30/07/18

Here is a description of the ranks in my Virtual Theatre Pipe Organ.

    1. Tibia Clausa.

    2. The Tibia Clausa is a large-scale, stopped wood flute pipe, usually with a leathered lip.

       The Tibia Clausa provides the basic foundation tone of the organ with few overtones or harmonics.

       The Tibia Clausa is arguably the most important rank of pipes in a theatre pipe organ, with some organs having as many as 5. My organ has four Tibias.

       The stop shares similarities with the Bourdon and the Gedackt found in some church pipe organs.

       In the 18th and 19th centuries, Tibia Clausa was sometimes used as an alternate name for Doppelflüte.

       Most tibias are made from wood, although a few examples of metal tibias may be found.

      The Tibia Clausa, or Tibia, is generally found at 16′, 8′, 4′ and 2′ pitches as a unified rank.

      The mutation ranks Tibia Quint 5 1/3′, Tenth 3 1/5, Nazard 2 2/3′ and Tierce 1 3/5′ are also drawn from this unified rank of 97 pipes.

      In some larger organs, a second Tibia rank may be present, extended to 1′ instead of 16′, allowing a 1 1/3′ Nineteenth mutation and a 1′ Fife to be drawn from this rank.

      A few of the largest theatre organs, and some church organs, may have a separate 32′ Tibia Clausa rank of 12 pipes.

      This installation has five 32' stops. In smaller organs, a Bourdon or Stopped Diapason may be substituted for a Tibia Clausa at 16′ pitch.

      The Tibia may be voiced on wind pressures from 10″ to 25″ WP (water pressure).

       

       

    3. Vox Humana.

    4. An unusual sound always used with the trems on and rarely used by itself.

      IMO it sounds like a bunch of nanny goats gargling water.

      A theatre organ should have at least one of these ranks.

      The Vox Humana (Latin for "human voice;" also "voix humaine" in French and "voce umana" in Italian) is a short-resonator reed stop on the pipe organ, so named because of its supposed resemblance to the human voice.

       As a rule, the stop is used with a Tremulant, which undulates the wind supply, causing a vibrato effect.

      The Vox Humana is intended to evoke the impression of a singing choir or soloist, though the success of this intent depends as much upon the acoustics of the room in which the organ speaks as it does the voicing of the pipes.

      It is almost invariably at 8′ pitch, though on theatre organs it is not uncommon to encounter a chorus of Vox Humana stops at 8′ and 4′ pitch, with the addition of a 16′ acting as a pedal stop; not in my organ.

      The Vox Humana is one of the oldest reeds in organ building, based on its appearance in very early instruments.

      It is common on French classical organs in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, where it was used as a solo voice.

      The Vox Humana also appears on German and Dutch organs of the period, though not as frequently as in France.

      French organs in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries almost invariably featured a voix humaine in the Récit (the most commonly enclosed division of the French romantic organ), though by this time the literature had evolved and it was used to play rich, harmonic chordal progressions.

      Many American organs built in the romantic style include a Vox Humana in order to facilitate the playing of this literature.

       

    5. Open Diapason.

    6. A flue stop that is intended to be the backbone of the sound, and traditionally and most commonly at 8′ on a manual, and 8′ or 16′ on the pedals. It may be open or stopped, but will always be clarified as "stopped" if it is.

      It is the quintessential tone of the pipe organ.

      This stop is included in almost every organ. Diapason stops are non-imitative; that is, their sound does not attempt to imitate that of a particular instrument and its sound is unique to the pipe organ.

       

    7. Diaphone.

    8. Wind-blown organ pipes come in two broad types: flues and reeds. While the Diaphone is in many ways similar to reeds, it is considered to be in a class by itself, sometimes called "valvular". Instead of a reed, it employs a beating palette to produce the vibrations which are amplified and fixed in frequency by a resonator. Unlike beating reeds, the pitch of a Diaphone is not affected by variations in wind pressure. (This is also true of free reeds.) Diaphones are uncommon, and are found most often in theatre organs. Diaphonic pipes are typically only used in the 16' and 32' octaves.

      Audsley provides a drawing (reproduced here) of the Diaphone in what he calls "its simplest form" with the following description:

      In this treatment we find a likeness to the action of the ordinary striking reed — a likeness which is absent in the more complicated Diaphones in which pneumatic motors are introduced. A is a quadrangular piece of hardwood, bored in the manner shown at B, and firmly attached to the block of the boot C. From this block rises the resonator, which is either inverted pyramidal in form an constructed of wood, or inverted conical in form and made of stout zinc. D is a disc-valve, faced with felt and leather, and carried on the spring E in the manner indicated. The spring E is forked in its lower part, and is held firmly between the sliding pieces shown at F. The spring is regulated by moving these pieces up or down, shortening or lengthening the effective portion connect with the disc-valve. The action of this appliance is simple and resembles that of the ordinary striking reed. When compressed air is admitted from the wind-chest into the boot G it immediately acts on the more exposed surface of the valve D, driving it against the opening of the bore B. The valve rebounds under the action of the spring E, allowing a puff of compressed air to enter the resonator through B. The valve is again closed and again opened, and the action continues so long as the boot is supplied with compressed air. In this, as in all other forms of the Diaphone, the rate of vibration of the valve is controlled by the vibrating column of air within the resonator, and is not affected by increased pressure in the pipe-wind.

