1902 Encyclopedia > Organ


ORGAN, The notes of the organ are produced by pipes, which are blown by air under pressure, technically called wind. Pipes differ from one another in two principal ways—(1) in pitch, (2) in quality of tone. (1) Consider first a series of pipes producing notes of similar quality, but differing in pitch. Such a series is called a stop. Stop*. Each stop of the organ is in effect a musical instrument in itself. (2) The pipes of different stops differ, musically speaking, in their quality of tone, as well as sometimes in their pitch. Physically, they differ in shape and general arrangement. The sounding of the pipes is determined by the use of keys, some of which are played by the hands, some by the feet. A complete stop possesses a pipe for every key of some one row of manuals or pedals. If one stop alone is caused to sound, the effect is that of performance on a single instrument. There are such things as incom-plete stops, w-hich do not extend over a whole row of keys; and also there are stops which have more than one pipe to each key. Every stop is provided with mechanism by means of which the wind can be cut off from its pipes, so that they cannot sound even when the keys are pressed. This mechanism is made to terminate in a handle, which is commonly spoken of as the slop. When the handle is pushed in, the stop does not sound; when the handle is pulled out, the stop sounds if the keys are pressed. An organ may contain from one to four manuals or keyboards and one set of pedals. There are exceptional instruments having five manuals, and also some having two sets of pedals. The usual compass of the manuals is four and a Corn-half octaves, from C to g'" inclusive. The compass of the pass, pedal is two and a half octaves, from C to/. This repre-sents the pitch in which the notes of the pedal are written; but the pedal generally possesses stops sounding one octave lower than the written note, and in some cases stops sounding two octaves below the written note. Each manual or pedal has as a rule one soundboard, on which Sound-all its pipes are placed. Underneath the soundboard is board, the uiindchest, by which the wind is conveyed from the&c' bellows, through the soundboard, to the pipes. In large organs there may be two or more soundboards for one manual or pedal. The windchest contains the mechanism of valves by which the keys control the admission of wind to the soundboard. The soundboard contains the grooves which receive the wind from the valves, and the slides by which the handles of the stops control the transmission of the wind through the soundboard to the pipes of the different stops.

The grooves of the soundboard are spaces left between
wooden bars glued ~~
on to the table of the ||J||||||
is usually one groove jjIII
grooves of the bass _ j| H
notes, which have to

trel)le: The bass bars
arc also thicker than _
that they may the
better support the Flc,. portj0n of the table with the open
great weight which grooves seen from below.
rests on the bass portion of the soundboard. The table


Resonance of pipes.

forms the top of the grooves closed below with leather, except the opening left in each, which is closed by the key-valve or pallet.
The sliders are connected with the draw-stops or stop-handles, which are covered in with
stout upper boards, on which the pipes stand. The stop-handles are pulled out, and holes are then bored straight down through the upper boards, sliders, and table to admit the wind from the grooves to the pipes. When the sliders are shifted by pushing in the handles, the holes no longer correspond, and the pipes are silenced.
Pipes are divided first in-to flue-pipes and reed-pipes. Flue-pipes are blown by a wind mouthpiece characteristic of the organ, while in reed-pipes the wind acts on a metal tongue vibrating on a reed, and the motion of the tongue determines the speech of the pipe.
Pipes are made either of wood or of metal. Wood flue-pipes are generally oí the form of a rectángula;-parallelepiped, metal fluc-pipes of a cylindrical shape. Reed-pipes are conical or pyramidal, and widen towards the top. Some flue-pipes are made with stopped ends; these as a rule sound a note about an octave lower than the corre-sponding open pipes of the same length. Such are the stopped dia-pason, bourdon, and stopped flute.

Fia. 5.
6, a stopped diapason ; -c and d being forms

an open , an oboe; and d, a trumpet, of reed-pipes.

The general ele-mentary theory of the resonance of a pipe is tolerably simple. The effective length of the pipe is determined by measuring from the upper lip to the open end in open pipes, and from the upper lip to the stopper and back again in _stopped pipes. To this is added an allowance for the effect of each opening, since the condition of perfect freedom from constraint does not subsist at the • opening itself. The corrected length is traversed twice (backwards and forwards) by sound, in the time of one vibration of the resultant note. This describes in a rough . and general manner the way in which any disturbance gives : rise to the note of the pipe; but the theory of the mouth-pieces is a much more difficult matter, into which we cannot here enter.

