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Tonal Resources

We are now going to look briefly at the tonal resources available on the Style 260 Wurlitzer, a model of organ installed in several Australian theatres.  As they were not all exactly the same, I have chosen the specific example of the organ once in the Regent Theatre, Brisbane. Ranks of pipes are in capitals.

Main Chamber

1. TUBA HORN

2. DIAPHONIC DIAPASON

3. CLARINET

4. VIOL D'ORCHESTRE

5. VIOL CELESTE

6. FLUTE

7. VOX HUMANA

17. Chrysoglott

 

Unenclosed

16. Grand Piano

 

Solo Chamber

8. TRUMPET

9. TIBIA CLAUSA

10. KINURA

11. ORCHESTRAL OBOE

12. SAXOPHONE

13. STRING

14. OBOE HORN

15. QUINTADENA

18. Marimba

19. Cathedral Chimes

20. Sleigh Bells

21. Xylophone

22. Glockenspiel

23. Bass Drum

24 Snare Drum

25. Crash Cymbal

26. Cymbal

27. Castanets

28. Chinese Block

29. Tom-Tom

30. Sand Block

31. Tambourine

32. Triangle

33. Fire Alarm

34. Horse Hoofs

35. Surf

36. Bird Whistle

37. Boat Whistle

38. Klaxon Horn

39. Door Bell

1-15 are the fifteen pipe ranks (reed ranks are in red, the Céleste in amber, in accordance with the stopkey colours), 16 is the piano, 17-22 are the tonal percussions, 23-32 the non-tonal percussions, and 33-39 the effects.

Our next step is to look at the tone colours of each of the pipe ranks. Many of their names will be familiar to players of church or electronic organs, but some may be a little strange. We'll look at them in the order in which they are grouped in the stopkey rows on the console.

Trumpet: This is the loudest rank on the organ, its pipes, like its orchestral counterpart, having spun brass resonators. It is a reed rank, with a rich but fiery sound, with great "flair".

Tuba Horn: Another reed rank, with a tone like an "edgy" French horn. It is not as powerful, nor as "round" as a church organ tuba, but more mellow.

Diaphonic Diapason: The Diapason produces the traditional sound of the classical organ. The "diaphonic" prefix stems from the fact that the bass pipes (16 ft. and 32 ft. octaves) are diaphones. From 8 ft. upwards, the pipes are very similar to those on display in most classical pipe organs. There is, however, a strip of leather on the upper lip of the mouth of each pipe, to enable it to produce a powerful sound without becoming too "bright" to blend in combination with other ranks. The 4 ft, stops are labelled "Octave".

Tibia Clausa: These large-scale wooden stopped pipes with leathered lips produce the fundamental theatre organ sound of a large flute, with just a hint of "breathiness". The 4 ft. and 2 ft. stops are labelled "Piccolo". This rank is also available at 2_ ft. pitch.

Clarinet: A reed rank, imitative of its orchestral counterpart.

Kinura: A very "thin"-sounding rank, which is hardly ever used on its own, but rather to add "fizz" to a combination of stops. Its sound has been described as that of a "bee in a bottle". It can be used as the basis of many comedy sounds.

Orchestral Oboe: Another "thin" reed sound, but not nearly as much so, nor as penetrating, as the Kinura. It is a good imitation of the orchestral instrument, and is useful both as a solo stop and to add "bite" to combinations of other ranks.

Saxophone: Like the Trumpet, the reed pipes of this rank have spun brass resonators. This is not a particularly imitative stop, and could be described as sounding like a clarinet with laryngitis. It is the theatre organ's nearest approach to a classical "Baroque" reed (Rankett or Dulzian).

String: A powerful, full-toned string, "rounder" than the Viol, but not as broad in tone as a Gamba.

Viol d'Orchestre: A thin-toned string, which when used with the

Viol Céleste: which is tuned slightly sharp, can give some of the effect of the string division of an orchestra.

