DIYAPASON-L Digest #24 - Tuesday, February 1, 2000
 
Introduction for new list
  by "Eric Sagmuller" <ess4@psu.edu>
Re: [Residence Organs]  Introduction for new list
  by "Mac Hayes" <mach37@ptw.com>
Re: [Residence Organs] Vox Humana (was Introduction for new list)
  by "Eric Sagmuller" <ess4@psu.edu>
Re: [Residence Organs]  Re: [Residence Organs] Vox Humana (was  Introduct
  by "Bob Loesch" <rrloesch@jps.net>
Melodias and etc.
  by "Larry Chace" <rlc1@etnainstruments.com>
Re: [Residence Organs]  Re: [Residence Organs] Vox Humana (was   Introduc
  by "Eric Sagmuller" <ess4@psu.edu>
Re: [Residence Organs]  Re: [Residence Organs] Vox Humana (was    Introdu
  by "Kelvin Smith" <KelvinSmith@untraveledroad.com>
[Residence Organs]  Re:  Vox Humana
  by "Ron Rarick" <rrarick@gw.bsu.edu>
Re:  Vox Humana
  by "Larry Chace" <rlc1@etnainstruments.com>
Re:  Vox Humana
  by "Kelvin Smith" <KelvinSmith@untraveledroad.com>
Re: [Residence Organs] Vox Humana
  by "Bart Kleineweber" <prinzipal8@hotmail.com>
[Residence Organs]  Re: [Residence Organs] Vox Humana
  by "Ron Rarick" <rrarick@gw.bsu.edu>
Re: [Residence Organs]  Re: [Residence Organs] Vox Humana
  by "VEAGUE" <dutchorgan@svs.net>
Re: [Residence Organs]  Re:  Vox Humana
  by "Mac Hayes" <mach37@ptw.com>
Re: [Residence Organs]  Re:  Vox Humana
  by "Tim Bovard" <tmbovard@arkansas.net>
 

(back) Subject: Introduction for new list From: "Eric Sagmuller" <ess4@psu.edu> Date: Tue, 1 Feb 2000 09:55:34 -0500   Hello friends,   Well here's some information about myself and my project.   As a child I always had an interest in electronic, electric and mechanical things. Growing up I built go-karts and mini bikes. Rebuilt car engines, etc. Built amplifiers and speakers for my stereo systems. Repaired TVs and other things. I've been an Electronics Tech. since out of high school. I'm 40 now and have been working as a Tech. here at Penn State Univ. for the past 8 years. I live near Bellefonte, PA.   During my years growing up at home, my Mom tryed to get me interested in the piano. Unfortunately, not playing well herself, she tryed to teach me rather than getting me lessons with a teacher. This never went very far although I did learn the basics and learned to play some songs. When I became about 20 I gave my heart to the Lord. At this point my musical interests changed drastically from rock to classical and litergical music. Before then I could never see what my Mom saw was so wonderful about classical music. At this point I also really became seriously interested = in the piano. Also receiving a Bach organ record by Biggs, got me started on the road to a real passion for the pipe organ and it's music. During this time I started taking real piano lessons and got a couple of pianos including two real grand pianos I intended to rebuild. I ended up using = the one grand for about 13 years but never did get to rebuild it due to space limitations etc.   In 1990 my wife and I started to literally build our own house from the ground up. At that point I had already decided I would get an organ some day. So we built the house with a fairly large combined living/dining = room. It is a saltbox style house and the (great) room is 13' wide x 30' long x 11 to 20' high. The 20' high side is against the two stories of the front of the house. Trying the quick route, in 1996 I bought a new Allen digital MDS organ thinking this would satisfy my craving for a pipe organ. The first night I played the organ at home I was very disappointed. I had originally tried one of these in a nicely reverberant room and thought it sounded nice. But I soon realized how a smaller room revealed the flaws of the digital = system. After a time a found an Alesis DSP that I connected which did a nice job = of reverb and helped alot along with facing the speakers towards the ceiling. I kept the organ for about three years but just wasn't satisfied with it. During this time I decided I had to go to pipes, and about a year and a half ago I bought a 3 rank Kilgen for a very good price. Then about a year ago I bought about 15 ranks of pipes and chests from Richard Schneider of Schneider Pipe organs. The pipes are from a 1958 Moller and are perfect = for the house. They have low cutups voiced on about 3" wind and light nicking making them sound very nice.   