Mouthpieces in somewhat greater detail.

In reed-pipes which are simply conical the resonance of the body is nearly the same as that of an open pipe of the same length. Where the form is irregular no simple rule can be given. But the resonance of the body of the pipe is generally the same as the note produced. The tongue of a reed-pipe alter-nately opens and closes the aperture of the reed. In this way it admits pulses of wind to the body of the pipe; these, if they recur at the proper intervals, maintain its vibration, which takes place when the note produced cor-responds to the resonance of the pipe,

The reed itself has its vibrating length determined by a wire which presses against it. The free end of this wire is touched with the tuning tool until a satisfactory note is produced.
The pitch of the different stops is commonly denoted by Foot-the conventional approximate length of the pipe sounded length, by C, the lowest key of the manual. Even in incomplete stops which have no bass, the length of the pipe which C would have if the stop were extended down serves to indicate the pitch.

The conventional length of the C-pipe for stops having the normal pitch of the keys is 8 feet; a pipe having twice this length sounds the octave below, a pipe having half that length the octave above, and so on. Thus stops which sound the octave below the normal pitch of the keys are spoken of as 16-foot stops. Even where the pipes are stopped so that the actual length is only 8 feet, they are spoken of as having "16-foot tone." Similarly 32-foot stops sound two octaves below the normal pitch of the keys. But if these notes are produced by stopped pipes, whose actual length is only 16 feet, they are spoken of as having " 32-foot tone." Sixteen-foot and 32-foot stops are specially characteristic of the pedal, where the names also signify the length of the open pipe which would sound the note actually produced by the lowest C. In old organs, where the modern compass was not adopted, it was not unusual to find stops spoken of as of 12 feet or of 24 feet. In these cases the lowest note was frequently F. Old English organs, however, more often had G for their lowest note. The designation of the stops in these cases had be-come rather anomalous, and need not be entered into. Of stops higher than the normal pitch of the keys, the octave is denoted by 4 feet if made with open pipes, 4-foot tone if stopped; the twelfth is commonly spoken of as 2|, the fifteenth or double octave as 2 feet. Higher-sounding stops are occasionally used, but these generally form part of " mixtures," and the foot-lengths of the separate ranks are not usually given.

The true or accurate lengths of the pipes vary within considerable limits. The base of the scales (dimensions) varies according to the standard of pitch, and the voicing and the complicated natural laws of pipes produce other deviations from simple relations, so that the conventional dimensions can only be regarded as a simple means of classifying the stops according to their pitch-relations. For this purpose they are essential; they are continually appealed to in discussion and description; and they are almost invariably marked on the stop-handles in all countries, so that a moderate knowledge of foreign nomen-clatures, combined with the habit of seizing the meaning of the figures such as 16, 8, 4, on the stop-handles, will frequently suffice as a key to the complexities of a foreign organ.

Manuals. Each of the manuals, or rows of keys, of an organ con-stitutes a separate organ, which is more or less complete in itself. The names of the different manuals or organs are great organ, swell organ, choir organ, and solo organ. The fifth manual, where it occurs, is the echo organ. The above is the usual order in point of development and frequency of occurrence, although the solo is sometimes preferred to the choir organ. The great organ is in a certain sense the principal department of the organ. It may be regarded as formed by a completely developed series of those funda-mental stops which constitute the solid basis of the tone of the instrument. If an instrument be constructed with only a single manual this necessarily assumes, in general, the characteristics of a great organ. The great organ is called " grande orgue " in French, and first manual or " haupt-werk " in German.

It is proposed to describe the principal organ-stops under the heads of the manuals to which they belong. The enumeration will not be exhaustive, but will include all the usual types. Great The great organ commences generally with stops of organ. 16-foot length or tone in large instruments. In some cases a 32-foot sounding stop is introduced, but this cannot be said to be a proper characteristic of the great organ. The foundation tone is of 8 feet; the stops of higher pitch serve to add brilliancy; those of 16 feet, which sound the octave below the normal pitch, serve to add gravity and weight to the tone. Sixteen-foot stops are commonly spoken of as " doubles," their conventional length being twice that of stops of normal pitch.