      The Diaphone never attained widespread usage, and found a permanent home only in the theatre organ — and in lighthouses as a foghorn. According to Maclean, it proved somewhat unreliable, requiring more careful and frequent servicing than flues and reeds. Audsley also questioned its durability, and claimed that it was almost impossible to secure tonal uniformity throughout a rank of Diaphones pipes

      Strony reports that on the theatre organ a Diapason is rarely extended below 8' C with flue pipes; instead, Diaphone pipes are usually employed in the 16' and 32' octaves. Two types of Diaphone are used: metal and wood, the latter being louder.

      While the Diaphone is in many ways similar to reeds, it is considered to be in a class by itself, sometimes called "valvular".

      Instead of a reed, it employs a beating palette to produce the vibrations which are amplified and fixed in frequency by a resonator.

      Diaphones are found most often in theatre organs.

      I would not use this stop in a full organ registration.

      In a home installation you would not run this stop at full volume, as you would hear it a large auditorium.

      Diaphonic pipes are typically only used in the 16' and 32' octaves.

      In my organ it appears in the pedal 32' and 16', Accomp 8' and solo 8'.

       

    9. Horn Diapason.

    10.  A variety of Diapason with a horn-like tone, resulting from the pipes being slotted.

      A very useful stop that is important in softer and mezzo forte accompaniment registrations.

      It is also important in building mezzo forte registrations on the Great.

      Unfortunately, it is missing from far too many instruments.

      The Horn Diapason is one of those “in between” stops that is bright; yet it has a good deal of fundamental.

      Because of this, it is an excellent binder for the flutes, strings, light reeds, and larger diapasons.

      Wurlitzer included the Horn Diapason in many instruments between 13 and 17 ranks, and in most of their larger organs.

      The 16' pitch is sometimes called Diaphonic Horn; the 4' pitch is sometimes called Octave Horn.

      A variety of Diapason with a horn-like tone, resulting from the pipes being slotted. While the organ builder Walker & Sons of London, England apparently favored this stop, as did Wurlitzer somewhat later, the tone of the Horn Diapason is rather maligned in the literature. Audsley describes it as having “a horny and somewhat stringy quality which fails to satisfy the sensitive musical ear”. Bonavia-Hunt says “the quality of tone imparted by the slot to large or moderately-scaled diapason pipes is objectionable on account of its hybrid nasality”. Wedgwood calls it “horny and sometimes somewhat ‘sugary’ and cloying”, and says that it “rapidly becomes wearisome”.

      Not surprisingly, the Horn Diapason found a home in the theatre organ. Strony writes:

      A very useful top that is important in softer and mezzo forte accompaniment registrations. It is also important in building mezzo forte registrations on the Great. Unfortunately, it is missing from far too many instruments.
      The Horn Diapason is one of those “in between” stops that is bright; yet it has a good deal of fundamental. Because of this, it is an excellent binder for the flutes, strings, light reeds, and larger diapasons.
      Wurlitzer included the Horn Diapason in many instruments between 13 and 17 ranks, and in most of their larger organs. The 16' pitch is sometimes called Diaphonic Horn; the 4' pitch is sometimes called Octave Horn.

       

       

       

    11. English Post Horn.

    12. This is the brightest and sharpest brass sound on the Theatre Organ, or any other organ for that matter.

      It is generally the loudest stop in any organ in which it is found.

      It is a trumpet-like sound that is extremely bright and full of overtones.

      Most often it is used without any Tremulant.

      It is the final stop added to Forte registrations and has many uses in registrations with fewer stops as well.

      It can be used as a solo stop when playing brass stabs is used as that one sharp pedal bass note at the end of a passage, but I don't think anyone would want to play a melody on it alone.

      Without this important stop, it would be like removing the trombones from a large orchestra - no razz!

      Although similar in name to the gentle English Horn, these two stops could hardly be further apart in tonal quality. The English Post Horn was originally designed by Hope-Jones as a 16' Reed in his reconstructed Swell division which, with its weighty flue-work (Diapason Phonon and Tibia Clausa), required something really startling in its Reed chorus by way of contrast. This function was admirably fulfilled by his Double English Horn (to give it its original name), which at the time it was introduced, represent the extreme limit of brassy, strident Reed tone, the quality of which is most aptly described by Wedgwood as a “thin blare”. At a later period, when Hope-Jones came to design the Wurlitzer Theater organ, the top found its true vocation, as its tone is predominantly theatrical in character. The combination in 8 ft. pitch of the Wurlitzer English Post Horn with the Tuba Mirabilis, both on a wind pressure of about twenty-five inches, represents the nearest possible organ approximation to the tone of orchestral brass instruments played ff.

