1668, appended to it a recommendatory Latin note (of which Sir Frederick Ouseley has a rare copy), which, when translated, runs thus:—'let the (tenor) F pipe be 2½ feet or 30 inches in length.' Such a pipe, as being one half and one quarter the length of Harris's 5 ft. and 10 ft. pipes respectively, would give their octave and superoctave sounds. That Harris's 10 ft. pipe was attached to the F♯ key is not at all likely, since F♯ was never treated as a 'tonic' at that period. That it communicated with the G key is equally beyond belief, since that would have been identical with the pitch of the present day, which is lower by a tone than it then was; while F was one of the tonics most frequently used by the then leading church musicians. There can be little doubt, therefore, that Harris's Worcester, Salisbury, and Gloucester Organs, were all 'FFF organs,' 'short octaves' perhaps, and 'sharp pitch' by a whole tone, as already surmised.
The identity between Tomkins's and Harris's F pitch and a G pipe of the present day, is conclusively established thus. The fiddle G pipe in the Manual Open Diapason at the Temple is exactly of the specified '2½ feet or 30 inches in length,' while for the GG metal on the Pedal (made by Forster & Andrews) there is precisely a '10 ft. pipe,' which by a coincidence is also of the 'proportion of 8 in. diameter.'
The 'proportion 'for the Worcester organ, quoted above, incidentally points to a second reason why Thomas Harris was no match for Smith. To emit an even quality and strength as the tones ascend, the diameter or 'scale' of a set of pipes should not be reduced to one half until the interval of a major tenth is arrived at; whereas Harris, according to the above, made his pipe of half width as soon as it became of half length, i.e. at the octave. His tone must therefore have been either light and feeble, or thin and penetrating, in the treble part.
1670 (about). St. Sepulchre's, Snow Hill.
Thomas and Renatus Harris.
Mutation stops, Clarion, etc.
The instrument for this church consisted of Great Organ with Choir Organ in front, and was the first, so far as is known, that the Harrises built for London. The scheme differs so widely from that of the Worcester organ just noticed, as to suggest that the younger hand of Renatus took an important part in its preparation. It included, however, rather an over-amount of 'chorus stops'; and an old notice states that the general effect was fine with the reeds, but thin without them.
|Great organ. 12 stops.|
|8.||Sesquialtera, 3 ranks||156|
|9.||Mixture, 2 ranks||104|
|10.||Cornet to mid. C♯, 5 do||130|
|Choir organ in front. 6 stops.|
|Compass, Gt. and Chr. GG, short octaves,
to D in alt, 52 notes.
Renatus Harris probably came up to London to erect the St. Sepulchre's organ, and took up his abode there; as we find him making several organs for the metropolis and the provinces in the course of the next ten years.
1682–4. The Temple Church.
Bernard Schmidt (Father Smith).
Two quarter notes. Three manuals.
In September 1682 the Treasurers of the two Hon. Societies of the Inner and Middle Temple had some conversation with Smith respecting the construction of an organ for their church. Renatus Harris, who was then residing in 'Wyne Office Court, Fleet Street,' and was therefore close upon the spot, made interest with the Societies, who were induced to arrange that if each of these excellent artists would set up an organ, the Societies would retain that which, in the greatest number of excellences, deserved the preference. This proposal was agreed to, and by May 1684, the two organs were erected in the church. Smith's stood in the west-end gallery, and Harris's on the south (Inner Temple) side of the Communion Table. They were at first exhibited separately on appointed days, and then tried on the same day; and it was not until the end of 1687, or beginning of 1688, that the decision was given in favour of Smith's instrument; Harris's organ being rejected without reflecting any loss of reputation on its ingenious builder.
Smith's organ reached in the Bass to FFF; and from FF upwards it had two additional keys or 'quarter notes' in each octave, 'which rarityes,' according to an old book preserved in the library of the Inner Temple, 'no other organ in England hath; and can play any tune, as for instance ye tune of ye 119th Psalm, (in E minor,) and severall other services set by excellent musicians; which no other organ will do.' The order of the keys ran thus: FFF, GG, AA, BB♭, BB♮, then semitones to gamut G, after which the two special quarter tones in each octave; the compass ending on C in alt, and the number of keys on each manual being sixty-one.
The keys for the two extra notes (A♭ and D♯) were provided by those for G♯ and E♭ being cut across midway; the back halves, which acted on the additional pipes, rising as much above the front halves as the latter did above the long keys.
- The interesting details of this musical contest are not given here, as they have been printed separately by one of the Benchers of the Middle Temple, Edmund Macrory, Esq., under the title 'A few notes on the Temple Organ.'
- Dr. Armes, the organist of Durham Cathedral, has brought under the notice of the present writer a very curious discovery—namely, that the organ in that Church was originally prepared for, and afterwards received, quarter notes exactly similar to those at the Temple. The original order for the organ, dated August 18, 1683, does not provide for them, the number of pipes to each single stop being specifically given, 'fifty-four,' which would indicate the same compass as the Temple organ, viz. FFF to C in alt. without the quarter tones; but the sound-boards, roller-boards, etc., were unquestionably made from the first with two extra grooves, movements, etc., for each octave from FF upwards, and the large extra diapason pipes, as being required for the east and west fronts, were also inserted. The original contract was completed by May 1, 1685; and Dr. Armes is of opinion that the 50l. paid in 1691 to Smith by 'the Worshl the Dean and Chapter of Durham for work done at ye Organ' was for the insertion of the quarter-tone pipes.