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choice of pedal stops in historic organs

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choice of pedal stops in historic organs

Postby robsig » Mon Jul 11, 2016 10:45 pm

From playing The Zöblitz Silbermann and the Steinkirchen Schnitger it has been interesting to discover that pedal divisions often didn't have 16 and 8 foot flute stops. The use of only principals in the pedals gives a gravity to the sound that is very expressive, and revealing of the character of the times. I liken it to living in towns and villages entirely composed of stone. It gives a serious cast to our experience.

After looking at registrations posted on Contrebombarde and in treatises of the time, I tried playing bass lines with just the 16' stop. Surprisingly, it works! There is a strong 8' harmonic in the sound which fills in for the missing stop.

The same but converse phenomenon applies somewhat on French baroque organs where the deep 8' pedal flute makes up for the lack of a 16' (once you get used to it!).

In the times where the 16' seems indispensable on St. Michel-en-Thiérache I cheat by coupling the manual 16' bourdon to the pedal, and play on the manual an octave higher…

Anyone else have solutions for "missing" pedal stops?
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