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Using the Crescendo Pedal

Playing or learning the organ, hints, tips and tricks, registrations, techniques, fingerings, ...
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SchlueterWill

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Using the Crescendo Pedal

PostFri Jul 05, 2013 9:08 pm

Hello,
I am speaking of the Metz extended sample set here. I programmed the crescendo pedal soon after getting the set, but I'm not truly satisfied with what I've got. Does anyone have any suggestions/ general guidelines for setting up a crescendo? For example, do you put the great stops on first, or swell first, or all keyboards simultaneously? and when are good places to add the couplers? etc etc.
Thanks much.
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RichardW

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Re: Using the Crescendo Pedal

PostFri Jul 05, 2013 9:40 pm

I always look at this when trying to find out about CC registrations:

http://www.sonusparadisi.cz/en/blog/reg ... tic-music/

Regards,
Richard
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ldeutsch

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Re: Using the Crescendo Pedal

PostSat Jul 06, 2013 2:13 pm

With todays consoles sporting dozens of pistons and hundreds of memory levels, the crescendo pedal is often overlooked or ignored. However, it can be a very useful tool in many aspects of performance.

I have visited several theater organ installations where the crescendo pedal affects only the great and pedal - and is almost always used as a substitute for a "sforzando piston", bring on a full organ effect.

This is not how I was taught to use the crescendo - especially on concert organs. In fact, I recall a rather prominent Los Angeles area organist advising me to use the crescendo pedal at his church for most registration changes when I substituted for him for a few weeks once a very long time ago!

Usually, the crescendo pedal is programmed so that, if you leave all the physical stops and couplers "off", there is a reasonable and balanced registration available at every stage in its sequence. In other words, ignore the stops and couplers, put the crescendo at any point, and you can play reasonably well. This is great advise to programming your own sequence.

Modern crescendo pedals (including those I have created within Hauptwerk) have the ability to both add and subtract stops as the pedal is increased. Despite this, I usually only add stops - since this is how traditional mechanical pipe organ crescendo pedals (and rollers) work.

I program my own crescendo pedals to begin with the quietest stops - but still in balance between the divisions - and gradually increase in volume. I start with flues only, and only 8' pitches on the manuals. I add 4' and then build the upper work. I then add lighter reads, 16', and then the big reads. I usually do not include couplers in the sequence - but this is a matter of taste.

There has been some debate among Hautwerkians about the merit of the traditional "blind" crescendo pedal versus one in which the physical stops move when the pedal is depressed. Hauptwerk can make it work either way. However, I am definitely in the camp that believes the crescendo should be blind, causing no movement of the physical stops. In this way, you can create a registration by hand or piston, use the crescendo to get louder for a while, and the back off to retain the original registration. In fact, one of the neatest "tricks" of the trade is using the crescendo pedal to mask registration changes during performance:

Start with some registration. As you ply, use the crescendo to get loud and full. While at full organ, find the time to re-register the physical stops - you will likely not hear these changes because of the engagement of the crescendo pedal. When you have completed making the registration change, begin backing off on the crescendo. When you get it back to "zero" the organ will have the new registration.

Les
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MikeDC

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Re: Using the Crescendo Pedal

PostSun Jul 07, 2013 8:38 pm

I'm no expert here, but I think you'll really want to consider the instrument as well. For example, on the French instrument you would draw the reeds before the mixtures, but on an American Classic instrument (as Les is describing), you would typically build the upper work before bringing on the reeds.
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Pbechler

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Re: Using the Crescendo Pedal

PostThu Jul 04, 2019 5:27 pm

How do I program the crescendo pedal. It no longer works.
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engrssc

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Re: Using the Crescendo Pedal

PostThu Jul 04, 2019 6:42 pm

Pbechler wrote:How do I program the crescendo pedal. It no longer works.


We need more detailed information in order to help.

Rgds,
Ed
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engrssc

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Re: Using the Crescendo Pedal

PostThu Jul 04, 2019 6:44 pm

Excellent pointers, Les. Thanks for sharing.

Rgds,
Ed
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IainStinson

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Re: Using the Crescendo Pedal

PostFri Jul 05, 2019 3:52 pm

It is perhaps worth noting that
The earliest type of automatic crescendo device was the Rollschweller (German for "roll-sweller") or Walze (German for "roller"), seen in large Romantic music era organs of the nineteenth century, almost exclusively in Germany. It is often “required” / used in music from the German Romantic period, such as music by Liszt, Reger, Rheinberger, Karg-Elert.

For this type of music, I understand, it was set to start with the softest combination and build up to full organ, and then when reversed reduce the organ back to the softest combination and tended to focus on playing on the principal manual and pedals. Often these were fixed by the organ builder.

When using the crescendo pedal, you need to ensure that the pedal line is played leaving a foot free to operate the pedal.

Iain

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