acc to officer rank since he has such good knowledge in his subject specialty.

Respectfully submitted,

Giovanni https://www.magle.dk/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/tiphat.gif

Jan-12-2006, 18:19
Well, I'm flattered by your proposal, Giovanni - thank you! https://www.magle.dk/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/cheers444.gif

Actually, I don't know that much - I'm not an organ builder, or expert, or anything. Just an afficionado who has learned a number of things after reading the booklets of a few hundred organ CDs (plus information you can find here and there on the web).

Anyway, I'm perfectly happy with the idea of "working up my ranks" (pun not intended) as anybody else does.

Jan-12-2006, 18:34
Thank you for informing me of this...
I have one last question though, I am teaching myself Toccata & Fugue in D Minor and I can never get the right registration...

It's always off, and the pedals seem to have a really powerful stop on it... I am currently using a 16' Posaune: it has the right power but it just doesn't sound right, even when coupled with the great division. Do you have any suggestions?

Jan-12-2006, 21:39
Hi bonh-101,

You might try saving the use of the Posaune 16' until the last few measures in the Toccata, likewise in the Fugue. It also depends on what you're striving for in the interpretation. I find quite often that avoiding the use of *full* organ is a benefit - it begins to grate on my nerves when all what I hear is a honking blast instead of restraint with the resources.

Think of the conductor of an Orchestra - he/she can make or break the quality of a performance by overuse of the different classes of instruments in regards to dynamics, coloring or any other variable. I like to think about a good organist is like a good orchestral conductor.

A good conductor can not only jeopardise his/her own career by misuse of orchestral forces but can also cause the disreputation of the orchestra, likewise an organist might not ever again be invited to give performances because of his/her inability of marshaling the resources of the instrument and technical sloppiness.

Sorry for digressing - try playing the piece using only flutes - 16',8',4',2' and 1'. The ear won't be so distracted by all the color when one uses reeds and mixtures - you are forced to play more cleanly and articulately when using only flutes. Once you play the piece cleanly then start adding other colors very judiciously.

I hope this might help in your strivings.


Giovanni https://www.magle.dk/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/tiphat.gif

Jan-12-2006, 22:56
Your attitude is the right one : if your ears tell you it's wrong, then it's wrong.

I must say that on an instrument I don't know, I would also have tried something like this to start with:
<ul type="square"> Great : Principals 8' 4' 2' + mixture(s)
Pedal : Principals 16' 8' 4' (+ mixture) + Posaune 16'

If that doesn't work out, you can try different things:
<ul type="square"> remove Great to Pedal coupler
remove the Pedal 4' stop
remove some Great mixtures (when coupled to the Pedal, they can sometimes sound odd in the lowest octave)

Further than that, it's really difficult to help you out from here - as I said, your ears will be able to tell you much more.

Thomas Dressler
Jan-13-2006, 03:24
Hi guys--very interesting discussion! Sorry I've been quiet for awhile--I just got a copy of Sibelius (music notation software) and it literally kept me up til 4am the other night! Amazing!

Anyhow, I think the topic of registration is especially interesting and deserves its own thread, so I'm going to start a new thread, picking up where we've left off here with some of my own observations about the subject.

Jan-13-2006, 09:28
Reading this.....I am going to learn organ one day!!!! So I hear that it is a completely differen't ball game? With then no sostenuto and everything like that?

Thomas Dressler
Jan-13-2006, 20:51
yes, the organ is different from the piano, that's for sure.

The most obvious difference is the lack of a sustaining pedal, so you have to get used to holding the keys down for as long as you want the note to sound. But there are lots of other differences, like having to learn to manage registrations (combinations of stops), having to learn to play the pedals (and coordinate your feet with your hands.) Then there some more subtle but very important differences, such as the fact that an organ key turns "on" near the top of the keystroke, whereas a piano needs to strike the bottom of the keybed to sound.

In general, when you're speaking of music up until about the time of JS Bach, the organ is most similar in playing technique to the harpsichord--much more similar than to the piano.

Jan-13-2006, 21:28
Another big difference is of course that on the organ, you can't make the sound louder by hitting the keys harder. So accents (and, more generally, articulation) on the organ need an entirely different approach than on the piano.