The 16-foot stops are the 16 double open diapason, and the 16 bourdon or double stopped diapason, to which, in very large instruments, there may be added a 16 double trumpet. The double open diapason on the great organ consists usually of metal pipes, having moderate " scale" or transverse dimensions. These are of the same general character as the pipes of the ordinary open diapason, though they are made somewhat less powerful. In the better instruments of the second class as to size this stop alone would probably be regarded as representing suitably and sufficiently the class of doubles on the great organ, 11 gives great body to the general tone, and appears de-cidedly preferable to the bourdon, which frequently takes its place, The 16 double dulciana may be regarded as a variation of the double open diapason. It is sometimes used where the full effect of a double open is not considered desirable. It possesses the light and not full tone of the dulciana. It does not appear to be peculiarly suitable for the purposes of a double.

The 16 bourdon or double stopped diapason, when used on the great organ, is made of rather small scalo and light tone. It gives great body to a large great organ, and affords interesting combinations with other stops, such as the 4-foot flute. It is used either alone in smaller organs of the second class or in addition to a double open in larger instruments. The notes are produced from wooden pipes of rectangular section, stopped at the end, and having half the conventional length.

The 16 double trumpet is a trumpet (large reed stop) sounding the octave below the normal pitch. It is used generally in instruments of the largest size, but is some-what more common in Germany, It is useful in giving a massive character to the tone of the full great organ, which is otherwise apt to become disagreeable on account of the great development of stops of a piercing character. If, however, the double trumpet is rough in tone, it is apt to communicate to the whole a corresponding impression.

The judicious balancing of such elements as the double trumpet and the piercing stops such as mixtures is one of the principal features of a good German great organ.

We now proceed to the 8-foot stops (the reeds come at Great the end according to ordinary usage). An ordinary great orgal> organ may contain 8 stopped diapason, 8 open diapason ^ feet (one or more), 8 gamba, and 8 hohlflote. The 8 stopped diapason on the great organ is usually of wood, of-mode-rate scale, and some considerable fulness of tone. The actual lengths are about half the conventional lengths. These pipes are sometimes made of metal. Few stops admit of more variety and individuality in their quality of tone than the stopped diapason; but too frequently the great organ stopped diapason fails to attract attention on its merits, being regarded simply as an inconsiderable por-tion of the foundation tone.

If there is any one stop which in itself represents the organ as a whole it is the open diapason. The pipes of this stop are the typical metal pipes which have always-been characteristic of the appearance of the organ. A single open diapason stop is capable of being used as an organ of sufficient power for many purposes, though of course without variety. The pipes of this stop are called " principal" in German, this appellation apparently corre-sponding to the fact that they are the true and original organ-pipes. The English appellation of " diapason " has-been taken to mean that these are the normal pipes whicfi run through the whole compass. This, however, does not appear to be the actual derivation of the term ; originally it is technically applied to the organ-builder's rule, which gives the dimensions of pipes; and it appears that the application to the stop followed on this meaning.

The scales, character, and voicing of the open diapason vary with fashion, and are different in different countries. We may distinguish three principal types. The old English diapasons of the days before the introduction of pedal organs into England were characterized by a rich sweet tone, and were not very powerful. They were generally voiced on a light wind, having a pressure equivalent to that of a column of water of from 2 to 2\ inches. The scale was in some cases very large, as in Green's two open diapasons in the old organ at St George's, Windsor; in these the wind was light and the tone very soft. In other cases the scale was smaller and the voicing bolder, as in Father Smith's original diapasons in St Paul's Cathedral. But on the whole the old English diapasons presented a lovely quality of tone. English travellers of those days, accustomed to these diapasons, usually found foreign organs harsh, noisy, and uninterest-ing. And there are many still in England who, while recognizing the necessity of a firmer diapason tone in view of the introduction of the heavy pedal bass, and the corresponding strengthening of the upper departments of the organ tone, lament the disappearance of the old diapason tone. However, it is possible with care to obtain diapasons presenting the sweet characteristics of the old English tone, combined with sufficient fulness and power to form a sound general foundation. And there can be no doubt that this should be one of the chief points to be kept in view in organ design.

