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Creating Custom Mixtures using pre-existing Ranks

Sampling pipe organs and turning them into something you can play in Hauptwerk.
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ggoode_sa

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Creating Custom Mixtures using pre-existing Ranks

PostMon Jan 25, 2010 4:43 pm

Hi,
I'm considering experimenting with the creation of my own mixture ranks in the CODM using 2' (15th), Nazard (12th), and Tierce(17th), ranks (and additionally taking them an octave or two octaves higher for the 19th, 22nd, 26th, 29th, etc.). Has anyone else tried this? If so, what advice would you have? What is the effect of using Flute or String ranks in Mixtures in comparison to using Principals?
GrahamG
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ggoode_sa

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Re: Creating Custom Mixtures using pre-existing Ranks

PostTue Jan 26, 2010 2:05 pm

Ok, I've started with the 15ths (Principal 2' and Piccolo 2') from the St Augustines, Neutral Bay by Nick Appleton, and created the extensions using Pitch changes to the wave files, creating ranks for the 17th, 19th, 21st, 22nd, 24th, 26th, 29th, 33rd, and 36th. I know that usually the smallest physical pipe is the top C (096-C) from the 2' rank, so a 1' rank would have the upper octave repeated for the top 12 notes. While listening to the 22nd (the 1' rank), however, I can clearly hear the notes up to about the 091-G / 092-G#... above that takes a little more concentration and headphones. So the question is: Where should I break back the ranks? at the 096-C from the 2', or from where things go above my range of hearing? All comments and questions welcome at this stage :-)
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Re: Creating Custom Mixtures using pre-existing Ranks

PostFri Jan 29, 2010 7:18 am

Well, no comments by other users so far, so maybe I'm going 'where no-one has gone before' :-).
A typical 'Fourniture IV' (22 26 29 33) as described by Audsley presents the following 'break' structure:
Break..Note Range...I.....II....III....IV.. MIDI Notes
..1......C1-B1........22...26....29...33 (036-C->047-B)
..2......C2-B2........22...26....29...19 (048-C->059-B)
..3......C3-B3........22...26....15...19 (060-C->071-B)
..4......C4-B4........22...12....15...19 (072-C->083-B)
..5......C5-C6.........8...12....15...19 (084-C->096-C)

If this is the case, then only the lowest octave get's to hear any of the 33rd harmonic! Does anyone else have other authors who present a different break structure for a mixture like this?
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Mike 353

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Re: Creating Custom Mixtures using pre-existing Ranks

PostFri Jan 29, 2010 9:35 am

Do you have access to Silver Octopus' Trio sample set? Charles Braund used separate ranks for the mixtures there.

You are on the right track. Bear in mind that mixtures do not always break on the C's, that the breaks can occur on any note, and that the breaking note could be different in each octave. I'm guessing that you have not actually bought any sample sets, but have used only the free ones. If you had the St. Georges Casavant set, you would quickly see what I mean.

Also, pitches that are not octaves, but fifths (12, 19, 26, etc.), are usually softer than the octaves and not as bright. If you use the same tone quality for all pitches, the principal chorus with mixture included starts to take on the quality of a reed. Again, if you have access to the Trio set, the Swell 2' Octave is less bright than the Great 2' Octave, and, if you used those two for building mixtures, the Swell octave could be used for the "fifths" and the Great octave then would be used for the "octaves.

By the way, you are correct in that, past the bottom octave, you lose the high pitches. The purpose of a regular mixture (not the higher pitched Cymbales, Acutas, etc.) is to add brilliance and definition to the lower pitches of the keyboard, and to "fill out" the sound in the higher range.

I would be glad to correspond with you further on this subject, either in this thread, or by personal email, and to give you any help that I can. I do have books giving the composition of many mixtures, as well as some personal experience working with pipe organ mixtures.

Michael Moore
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Franz64

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Re: Creating Custom Mixtures using pre-existing Ranks

PostFri Jan 29, 2010 12:22 pm

Hi,
I'm also very interested in the composition of mixtures. There is little info on the web, scattered here and there. In summary, there is nothing like an universal recipe for making a mixture or fourniture. From various sources, I have assembled tables of mixture composition of various organs, which are summarized graphically here. No surprise that the plena of different organs sound different. And of course pitches are only part of the story, with scaling and voicing doing the rest, as Mike says.
Mike, I would be glad if you share some more info on this subject!
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ggoode_sa

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Re: Creating Custom Mixtures using pre-existing Ranks

PostFri Jan 29, 2010 1:45 pm

Hi,
Wow, a picture being equal to a thousand words... there's lots of info there :-) I don't have the Silver Octopus' Trio as my budget just won't stretch that far. I bought Hauptwerk Basic during last year after saving up for it... and so I have a few of the $100 range sample sets (so far!) that I got from family last Christmas and this Christmas. Plus my work on the Stiehr-Mockers (Jeuxdorgues2), and Nicks great St Stephen's and St Augustine's. I'm experimenting with the St Augustine's ranks, so all this information is wonderful.
Franz, I'd like to get hold of the tables that you have created, if that's ok? I find this all fascinating and want to see if I can recreate some great sounding mixtures via this method. Mike, I'd like to know what you think about using flute or string ranks in Mixtures? :)

Thanks!
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Mike 353

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Re: Creating Custom Mixtures using pre-existing Ranks

PostFri Jan 29, 2010 4:27 pm

Graham, to answer your question about using string or flute ranks in mixtures, generally the answer is no. String ranks are far too bright, if you could even get strings that go that high. I know that the Fifteenth in theatre organs usually comes from the VDO rank, and it is far too bright for mixture work.