Thomas Dressler
Jan-13-2006, 22:28
Oh yeah, that too! LOL https://www.magle.dk/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/nut.gif

Thomas Dressler
Jan-14-2006, 00:11
Here's a bit more regarding articulation:

Legato playing is definately important for Romantic and modern repertoire. In the days of Bach and for awhile after (and before) the norm for playing was non-legato. This does not mean short, staccato notes, but detached. It's my belief that JS Bach probably played with a more connected but still detached style.

When playing using these detached notes, it is possible on the harpsichord and the organ to make some notes have the illusion of being louder than others by putting a bigger space in front of them. In this way, it is possible to create the illusion of playing loud and soft notes in a given meter, which is something they did. (What I mean is like beats 1 and 3 being stronger than 2 and 4 in 4/4.) This strong-weak kind of playing is an essential part of early repertoire and is still important in the music of JS Bach and CPE Bach, and perhaps even later composers. And on the organ and the harpsichord, it can only be done through non-legato playing.

Also, when dealing with the flexible winding systems of old organs and modern organs built in the same style, a carefully detached style of playing is much more effective than legato. But in this case, another difference between organ and piano needs to be noted--that on the organ one needs to control the speed of the release of the notes (at least on mechanical action instruments.) Very fast releases on mechanical action can be ugly, and with flexible winding, they make the organ jump and hiccup.

Jan-14-2006, 01:27
I wouldn't ban legato from baroque articulation altogether. For example, when one harmony is dissonant and the next harmony resolves this dissonance, it makes sense to have an isolated legato tying those two harmonies together, to provide an appropriate feeling of "tension-then-release".

The difference with the romantic repretoire is of course that in the latter, legato becomes a norm, whereas in the baroque, legato is just one of many existing articulations, to be used in occasions such as described above.

Jan-14-2006, 02:39
Yes, I found it very odd being used to the piano as I was,
I like not having to strike the keys, it makes it alot easier(for me anyways). But I found something odd. I was reading a small article on learning to use stops. It states that a 32' stop is as low as it can go because anything under 32' is not audible to the ear. If it isn't, then how did I find a stop specification that has a 64' Resultant! I have used a 32' Contre Violone and I could feel it as much as I could hear it. But would you be able to hear the 64'?

Jan-14-2006, 02:48
What is stops? Rests?

Jan-14-2006, 06:16
The average human ear has a hearing range between 20hz-20khz, so by that argument you wouldn't hear the lowest note on a 32' stop since it purrs at 16hz. The lowest note on a 64' stop rumbles/thunders at 8hz. Now, by hearing the note it is meant as a musically definable pitch by the ear as the key of c or d. So, then you get into the realm of infrasonic soundwaves and psychoacoustics when dealing with the low end of 32' and almost the whole rank of a 64' stop.

The 64' Diaphone Profundo at Atlantic City Convention Hall will make your teeth chatter. The infrasonic waves produced really put a powerful bottom octave to the organ plenum. If you were to see the sound wave produced by the 64' Diaphone on an oscilloscope it would have a squarish shape while the Bombarde reed is of a sawtooth shape.

Those square waves have a totally different effect on the auditory nerve than sawtooth waves of the 32' Bombarde and for that matter on the whole body. Think of an orchestral bass drum being pummeled at eight times a second - when that happens you get a sensation of *rolling thunder*. That sort of describes the 64' Diaphone when it is added to the plenum. Of course, if you draw the 32' and play lowest C and G together you'll get the resultant 64' sound.


Giovanni https://www.magle.dk/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wave.gif

Jan-14-2006, 06:26
If you were to play a Bosendorfer Imperial Concert Grand you would get the 32' octave included since that piano has 97 notes https://www.magle.dk/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/cool.gif https://www.magle.dk/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif

Jan-14-2006, 10:18
Oh okay, at least now I know what you are talking about:)

Thanks for your help

Jan-14-2006, 11:25
Hi Gareth,

No, stops aren't rests. https://www.magle.dk/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/snore.gif

Imagine the simplest organ possible: one manual(=keyboard), and one pipe for each key. Usually, an organ manual starts at the c two octaves below middle c (and goes up to between two and three octaves above middle c, so the compass is between four and five octaves).

The lowest c has a frequency of approx. 65Hz (assuming a=440Hz), so the laws of physics tell you that its pipe must have a height of approx. 8 feet. If you align all the pipes, they get of course smaller and smaller as you go up the scale, like a pan flute. This array of pipes is called a stop (well, I really should say "rank", but forget about that for the moment), and one then speaks of an 8' stop, referring to the height of its largest pipe.