The German diapason was of an entirely different character from the English. The heavy bass of the pedals has been an essential characteristic of the German organ for at least two or three centuries, or, as it is said, for four. The development of the piercing stops of high pitch was equally general. Thus foundation work of comparatively great power was required to maintain the balance of tone; the ordinary German diapason was very loud, and we may almost say coarse, in its tone when compared with the old English diapason. The German stop was voiced as a rule on from 3^ to 4 inches of wind, not quite twice the pressure used in England.

The French diapason is a modern variety. It may be described as presenting rather the characteristics of a loud gamba than of a diapason. In other words, the tone tends towards a certain quality which may be described as " tinny " or metallic, or as approaching to that of a string instrument of rather coarse character. Some modern English builders appear to aim at the same model, and not without success.

The tone of a diapason must be strong enough to assert itself. It is the foundation of the whole organ tone. It is the voicer's business to satisfy this condition in con-junction with the requirement that the tone shall be full and of agreeable quality.

The 8 spitzflote may be regarded as a variety of open diapason. The pipes taper slightly towards the top, and the quality is slightly stringy. This stop was much used at one time in place of a second open diapason. But it appears better that, where two open diapasons are desir-able, they should both be of full diapason quality, though possibly of different strengths and dimensions. The ad-mixture of stringy qualities of tone with the diapasons is always to be deprecated.

The 8 gamba was originally an imitation of the viola da gamba, a sort of violoncello. When made of a light quality of tone it is a pleasing stop; but its use in the great organ instead of a second open diapason is greatly to be deprecated for the reasons just stated. It is frequently found that, where a gamba is provided on the great organ, it is necessary to remove it from the compositions (mechanical arrangements for pulling out the stop-handles in different combinations), as the tone does not blend.

The 8 hohlflote is an open flute, usually of wood, and of small scale. If made to a moderate scale and fully voiced it possesses a full pleasant tone, which is a useful support to the foundation tone of the great organ. The 8 clarabella differs from the hohlflote in being usually of rather large scale, and having the open pipes only in the treble. In old organs a separate bass was generally provided; now it is more usual to supply the stop with a stopped bass. The dulciana and keraulophon, though sometimes found on the great organ, are regarded as more appropriately placed elsewhere. Great The 4-foot stops of the great organ comprise the 4 prin-organ cipal and the 4 flute. The 4 principal is the octave of the 4 feet. 0pen diapason, generally of somewhat reduced scale and light but bright quality of tone. The use of the word " principal" in connexion with this stop is purely English, and is said to be connected with the use made of it as the standard of tuning for the whole organ. The Germans and French both designate this stop as " octave."

Of the 4 flute there are several varieties,—open, stopped, wood, metal, and harmonic. The harmonic flute has open metal pipes of double the conventional length, which speak their octave. This is determined partly by the voicing, partly by making a small hole about the middle of the length, which determines the motion as that of the two separate lengths between which the hole lies. Harmonic flutes have a sweet but full and powerful tone. Other flutes are generally rather light, except the waldflote, which is a powerful stop of a somewhat hooting quality.

The great organ flute is frequently used to give bril-liancy to light combinations. Thus it may be used with the stopped diapason alone, or with the 16 bourdon alone, or with any of these and either or both of the open dia-pasons. Where the diapasons are scarcely strong enough to assert themselves in accompaniment, it is a very common practice to put the 4 flute into the diapason composition

If any such use is made of the flute it is desirable that it should not be too strong; but its habitual use to give point to the diapasons is in every way to be. deprecated. If the diapasons are not strong enough, let them be altered; but that the diapasons of any organ should never be heard without the accompaniment of a 4 flute is a barbarism.

The ordinary use of the 4-foot stops is to add a degree of loudness to the diapasons. This is accompanied with a certain measure of keenness, which may become disagree-able if the 4-foot tone is disproportionately strong. The ordinary practice is to use the 4-foot tone, very freely.