      Strony calls the English Post Horn “the king of theatre organ chorus reeds”, and reports that it typically appears at 8' pitch, and at 16' in the manuals to tenor C, but is sometimes extended down to 16' for use in the pedal. He also states that all theatre organs of greater than 11 or 12 ranks “MUST have an English Post Horn. To not have one would be tantamount to giving an artist all of the primary and secondary colors, except for red.” The name English Horn on a theatre organ is a synonym for English Post Horn, not for Cor Anglais.

       

       

    13. Brass Trumpet.

    14. A very brassy chorus reed intended to imitate the orchestral trumpet.

      It is a brilliant addition to the Theatre Organ ensemble, can be used with just a few additional stops, and is a useful solo stop.

      Brass chords, stabs and other embellishments are another good use for this stop.

      It can be used with or without Tremulant, depending on the musical requirements and taste.

      A bit of majesty can be added to this stop by using some echo in the audio setup.

       

    15. Trumpet Style D.

    16. One of their trumpets, used in their Style D model theatre organs, was tonally a cross between a Trumpet and a Tuba.

      Unlike other Wurlitzer trumpets which featured brass resonators, this one had resonators of Hoyt metal.

      IMO one of the sexiest stops in the theatre organ.

       

    17. Tuba Mirabilis.

    18. A very loud and powerful chorus reed, not recommended for full organ.

      All large theatre organs included a Tuba Mirabilis, the finest examples being by Wurlitzer, having a dark yet very powerful tone.

      In my organ this rank has a 32' extension;  32' Contra Bombarde.

      Remarks: The same treatment as the solo string and diaphonic diapason; cannot have it too loud in a home studio.

       

    19. Tuba Horn.

    20. Virtually every theatre organ over 10 ranks has a Tuba Horn.

      While this is a wonderful sound, it comes on small organs with mixed blessings.

      Its sound is very round and dark; i.e. not very bright.

      While it's pretty when played with the Tibias, or as a solo voice, it is not a sound that completes the full ensemble of a small theatre organ.

      It is an important filler sound that binds all of the brighter sounds, like the Strings, Colour Reeds, and Trumpet to the fundamental sounds, like the Diapasons and Tibias.

       

    21. French Trumpet.

    22. A reed of normal scale having parallel or untapered shallots with full-length openings developing brilliance in the tone.

      The French Trumpet is essentially a low-pressure reed, and its quality is the result of efforts to produce power with a light wind, such as could be developed with a bellows operated by hand or foot power.

      The tone is not well suited to small, unresonant buildings, but in large buildings with good acoustics will provide a striking brilliance to the Swell.

      The 16' French Trumpet on a 5 inch wind, makes an ideal double reed for the Swell organ, free from the usual heavy thickness of the conventional double reed.

       

    23. French Horn.

    24. While these names suggest a stop imitative of the modern orchestral or “French” horn, their meanings are often different.

      According to Williams, in the 16th century the names Horn and Hoorn frequently indicated a Cornet mixture, especially in the Netherlands and northern France.

      Audsley gives us the first known citation of an organ stop named French Horn, in a 1724 instrument by Renatus Harris at “St. Dionis Backchurch”.

      Audsley also reports that the orchestral horn was first used in England in 1720.

      Other sources, however, point out that Harris's horns stops, as well as those of his contemporary Bridge, were of trumpet quality, though slightly muffled.

       

       

    25. Oboe Horn.

    26. The Oboe Horn was invented by Robert Hope-Jones. It is most often described as a cross between the Oboe and the Horn, though Sumner describes it as a hybrid of an Oboe and a close-toned Trumpet.

      In construction it resembles a large-scale unimitative Oboe; Wedgwood says that it had weighted tongues, and Irwin describes its resonators as having two inverted conical sections, the upper being of wider flare than the lower, sometimes capped & slotted.

      Norman & Beard occasionally made this stop under the name Cor-Oboe. It is found at 16' and 8' pitch.

      Regarding the theatre organ stop, Strony writes:

      This theatre organ voice is very similar to the standard Oboe that has appeared in church organs for many years. Its use in a theatre organ is twofold: most importantly, it is an accompaniment stop; and secondly, it is a delicate, but dark solo voice.
      Many theatre organs of 15 ranks or more included this stop. All builders made it and most examples are very similar. However, some Barton organs had an Oboe Horn that was much different. It was much louder and fuller - more of a chorus reed than an accompaniment stop.
      Normally, it appears only at 8' pitch, but some instruments have a 16' Oboe Horn.
       

       

    27. Clarinet.

    28. This is a favorite solo stop on British and American organs, and can be one of the most successful organ imitations of an orchestral instrument. It is usually found at 8' pitch, occasionally at 16', and rarely at 4'.