Now organs usually have not one, but several stops (i.e. several pipes for each key). The pipes of different stops may differ in shape (influencing the colour of the sound) or in size (changing the pitch), or both. For example, if the pipes of the previous 8' stop are aligned in front of you, one pipe for each key, you may imagine a second array of pipes behind the first, with each pipe having half the length (and thus sounding an octave higher) of that in front of it. So you now have an 8' stop and a 4' stop.

Organs then have a mechanism allowing the player to let the wind flow into each stop separately, via drawknobs next to the manual, one knob for each stop: pull it and the pipes of the corresponding stop will sound as soon as you press the keys; push it back in and the pipes will remain silent.

Press the middle c key and hold it down: you don't hear anything as long as you haven't pulled any stops. Now pull the 8' stop: you'll hear a middle c. Push the 8' stop back and pull the 4' stop: you'll hear the c one octave above middle c. Pull both stops, and you'll hear both.

In this example, you should not, however, think of the 4' stop as giving the means to play parallel octaves in a Liszt-like manner: its purpose is rather to artificially add harmonics to the 8' stop. You may likewise have an 2'2/3 stop, a 2' stop, a 1'3/5 stop, etc. (adding 3rd, 4th, 5th harmonics, respectively: 2 2/3=8/3, 2=8/4, 1 3/5=8/5). You can then use these stop in any combination you see fit (of course, the 8' stop, sounding at the normal pitch, should always be drawn, except maybe for very special effects).

As I said before, you may also have several stops at the same pitch, with pipes of different shapes. The main parameter is the ratio diameter/length: if the diameter increases, the sound becomres softer, more flute-like. The material may change: the "main" stops have round metal pipes, but some stops have square wooden pipes. Another variation is that some stops have pipes that are closed at the top. There are also reed stops, where the sound is not produced by air vibrating in the pipe (like in a flute), but by a reed (like in a clarinet, or like your lips when playing the https://www.magle.dk/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/trump.gif), so that's an entirely different family of stops altogether.

Most organs also have mixtures (in another post, you asked about those, too). A mixture is one stop having several pipes for each key, each pipe giving a harmonic for the corresponding pipe of the 8' stop. For example, a mixture may be a combination of a 2'2/3, a 2', and a 1'1/3 stop (giving 3rd, 4th and 6th harmonics). Each of these three individual arrays of pipes is then called a rank of the mixture, and one talks about a 3-rank mixture.

So why have only one drawknob for all the ranks of a mixture at once, and not one knob for each rank individually, to add more possible combinations? Well, most of the time, the harmonics given by a mixture will change as you go up the scale. For example, a four-rank mixture may give the 6th, 8th, 12th, and 16th harmonics at the lowest c, but at some "break" point replace the 16th harmonic by a 4th harmonic, then replace the 12th harmonic by a 3rd harmonic at a second "break" point, etc. Thus, a mixture is really more complicated than just a bunch of stops aligned in parallel.

You also asked about "great". Well, as you probably have noticed, most (larger) organs have not one, but several manuals. Each manual then has its own collection of stops. Usually, one manual is the "main" manual, called Great in English, Grand-Orgue in French, and Hauptwerk in German.

Jan-14-2006, 14:26
So a manual is basically one keyboard??? And another one is another keyboard above it???

Jan-14-2006, 15:01
Exactly. And the pedal is just another keyboard, with keys that are much larger, because feet are bigger than fingers (this also forces the pedal to have a smaller compass, usually between two and two and a half octaves).

So a two-manual-plus-pedal organ is really three organs-in-one.

Bigger does not always mean more beautiful, but the simple fact that there are more than one manual can be exploited in several ways.
<ul type="square"> The two hands can play on two different manuals. The quintessential example here are Bach's trio sonatas, with one voice for the right hand, one for the left, and one for the feet. Careful selection of different stop combinations for different manuals contributes to a greater independence of the three voices.
You can alternate between manuals, when the music alternates between passages of contrasting "moods", or to obtain echo effects.
Spatial effects can be obtained, especially when the pipes of different manuals are contained in different organ cases (for example, on baroque organs, it is quite common to have a separate organ case behind the player, connected to the first manual).
It is often possible to couple one manual to another. This is a mechanism by which pressing the keys of the lower of the two manuals also push down the corresponding keys on the upper manual. In the romantic repertoire, coupling becomes essential: suppose you've got three manuals and you couple III to II, III to I, and II to I. Then by playing first on III, then on II, then on I, you really add more stops at each change of manuals, hence a "stepwise crescendo" not unlike similar passages in orchestral music when more and more instruments come into play.