The 2| twelfth stop sounds fiddle g: on the C key. It Great is composed of diapason pipes, rather small and gently organ voiced. Its use is said to be to thicken the tone, which ^°^s °* it certainly does. But how far the particular effect pro- pitch, duced is desirable is another question. It is generally necessary that this stop should be accompanied by the fifteenth or other octave sounding stop of higher pitch. But in some cases the twelfth can be used with notes of lower pitch only. One such combination is—twelfth, full-toned 8-foot harmonic flute, soft reed in 16-foot pitch. This combination is sometimes used in single notes for solo purposes. The sound of the twelfth appears to be masked or absorbed by the volume of tone of lower pitch. These combinations require careful handling, as the effect of the twelfth is offensive if it remains distinctly perceptible.

The 2 fifteenth, or superoctave, of the great organ con-sists of diapason pipes sounding notes two octaves above the normal pitch of the keys. The 2 piccolo is a fluty stop of less power, having the same pitch.1 The 2-foot tone is commonly used as giving a degree of loudness to the great organ beyond that obtainable with the 4-foot tone.

The modern great organ fifteenth is generally a very powerful stop, and requires great caution in its use in organs of moderate size, or in limited spaces. The old English high pitched stops had little power, and their brilliancy was capable of pleasing without offence. The modern great organ up to fifteenth can only be heard with comfort in very large spaces. Under such suitable circumstances the fifteenth is capable of giving to the whole tone a ringing or silvery character, which lends itself specially to contrast with the tone of reeds. This peculiar keen tone, however, requires for its full develop-ment the mixtures.

Mixture, sesquiáltera, furniture, cymbal, scharf, cornet, are various names applied to a description of stop which' possesses several ranks, or several pipes to each note. The, pipes of each note sound a chord, which is generally com-posed of concordant notes of the harmonic series whose, fundamental is the proper note of the key. Modern mix-tures generally consist of fifths and octaves. Their com-position is not the same throughout the whole range of the keyboard. A three-rank mixture may consist of the following (the numbers signify intervals, reckoned along the scale)—
C — c (tenor) 15 — 19 — 22 cfl; to top 8 — 12 — 15.
For a somewhat larger full mixture this may be modi-fied as follows—
C — e (middle) 15 — 19 — 22
to top 1— 8 — 12 — 15.
A sharp mixture suitable for a large instrument may be, as follows—
Five Ranks. C — d 15 —19 — 22 — 26 — 29 «$—/"# 8 — 12 — 15 — 19 — 22 g" —d" 1— 8 — 12 — 15 — 19 c'" to top l — 5 — 8 — 12 — 15.
The last two compositions are. given by Hopkins in his great treatise on the organ.

The early mixtures generally included the tierce (17th, or two octaves and a third). The German practice was to unite this with a twelfth, carrying the combination 12-17 throughout the keyboard under the name of sesquiáltera. It is agreed that there is no direct derivation of this use from the word, and that the name should be sexta. The combination is, however, not now usually provided. The old English sesquiáltera was ordinarily simply a form of mixture, as was the furniture. The mounted cornet con-sisted usually of five ranks—
1 — 8 — 12 — 15 — 17. It extended from middle c upwards. The pipes were raised on a small soundboard of their own; they were of very large scale and horn-like tone. The stop was used for re-inforcing a melody. It is now obsolete.

The question of the employment and composition of mixtures is of the greatest importance with respect to the good effect of the full organ proper, i.e., without reeds. With reference to the whole question of keen-toned stops it may be laid down that their free employment in the great organ does not produce a good effect unless the organ is situated in a very large space. If this is the case, properly proportioned mixtures are capable of giving to the tone of the full diapason work a character which is brilliant without being overpowering. The contrast between this class of tone and that afforded by the reeds is one of the most charming and legitimate effects within the range of the instrument. Great We now pass to the reeds. The 16-foot trumpet has organ been already alluded to, and there remain 8 trumpet and reeds. 4 c'arion or octave trumpet. These are both stops of great power. The best trumpets possess also richness and smoothness of tone. Stops of this class can be used with the diapasons only, producing what may be described as a rich-toned blare of moderate strength. The more usual employment of the reeds is in connexion with the entire great organ, the whole forming the ordinary fortissimo of the instrument.

Swell organ.

