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Jan Stęszewski

revised by Zbigniew J. Przerembski

[mrëczk, mruczek] (Pol.: ‘grumble bass’)

Friction drum used in the Pomerania and Warmia regions of Poland. Formerly it was used in magic and annual folk rituals, mainly during Christmas and Shrovetide. Nowadays many folk ensembles use it to provide a rhythmic bass, and as a musical attribute of Kashubian cultural identity. The barrel-shaped body is about 25–30 cm tall and made of wooden staves, or sometimes a hollowed log. The bottom of the barrel is made of leather or wood with a centrally attached strand of horsehair or a metal chain that is rubbed rhythmically with wetted or rosined hands. A smaller version called the ...

Article

Nicholas Temperley

The two halves of the choir (in an architectural sense) in an English cathedral or a large church or chapel: decani is the south side, cantoris the north. The names mean ‘dean’s [side]’, ‘cantor’s [side]’, and refer to the two highest officials of the chapter of a medieval cathedral. The Cantor, or precentor, ranked immediately after the dean in secular cathedral establishments. The dean’s stall was at the west end of the choir, facing east, just to the south of the central aisle; the cantor’s was opposite, north of the aisle. For certain duties the choir (in a musical sense) was also divided into two equal halves. The singers on the dean’s side – decani – took the leading part one week, those on the cantor’s side – cantoris – the next; during the seasons of the three great festivals the alternation was daily. Psalms, canticles and hymns were sung in alternation between the two halves. Together with much other Latin terminology, the names survived the Reformation, and have been used ever since in cathedral music to signify the two halves of the choir....

Article

(fl Russia, mid-16th century). Russian bell and cannon founder. Of unknown origin, Ganusov might have come from Germany or the Grand Duchy of Lithuania to Moscow, where in the mid-16th century he worked at the court of Ivan the Terrible. A very large bell cast at the Moscow cannon foundry in 1550 has been tentatively credited to him; it has not survived. Presumably before 1564 he moved to Smolensk, where a cannon bearing his name or names of his apprentices survived into the 19th century. Ganusov is not named in documents after the late 1560s. His apprentices included Bogdan Andreytokhov, Yuri Bochkaryov, Semyon Dubinin (who moved to Pskov), Nikita Tupitsyn, and most famously Andrei Chokhov (Chekhov) (c1545–1629), whose castings in Moscow included many famous pieces of artillery and other massive bronze armaments as well as bells. Boris Godunov donated two of Chokov’s bells, cast in ...

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Halil  

Article

British firm based in Surbiton, Surrey, founded in 1995 by Martin Phelps and Alan Kempster to introduce ‘electronic hymnals’ to the UK market. The firm distributes British-made portable devices that can store and play back 3000 or more hymn accompaniments and simultaneously display hymn verses on large screens. The electronic hymnal, known as ‘Hymnal Plus’, has a broader repertory than most organists and can supplement or replace the use of an organ, especially in the increasing number of churches that lack an organist. It is also useful for worship services in schools, retirement homes, prisons, hospitals, ships, and outdoor venues where no organ is available. Additional music can be imported from iPods, MP3 players, and the like. The MIDI-equipped HT-300 model, introduced in 2005, can be pre-programmed for each service and is controlled by the worship leader from a wireless, LCD touch-screen handset. Tempo, pitch, loudness, musical style, choice of verses, and other features are variable; preset musical styles range from traditional, digitally sampled pipe organ accompaniment to ‘happy clappy’ instrumentals. An interactive psalm accompaniment feature is available for Anglican chant. Loudspeakers are built into the unit, which can also be connected to an external sound system. Devices have been sold in Africa, America (with revised repertory list), and Australia, as well as throughout the UK....

Article

Hugh Davies

Electronic organ manufactured originally in Rochdale, Lancashire, by Compton-Makin, which became J.&J. Makin Organs Ltd in 1973. In 1970 John Makin Pilling (d 1996), an amateur organist and paper manufacturing executive, acquired assets of the failing Compton Organs Ltd, pipe organ builders, and pioneers in electronic reproduction of organ tones in the 1920s. The acquisition included the electrostatic tone-wheel system of sound generation (one wheel per note) of the Compton Electrone, which remained in use in combination with microprocessor technology. Additional electronic circuitry provided a more realistic pipe organ sound quality, such as attack and decay characteristics (including the ‘chiff’ attack found in some flute stops), and soft beats for certain stops produced by a ‘chorus generator’ that adds slightly out-of-tune frequencies. In the 1980s, Makin integrated the ‘Bradford System’ of digital synthesis and in the 1990s began using digital sampling.

In 1998 Makin was purchased by the Dutch electronics manufacturer Johannus; subsequently manufacturing and development moved to the Netherlands, which prompted some Makin employees to break off and found a competing entity, Phoenix. Nowadays, Makin’s custom-built organs, which aim to replicate specifically English Romantic sounds and ‘tracker touch’, are all versions of a basic ‘Westmorland’ model, and mostly have two or three manuals and pedals. They are designed for churches, and one, a four-manual instrument, is in Ripon Cathedral. Makin also produces three standard, off-the-shelf models offering a choice of English, French, or German Baroque sounds, at lower prices than the bespoke instruments. In addition, Makin offers the Johannus and (since ...

Article

Seises  

Robert Stevenson

(Sp. ‘sixes’)

From the 16th century to the 19th, the choirboys who sang polyphony in the cathedrals of Seville, Toledo, Avila, Segovia, Mexico City, Lima and elsewhere in the Spanish-speaking world were called seises – six being their traditional number at Seville and Toledo cathedrals. The earliest papal bulls designating the income from a prebend for a master of the choirboys in Seville Cathedral were Eugene IV’s Ad exequendum (24 September 1439) and Nicolas V’s Votis illis (27 June 1454). Throughout the next three centuries Seville Cathedral (which set the pattern for the Spanish Indies) had both a master of the altar boys who sang only plainchant, and a master of the seises, generally the maestro de capilla or his deputy. The master of the seises boarded and taught them. When their voices changed, and upon receiving a certificate of good behaviour, they were entitled to a few years’ free tuition and other benefits in the Colegio de S Miguel or in the Colegio de S Isidoro maintained by the Sevillian Chapter. Similar ...