Of course, when confronted with such a wealth of possibilities, it is easy to get carried away and try all sorts of crazy things, changing registration every five seconds ("registration" means "choice of stops and manuals"). An organist with good taste resists such temptations and only changes registration at appropriate places. It is perfectly all right to play, say, a Bach fugue from start to finish without any stop changes. If the fugue has a clearly defined divertimento in the middle, it may be appropriate to switch to manual II (with a lighter registration), then go back to manual I for the re-exposition.

In short: your registration should always be subordinate to the musical structure of the work itself.

Jan-14-2006, 17:25
Changing the registration was difficult at first(I couldn't change them fast enough, by the time I changed it, I lost my spot in the piece.) That is until I started using pistons(The little white buttons under the manuals, programmed preset stops "registrations" same as the "toe studs" the big knobs above and sometimes around the pedal board. In which a music teacher at my high school mislead me(A few weeks ago) by telling me those were the stops!)-Did I explain this correctly?

I found out later that they are the same as the pistons basically.
Those made it so much easier for me!

Jan-14-2006, 17:52
Hi Gareth,

Glad I could help - It certainly seems like there is much to learn about the Organ and there is but oh how interesting the possibilities are! https://www.magle.dk/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif

Open this link for an interesting instrument: Wanamaker Organ (http://www.wanamakerorgan.com)


Giovanni https://www.magle.dk/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wave.gif

Jan-14-2006, 18:15
Here is a list of what I know so far-
If there is something incorrect in here please tell me because I belive the motto ( beware of false knowledge, for it is worse than ignorance itself):

:Manuals:- The keyboards named by their division in stops:

Great Organ= The main division of the organ, has some of the most powerful stops.

Swell Organ= The second division, Pipes inclosed in Swell box that has shutters to open or closed by the means of a swell pedal.

Choir Organ= The third division, has alot of the softer sounding stops for vocal accompaniment usually.often placed under the Great manual because of the location of the pipes for that division(explained by giovannimusica and acc earlier in this thread.)

Solo Organ= The fourth division, I'm actually not so sure about this division...

Some other divisions are the Echo Organ and Fanfare Organ...

:Stops:- a stop is a set of pipes in which the pipe organ works on. Different sizes cause different octaves 8' being the foundation size for the manuals, 16' being the foundation size for the pedalboard. At least one foundation stops needs to be drawn( Except if the registration calls for different than this...) and a rule I learned very quickly: don't use more stops if a few is all you need (don't draw more if it isn't needed).

there are mutation stops as well- if x=stop size (x 3/5')= seventeenth and (x 2/3')= Twelfth or maybe I have this backwards....


there are families of pipes-

A) Flues:
the pipes in which air hits the mouth the pipe and spliting at the top of the mouth vibrating the air column.

the flue families-

Diapason(or Principal):
Diapason,Principal,Octave,Twelfth,Fifteenth,(Ans some Mixtures)

(I'll write more next time, I don't have alot of time..)

I'll write and continue this abit later...

Derrick(aka bonh-101)

Jan-14-2006, 20:27
Hi bonh-101,

What you say is mostly correct. Just two comments.

1) Swell being second and Choir third depends on the type of instruments. For example, in French and German romantic instruments, Choir tends to be second.

2) Mutations produce harmonics, i.e. sound whose frequency is a multiple of the frequency of the fundamental sound. If you multiply frequency by 2, the pitch goes up an octave, 3 gives a twelfth, 4 a fifteenth (i.e. two octaves), 5 a seventeenth, 6 a nineteenth, 7 a minor twenty-first, 8 a twenty-second, etc. Physics tells you that to multiply the frequency by 2 (say), you have to divide the length of the pipe by 2. Same for 3, 4, etc. Therefore the successive hamonics are given by simple computations with fractions, like in good ol' primary school:
- 8' (fundamental)
- 8'/2=4' (octave)
- 8'/3=2'2/3 (twelfth)
- 8'/4=2' (fifteenth)
- 8'/5=1'3/5 (seventeenth)
- 8'/6 = 1'1/3 (nineteenth)
- 8'/7 = 1'1/7 (minor twenty-first)
- 8'/8=1' (twenty-second)
- etc.
If your fundamental is at 16', successive harmonics look like this:
- 16'/2=8'
- 16'/3=5'1/3
- 16'/4=4'
- 16'/5=3'1/5
- 16'/6=2'2/3
- 16'/7=2'2/7
- 16'/8=2'

Jan-15-2006, 13:07
I'm not in physics yet and my science teacher very breifly went over frequencies...