The second department of the English organ is the swell organ. The whole of the swell pipes are enclosed in a box, faced on one or more sides with a set of balanced shutters. When these are closed the tone is almost com-pletely muffled. When the shutters are opened, by means of a pedal usually, the sound bursts out. In order that the use of the swell may be effective, it is necessary that the shutters should close tightly, and that there should be a sufficient volume of tone to produce an effect when they are opened. The swell is of entirely English origin; it has been introduced in Germany to a very small extent, but more widely in France. It is usually called "recitatif" on the Continent. The chief characteristic of the swell is the rich and powerful volume of reed-tone of a peculiar character which it contains. But other stops are also of im-portance. We consider them in order. The 16 bourdon, small scale, is very commonly used in swells. It assists in giving body to the tone. It occupies, however, a large space within the swell box ; and where the choice between it and a 16-foot reed has to be made there can be no doubt that the reed should be preferred, as it contributes so much more to the development of the characteristic swell tone. The 16 contra fagotto and the 16 bass oboe .are two alternative forms of 16-foot reed. The first is the more powerful of the two. Either of these stops imparts great richness to the tone of the other swell reeds, giving specially to the bass the peculiar quality which suggests great power.

The 8-foot diapason work is principally valuable for the soft effects obtained from it. The diapasons are voiced less loudly than for the great organ; and within the shutters they sound very soft indeed. The dulciana is the softest stop generally available; and either this or some similar stop is introduced into the swell for the purpose of obtaining effects of the most extreme softness. Space within the swell box has generally to be economized. The complete bass of the open diapason or dulciana requires an 8-foot swell box, whereas even a 16-foot reed can be bent round so as to go within a smaller box if necessary. The open diapason and the dulciana are therefore often cut short at tenor c, and completed, if desired, with stopped pipes. The 4 principal and the 4 flute stops are similar to the corresponding stops in the great organ, but are somewhat lighter in tone. As in the case of the great diapasons and the 4-foot flute, it sometimes happens that the first reed combination (oboe) is not strong enough. Then the principal is sometimes put into its composition. This almost invariably spoils the effect entirely.

The 2 fifteenth and mixtures are much more pleasing in the swell than in the great organ. The shutters tone them down, so that they cannot easily become offensive. Added to the reeds, they give a peculiar brilliancy to the full swell. But perhaps their most pleasing use is when all the diapason work of the swell is used alone, and as a con-trast to the reeds.

The usual reeds are as follows, besides the doubles already mentioned:—8 oboe, 8 cornopean, 8 trumpet, and 4 clarion (octave trumpet). The oboe (hautboy) is a conventional imitation of the orchestral instrument. It is a stop of delicate tone, and perhaps is at its best in solo passages, softly accompanied on another manual. The cornopean has a powerful horn-like tone. It is the stop which, more than any other, gives to the English swell its peculiar character. The trumpet is used in addition to the cornopean in large instruments. The clarion serves to add brightness and point to the whole.

The third department is the choir organ. The 8-foot Choir work may contain 8 stopped diapason, 8 oj)en diapason, 8 organ, gamba, 8 keraulophon, and 8 hohlflbte.
As a rule no open diapason is provided for choir organs, unless they are larger than usual; but a small open is most useful as a means of obtaining a better balance than usual _ against the other manuals. The stopped diapason is gener-ally made to contrast in some way with that on the great organ. The hohlflote, or its representative, is generally a lighter stop than what would be put on the great organ. The gamba is better placed in the choir organ than in the great or the swell. Such stops as the gamba and the keraulophon are frequently placed in the swell with the idea of adding to the reediness of the tone. But this is fallacious. Their tone is not strong enough to assert itself through the shutters, and their peculiar character is there-fore lost. On the choir organ, on the other hand, the sort of strength required is just about what they possess, and they show to advantage. The keraulophon is a stop in-vented by Gray and Davison, and has been widely adopted for many years. It has a hole made in each pipe near the top, and gives a peculiar tone very well described by its name (horn-flute). Though not very like the gamba, its tone is so far of the same type of quality that the two stops would hardly be used together. It is generally the case that similar stops of exceptional characters do not combine well, whereas stops of opposed qualities do com-bine well. Thus a gamba and a keraulophon would not combine well, whereas either of them forms an excellent combination with a stopped diapason or a hohlflote.

