The Swell Organ Stops
8' Open Diapason. (Pronounced DyerPayson)
This is the foundation sound of the organ, (the organ's own sound if you
8' Leiblich Gedackt. Literal translation is 'lovely covered' This stop can be made made of wood or metal and has a flute like quality to its sound. The pipes are 'stopped' (like a test tube with a cork in the top), hence the word Gedackt.'covered'.
8' Salicional. The name is derived from 'Salix' meaning willow. Salicis Fistula means 'willow pipe', a rustic flute made from a branch of a willow tree. Although originally a flute like tone, over the centuries this open stop now gives a delicate string-like tone.
8' Voix Celestes. Literal translation is 'Heavenly voice' and is bascally the same string sound as the Salicional, but slightly detuned so that when used together they produce an undulating effect. The TC means that there are no pipes for the notes below Tenor C. (The C below middle C.)
4' Viola. The length
of the longest pipe on this stop is 4 feet. Viola is the sound produced
(not the actual instrument. Try putting a 4' viola under your chin!).
4' Flute Harmonique. (Harmonic
Flute) This stop has a flute like tone and sounds an octave higer than
the note played.
3rks Cornet 12-15-17. This type of stop is known as a "Mixture" Hmmm. OK. 3rks? This means even if just this one stop is selected, three lots of pipes (called ranks-hence rks) will sound at once. Now to deal with the three numbers. Imagine we press middle C the three notes that will sound will be the 12th harmonic (G an octave and a half above middle C, 15th harmonic (Bb above that G) and the 17th harmonic (C# above that Bb). Now on its own, this stop would sound like 3 people leaning the recorder all playing at once. However, when used in combination with the 8' and 4' stops, it adds brightness to the overall sound and you don't really hear the individual harmonics at all. As for the name 'cornet', it's not meant to immitate the modern trumpet like brass instrument but rather the Renaissance instrument known as a cornet or zink. This was blown in the manner of a brass instrument, but made of wood, and with finger-holes similar to a recorder.
16' Contra Oboe. Now we're getting to the big boys. The longest pipe is 16 feet long, half the length of a bus. Going back to our metal rod, we know that half the length of the rod plays a note an octave higher. If we could double the length of rod then it would produce a note an octave lower. Playing middle C will produce the next C note down. (Tennor C). The Oboe stop is a Reed Stop. The sound is produced by blowing air over a metal reed. (as in the harmonica or accordion).
8' Corno-di-Basso. This is another reed stop similar to a clarinet but thicker in tone. If you listen to "To a Wild Rose" on the main page you hear the main melody using this stop.
The last four stops are known
as a Non-Speaking stops.
Tremolo. This gives
a slight wobble to the sound.
16' Swell Sub Octave. Selecting this stop adds a note one octave lower to the note played.
4' Swell Octave. Selecting this stop adds a note one octave higher to the note played.
Swell Unison Off. Selecting this stop takes out the sound of the actual note played. (leaving the notes that are coupled)
e.g. If the 8' Salicional is selected, by adding 16 Swell Octave coupler, a Salicional will be added and octave lower. If the Unison Off is then selected, ONLY the 16' will sound.