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Organ benches

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Organ benches

Postby profeluisegarcia » Tue Jan 21, 2014 8:07 pm

Hello all¡

Looking the Mcorderoy´s nice project in his blog - http://www.virtual-pipe-organ.co.uk. - I wonder why ALL real and virtual organ builders -but me and perhaps someone else¡- built the organ bench as long as the length of the pedalboard, knowing that the bench will be used regularly by only one person. Here, the organist have to place his repectable buns in the extreme of the bench, and then drag himself to reach the center, sometimes during the service touching pedals with stops on. :shock:

In my bench design the player just sit down, turns 180 degrees left or right, and VOILA¡ he will be in front of the keyboards. This model is pictured in a previous post :
viewtopic.php?f=21&t=12416
- first picture.

AGO, German and Britishh standards are not mandatory. Any good reason for extra long organ benches?
Warm regards from the tropic
Luis
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Re: Organ benches

Postby jcrowley » Wed Jan 22, 2014 1:02 am

Hi everyone!

Well... to answer at least from my experience with organ benches are that the console is located in an impossible location mine at church is facing the congregation on the altar and pushed as close to the wall as there is very little wiggle room to maneuver the bench. On one side is the pulpit and seats for the clergy at rest, on the other side is a step to the choir area. So, if the bench were shorter I would have to catapult over a few feet on the choir side only. The pipes span the entire area behind me from the choir loft to the altar. So I cannot hear the instrument and. . .neither can the choir thanks to the crack architects and sound people who designed the new sanctuary . ..which is why we do not use the organ for any choir anthems.

Seasonal issues also are paramount. . .during Advent the Sanctuary Christmas Tree is directly next to the right side of the console and the Manger completely covers the console so I cannot see anything. This year one of the pastors exclaimed that we have perhaps the only "Manger Organ" in existence. Next year I convinced the builder of the Manger to install a handy Manger "loft" window that can be deployed so I can see out to the congregation. During Lent the Giant Rugged Cross is directly to my right and huge artwork is placed in front of the console. . .so again completely blind.

As for most other organs in the area the console is placed in a pit and up against a rail or modesty panel and a wall. I would much prefer a smaller bench since we just pivot from a central fixed position anyway.

My own project is a recycled Haygren and Conn console, so I kept the bench which is long but pleasingly narrow.

PS, I love your projects!

Jeffery
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Re: Organ benches

Postby engrssc » Wed Jan 22, 2014 2:51 am

Most theatre organ benches (affectionately called dog leg) are not full width. Sometimes a problem, the seat part of the bench is a distance away from the edge of the console forcing some (unknowing) organists to step/walk on the pedal board to gain "butt" access to the bench". :roll: I'd rather see them having to "slide" across the full width bench than place all of their (many) pounds on the pedal board. :shock:

As far as having pedal stops on and "accidentally" stepping on one or more pedals, it does serve as a wake up to the organist (who should have shut (them stops) off as well as everyone else in attendance. :o (Ever hit a manual, accidentally of course, with the trumpet stop engaged.) :oops:

Rgds,
Ed
Last edited by engrssc on Wed Jan 22, 2014 3:02 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Organ benches

Postby Cooky » Wed Jan 22, 2014 2:59 am

Neat bench, Luis - but where do you put the music?

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Re: Organ benches

Postby GrahamH » Wed Jan 22, 2014 6:53 am

My experience is similar to Jeffery's, in that most of the church organs that I have encountered have some kind of screen to hide the organist, and even where there isn't a screen, there is usually a rail, or a choir stall, or a wall, or a column or some other obstruction that makes it impossible to access the bench other than from the side - which means you need a full-length bench if you don't want people to stand on the pedals.
When they re-built the organ at my present church, I persuaded them not to replace the screen (which was no longer necessary anyway, since the chancel had been re-ordered) so the organist can now do exactly as you describe - sit down and turn 180 degrees - but we haven't bothered to replace the long bench.
When I was first learning to play the organ as a teenager many years ago, it was both a thrill and a privilege to be able to sit next to the organist on the bench, hidden from the congregation 8) .
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Re: Organ benches

Postby David Baldwin » Wed Jan 22, 2014 9:03 am

And you have to put your music and books somewhere! :roll:
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Re: Organ benches

Postby deebos » Wed Jan 22, 2014 10:00 am

I have seen organists brace themselves with their arms on each end of the bench when they are playing solo pedal ( bach F major )

Also when playing duo you need the extra room.
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Re: Organ benches

Postby brooke.benfield » Wed Jan 22, 2014 3:45 pm

I love the bench that came along with the 60+ year old Wicks console in my HW church instrument. Imagine my surprise the first time I stacked the obligatory pair of 2"X4" pieces of lumber under each side of the bench to put it at proper height for me to play with my organ shoes on (I'm north of 6' tall and have a 3' inseam).

It was a late Wednesday evening during Holy Week last spring and we were working frantically to get the organ playing by Easter. All systems appeared to be functioning and it was time for me to try this thing out for real.

I stood at the left end of the bench and lifted my right leg to begin my ascent to the bench and It was immediately apparent there wasn't enough space for me to fit my legs (or ankles) between the console and the end of the bench. Surprise!

It's good I'm fairly limber because the only way for me to get on the bench involves picking up my legs and swinging them over it and down under the keyboards. It's not the most graceful maneuver to pull off in full view of the congregation but once seated, it's worth the effort because the bench is so sturdy, wide and deep, it's a joy to use.