Oboe Horn: A reed rank sounding like a somewhat impudent church organ Oboe. The Oboe Horn is much "rounder" in sound than the Orchestral Oboe.

Quintadena: A metal flue of quite large scale. This has a characteristically "hollow" sound, due to the presence of a strong third harmonic, and so it tends to sound as if a quiet 2 2/3 ft. stop as been drawn with it. It can be particularly haunting when used alone as a quiet accompaniment.

Flute: A wooden open flue rank, totally different from the Tibia Clausa. It is much quieter and far "brighter" in tone. It can sound remarkably like the orchestral instrument.

Vox Humana: The one theatre organ stop of which everyone has heard! By no stretch of the imagination does it sound like Caruso. However, in chords it can create the effect of an invisible choir. It is more often, though, of use to "colour" combinations of stops and to add an ethereal shimmer to the strings. It is the quietest rank on the organ.

Amongst the tonal percussions, the Xylophone, Marimba and Glockenspiel can be selected to play single-stroke ("tap") or reiterating (repeated rapid strokes). The single-stroke Marimba is labelled "Harp", and the reiterating Glockenspiel "Orchestral Bells". The Chrysoglott may be fitted with rotating vanes in the resonator tubes, which can be made to turn by using a Vibraphone stopkey. It may also be fitted with dampers on the bars to reduce the resonance period. If so, there will be a stopkey to apply the dampers. The sounds of the percussions and effects are self-evident from their names.


 

All ranks are available at 8 ft. pitch. The Tuba Horn, Tibia Clausa and Flute are available full-compass at 16 ft. pitch, as is the Diapason, which additionally extends to 32 ft. compass. The Viol, Saxophone, Clarinet and Vox Humana are playable from one or more manuals at 16 ft. pitch, but only from "tenor C" upwards (i.e., not in the bottom octave). The Tuba Horn, Diapason, Tibia, Viol, Céleste, Flute and Vox Humana are available at 4 ft. pitch (but not in the top octave for the Vox Humana), and the Flute and Tibia also at 2 2/3 ft. and 2 ft., the Viol at 2 ft. and the Flute at 1 3/5 ft. The piano is available at 16, 8 and 4 ft. pitches. The resources are spread over all three manuals and pedals, to the following specification (the numbers by the stops indicate the ranks, etc. from which the stops are derived, as listed above):

Pedal

Diaphone (2) 32

Ophicleide (1) 16

Diaphone (2) 16

Tibia Clausa (9) 16

Bourdon (6) 16

Tuba Horn (1) 8

Octave (2) 8

Tibia Clausa (9) 8

Clarinet (3) 8

Saxophone (12) 8

String (13) 8

Cello (4 & 5) 8

Flute (6) 8

Flute (6) 4

Piano (16) 16

Bass Drum (23)

Kettle Drum (23)

Snare Drum (24)

Crash Cymbal (25)

Cymbal (26)

Great to Pedal

Solo to Pedal

Pedal Second Touch

Diaphone (2) 32

Percussions available on first or second touch by tumbler switch

Pedal Pizzicato Touch

Ophicleide (1) 16

 

Accompaniment Manual

Contra Viol TC (4) 16

Bourdon (6) 16

Vox Humana TC (7) 16

Tuba Horn (1) 8

Diaphonic Diapason (2) 8

Tibia Clausa (9) 8

Clarinet (3) 8

Kinura (10) 8

Orchestral Oboe (11) 8

Saxophone (12) 8

String (13) 8

Viol d'Orchestre (4) 8

Viol Céleste (5) 8

Oboe Horn (14) 8

Quintadena (15) 8

Flute (6) 8

Vox Humana (7) 8

Octave (2) 4

Piccolo (9) 4

Viol (4) 4

Octave Céleste (5) 4

Flute (6) 4

Vox Humana (7) 4

Twelfth (6) 2 2/3

Piccolo (6) 2

Piano (16) 16

Piano (16) 8

Piano (16) 4

Mandolin (16)

Marimba (18)

Harp (18)

Chrysoglott (17)

Snare Drum (24)