I converted about 1/2 of one of the upstairs bedrooms into a Swell = Chamber. I have an all electric Reisner console and a 16' set of Subbass pipes on the ground floor of the Great room. All of the other pipes will be at the second story level of the house with the Great exposed.   At this point, using the Kilgen chest, I have my 8' Holtzgedeckt and most of my 8' Principal playing. I have a 16' extension for my Holtzgedeckt I just hooked up, as I got my PVC flanges I ordered from OSI. I need to releather the Moller chests yet, but at least I have something to play = now, and boy does it sound nice! Even without reverb it sounds glorious, unlike the digital!   The house still needs some work done in it. The main thing I need to = finish is the Great room. At this point I have one 1/2" layer of drywall on the walls and ceiling. I plan to glue a second 1/2" layer of drywall to the walls. On the ceiling I will either do the same or glue and fasten 1" interlocking pine boards. On the floor I'll use 3/4" oak plank flooring. Then coats of hard paint and varnish where appropriate. This should make the room considerably more alive. Even now though it is fairly alive sounding as is.   Another thing I want to try for reverb is to mike the pipes. Then send the signal through the Digital Sound Processer I used with the Allen, and out of speakers placed around the room. I know this is artifical but I'm dying for some 2-3 second reverb. It really helped the Allen but I may be too much of a purist to be content with it. I wonder if anyone else has tryed this scheme, and the results?   My completed organ will have about 20 ranks. Following is a preliminary stoplist.   Great: (exposed)   8' Principal 61 pipes 8' Rhorflute 61 4' Octave 61 4' Harmonic Flute 61 2 2/3' Quint 61 2' Super Octave 61 Mixture III 183     Swell:   16' Lieblich Gedeckt 12 pipes 8' Holtz Gedeckt 61 8' Viole 61 8' Viole Celeste 49 ? 8' Trumpet 61 8'-4' Principal 73 4' Koppelflute 61 2 2/3' Nazard 61 2' Blockflute 61 1 3/5' Tierce 61 1' Sifflute 61   Pedal:   16' Subbass 32 pipes (exposed) 16' Lieblich Gedeckt (from Swell) 8' Bourdon (metal) 8' Flute (from Lieb. Ged.) 8' Trumpet (from Swell) 8' Principal ( 56 pipes exposed) 4' Choral Bass 2' Octave   Also various couplers, etc. Also I hope to add 12 pipes below and above = the Trumpet making for a unified 16,8,4. If I have room I'd like a Gemshorn = and maybe a Spitzflute too.   Well I guess that's probably more info. than most care to know so I'll quit. Many Thanks to David, Craig and Larry for starting this list. I = think it will be a great blessing to all of us residence organ builders/owners. I'll post my progress once in a while. Someday I hope to have a web sight with pictures.   Eric Sagmuller                
(back) Subject: Re: [Residence Organs] Introduction for new list From: "Mac Hayes" <mach37@ptw.com> Date: Tue, 01 Feb 2000 07:22:36 -0800   Eric Sagmuller wrote:   > ... > My completed organ will have about 20 ranks. ... > Also various couplers, etc. Also I hope to add 12 pipes below and above = the > Trumpet making for a unified 16,8,4. If I have room I'd like a Gemshorn = and > maybe a Spitzflute too. >   But, where's the Vox Humana? You HAVE to have a Vox Humana.   Mac Hayes      
(back) Subject: Re: [Residence Organs] Vox Humana (was Introduction for new list) From: "Eric Sagmuller" <ess4@psu.edu> Date: Tue, 1 Feb 2000 12:26:53 -0500   Mac Hayes wrote:   >But, where's the Vox Humana? You HAVE to have a Vox Humana.   To be honest I've never had the opportunity to use one. There is one available from the same organ I'm getting my Trumpet from. Is there really much use for this stop anymore? What about a Melodia? There is one of = those too. I haven't seen either of these used much on newer instruments of modest size.   Eric      