      Since this organ stop is, generally speaking, imitative, the history of the orchestral instrument of the same name may help provide some perspective. While the invention of the clarinet can be traced to Denner at the end of the 17th century, the name clarinet did not appear until around 1732, having been known earlier by the name chalumeau. However, these early clarinets were tonally closer to the oboe than the modern clarinet, whose tone did not develop until the early 1800's.

      While Grove dates the organ stop from 1790 (Clarinetto in southern Germany), it does not appear with any frequency until the mid-1800's. Grove traces its origin to the Cromorne.

      The Clarinet is usually constructed with half-length cylindrical metal resonators, which reinforce the odd-numbered harmonics (as with a stopped flue pipe), and give the stop much of its characteristic hollow tone. This construction is especially common in France, England and America, where it is usually made as a striking reed. Audsley provides the illustration reproduced to the right. In German and Swiss Romantic instruments it was usually a free reed, with a tone that Audsley and Wedgwood disparaged as feeble, thin, and not imitative. Some examples have bells, which enhance the even-numbered harmonics, and some have inverted-conical resonators, which produce tones which are even less imitative. The resonators may be open, shaded, or capped. Wooden resonators have occasionally been used, either square or cylindrical. Audsley gives the Clarinet a medium-scale closed shallot with a triangular opening.

       

    29. Krumet.

    30. A reed stop of the Regal class, found on theatre organs. Strony lists Krumet with the following description:

      This is a unique color reed that was included on many larger Wurlitzers and on some smaller “Special” organs. Other builders also made examples of this stop. Its sound is a unique cross between the Clarinet and Kinura. In some instruments, it is the loudest of the buzzy color reeds. The Krumet appears only on the manual divisions at 16' TC and 8' pitch.

      Irwin says:

      It ... was introduced early in the [20th] century to provide yet another 8' unison solo color for the enjoyment of moving picture audiences. Examples vary a great deal, some a little like the Vox Humana, others with a horn-like tone, perhaps called Krumet Horn.

      Maclean gives it cylindrical resonators which are longer than those of the Kinura.

       

       

    31. Kinura.

    32. An 8' or 4' reed stop of the Regal class, invented by Hope-Jones and found almost exclusively on theatre organs. Few sources outside the theatre organ world have anything complimentary to say about the tone of the Kinura, likening it to a thin or poorly voiced Oboe. Irwin describes it as “a great mass of inharmonic as well as harmonic partials that merely approximate the pitches of the notes”. Strony describes it as follows:

      This stop is the clown of the theatre organ. Its “bee in the bottle” sound has been the essence of many a novelty tune for many years. Every theatre organ over ten ranks has one. Examples range from the extremely “pushy” sets built by Gottfried and Morton; to the middle of the road sound built by Wurlitzer; and finally, to the more transparent and delicate sound favored by Kimball. This stop is rarely, if ever, used alone by itself.

      Wedgwood provides the following information regarding the construction of the Kinura:

      The original experiments in the construction of this stop were conducted with cylindrical brass tubes continued through the block and forming the shallot or reed. They were made of brass tubing, with a long “flat” filed through a considerable part of one side. On to this was soldered a brass plate, against a slit in which the tongue was seated. In other cases this shallot extended about one-third the distance up into the reed tube. The bore at middle C was about 1/4 in. diameter; but the tongues were so thin that it was practically impossible to complete the compass. Eventually the stop was made like the Oboe, or of small-scaled half-length tubes, pierced at the top and surmounted by an adjustable hood-shaped lid.

      Irwin describes it as having extremely short inverted-conical resonators with extremely wide flare. The name Kinura is a Greek word meaning a 10-string harp.

       

       

    33. Orchestral Oboe.

    34. An 8' stop voiced to imitate the orchestral instrument of the same name. (The ordinary Oboe is usually not imitative.) This stop has been made in a number of forms, nearly always as a reed, but sometimes as a flue. George Willis is credited with the invention of this stop, and the form used by him is described by Audsley as follows:

      The resonators are of an extremely slender inverted conical form, devoid of bells, and having closed upper ends and long and narrow slots adjoining them. This form of resonator is shown in [the illustration reproduced here], which is drawn from the Willis Orchestral Oboe in the Organ in the Town Hall, Huddersfield. The reeds or éschalotes are of very small scale, and have their stopped ends formed at an acute angle upward from the lower edge of their faces. The tongues or languettes are very narrow, of good substance, and finely curved, as usual in all Willis reeds.

      Essential for the WurliTzer ensemble.

       

    35. Musette.

    36. A reed stop of 8' or 4' pitch, imitating more or less the instrument of the same name, a small bagpipe. It has been made in a number of forms, employing both free and beating reeds. Regnier (by way of Audsley) gives it half-length “pyramidal” resonators. The earliest description we have comes from Dom Bedos, along with the larger of the two illustrations reproduced here:

      The Musette is a reed stop with inverted conical [spindle] resonators of pure tin, posessing the full compass of either the Positif or Grand orgue. Although the resonators be of 4' length, this stop speaks at 8' pitch. Its tone is somewhat lighter than that of the Cromorne, and it resembles that of a bagpipe. This stop is still rather unfamiliar in France.