I started learning all of this about two weeks ago.
I am happy I have found this website though, because I'm different then all of my classmates, They listen to stuff such as R&amp;B rap hip-hop ect.
I listen to Bach and this is where I can get help from professionals and talk about the organ which at my age is found very unique said my band teacher. I try to talk to my friends but when I talk they give me the blank stare.
Also what I was writing up there earlier I knew about that(manual thing, it's just I was rushing because my mother said my time was up.)

I just really like this webpage and am happy to have stumbled upon such a place.

Jan-15-2006, 17:06
If you're not comfortable with physics, don't worry; the math will do (for now) - just remember that the height of a mutation must be a fraction of that of the fundamental stop (e.g. the fifth harmonic of a 16' is given by 16/5=15/5+1/5=3' 1/5) and that the succession of the first eight harmonics of a C will give you an ascending sequence C-C-G-C-E-G-Bb-C.

As for your age - well, I don't know what your actual age is, but my own interest in the organ began when I was around 15, and the situation was no different then than it is now. Heck, I didn't even attempt to talk about organ with my classmates at school.

Jan-17-2006, 17:44
That's when I started liking it. I am serious about it now and am only 16. I have learned all up to now in about 3 weeks I understand mutations but I don't understand Mixtures and what the Roman numerals are about.

Jan-17-2006, 18:24
A mixture is a stop with more than one pipe for each key, and the roman numeral simply indicates the number of pipes per key.

Jan-17-2006, 18:27
Hi bonh-101,

The mixture stops give color, brilliance and texture. They can also serve to fill-in or *thicken * the sauce for the registrational dish you are preparing - not unlike what a chef at a fine restaurant does. The roman numerals serve to identify how many ranks or *sets* of pipes that are controlled by that stop.


Giovanni https://www.magle.dk/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wave.gif

Thomas Dressler
Jan-19-2006, 18:55
An interesting discussion here! I'm going to chime in (oh boy LOL) with a couple thoughts, a bit here and a bit there to catch up.

First, going back to articulation: Yes, legato is not entirely banned from Baroque playing, but as I said, it is not the norm as it is in Romantic playing. When using legato articulation with dissonances, it depends on the kind of dissonance and how it is resolved. Appogiaturas are generally resolved in a legato or almost legato fashion. Suspensions can be resolved legato, but if they act as an escape tone with no immediate resolution, it's often more dramatic to make a sharp articulation after the dissonance. Passing tones, which are generally on a weak beat and come before a strong one, are played with an articulation afterwards in order both to make the passing tone sound weaker and the following note stronger.

Legato or very close articulation also sounds good in chromatic passages. While one generally never plays legato over a barline in Baroque music, there are undeniable times when Bach marked this, such as, for instance, the counter subject in the Passacaglia fugue. My belief at this point is that he marked these because one would not normally play this way.

Really, I believe articulation in Baroque music should be flexible, but not based on legato as the norm.

As to age, I became interested in the organ--and especially the music of Bach--at about 13. Believe me, I had no one among my friends to discuss it with! Even now--this is why I spend time on these forums! https://www.magle.dk/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif

There are a number of approaches to registration that kind of boil down to maybe 2 major approaches, both inter-related--one of color and one of function. You'll get an interesting set of ideas here because Giovanni seems to be from the color school and I am mostly from the function school, but it depends on the music I'm playing. Let me explain what I mean. The functional approach applies mostly to earlier music such as Bach. In this case, organs were built and pieces were composed with certain kinds of registrations in mind. A plenum, or full organ, was generally built up in the German school based on using the Principals at the various pitches, starting from low and adding higher ones successively to make a louder or fuller sound. The mixture, in this case, is an integral part of the sound, adding more power and brilliance in the final stages of building up a chorus.

In the color approach, which is a later concept (but don't get this wrong--Bach and earlier organists were concerned about color too, especially in pieces that were not for plenum registrations) the stops are used in a more free way. The French Romantic composers such as Franck and Widor still had definate ideas on how the organ should be registered, but in general, organ playing of the 19th century and later is conceived with more freedom in combining stops. Organs were designed this way and music was composed with this in mind. And in this case, Giovanni's idea of a mixture being part of a "sauce" is more of the way it is done.