It is possible to use bright Flute ranks, like a bright Waldflute, especially for the "fifth" ranks (12th, 19th, 26th, etc). Those pitches need to be softer and not have as many overtones. A theatre-style Piccolo has too much fundamental to blend into the rest of the mixture.

Franz, I am impressed with the graphs that you posted. I will try to get back later this evening with some more information from some of the books that I have

Michael Moore
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Re: Creating Custom Mixtures using pre-existing Ranks

PostTue Feb 02, 2010 11:58 am

Hi,
I have assembled a google document at http://docs.google.com/View?id=dg8zvpmb_2hgtp25dq with all tables used to make the figures. They come from various sources, but I especially recommend this (french) site:
http://pagesperso-orange.fr/organ-au-lo ... J0Menu.htm
Mike, if you have more data on mixtures, please tell me!
Graham, a few years ago I have experimented making all mixtures of the Schnitger/Alkmaar organ (therefore, all principal choruses) starting from the Montre/Prestant/Doublette of St.Maximin sampleset, using the CODM. Results were disappointing however, compared to the actual organ (on CD). I take this as evidence that other factors, e.g. scaling, are at least equally important as the pitches themselves, in building the sound of a mixture stop. French doublettes are probably too wide to use in a german mixtur. If you are interested, I should still have that codm file somewhere.

Francesco
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Re: Creating Custom Mixtures using pre-existing Ranks

PostTue Feb 02, 2010 1:56 pm

Hi Francesco,
Thanks for posting these, I'm checkin them out now :-) (Wonderful!!)
I don't have the St.Maximin sample set, but I would still like to examine your CODM if you can find it. I'll send you a private message with my home email details.
I was in a 2nd Hand book store this evening & found a book by Herbert Norman (The Organ Today) and bought it as it has some good general information in it.

Now onto reading and dreaming!
GrahamG
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Re: Creating Custom Mixtures using pre-existing Ranks

PostWed Feb 03, 2010 5:02 pm

There are many tricks that can be used in creating mixtures from single ranks but one thing is certain, it can also be very confusing.

What is most important apart from the right breaks and their scaling, is tuning and making sure that you have as many equivalent independent "pipe" as possible.

As regards tuning, it is not sufficient to use the existing samples re-labeled, they must also be re-tuned. Certainly, in a very grave mixture you would get away with not doing this but higher up, it is essential to tune all ranks perfectly as opposed to as they stand in equal temperament. If your non unison ranks are left as they are, they will sound gritty.
Your main problem comes from duplicated "pipes" as they break back and the way around this is to either pitch shift the whole rank up or down by one or two semitones and relabel them or expand a single "pipe to give say two either side. It's a case of experimenting to find the best way. A further way would be to put the duplicates out of phase with eachother either by a very slight delay or by inverting the waveform.
It is also very necessary to regulate each rank carefully not only within itself but also against the other ranks. Finally it is essential to check the loops and release markers having pitch shifted any "pipes". One or two will be OK but most will not be.
It is possible to then re-record the combined ranks as a new single stop but you will often find that even despite accurate tuning, there will often be a considerable movement of sound which makes it difficult to find suitable loops unless very long loops are used.

As regards mixing pipe families, take a good look at Audsley and his suggestions for mixed rank mixtures as well as his extensive arguings over compensating mixtures.
John Compton was the master in this matter and was able to create extraordinary effects such as 32' reeds from Flute pipe combinations. He also used some very weird intervals in some of his mixtures such as sevenths, nones and so on.

The whole subject is really quite fascinating (though time consuming and frustrating) but at least HW gives the luxury of not having to make, voice regulate and experiment with real pipes !
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Mike 353

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Re: Creating Custom Mixtures using pre-existing Ranks

PostThu Feb 04, 2010 6:33 pm

Sorry that I haven't been able to get back before this, but the last few days have been busy!

I checked my church organ today for the mixture composition. It has two Mixtures, one on the Great, and the other on the Swell. The Great Mixture is a four rank Mixture, and is pitched at 2'. This means that the bottom pitch at the lowest C is 2', or 15, if you want to express it that way. So, for the first octave and a half, the pitches are 15, 19, 22, &26. At tenor F#, the pitches are 12, 15, 19, &22. The next octave, starting again on F# (above Middle C) is pitched at 8, 12, 15, 19. Then a half octave, from F# to soprano High C, at 5, 8 12, 15. The last octave is at 1, 5, 8, 15. This composition gives enough upper pitch to make the bass distinct. adds some power and definition in the middle range, and reinforces the regular diapason work in the upper range, which is what a good Great Mixture should do. This, by the way, is not the orginal Mixture that was on the organ, but is a reworking of that Mixture, using a new-used two rank Mixture for the bottom two pitches, and adding pipes from the original Mixture to fill out the two top pitches. The "fifths" (5, 12, 19, and 26) are softer than the "unison-octaves" (1, 8, 15, 22).