       

      It has a moderately soft, brilliant, piercing, plaintive, nasal, and pleasant tone; imitating more or less the instrument of the same name, a small bagpipe. An important ingredient in a full string/Vox chorus, along with the 8' Krumet, if you have one. George Wright made the comment that if your organ has one of these, you will be tuning it almost every day! That is one thing I don't have to worry about with my VTPO.

       

    37. Brass Saxophone.

    38. The best imitation of the orchestral Saxophone has been achieved by Haskell using labial (flue) pipes; labial Saxophones are described under Cor Glorieux. Reed saxophone stops are large-scale Clarinets, found at 16' or 8' pitch; most sources describe them as being rather less than completely successful. Free reeds have also been used; see Contra Saxophone. Regarding the Brass Saxophone, Strony writes:

      This is one of the most sought after voices in modern day theatre organs. Original Brass Saxophone pipes are made of spun brass, and look like small brass trumpets. Unfortunately, many examples did indeed sound like small trumpets.
      Maclean describes Wurlitzer's brass Saxophone as having half-length resonators, and a “somewhat raucous” tone “bearing but little resemblance to that of the actual band instrument”. He also describes another interesting example:
      There is an interesting reed Saxophone by Anton Gottfried in the C.B.C. studio organ, Toronto [Ontario, Canada]. The resonators are mainly cylindrical, with a narrow, flared bell at the top. The same builder also experimented with the productionof Oboe and Saxophone tones from what he called “Flat-Front” open metal pipes, in which about one third of the circumference was flat, and parallel to the mouth.

       

      This is one of the most sought after voices in modern day theatre organs. Original Brass Saxophone pipes are made of spun brass, and look like small brass trumpets. Unfortunately, many examples did indeed sound like small trumpets. Like the Vox Humana, the Saxophone or 'Brass Saxophone' is not at all imitative of its namesake, but is an important voice in the theatre organ ensemble. The tone has been described in various ways from a Clarinet with laryngitis to 'buttery' to a 'big pushy Vox Humana'. Wurlitzer made theirs with spun brass resonators, like their Brass Trumpets.

       

    39. Lieblich Flute.

    40. On classical organs this name is used for a Lieblichgedeckt of 4' pitch. On theatre organs it is a synonym for Lieblich Gedeckt, and can be found at 8' or even 16' pitch. Wedgwood considers Gedecktflöte and Sanftflöte to be synonyms. Maclean considers Flûte d'Amour and Flûte Douce to be synonyms. The name comes from the German word lieblich, meaning “lovely”. Lieblichpfeif may be a synonym.

      A beautiful smooth flute stop that takes the Tremulant and produces a sweet tone, similar to a Gedackt. Much lighter than the tibia Clausa.

       

    41. Concert Flute.

    42. This stop has the distinction of having more names than any other organ stop, by a considerable margin. The words traverse, quer and their variants mean "across", referring to the manner in which the orchestral flute is played. The word Allemande and its variants means "German"; The name Vienna Flute is most likely derived from Wienerflöte. Theobald Boehm was a Bavarian instrument-maker who made important improvements to the orchestral flute during the first half of the 19th century. Grove cites the name Travesiera in the entry for Flauto, but does not make it clear whether the word Flauto properly precedes it. Traversa is mentioned only by Williams, who does not define it, saying only “see Flauto Traverso”. Maclean claims, possibly erroneously, that Flûte Creuse is also a synonym

      In Theatre Organs, Concert Flutes are typically very similar to the Melodia of classical organs. Kimball, Morton and Moller reportedly used wooden harmonic pipes for their Concert Flutes, at least in some cases. While Wurlitzer did produce a Harmonic Flute, their Concert Flutes did not employ harmonic pipes.

      The Concert Flute is the most basic representative of flute tone in the Theatre Organ. This is the basic open flute tone with both odd and even harmonics, sounding in the appropriate register quite like its orchestral counterpart.

       

    43. Spitzflote.

    44. These names, of which Spitzflöte is by far the most common, denote an open flute stop whose pipes are conical in form, as shown by Audsley's illustration reproduced here. All of the names describe or suggest the pipe form, except for Iula and Jula, which have alternate meanings. The name Spitsfluit does not appear in the literature; we assume it to be a synonym. While this pipe form is a common one, dating back to the late 15th century (according to Grove), it is not always clearly evidenced by the name on the stop control.

      The amount of taper has varied considerably, with the top diameter being as much as 3/4 or as little as 1/5 the diameter at the mouth. According to some sources, the English have typically used a gentler taper than the Germans. The pipes are usually tuned by means of large ears. The stop is nearly always made of metal, though pyramidal wood pipes have sometimes been made, usually for the 8' octave.