Tambourine (31)

Castanets (27)

Chinese Block (28)

Tom Tom (29)

Sand Block (30)

Solo to Accompaniment

Accompaniment Second Touch

Tuba Horn (1) 8

Tibia Clausa (9) 8

Clarinet (3) 8

Cathedral Chimes (19) 8

Xylophone (21)

Sleigh Bells (20)

Triangle (32)

Solo to Accompaniment

Accompaniment Pizzicato

Solo to Accompaniment

 

Great Manual

Ophicleide (1) 16

Diaphone (2) 16

Tibia Clausa (9) 16

Clarinet TC (3) 16

Saxophone TC (12) 16

Contra Viol (4) 16

Bourdon (6) 16

Vox Humana TC (7) 16

Trumpet (8) 8

Tuba Horn (1) 8

Diaphonic Diapason (2) 8

Tibia Clausa (9) 8

Clarinet (3) 8

Kinura (10) 8

Orchestral Oboe (11) 8

Saxophone (12) 8

String (13) 8

Viol d'Orchestre (4) 8

Viol Céleste (5) 8

Flute (6) 8

Vox Humana (7) 8

Clarion (1) 4

Octave (2) 4

Piccolo (9) 4

Viol (4) 4

Octave Céleste (5) 4

Flute (6) 4

Twelfth (Tibia) (9) 2 2/3

Twelfth (6) 2 2/3

Piccolo (Tibia) (9) 2

Fifteenth (4) 2

Piccolo (6) 2

Tierce (6) 1 3/5

Piano (16) 16

Piano (16) 8

Piano (16) 4

Marimba (18)

Harp (18)

Cathedral Chimes (19)

Sleigh Bells (20)

Xylophone (21)

Glockenspiel (22)

Orchestral Bells (22)

Chrysoglott (17)

Sub Octave

Octave

Solo to Great

Great Second Touch

Ophicleide (1) 16

Tibia Clausa (9) 8

Clarinet (3) 8

Solo to Great

Great Pizzicato

Solo to Great

 

Solo Manual

Ophicleide (1) 16

Diaphone (2) 16

Tibia Clausa (9) 16

Trumpet (8) 8

Tuba Horn (1) 8

Diaphonic Diapason (2) 8

Tibia Clausa (9) 8

Clarinet (3) 8

Kinura (10) 8

Orchestral Oboe (11) 8

Saxophone (12) 8

String (13) 8

Oboe Horn (14) 8

Quintadena (15) 8

Clarion (1) 4

Octave (2) 4

Piccolo (9) 4

Cathedral Chimes (19)

Xylophone (21)

Glockenspiel (22)

Orchestral Bells (22)

 

Tremulants

1. Main (Clarinet, Viol, Céleste, Flute)

2. Solo (Trumpet, Kinura, Orch Ob, Sax, String, Ob Hn, Quintadena)

3. Diaphone, Tuba

4. Tibia Clausa

5. Vox Humana

 Some stops listed above are what are known as couplers. These are of two varieties, intra-divisional and inter-divisional. The intra-divisional couplers are the accompaniment Octave and the great Sub Octave and Octave. An octave coupler is a mechanical device which causes the note or notes an octave above any note(s) played on the manual in question to sound simultaneously with it or them.

Thus, if one plays a chord on the great manual with the octave coupler down, what will sound will be that chord, plus the same notes an octave higher.

The sub octave works in exactly the same way, but adds notes an octave below those played. Some organs also have a unison off coupler, which, when used in conjunction with the octave and/or sub octave, silences the notes actually played, leaving only the notes derived through the coupler(s) sounding.

Inter-divisional couplers ares used to link one manual to another, or to enable manual notes to ne sounded from the pedalboard. For example, if a chord is played on the great manual and the solo to great coupler is added, the sound heard will be the same as if all the stops set on the solo manual were drawn on the great as well. Some organs have a solo to great sub octave coupler. This adds any stops set on the solo manual to those on the great, but the added stops sound an octave lower.

 

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