Luis is on to something with that short bench as far as easy access goes. I find it very convenient to set hymnals and service music books on the right side of the bench as there's just too much stuff I need to have within reach for the music rack to hold all of it at once.
Last edited by brooke.benfield on Thu Jan 23, 2014 12:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Organ benches

Postby mds6 user » Wed Jan 22, 2014 10:44 pm

Most organ builders give you a length option in your bench. I like a short bench (dog leg), I find however I'm in the minority. Most people seem to like a long bench for reasons posted above like sliding over to see around the organ or to reach stops. Almost all the organists I know like to use one side of the bench for music storage (I can't stand this!). Its almost like the roll over or under tp debate :-).
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Re: Organ benches

Postby mcorderoy » Fri Jan 24, 2014 8:30 pm

profeluisegarcia - The design of the organ bench that I built reflects...

a: My woodworking skills! Long and straight is easier than a 'dog leg' design
b: Reflects the design of the bench at the church my daughter is being taught. As I'm building a practice organ, I thought that might be a good start!

That said, I am using your approach for the console, which is not full width ( http://www.virtual-pipe-organ.co.uk/epi ... 9/the-plan ).
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Re: Organ benches

Postby bomb20 » Sat Jan 25, 2014 9:59 am

profeluisegarcia wrote:Any good reason for extra long organ benches?
Luis


I suppose with varying importance.

Duets, teaching, ability to put music down at one end of the bench when practicing and space to put one foot behind the other.
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Re: Organ benches

Postby profeluisegarcia » Mon Jan 27, 2014 1:09 am

Hello folks, of course, I am not promoting this bench model, it is not patent-pending, but please allow me to comment yours views about it:

-Jeffery: a) Right: due to mechanical exigencies the first big organs had the positive division right behind the bench and I think this is the origin of this bench design. And as you observe, in cases like these the organist would had to have kangaroo feet to reach a small central bench. b) Your particular situation during Advent ¡ought to be addressed to Organist´s Union¡, c) I felt very flattered on you comment to my projects. Thanks.

-Ed : I do not find nice curved legs practival to reach the organ, unlike right angled legs. Anyway this is symptom of the eternal and unsolvable debate over primacy of values: what is more important, the practical or the aesthetic (as when the wife insists in placing a potted plant in the alley because it looks good, and the husband rejects is because it will obstruct walking).

-Cooky: The music can be placed under the seat part of the bench, as mine has in the picture.. Ruben did not like this additional feature in his bench.

-Graham: Right, in these cases long benches are necessary. And I admit being a kid sitting next to the organist is an unforgettable experience for him, as well as for us having our own kids sat with us during long services: these parental moment alone would justify by itself extra long benches.

-David: that is good point: I have seen organist messed with papers on the bench besides this does not offer a pleasant look to a neat location (such as church or living room). Most requested sheet music books could be placed under the bench table.

-Deebos: Yes. Many organist balance themselves in this way, as “our colleague” Cameron C. has to do¡ But holding the extrems of the bench to keep the equibrium –for instance in the final pedal solo of BWV 532- is easier in a shorter bench. OTOH I have been taught that the organist should not displace his respectable button over the bench in order to reach distant notes; he´d better pivot and move just his inferior extremities (as I can do when trying to play the F toccata solo pedal).

-Brooke. It would be nice to look a video of your acrobatics to get properly seated¡

-Matt: it seems we are playing in the same team¡

-Mcordeoy: No sir, you are very skillful as we can see in your blog… and also you have lovely assistants.

-Bomb: Right: teaching –usually- and duets –always- require long benches (OTOH IMSLP lists only 13 scores for organ duets)

Ok. I don´t think organ builders had in mind those mentioned long bench conveniences (placing books, duets, kids around…) when they design them, except organ´s architectural demands. Perhaps it is a only a matter of organ building tradition …and personal taste (for my opus 3, for instance, the monk, notwithstanding my arguments, definitely opted for the long bench, even having himself difficulties to sit down there).
Very nice talking and sharing thoughts with you, virtual friends.

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/41541030/Hauptwerk/asiento.jpg
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Re: Organ benches

Postby profeluisegarcia » Sun Feb 21, 2016 9:38 pm

Hello all:

Hawptwerkians affectionate to long benches could appreciate this practical design I haven't seen anywhere... but here!..In Colombia¡


Luis

https://www.dropbox.com/s/q0nldstzoy6pw ... o.png?dl=0
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Re: Organ benches

Postby scottherbert » Sun Sep 11, 2016 1:09 pm

Having just seen a video of Cameron Carpenter at his touring organ, and the seating arrangement he has on that, has me thinking too. Since I have (very) long legs, an device like yours, or his ( if I could make it) could make adjustment for height and clearance much easier than adding wood blocks! As for music storage, there is plenty of room for shelves under the seat of yours! It is just vertical. :D

~Scott
"Life is just a dream, it is in death that we truly awaken!"
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Re: Organ benches

Postby engrssc » Sun Sep 11, 2016 5:44 pm

Image

It's not a bench. It's called a Howard Seat. (and there are a few other names for it esp if you forget to lock the 2 moving seat parts together). :shock: :roll: And there is no room for extra music on either side. :cry:

Rgds,
Ed
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