The Swell Mixture is a different story. Orginally the organ had a soft Dolce Cornet. I saw no real use for it, and the organ needed to be "brightened up". So I obtained a used Cymbale that had originally been in an Austin organ. It was pitched at 1/4', and after the first octave or two broke back in pitch every half octave, thus repeating every octave. I took some of the pipes from the Dolce Cornet and put them on the bottom end of the Cymbale, starting at 1/2', and leaving out the upper two octaves of the Cymbale, thus bring the pitch down to where, when it is coupled to the Great full Principal Chorus, it sits right on top of the Great mixture, giving a wonderfully full and bright sound. The Austin pipes are not brightly or loudly voiced, but their high pitch gives just the right amount of "top end". In the reworked Swell, I have 8', 4', and 2' Diapasons, the 8' rank being bright but somewhat softer than the 8' Great Diapason, and the 4' and 2' being voiced louder and bright, and the Cymbale works well with them.

The Choir on this organ does not currently have provision for a Mixture. I may, sometime in the future, rework a windchest to take a Mixture, moving the Cymbale to that position, and putting a lower pitched Mixture in the Swell.

I am not an organ builder, but have been studying organ registration for years. For three years I have been working on this organ, little by little bringing it up to an acceptable standard. I have listened to many other organs, and have come up with what I find acceptable for hymn-playing and Classical organ music, particularly Baroque. I do not care for G. Donald Harrison's work in this area-a lot of his mixture work was pitched too low, adding to the power of the organ, but not giving it the true classical sound. Also, he pitched the Swell Plein Jeu lower than the Great Fourniture, which might be alright for French Romantic music, but is completely wrong for either German or French Baroque, and not the best in all-round church work. A lot of newer organ builders have gone the other way, making their mixtures too high-pitched and bright. Hopefully you may find some of this worthwhile.

Michael Moore
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Re: Creating Custom Mixtures using pre-existing Ranks

PostFri Feb 05, 2010 1:26 am

Hi Michael,
Thanks for that information, particularly where the breaks are and what the pitches are.

I'm using the great-fifteenth2ft ranks from the St Stephen's, St Augustine's, and St Anne's, plus the great-twelfth3ft from the St Stephen's. I'm trying to keep within one octave of the original pitch of the wave files, so I am mapping the 1' (22nd) from 048-C from the 2' (15th) rank, and the 1/2' (29th) from 060-C, etc. So far the results are pretty good, but I have had to reduce the amplitude of the higher notes quite a bit to get them blending nicely with the rest of the ranks (I think that was expected).

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Re: Creating Custom Mixtures using pre-existing Ranks

PostFri Feb 05, 2010 10:14 am

Graham, best of luck to you. That is not easy work.

By the way, if it had not been for the particular composition of the two rank Mixture that I bought to use as the basis for the reworked four rank Great Mixture, I might have pitched the Great Mixture slightly higher, with 1 1/3' as the starting bottom pitch instead of 2'. My favorite sample set, of the ones that I have, is the St. Georges Casavant, and its Great mixture is pitched at 1 1/3'. But, you work with what you have and what you can afford, and the church did not have enough money to do everything I would liked to have done.

I'm looking forward to hearing the results of your experimentation. You are correct in keeping the amplitude of the highest pitches down. You will have to experiment with the amplitude of the off-unison pitches, to make them blend right. If too loud, they make the mixture-work almost give the sound of reeds. James B. Jamison discussed this in his book Organ Design and Appraisal. I think that was another problem with Donald G Harrison's Mixtures-the "fifths' were too prominent, which may have explained why he did not care for placing any Reeds on the Great. Of course, if you get into Cornets and Sesquialteras, that is a different story. They are supposed to sound "reedy".

Michael Moore
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Re: Creating Custom Mixtures using pre-existing Ranks

PostFri Feb 12, 2010 1:59 pm

Hi Guys,
I've posted my 'Work In Progress' organ in the Hauptwerk Instruments section of the forum (see http://forum.hauptwerk.com/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=6255). This includes four 'custom' mixtures (IV on the Pedal, III and V on the Great, and III on the Choir). The specifications can be found on page two in this document http://www.sa-virtualorgans.co.za/downloads/FreeCathedralHW3.pdf.

Loads of fun so far... and I think they are sounding quite reasonable :D

GrahamG
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Re: Creating Custom Mixtures using pre-existing Ranks

PostFri Feb 12, 2010 9:01 pm

That's quite a spec, Graham. I admire your tenacity in sticking to the job. I'm looking forward to hearing the result.

I have experimented with reworking mixtures in the St. Stephens Casavant set, using Pipetune to rework the Swell Scharf for a Sharp Mixture for the Great, pitching it an octave higher than the orginal Scharf, and reworking the midrange samples to extend it up an octave, and that was a challenge. I have no desire to start from scratch like you did.

Keep up the good work.

Michael Moore
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