The 4 principal is sometimes very useful. A light com-bination on the choir, with excess of 4-foot tone, may often be advantageously contrasted with the more full and solid tone of the great diapasons, or with other attainable effects. The 4 flute is constantly used. The 2 piccolo is frequently found on the choir organ, but is not particularly usefuu

In organs which have no solo manual there is usually a clarionet (cremona, cromorne, or krummhorn, in old organs sometimes corno di bassetto) on the choir, and often an orchestral oboe (real imitation of the instrument). These are reed-stops. The dulciana and another soft stop, the salicional, salcional, or salicet (of similar strength, but slightly more pungent quality), are often placed on the choir. They are, however, hardly strong enough to be of much use there, and in the swell they are useful for effects of extreme softness. In very large instruments a fifteenth and a mixture are sometimes placed on the choir, which in this case has a complete series of diapason work. If the fifteenth and the mixtures are light enough the result is a sort of imitation of the tone of the old English organ. It also forms a useful echo to the great organ, i.e., a passage played on the great may be repeated on the similar but fainter tone of the choir with the effect of an echo. In instruments of the largest size the choir is sometimes pro-vided with a very small bourdon of 16-foot tone, which helps to give to the tone the character of that of a small full organ without reeds. Solo The solo organ is comparatively modern, at all events organ. ;n ^s present usual form. A fourth manual was not un-known in old German organs; but the contents of all four resembled each other in a general sort of way, and there tvas nothing like the English swell or the modern solo. The solo appears to have arisen with Cavaille-Coll in France, and Hill in England, as a vehicle for the powerful reed-stops on heavy wind introduced by these builders. Thus the French term for the solo is " clavier des bom-bardes " ; and in the earlier English solos the " tuba mira-bilis " was usually prominent. A solo organ may suitably contain any of the following stops :—8 tromba (a powerful reed on heavy wind), 8 harmonic flute (powerful tone and heavy wind), 8 clarionet and 8 orchestral oboe (real imi-tations of the instruments), and 8 vox humana (conven-tional imitation of the human voice).

The vox humana is sometimes placed in the swell. The last three stops are reeds. They may be with advantage enclosed in a swell box, having a separate pedal. In very large instruments a complete series of both diapason and reed stops is occasionally placed on the solo. But there does not seem to be much advantage in this arrange-ment.


We now come to the pedal. This forms the general bass organ, to the whole organ. Thirty-two foot stops only occur in the largest instruments; they are as follows:—32 open diapason (wood or metal), 32-foot tone bourdon, and 32 contra trombone, posaune, bombarde, sackbut (reed). The 32-foot open diapason, whether wood or metal, is usually made of large scale, and produces true musical notes throughout. Its musical effect in the lower part of its range is, however, questionable, so far as this depends on the possibility of recognizing the pitch of the notes. It adds great richness to the general effect, particularly in large spaces. The 32-foot tone bourdon is not usually a successful stop. It rarely produces its true note in the lower part of its range. The 32-foot reed on the pedal has long been a characteristic of the largest instruments. With the old type of reed it was rarely pleasant to hear. The manufacture has been greatly improved lately, and these large reeds are now made to produce a fairly smooth effect. Deep reed notes, when rich and good, undoubtedly form one of the principal elements in giving the impression of power produced by large organs. From this point of view they are of great importance. Nevertheless the effect of large pedal reeds is generally more satisfactory to the performer than to the listener.