       

      Tonally, the Spitzflöte is usually classified as a Flute/String hybrid, and occasionally as a Flute/Diapason hybrid. Its tone has been described as reedy or breathy, and blends very well. It has been made at every pitch from 16' to 1', including mutations; indeed, tapered pipes are frequently used for mutations because of the excellent blending quality that can be obtained. The most common pitch for the Spitzflöte is 4', with 8' being only slightly less common. This stop has much in common with the Gemshorn, so much so that it is sometimes difficult to distinguish between their pipes or even their tone. Most sources, though not all, give the Spitzflöte a sharper, more pointed taper than the Gemshorn. The Gemshorn is often slotted, whereas Audsley warns that the Spitzflöte must never be slotted. The Spitzflöte typically tends more toward flute-tone than the Gemshorn.

       

    45. Harmonic Flute.

    46. The principle of the harmonic pipe — making the pipe twice its normal length and then overblowing it to speak the octave — has been known at least since the early 17th century. It was used infrequently until Cavaillé-Coll invented the Flûte Harmonique, an open metal harmonic flute stop first used in 1841 in the Church of Saint-Denis near Paris, France. Cavailleé-Coll placed seven harmnic flute stops in that instrument, using the names Flûte Traversiére Harmonique, Flûte Octaviante Harmonique and Flûte Octavin Harmonique, as well as Flûte Harmonique. It soon became popular in both France and England. While Audsley claims that Cavailleé-Coll was the first to use harmonic metal pipes, they were well known to Praetorius.

      The tone of this stop varies a good deal across different examples: it may be loud or soft, dull or bright. Unlike its close relative the Orchestral Flute, it is not necessarily imitative. While Hopkins & Rimbault, Skinner and Maclean speak of its good blending qualities, Wedgwood states that it can muddy the tone of the Diapasons, and Sumner warns that "care must be taken to prevent it from disturbing the purity of the diapason chorus".

       

      Harmonic flutes are constructed from open pipes which are twice the normal speaking length. The pipes are overblown to speak their first harmonic (the octave). This rank usually has a very bright tone. In some cases the Tremulant is much lighter.

      On the theatre organ, Strony tells us that the Harmonic Flute is an orchestral flute found only in larger instruments, usually at 4' and 2' pitch. Wurlitzer's examples have little in common with the French Flûte Harmonique, being more like an Orchestral Flute.

       

    47. Quintadena.

    48. The most common name is Quintadena. Several sources consider these names to be synonymous Quintaten and Quintade, a claim supported by actual usage, though Sumner calls the Quintadena a “small quintaten”, and Irwin maintains that it contains more twelfth than the Quintaten or Quintade, and is louder overall. The name Schallenpfeifen means “bell pipes”, and refers to the tone rather than the form of the pipes.

      A stopped flute of 16', 8' or 4' pitch, usually made of metal, in which the 3rd harmonic (twelfth) is prominent. The most common name is Quintadena. It gives more colour to the Concert Flute and Tibia Clausa.

       

    49. Gamba.

    50. An unimitative string stop of 32', 16' or 8' pitch, one of the more common and generally useful string stops. See also Viol, Viola da Gamba.

       

    51. Viole d'Orchestre.

    52. At the Inventions Exhibition of 1885, William Thynne introduced a new stop of his invention which he named Viole d'Orchestre. (That instrument was later moved to Tewksbury Abbey.) Audsley considered it a near-perfect imitation of the orchestral violin. Ironically, there is no such instrument called “viole d'orchestre”; the French call the orchestral violin violon.

      Thynne's scale for this stop varied from 2-3/4" to 1-1/2" at 8' C. Later builders used even smaller scales, down to 1-1/16".

      Audsley specifies a 2/9 to 1/3 mouth, cut up 1/4 to 1/3. The Orchestral Violin is commonly considered to be the keenest string stop in the organ, producing the highest upper frequency content obtainable from flue pipes.

      It is invariably found at 8' pitch, except on some theatre organs which unify it to other pitches. It was most popular in the first half of the 20th century.

      This stop is commonly considered to be the keenest string stop in the organ, producing the highest upper frequency content obtainable from flue pipes.

      It is invariably found at 8' pitch, except on some theatre organs which unify it to other pitches. It has been called the "Frying Bacon Stop of the organ".

       

    53. Salicional.

    54. These names, of which Salicional is by far the most common, derive from the Latin salix, meaning “willow”. Salicis Fistula means “willow pipe”, a rustic flute made from a branch of a willow tree. Dating from the late 15th century, it was originally, according to Williams, rather flute-like in tone, but later evolved into a string stop whose tone varied considerably across centuries and continents. In the 17th century the Salicional was a specialty of Habsburg Europe, from which Snetzler brought it to England where it became very popular in the 19th century. Wedgwood tells us that the German Salicional was a “horny” string, the French variety a quiet Diapason, and the English variety a slightly stringy Dulciana. Bonavia-Hunt and Maclean describe its ideal tone as an echo Geigen. Skinner claimed the Salicional as a stop native to America, and voiced it more keenly than his Gambas. Now one of the most common string stops, it is most often found at 8' pitch, but can also be found at 16', 4', and rarely 2'. At 8' pitch it is often accompanied by the Voix Celeste.