(back) Subject: Re: [Residence Organs] Re: [Residence Organs] Vox Humana (was Introduction for new list) From: "Bob Loesch" <rrloesch@jps.net> Date: Tue, 01 Feb 2000 09:48:24 -0800   At 12:26 PM 02/01/2000 -0500, Eric Sagmuller wrote: >Mac Hayes wrote: > >>But, where's the Vox Humana? You HAVE to have a Vox Humana. > >To be honest I've never had the opportunity to use one. There is one >available from the same organ I'm getting my Trumpet from. Is there = really >much use for this stop anymore? What about a Melodia? There is one of = those >too. I haven't seen either of these used much on newer instruments of >modest size.     The Vox is too often considered a romantic/theatre organ stop, when it should be considered a form of regal. I don't play much classical music, but have used the vox often in some of Bach's chorales like the melody = line in "Jesu, joy...". I wouldn't consider the Melodia for a classic instrument, but the vox is small, doesn't take up much space, and can be used for many things, IM (not so) HO.   Regards,   Bob, in beautiful Lake County, California, USA   http://www.jps.net/rrloesch   Time flies whether you're having fun or not!   The best things in life aren't THINGS.  
(back) Subject: Melodias and etc. From: "Larry Chace" <rlc1@etnainstruments.com> Date: Tue, 01 Feb 2000 13:24:13 -0500   Eric Sagmuller asked about Vox Humana and Melodia stops. Both come in a variety of tonal qualities and therefore have a variety of musical applicability for a variety of listeners.   The Melodia is also the Hohlfloete, and perhaps so-named gets more respect =   than it gets as "Melodia" (a clearly ambiguous stop name). Some are thick =   and opaque and others are clear and lyric. Some folks have taken to "waxing" the nicks, filling them in but in a quite reversible way, and others have experimented with fitting new metal upper lips (much more difficult and intrusive).   The Melodia used to be part of the Great organ "Trinity" of Open Diapason, =   Melodia, and Dulciana. In that role, it served as an accompaniment to larger Swell combinations, ones that would have overwhelmed the Dulciana. On larger Greats, with 4' Octave and 4' Flute d'Amour (Rohrfloete), it served as a secondary foundation, often blending well = with the 4' (stopped) flute. (And that combination was often mirrored by the Swell's 8' Stopped Diapason and 4' Harmonic Flute.) While folks in the 1890s might not have used the Melodia with the Octave, we are free today = to try such a thing.   In a home installation, "it all depends" upon the voicing of the Melodia. It *might* make an interesting contrast to a stopped (or chimneyed) flute. It might also serve, at 4' pitch, as a gentle Pedal = solo stop.   To continue the name-game, some American "Clarabella" stops are actually Melodias; they have inverted upper lips rather than the normal upper lips perhaps typical of English Clarabellas.   Whether or not a Vox Humana should be, say, the second reed (after a Trumpet) is difficult to say. If Eric were building a theatre organ, he'd =   probably include the Vox first, followed by the Trumpet. Or, he could follow Wurlitzer's approach for church and residence organs and use a (capped) Oboe Horn as the only reed. For the more classical stoplist Eric =   submitted, a Vox *could* work, but it might want to be somewhat less "buzzy" (less of a "regal"). Some gentle experimentation with the regulating caps/flaps might yield some pleasant surprises (as well as some =   fairly ugly disappointments!). The Vox has the clear advantage of small size, something important in many residence instruments. Change its name to "Menschenstimme" and all will be good! ;-) Actually, the fact that the Vox and Trumpet came from the same instrument bodes well for their use =   in Eric's installation. They will at least have a proper balance.   Larry Chace  
(back) Subject: Re: [Residence Organs] Re: [Residence Organs] Vox Humana (was Introduction for new list) From: "Eric Sagmuller" <ess4@psu.edu> Date: Tue, 1 Feb 2000 13:28:49 -0500   Mac Hayes wrote:   >The Vox is too often considered a romantic/theatre organ stop, when it >should be considered a form of regal. I don't play much classical music, >but have used the vox often in some of Bach's chorales like the melody = line >in "Jesu, joy...".   I guess I've thought of it too as more a TO stop. Now that you mention it though I have a piece of music I think " Jesu, joy..." that calls for it. = I remember now playing it on my Allen and not having the Vox H stop, and thinking " what kind of a stop is that?".   I think I'll grab it when I go for the Trumpet. I remember the organist saying how pretty that stop sounded before the Allen was installed that replaced the old organ, and I did wonder whether I should get it. She said the Vox H stop sounds sick on the Allen Expander. It's an "imitation" no wonder! As you say it's small and doesn't take up alot of space.   Eric      