Yes, the roman numerals on Mixture stops indicate the number of pipes that play for each key. Mixtures generally have pipes that play at the unison and at the fifth, though there were times when Mixtures were made with pipes that also play at the third. But the idea is that these sounds are meant to reinforce the harmonics, not to sound like separate notes playing.

Jan-19-2006, 19:23
Yeah Tom,

I'm somewhat hobbled in my approach to organ playing since my Organ Teacher used the Dupre-Method(all of Bach's works in the Dupre editions) of organ playing. My teacher wasn't a luminary like Joan Lippincott or William Hayes, just a parish organist with tons of talent and a modicum of formal education.

Thomas Dressler
Jan-19-2006, 19:35

I've never thought of your posts as being hobbled! Just because we have different approaches or different areas of interest doesn't mean one is better than the other! Musicianship or ability to feel the music is the main thing, and the other stuff, the scholarly stuff, is there to reinforce the musicality. I think you have lots of perceptive things to say, and while I guess I can come across as strong in my opinions, that doesn't mean I think someone with a different approach is wrong. (I do know about the Dupre edition--that's what I learned first!)

Jan-19-2006, 20:24

If you were here I'd give you a hug and a stiff single malt scotch - you are a gentleman and I was only being facetious https://www.magle.dk/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif https://www.magle.dk/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif https://www.magle.dk/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif

I didn't sense any powerful opinionating from you - you know your stuff and you wish to share with others and I respect you as a musician who far outstrips me.

Giovanni https://www.magle.dk/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/tiphat.gif

Jan-19-2006, 22:59
Glad to have you back, Tom! https://www.magle.dk/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/cheers444.gif

I must say - a nicely detailed description of how to use legato in baroque music.

As for colour, I wouldn't say it came later than function, but rather that it tends to differentiate between the French and German schools, both in the baroque and in the romantic period. The French baroque composers (Couperin, Marchand, etc.) already had a very precise idea on how their works ought to sound, even to the point of putting stop names into their titles (Tierce en Taille, Basse de Trompette, etc.). So Franck and Widor really only kept a tradition that already existed for two centuries.

Jan-19-2006, 23:13

You made a nice fill-in about *color*. I do believe that some German composers for organ were sensitive about color - they had all those piquant stops of the *Schnarrwerk* class like Apfelregal, Knopfregal, Musettenregal, trompeten-musette, messingregal and many, many others. A veritable botanical garden of short resonators with a myriad of shapes and constructional materials which *colored* very much a solo line.


Giovanni https://www.magle.dk/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wave.gif

Thomas Dressler
Jan-19-2006, 23:35
Yes, you're both quite right about color in Baroque registrations. Registration in general is complex enough that we could start different threads for each topic: French Classical (or Baroque), German Baroque, French Romantic, 20th century Orchestral, English practices, etc. (as well as two areas I am fuzzy in--Italian and Spanish registration practices!)

But I do want to make clear that I did not mean the German Baroque organists and builders were not concerned about color. But when it came to combining stops in plenum combinations, there were conventions that were generally expected to be followed. The Germans tended to register as I mentioned in another thread about Bach registration (although Bach himself was likely a bit off the beaten path.) The French had the Plein Jeu, which is like a German Principal chorus, as well as a completely different concept, the Grands Jeux, which is basically the cornets and big reeds combined--a very different concept than early German practices--AND YET I believe Bach was familiar with French registration practices and used them in his music.

[This can get extremely complex, which is why I tried to condense it into simple terms, but that never holds up when you start to talk details and exceptions. . .]

But it is Bach's likely familiarity with French practices which informs my own Bach registrations. I have never been able to get his music to work well with a completely French Grands Jeux, but when playing the E-flat St. Anne Prelude, for instance, if I'm on the right organ I do a combined German/French registration which is based on a Principal chorus, but I see if I can get a cornet to blend in. Almost without exception I prefer reeds in the chorus in that particular prelude because of its French character. So yes, in this sense, color is extremely important. While I advocate knowing the practices of the period in question, I do not advocate a "one size plenum fits all" approach, even though it might sound that way. I think you need to know the norms in order to know how to deviate in an artistic manner.