      One of the softest string stops in the organ.

       

    55. Dulciana.

    56. The true English Dulciana is a diminutive Diapason, smaller in scale, softer and more delicate in tone. It is often the softest stop on the organ in which it is placed. It was introduced to England by John Snetzler in 1754 at the Church of St. Margaret, Lynn Regis (King's Lynn), Norfolk. It brought him great acclaim, and was soon a favorite of English organ builders. Snetzler probably encountered the name while working as a junior builder with Egedacher of Salzburg, Austria. According to Grove, those early Dulcianas were as likely to have been small-scale Dolcans as miniature Diapasons. Grove dates the name from as early as c1640, indicating gentle flue stops of various forms in non-Latin Europe. Eventually English builders apparently grew tired of the tone of the Dulciana, and began voicing it with a stringy tone, or even a horny tone like the Keraulophone. In 1905 Wedgwood wrote without remorse: “the real Dulciana is rapidly becoming obsolete, yielding its place to the Salicional.”

      While most sources agree on the definition of the Dulciana as a diminutive Diapason, and not a string, E. M. Skinner saw it differently. Acknowledging its origin as an Echo Diapason, he writes:

      Reference has been made to the Dulciana as belonging to the Diapason family, because of its lack of string quality, but this is erroneous as its scale is out of the Diapason range. It may be appraised more accurately as a muted string.

       

      The true English Dulciana is a diminutive Diapason, smaller in scale, softer and more delicate in tone. It is often the softest stop on the organ in which it is placed.

       

    57. Unda Maris.

    58. Properly a soft celeste made from one or two open or stopped flute ranks, the name Unda Maris has been used for both sharp and flat celestes made from a variety of stops, both flutes and strings. According to Wedgwood and Audsley, some French builders (e.g. Puget) used the Quintaton (see also Quintaphon). Norman & Beard used two Zauberflöte ranks, one tuned sharp and one tuned flat, in their organs in Norwich Cathedral, England (1889), and Christ Church, Lancaster Gate, England. Skinner's Unda Maris used Dulciana ranks, which Skinner considered to be a string, and was tuned sharp like all of his celestes. Skinner considered it to be native to the United States, but Grove and Williams date it from the 18th century in south Germany.

      Adlung describes this stop as a Principal rank tuned sharp and intended for use only with the normally tuned Principal. Maclean describes Gottfried Silbermann's Unda Maris as being of Diapason scale, and intended to be used with the 8' Principal (see Voce Umana). Adlung also states “at Waltershausen the Unda maris 8' is a rank with double lips that produces two sounds, one of which is somewhat sharper than the other.” Could this have been an early form of Ludwigtone?

      During the 20th century, this stop was commonly tuned flat, leading to a widespread belief that the name Unda Maris properly denoted a flat-tuned celeste, in spite of historical evidence to the contrary.

      The name Unda Maris means “wave of the sea”.

       

      Properly a soft Celeste made from one or two open or stopped flute ranks, the name Unda Maris has been used for both sharp and flat celestes made from a variety of stops, both flutes and strings

       

    59. Tibia Minor.

    60. This name was used by John Compton for an 8' stopped flute of very large scale, which Bonavia-Hunt gives as 2 1/8" at middle C, and Wedgwood gives as 6" by 5" at CC for a wooden pipe, or up to 6" for a metal pipe at CC. It was made of wood or metal, or metal with a wooden bass, similar in construction to the Tibia Clausa of Hope-Jones, but having a very narrow mouth: 1/6, according to Bonavia-Hunt. The upper lips were leathered, arched, and cut high, 1 3/4" for a wooden CC, according to Wedgwood, who provides the illustration reproduced here (click on it for a larger image). Irwin claims it is of small scale, but provides no further details of construction or history. The tone of Compton's Tibia Minor is described by Wedgwood (and quoted by Audsley) as follows:

      The tone of the Tibia Minor is extremely effective. In the bass it is round an velvety with a suspicion of smooth French Horn quality. In the treble the tone becomes very clear and full. The top notes of this stop, indeed, bear in them some resemblance to the full liquid notes of the Ocarina, though free, of course, from the undesirable features of that instrument. Whilst entirely devoid of the objectionable hooting quality sometimes displayed by powerful Flutes, it forms a solo stop of remarkably fine effect, and in combination serves to add much clearness and fulness of tone to the treble, and, in general, exercises to the fullest extent the beneficial characteristics of the Tibia class of stop. If only by reason of the faculty so advantageously exercised, of thus mollifying and enriching the upper notes of other stops - too often prone to become hard, strident and thin in tone - the Tibia Minor deserved recognition as one of the most valuable of modern tonal inventions.

       

       The tone of the Tibia Minor is extremely effective. In the bass it is round and velvety with a suspicion of smooth French Horn quality. In the treble the tone becomes very clear and full.