(back) Subject: Re: [Residence Organs] Re: [Residence Organs] Vox Humana (was Introduction for new list) From: "Kelvin Smith" <KelvinSmith@untraveledroad.com> Date: Tue, 1 Feb 2000 13:51:59 -0500   I see a vox humana as a necessity in a classic instrument because Franck frequently calls for it.   Kelvin   >Mac Hayes wrote: > >>The Vox is too often considered a romantic/theatre organ stop, when it >>should be considered a form of regal. I don't play much classical = music, >>but have used the vox often in some of Bach's chorales like the melody = line >>in "Jesu, joy...". > >I guess I've thought of it too as more a TO stop. Now that you mention it >though I have a piece of music I think " Jesu, joy..." that calls for it. = I >remember now playing it on my Allen and not having the Vox H stop, and >thinking " what kind of a stop is that?". > > I think I'll grab it when I go for the Trumpet. I remember the organist >saying how pretty that stop sounded before the Allen was installed that >replaced the old organ, and I did wonder whether I should get it. She = said >the Vox H stop sounds sick on the Allen Expander. It's an "imitation" no >wonder! As you say it's small and doesn't take up alot of space. > >Eric > > > >DIYAPASON-L: a Discussion list for owners and builders of their own >Residence Pipe Organs. >HOMEPAGE : http://www.diyapason.pipechat.org >List: mailto:DIYAPASON-L@pipechat.org >Administration: mailto:owner-DIYAPASON@pipechat.org        
(back) Subject: [Residence Organs] Re: Vox Humana From: "Ron Rarick" <rrarick@gw.bsu.edu> Date: Tue, 01 Feb 2000 14:10:52 -0500   Mac Hayes wrote:   >But, where's the Vox Humana? You HAVE to have a Vox Humana.   Eric wrote:=20   >To be honest I've never had the opportunity to use one. ...Is there = really much use for this stop anymore?=20         It depends on the music you want to play, of course . . . if it's just = Bach, Krebs, etc., the answer is no. If you want to play the romanic literature, = especially the French masters like Franck, the order of need for manual reeds is:   1. Trompette (ideally multiples for different divisions) 2. Hautbois (Oboe) 3. Vox Humana   The romantic-style Vox (which I assume you have access to;=20 we won't get into Baroque versions) doesn't sound like much by itself and you will almost never see it specified as a solo stop. It is like a spice in cooking; you add it to strings & flutes to give the ensemble a haunting, wooley buzz that can be achieved no other way. Really quite charming, although as you can see above not the top priority IMHO. In theater organs it is more so.   I love reeds (although they can be enormously frustrating and demanding) and a romantic-oriented house organ could, space permitting, aspire to all three of those above.   For Baroque registrations the order of need is:   1. Trumpet (conical chorus reed) 2. Krummhorn (half-length cylindrical solo reed) 3. Something else (a half-length or fractional resonator reed like = Musette, Regal, something bright and buzzy)   Unless you're planning on 30-40 ranks, obviously you have to decide your priorities. For us house-organ people who are bottom-feeding the used market, Voxes do become available sometimes because they were removed in the classical "remodelings" of the 60s-70s in favor of a mutation or mixture or whatever. They were often provided on a separate little windchest because they had their own expression box, and those chests themselves are kind of handy for add-ons if it's not a big rank. For *advanced* amateurs, it is also possible to take an old Vox (making sure it doesn't have a valuable pedigree - don't do this to an original E.M. Skinner Vox!!!) and use the boots and blocks etc. and make of it more of a Baroque-y reed by changing the configuration of shallots, tongues, and=20 resonators. Don't rip into your surplus Vox like that, however,=20 unless you've heard a vox played well in Romantic music=20 and know you don't like it! <g>   Ron Rarick        
