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So you want to get to know a Theatre Organ

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So you want to get to know a Theatre Organ

Postby engrssc » Sun Sep 10, 2017 4:46 pm

Check out:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KSkKsC0mOg0

The sound of this Wurli reminds me of "that" sound of the Chicago Stadium Barton. :D

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r1G-vicRfwo

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4R6xR9XY6MA

Listen to the great natural reverb. :) Have ye to hear an electronic reverb like that. :wink:

And then the Paramount 450 using Hauptwerk. (something about saving best till . . . .)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_I-aa0I_Fi8

Rgds,
Ed
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Re: So you want to get to know a Theatre Organ

Postby engrssc » Tue Sep 12, 2017 1:28 am

More good stuff - for every Theatre Organ enthusiast.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uLirO5gupLs

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2k0BoDW2EAk

Rgds,
Ed
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Re: So you want to get to know a Theatre Organ

Postby engrssc » Tue Sep 12, 2017 2:24 pm

Possibly the wrong place to ask this (but it is in regards to Theatre Organ "features"), While "exploring" I came across this video where the organist refers to "trick couplers" :roll: . Never heard of them before. Here is a clip where he explains and demos them as in cool. 8)

https://youtu.be/xFMAfnjg8ZM?t=385

The question - do I assume such a feature has o be included by the sample set producer and not added - after he fact? Could something like this be added with electronic decoders or such?

You can go back to the beginning of that video if you want to learn more about related T/O stuff. Neat. :)

Like sostenuto::

https://youtu.be/xFMAfnjg8ZM?t=25

And 2nd touch:

https://youtu.be/xFMAfnjg8ZM?t=137

BTW, I like pizza also.

Rgds,
Ed
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Re: So you want to get to know a Theatre Organ

Postby Andrew Grahame » Tue Sep 12, 2017 4:30 pm

Perhaps the best-known use of the "trick" couplers can be seen in the Blackpool style of theatre organ playing.

When Reginald Dixon became organist at the Blackpool Tower Ballroom in 1930 he inherited a small Wurlitzer of 2 manuals and 10 ranks which was inadequate for the space and the purpose. After first proving that the organ could do the job of accompanying ballroom dancing - which he did by way of devising his unique style of rhythmic playing - he was later successful in getting a new organ installed in 1935. This instrument, of 3 manuals and 14 ranks, is considerably more powerful than its predecessor. I understand that "trick" couplers were added after World War II, modelled I believe upon those specified in 1938 by Reginald Foort in the design of his travelling 5/27 Moller organ. Eventually this feature became common on many British cinema organs, to the extent that more than a few instruments were built which included a "coupler" manual - usually the top one - which had no speaking stops but was loaded with couplers. Sometimes the coupler manual would also be used to control certain tuned percussions and - in the case of Compton organs - the electrostatic electronic division known as the "Melotone".

The typical "Blackpool" sound is derived from coupling the Great to the Solo at various pitches including quint and tierce pitches. A good illustration of this can be seen in this YouTube clip of John Bowdler at the Tower Ballroom organ.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YbLD9OXl0lM

Here he frequently uses the Solo manual with the trick couplers to add extra punch to the melody. For the most part he's not relying upon the actual speaking stops drawn on the Solo (as they are most likely duplicating what's already there via coupling from the Great) but rather he is using it as a coupler manual.

The Solo stops are at the far right of the horseshoe sweep, and the trick couplers are the cluster of black tabs at the left end of the upper row. The Great stops are across the centre. Notice how he varies the sound of the Solo not by changing the Solo stops but by changing Great stops which are then coupled up to the Solo. The trick couplers are especially pungent when used with the piano. You can see how he often adds the Piano 8 stop by hand to various piston combinations, playing it straight (on the Great) then with the trick couplers (on the Solo).

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Re: So you want to get to know a Theatre Organ

Postby organsRgreat » Wed Sep 13, 2017 4:21 am

One highly talented British organist developed his style around a very advanced use of second touch – he could play melody and accompaniment in just his left hand, leaving his right hand free to extemporise a “counter melody” over the top. Consequently he was known as “the organist with three hands”. He explains the technique at 8' 53” in this video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KwOc07U7vhA
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Re: So you want to get to know a Theatre Organ

Postby Andrew Grahame » Wed Sep 13, 2017 5:04 am

This was Reginald Porter-Brown, who was also an accomplished classical player. When performing at the Guildhall Southampton on the dual-purpose Compton he was swap back and forth with ease between the theatre and classical consoles as required by the repertoire. His skill with left hand second touch was nothing short of astonishing.

Reginald Dixon at the Tower was also highly skilled with second touch. He was left-handed, and often used second touch to take over the melody whilst still playing accompaniment chords on 1st touch, to free up his right hand for embellishments. When he designed the new 3/14 Tower Wurlitzer in 1935 he included 3 second-touch couplers to the Accompaniment - Great, Great Octave and Solo. He was also fond of using 2nd touch on the Great for accenting melody notes or chords.

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Re: So you want to get to know a Theatre Organ

Postby engrssc » Wed Sep 13, 2017 6:54 am

And then there are a few pedal boards with 2T. 8) I've been told that the 2T on the pedals was most often used for percussions (drums, etc). Is that true?

Using both hands, both fee, how about those that also play "by" ear? :shock:

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Re: So you want to get to know a Theatre Organ

Postby Andrew Grahame » Wed Sep 13, 2017 2:13 pm

Wurlitzer organs usually had a toggle switch to allow for the pedal traps and percussions to be switched onto 2nd touch. There would also be a group of pedal 2T stops, usually big stuff, which could be used - for example - for quick accenting of single notes. However I've seen written comment from theatre organists of today suggesting that these days it's hard to find an instance where the pedal 2T actually works uniformly across the entire pedalboard. For the most part, theatre organ technique relies very strongly upon 2T left hand countermelodies on the accompaniment manual, but to a much lesser extent elsewhere. Some organs - eg: the 5/17 Compton in the Odeon Cinema, Leicester Square - only have 2T on the accomp.
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Re: So you want to get to know a Theatre Organ

Postby organtechnology » Wed Sep 13, 2017 4:13 pm

Anyone know of a VTPO that uses a Standard MIDI File percussion system such as a drum machine?
This would mean that if the percussion stop was set the MIDI output would be on channel 10 and send the standard MIDI signals for the percussion.

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Re: So you want to get to know a Theatre Organ

Postby Andrew Grahame » Tue Oct 03, 2017 8:31 am

Here's another fine example of the Blackpool "trick" couplers at work, along with the use of second touch to take over the melody (with the Great to Accomp Octave coupler on 2nd touch) allowing the RH to add embellishments. Look especially at the second time through "Somebody Stole My Gal" at the end of the medley for the latter.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E5xrvVw ... 343F2339ED

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