       

    61. Pedal Tibia Pizzicato.

    62. In my organ this rank is unenclosed and is specifically included to provide a string bass sound.

       

    63. Violin.

    64. At the Inventions Exhibition of 1885, William Thynne introduced a new stop of his invention which he named Viole d'Orchestre. (That instrument was later moved to Tewksbury Abbey.) Audsley considered it a near-perfect imitation of the orchestral violin. Ironically, there is no such instrument called “viole d'orchestre”; the French call the orchestral violin violon. Thynne's scale for this stop varied from 2-3/4" to 1-1/2" at 8' C. Later builders used even smaller scales, down to 1-1/16". Audsley specifies a 2/9 to 1/3 mouth, cut up 1/4 to 1/3. The Orchestral Violin is commonly considered to be the keenest string stop in the organ, producing the highest upper frequency content obtainable from flue pipes. It is invariably found at 8' pitch, except on some theatre organs which unify it to other pitches. It was most popular in the first half of the 20th century.

      The Orchestral Violin is commonly considered to be the keenest string stop in the organ, producing the highest upper frequency content obtainable from flue pipes. It is invariably found at 8' pitch, except on some theatre organs which unify it to other pitches. It was most popular in the first half of the 20th century.

       

    65. Viola.

    66. An imitative string stop of 16', 8' or 4' pitch.

      In Italy and Spain after the middle of the 18th century, the name Viola indicated a Regal stop.

      There are alternate meanings for the name Cremona.

       

    67. Flauto Dolce.

    68. These names have been used for soft flue stops of various tones and constructions. Both wood and metal have been used; in metal, the pipes have been made cylindrical, conical, or inverted conical. Williams dates Flauto Dolce from the late 16th century. Most sources consider these names to denote unimitative flute stops, and Maclean states that it is generally akin to the Melodia. Sumner, however, calls the Dulzflöte or Dulcianflöte; "a dulciana with outward taper and quiet string tone", and Skinner writes: "The Flauto Dolce and Flute Celeste are not flutes in the strict sense. They represent muted strings." Skinner goes on to describe it as having slender, tapered pipes with small mouths, slightly stronger than a Dulciana, and becoming a Dulciana in the upper octave and a half. Audsley provides a drawing of one form of this stop, reproduced here, calling it the "cylinder-lipped flute", having a depth equal to 5/6 of its width, and a cut-up rather more than 1/3.

       

       

    69. Solo String.

    70. Maclean describes this stop as follows:

      The Solo String was a Wurlitzer variety of the [Hope-Jones String Gamba] designed for theatre use. The word Solo in this instance had reference to the Solo expression chamber in which it was normally placed, rather than to any suggestion of value in a solo capacity.

      Strony has this to say:

      A powerful and bright String that appeared on larger instruments. The Publix #1 model had a Solo String in each chamber. Sometimes these tow strings are at different volume levels, with the one in the left chamber being softer than the one on the right.
      The Fox-Special Wurlitzers had especially wonderful examples voiced on 25" wind pressure, which was necessary to make a statement in those large instruments installed in larger buildings.
      Most Solo Strings are only extended down to 8' pitch. On the big instruments, a 16' Octave was provided.
      In the manuals, it usually appears at 16' and 8' pitch. On a Wurlitzer, the Solo String is the loudest of all the Strings.

       

      The Solo String was a Wurlitzer variety of the [Hope-Jones String Gamba] designed for theatre use. The word Solo in this instance had reference to the Solo expression chamber in which it was normally placed, rather than to any suggestion of value in a solo capacity. A powerful and bright String that appeared on larger instruments. The Publix #1 model had a Solo String in each chamber. Sometimes these two strings are at different volume levels, with the one in the left chamber being softer than the one on the right. The Fox-Special Wurlitzers had especially wonderful examples voiced on 25" wind pressure, which was necessary to make a statement in those large instruments installed in larger buildings. Most Solo Strings are only extended down to 8' pitch. On the big instruments, a 16' Octave was provided. In the manuals, it usually appears at 16' and 8' pitch. On a Wurlitzer, the Solo String is the loudest of all the Strings. As with any large stop in a home installation, one cannot run it at full blast, otherwise deafness will ensue. However, in saying that; it does add a grand sound to the ensemble.

       

    71. Echo Vox Humana.

    72. Echo Vox Humana is mentioned only by Irwin, who says:

      A soft Reed stop of 8' manual pitch, similar in tone to the Vox Humana, but more muffled and softer. This stop is sometimes labelled Vox Mystica. It may be placed in an inner swell box for additional softness. It sounds as just a whisper of extremely high overtones. Its tenuous, soft timbre is most effective in chords near the middle of the keyboard. Here it may seem to give no sense of pitch at all.

       

      A soft Reed stop of 8' manual pitch, similar in tone to the Vox Humana, but more muffled and softer.


     

    © Owen Jones

    This site was last updated
    30/07/18

     


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