(back) Subject: Re: Vox Humana From: "Larry Chace" <rlc1@etnainstruments.com> Date: Tue, 01 Feb 2000 14:26:25 -0500   Ron Rarick suggested the possibility of rebuilding a Vox into something else. I've wondered if one might not be able to follow the Mark Wicks plans for roll-your-own paper pipes in order to extend a Vox resonator to = a more Clarinet-ish length. You'd want to have one with regulator canisters =   on the top, rather than soldered-on lids, and you'd remove the canisters = to safe keeping (for restoring the Vox after the conversion has failed miserably!).   The paper resonator extenders might even be "just right" in terms of tightness to the metal resonators so that you could slide them up and down =   for regulation.   One extra consideration is the long boots that are often used on Voxes; they might not be suitable if the resonators were lengthened a lot.   Larry Chace  
(back) Subject: Re: Vox Humana From: "Kelvin Smith" <KelvinSmith@untraveledroad.com> Date: Tue, 1 Feb 2000 14:55:57 -0500   I do not have a separate tremulant for the vox on my organ. The chest came with a weight which I assumed was for a tremulant, but there was nothing else to go with it. So at least for starters I am planning to just hook it up with no trem except the trem for the whole swell division. This would give me the option to use the vox as a regal if I found occasion to do so. I have yet to find out just how this will turn out.   Kelvin      
(back) Subject: Re: [Residence Organs] Vox Humana From: "Bart Kleineweber" <prinzipal8@hotmail.com> Date: Tue, 01 Feb 2000 14:44:29 CST   Dear Eric and List:   The Vox Humana must have had somewhat common usage in Baroque and = Classical music because there is one on almost every organ that Zacharias = Hildebrandt and Gottfried Silbermann built. You can view them at: http://www.fortunecity.com/tinpan/cliff/411/hildebrandt/hildt02.htm   Someday I hope to travel to North Germany to actually hear them. With organs, you know, hearing is believing.   Bart Kleineweber Chicago, IL prinzipal8@hotmail.com ______________________________________________________ Get Your Private, Free Email at http://www.hotmail.com    
(back) Subject: [Residence Organs] Re: [Residence Organs] Vox Humana From: "Ron Rarick" <rrarick@gw.bsu.edu> Date: Tue, 01 Feb 2000 17:19:22 -0500     "The Vox Humana must have had somewhat common usage in Baroque and = Classical=20 music because there is one on almost every organ that Zacharias Hildebrandt= =20 and Gottfried Silbermann built. - Bart"   The notion that the organ might make some kind of noise that resembles a human voice is just about as old as the history of the contraption itself. Almost every organ building tradition, of=20 any country or period, has come up with some kind of stop or effect that can be labeled as such; Vox Humana, Voix Humaine, Menschenstimme, whatever. Mostly they are fractional-length resonator reeds, but even within that category they can be soft or loud, dull or bright, smooth (relatively speaking) or razzy. And there have been flues - even celestes - given the name too. What it comes down to is that like most organ stop names, there is little you can count on unless you specify country and century and maybe even builder. Since this is a house organ forum, we are probably talking about (generalizing here) either=20 1. your basic 1925 -1955 Moller type vox, which is a Romantic voice, or 2. you (the indefinite "you") are a dyed-in-the-wool back-to-the-earth=20 tracker maker (I noted a few of them on this list) who makes things = from=20 scratch or can afford to buy new, in which case you are looking for = maybe=20 the authentic German baroque sound (basically a specialized regal).   You are NOTgoing to get a Silbermann vox sound out of a Moller vox! :-)   Some things I have heard could vie for the title of "Voix Inhumaine."   Later,   Ron Rarick    
