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Salisbury Piston Combinations

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Salisbury Piston Combinations

Postby marcus.reeves » Sun Dec 01, 2013 5:29 pm

Taking advantage of a timely pay cheque following my role as Musical Director for a recent production in Winchester and MDA's Winter Sale, I've taken the plunge and bought Volumes 1, 2 and 3 of Salisbury today. All I can say is, "Wow!" The Willis is widely regarded as the Rolls Royce of organs in the UK and it does not disappoint.

I was unsure whether it was a wise move, since I've been playing Hereford daily for the last year or so, but since I only live 15 miles from Salisbury and have played the real instrument, I thought, "Why not?" I heard the instrument in the flesh just yesterday, I can safely say that the sound is incredibly realistic but I'm also glad it's quite different to Hereford - they both complement each other nicely.

I noticed that the standard piston combinations that come as standard are those that come with the demo and presumably volume 1. I'm therefore wondering what people do the Choir, Solo, Pedal and Great divisions? I'm used to having a crescendo across the pistons from 1 the quietest to 8 the loudest. What do people have set up - it would be very useful to know?

Thanks in advance for your thoughts and knowledge.
Best wishes,
Marcus
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Re: Salisbury Piston Combinations

Postby OrganoPleno » Mon Dec 02, 2013 12:08 am

Having worked this out for some other Organs, I was about to attend to this on the Salisbury. If I get any good results, I could post them later. Here is a general outline of my approach:

Using five divisional pistons for each division (physical pistons on my Console), Piston 1 for each division is something very soft... perhaps strings or celestes, perhaps Flutes 8' and 4'. Piston 2 is usually a full Flute Chorus, Piston 3 same plus soft Reeds. Piston 4 is usually Principals 8' and 4' and 2', Piston 5 a full Principal Chorus including Mixtures.

Then five General Pistons: Piston 1 uses Divisional Piston 1 from each division, and so forth.
Then five more Generals... same as above plus interesting Couplers for a fuller sound.
Then up to five more Generals... same as above but introducing the stronger Reeds, culminating in a big "Organo Pleno" sound with "everything" (excluding of course celestes and tremolos and any pipes too soft to make a meaningful contribution... and also generally excluding a couple of the very boldest stops which can always be added manually... such as the Tuba 8' and 4' on the Salisbury, and any 32' Pedal Reed (controlled by a separate Piston just for that).

Hoping this is helpful. -- OrganoPleno
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Re: Salisbury Piston Combinations

Postby marcus.reeves » Mon Dec 02, 2013 10:44 am

Thanks for your thoughts OrganoPleno.

Personally, I find that five pistons aren't enough for a large organ like Salisbury so I tend to use 8. Unfortunately this means that there's a gap between pistons 5 and 6 on my CMK keyboards. You get used to it though.

It sounds as though we have similar ideas, but the choir division is puzzling me a bit. I have piston 8 set up as a Cornet based on the Flute Harmonique and 7 is the Prinicipal chorus plus trumpet. At the moment piston 1 is the 8' Lieblich with Salicional, but how to get from 2 to 6? I'm wondering what is the best way to build up the flutes? And where do the Open Diapason and Gemshorn fit in? I shall keep experimenting!

(The Choir Open Diapason is a little gem, by the way!)
Best wishes,
Marcus
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Re: Salisbury Piston Combinations

Postby DanielCook » Tue Dec 24, 2013 6:31 am

I thought you might be interested in the my Salisbury Divisional Piston Combinations. These are the settings I used for the whole of my 6 years as Assistant Director of Music at Salisbury and for all of the demo's I have recorded on the virtual instruments:

Swell:
1: Gedackt, Viola, Vox Angelica
2: Gedackt, Viola, Harmonic Flute 4'
3: Diap, Gedackt, Harmonic Flute, Oboe
4: Minus Harmonic Flute, Plus Octave
5: Plus Super Octave
6: Plus Trompette
7: Minus Gedackt, Plus Gamba 16', Plus Fagotto 16'
8: Plus Mixture and Clarion

Great:
1: Claribel Flute
2: Plus Open Diap No 2
3: Plus Principal No 2
4: Plus Open Diap No 1
5: Minus Claribel, Plus Principal No 1
6: Plus Twelfth and Fifteenth
7: Minus Principal No 2, Plus Double Diap 16' Plus Mixture
8: Plus 16, 8, 4 Trumpets

Choir:
1: Salicional
2: Plus Harmonic Flute 8'
3: Minus Salicional, Plus Harmonic Flute 4'
4: Plus Open Diapason
5: Plus Gemshorn
6: Minus Harmonic Flute 4' Plus 2'
7: Minus Harmonic Flute 8', Plus Gedackt 16' Plus Trumpet
8: Gedackt 8', (Gemshorn 4') Harmonic Flute 4', Nazard, Flageolet, Tierce

Solo:
1: Flute, Cello, Celeste
2: Minus Celeste Plus Octave coupler
3: Harmonic Flute 8' only
4: Plus Harmonic Flute 4'
5: Clarinet only
6: Cello 8', Flute 4' only
7: Flutes 8 and 4, Cello 8', Cor Anglais, Clarinet, Oboe, plus Octave coupler
8: Tuba 8' only

Pedal:
1: Bourdon and Gedackt
2: Plus Open Diap No 2 and Flute 8'
3: Plus Violone 16'
4: Minus Gecackt, plus Viola 8'
5: Plus Open Bass 16' Plus Octave 8'
6: Plus Viola 4'
7: Plus 32' Diap, Plus Mixture
8: Plus Open Diap No 1 Plus reeds 32, 16, 8

Hope you mind this useful.

Daniel
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Re: Salisbury Piston Combinations

Postby marcus.reeves » Tue Dec 24, 2013 7:37 am

Thanks vey much, Daniel! I hope Christmas at the Abbey is going well.
Best wishes,
Marcus
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Re: Salisbury Piston Combinations

Postby telemanr » Tue Dec 24, 2013 9:09 am

What a nice Christmas surprise. Many thanks Daniel. Best wishes to you and yours.
Rob Enns
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Re: Salisbury Piston Combinations

Postby MikeDC » Tue Jan 07, 2014 11:16 pm

DanielCook wrote:I thought you might be interested in the my Salisbury Divisional Piston Combinations. These are the settings I used for the whole of my 6 years as Assistant Director of Music at Salisbury and for .all of the demo's I have recorded on the virtual instruments:
.
.
.
Hope you mind this useful.

Daniel


Daniel,

Thank you for such a thoughtful Christmas gift. For those of us who really "play at" rather than "play" the organ, this is great information. Though it is far beyond my skill level, I had to have the Salisbury sample set because I love the sound so much. Having these settings directly from the master is a wonderful learning tool!

Michael
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