In MMD 011214 Doug Mauldin wonders if "De Duif, as it existed in 1960,
was transposed from the scale given in the reference books." Yes,
it is true: "De Duif", as well as almost all other Carl Frei organs,
sounds one minor third higher than indicated on the scale stick
(C sounds as E-flat, and so on).
This was not only done for economic reasons. It is known that a
musical piece which is played in C sounds rather dull, while the same
piece played in E-flat has a more bright and heroic character. (That's
why Beethoven wrote both his 3rd Symphony "Eroica" and his 5th
"Emperor" Piano Concerto in E-flat!)
Not only Frei but also Gavioli, Mortier and most European organ
builders transposed their organs. Why they did not write their scales
in the correct key too? (Let's say for the melody rank: "b-flat1 till
a-flat3" instead of the common "g1 till f3".) I think that the
arrangers were used to 'thinking' in simple keys (C, F and G) and that
it was better to avoid all those sharps and flats while arranging.
By the way, I was surprised to read that Doug Mauldin had noticed
that in the melody of "Wonderful Copenhagen" the high G is dropped an
octave. Indeed Gerard Razenberg, who was the arranger of this book,
arranged the tune in F (on the record of "De Duif" I hear A-flat).
In this key the tune fits the scale very well, except for the high G
at the end, which he had to drop. Of course he was aware of this
imperfection, but in F he could make the best use of the melody
Arrangers of music for mechanical organs don't have much liberty to
choose the key in which they can arrange, due to the limited range of
the available pipes. Arranging always is finding the best compromise.
Note this strange paradox: on the much smaller scale of a 36-key organ,
with the melody rank g1-e3, the tune "Wonderful Copenhagen" only can
be arranged in C. Now the highest note we need is a D, which is
available in this scale! Do we now have to conclude that the tune
should better fit a 36-key than a 72-key organ??
(To check the pitch of the aforementioned tune, I played my record
of "De Duif" again after so many years. Another fact attracted my
attention: how terrible the organ is out of tune!)
Musical regards from Holland,