(back) Subject: Re: [Residence Organs] Re: [Residence Organs] Vox Humana From: "VEAGUE" <dutchorgan@svs.net> Date: Tue, 1 Feb 2000 17:40:02 -0500   Many builders experimented with "vowel cavity" sounds for Voxes. The caps were made so, to resemble an 'ah' 'eh' 'ee' 'oh' and 'oo' vowel. I enjoy a good vox with strings, and some I've played sounded like goats = in heat!   Rick      
(back) Subject: Re: [Residence Organs] Re: Vox Humana From: "Mac Hayes" <mach37@ptw.com> Date: Tue, 01 Feb 2000 16:11:16 -0800   Ron Rarick wrote:   > Mac Hayes wrote: > > >But, where's the Vox Humana? You HAVE to have a Vox Humana.   > > It depends on the music you want to play, of course . . . if it's just = Bach, Krebs, > etc., the answer is no. If you want to play the romanic literature, = especially > the French masters like Franck, the order of need for manual reeds is: > > 1. Trompette (ideally multiples for different divisions) > 2. Hautbois (Oboe) > 3. Vox Humana   I keep reading about the weakness of Franck's swell organ division, put = forth as a goodly portion of the reason for his frequent addition of oboe to the "fonds". I imagine not too many people living today have heard the St = Sulpice organ as Franck heard it, but considering some of the sounds I have heard on recordings of todays = organs, I suspect a vox humana instead of a moden oboe stop might give a better interpretation of what Franck heard. = Then too, who can say but what Franck heard wasn't what he really wanted to hear? I have listened to some = recordings of Franck (three chorales, Grande Piece Symphonique), with modern reeds that give me the impression that the = organ is registered with cornets on the manuals - too piercing and nasal a sound for what I have become accustomed = to hearing, and I think resulting from a slavish following of Franck's registration instructions without regard = for what the overall effect is. This might also be the effect of reeds kept too well in tune.   What I really want to say is that I think for a residence organ the vox = humana might be more useful than an oboe, or even trompette, unless one has a really big listening room, or buried = pipe chambers.   Mac Hayes      
(back) Subject: Re: [Residence Organs] Re: Vox Humana From: "Tim Bovard" <tmbovard@arkansas.net> Date: Tue, 01 Feb 2000 18:19:25 -0600   At 2/1/00 02:26 PM, Larry wrote: <snip> >One extra consideration is the long boots that are often used on Voxes; >they might not be suitable if the resonators were lengthened a lot.   Hi, Larry, and List!   In case anyone is curious, there IS actually a real reason for the (often almost ridiculously) overlength boots on Vox pipes.   At first glance, (in many 'compact' vox layouts, that is) one would assume the boots are overlength in order for the tuning wires of the pipes to be accessible. This is the *2nd* reason.   The *1st* -- A Vox has what's termed a "fractional length" resonator = (i.e. 8' C is approx 2' long, or 1/4 the "normal" length). In reeds of this type, unusual phenomenon can occur with the occasional pipe, when the volume of the resonator is too close to the volume of the boot. The end result of this phenomenon is an odd pipe or two that just WILL NOT behave (won't speak right...won't tune...won't stay in tune for over 5 minutes...etc). The solution to this problem -- make the boots too big!! I think the term for this is "acoustic coupling"...but don't quote me on that. (is there a physicist on the List???)   We recently took delivery of a brand new Vox stop for one of our organs, and it came out of the crate with standard-length boots on all the pipes, but also several 'extra' boots of various over-lengths -- just for that possibility. Sure enough, there ended up being a pipe or two that you could tune "dead-in"...but as soon as you released the note and played it again, it would be in another key!! Put an oversize boot on the same pipe -- it behaves PERFECTLY!! (though it might look a bit strange...<G>)   Anyway (for what its worth), I thought someone might find this = interesting.   Cheers!   Tim Bovard Nichols & Simpson, Inc. (who just LOVES a good Vox, and already has the one that will eventually = go into *my* house organ!!)