When it comes to smaller pieces, then there are ALL KINDS of colors possible. The French were very specific about these colors, and even when it comes to playing Bach, it's a good idea to know these practices. I think the Germans may have allowed more freedom in color choices at that time, actually.

Perhaps it would be instructive to start different threads in some of these areas. I would be quite fascinated if someone knowledgeable would start threads on Italian and/or Spanish practices, along with some good references.

Jan-20-2006, 02:18
I must confess that I never thought about starting Bach's St. Anne on a Grand-Jeu https://www.magle.dk/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/trump.gif - but now that you say it, it makes perfect sense!

Obviously, you're right about the "one plenum fits all" being a poor way of registering. I didn't mean to say that Bach or Buxtehude were insensitive to colours. It is a pretty safe guess to say that they did care about them - it's just that there is so little about it we actually know for sure (as opposed to the French repertoire). Do we know whether they even had clear-cut rules like the French?

Actually, that's one of the things I like so much about Harald Vogel's recordings of Buxtehude's organ works (published by MDG): the refinement in his search for colours is just amazing!

Jan-20-2006, 02:24

Jan-20-2006, 17:34
My friends are curious about the drawknobs(what they look like)
and I am wanting to buy some. Where might I find some for sale(separately)?

Thomas Dressler
Jan-20-2006, 18:53
I would check first with a local organ builder. They might even have some extras laying around that they'd be willing to give you. When I was a teenager, groups would go to visit the Moeller organ company (here in the US) and they would routinely give everyone a stop knob as a souvenir. Most of us drilled holes in them to put them on our keychains. I had mine until the hole wore out.

Jan-20-2006, 21:49

Now that's a very good point indeed! https://www.magle.dk/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wink.gif

Jan-20-2006, 23:42
I am in a military family and I am in Italy... I don't know of any organ builders in Naples... (That speak english)..

Jan-21-2006, 01:06

You are a wonderful soul - I was going to write a little blurb but then a sudden case of Cerebral Flatulence struck and that which was on my mind for this thread vanished without a trace https://www.magle.dk/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/shake.gif https://www.magle.dk/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/banghead3.gif https://www.magle.dk/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/bawling.gif

Therefore I left only a period in the message field.


Jan-21-2006, 01:12
You might try giving a call to Giovanni Tamburini:





Giovanni https://www.magle.dk/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wave.gif

Thomas Dressler
Jan-22-2006, 05:25
Hi bonh,

Are you in Italy for a specific amount of time? If you are, I'd see if you can get to see and hear some of the historic Italian instruments. I wish I could tell you where to look--perhaps someone else could tell you more. I've heard a few recordings and the ones I've heard are very nice. They are different from the typical German, French, or English (American) designs we see here in the US (for various reasons, but the most apparant one being that there are no mixture stops--all the ranks are on separate stops.) The only Italian-ish organ (I'm speaking historic now, not Rufatti) I've had the opportunity to play is one by John Brombaugh.

It would be great if you could check around and maybe even go see one and tell us about it!

Jan-22-2006, 11:34
I am here for about 2 more years. If I find anything, I will certainly come here. This is the ONLY place I can talk and ask about the Organ. But I am not really sure where to look. We are in the area near Vesuvius, if fact, I can see it from my front yard!

Feb-05-2006, 15:10
Everybody I contacted said that they don't sell them separatly.
I've tried Allen and Ruffati, the other link that you gave me didn't work for some reason. I don't think I'll ever find what I'm looking for. So far I haven't seen any organs other than the one in the Catherdral in Venice( I saw the organist in the loft playing and the pipes).

Feb-06-2006, 05:35
Hi bonh-101,

Try this Organ builders link:


I hope this will help.


Giovanni https://www.magle.dk/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/tiphat.gif

Feb-17-2006, 21:56
I'm sorry, I haven't been able to get here at all, I've been studying more on the organ. I have Hauptwerk V1 and it is really nice. Oh by the way(Thomas Dressler), I know the organist at my church and she plays for and Italian church on a real pipe organ, I am going to ask to go along one time, I will tell everything that I see,

Thomas Dressler
Feb-19-2006, 04:33
That sounds exciting, bohn-101! We'll be looking forward to reading your impressions!

Mar-08-2006, 19:23
This isn't much, but I was coming home with my dad. We were going down an old road and we passed by a big church. I peered inside, and I saw a large organ ( well, actually I saw the oft and pipes, but still!) it was a glimpse, but it was cool!