The 16-foot pitch may be regarded as the normal pitch of the pedal; the principal stops are as follows :—16 open diapason (wood or metal), 16-foot tone bourdon, 16 violone (imitation of double bass), and 16 trombone or posaune (reed). The 16-foot open diapason on the pedal assumes different forms according to circumstances. As a rule the character is sufficiently indicated by the stop being of wood or metal. The wooden open is generally of very large scale, and produces a ponderous tone of great power and fulness, which is only suitable for the accompaniment of the full organ, or of very powerful manual combinations. Such a stop is, as a rule, unsuitable in organs of moder-ate size, unless supplemented by lighter 16s for ordinary purposes. The metal open is of considerably smaller scale (in fact all metal pipes are effectively of much smaller scale than wooden pipes of similar diameter). The metal gives a clear tone, lighter than that of large wooden pipes, and pleasanter for ordinary purposes. The metal open combines advantageously with a bourdon. In the largest organs both wood and metal open 16s may be suit-ably provided. Where metal pipes are made a feature in the organ-case, both the double open diapason in the great organ and the metal 16 of the pedal may be properly made of good metal (polished tin or spotted metal), and worked in to the design of the organ-case. The same applies to the 32-foot metal opens of the largest instruments. This saves space in the interior, and gives the large pipes room to speak, which is apt to be wanting when they are placed inside. The 16-foot tone bourdon on the pedal may be made of any scale according to circumstances. If it is the chief bass of the organ it is made very large and with great volume of tone. Such stops are unsuitable for soft purposes, and a soft 16, usually a violone, is required in addition. If the loud department of the 16 tone is otherwise provided for the bourdon may be made of moderate strength. It may also be made very soft, like a manual bourdon. These three different strengths ought always to be provided for in an instrument of a complete character. The violone is also made of all three strengths. In a few cases it furnishes the principal bass; frequently it furnishes the moderate element; and it is often applied to obtain a very soft 16-foot tone. The 16-foot reed is very common. The observations made as to the effect of 32-foot reeds are applicable also in this case.

The 8-foot department of the pedal is only less important than the 16, because it is possible to replace it to a certain extent by coupling or attaching the manuals to the pedals. The usual 8-foot pedal-stops are as follows :—8 principal bass (metal or wood), 8 bass flute (stopped), 8 violon-cello (imitation of the instrument), and 8 trumpet. The remarks made above as to the scale of open 16s apply with little change to the pedal principal. Only, since the manuals are generally coupled, it is perhaps best to pro-vide the large scale wood-stop, which presents the power-ful class of tone in which the manual diapasons are deficient. The bass flute is almost a necessity in combina-tion with the light 16-foot tone. A composition ought to be provided by which the pedal can be reduced to these two elements by a single movement. The violoncello is sometimes used instead of the bass flute for the last-named purpose, for which, however, it is not so suitable. It is a favourite stop for some solo purposes, but is not of much general utility. The 8-foot trumpet serves to give clear-ness and point to the tone of the 16-foot reed.

In the short preface to Mendelssohn's Organ Sonatas it is stated that everywhere, even in pianissimo, it is intended that the 16-foot tone of the pedal should be accompanied

Second pedal.

Arrange-ment of manuals


General mechan-ism.

by 8 -foot tone. For the purpose of realizing this as a general direction the soft 16-foot and 8-foot stops are re-quired ; large instruments are, however, occasionally found which possess nothing of the kind.

The following stops of higher pitch are occasionally found on the pedal:—twelfth bass, 4 fifteenth bass, mixture, and 4 clarion. These serve to make the pedal tone practically independent of coupling to the manual, which is a matter of great importance, especially in the per-formance of certain compositions of Bach and other writers, who appear to have been independent of couplers.

The 8-foot and 4-foot reeds on the pedal afford the best, indeed almost the only means of performing some types of composition best known in the works of Bach, in which the pedal sounds a chorale in the 8-foot or 4-foot pitch, whilst an elaborate accompaniment is executed on the manuals. Where these pedal reeds are not present it is necessary to couple to the pedal an 8-foot or a 4-foot manual reed. The corresponding manual ceases to be available for the manual part of the composition; and, as this generally involves two manuals, one of which must possess a 16-foot stop, the performance is sometimes im-practicable, even on large organs.

In some foreign instruments two sets of pedals are pro-vided, which may be described as great and choir pedals. The great pedal is in the usual position; the choir pedal is in front of the other, and sloping. It is so placed that the feet rest on it naturally when stretched out in front of the performer. There is a choir pedal of this kind in the organ in the minster at Ulm, built by Walcker of Ludwigsburg. It is a very large instrument, having 100 sounding stops. It has no compositions, which indeed are but little known in Germany; and without some arrangement such as this a soft pedal would hardly be obtainable. There are a few other instruments which have choir pedals, but they have not been introduced into England.

In organs which have a single manual the characteristics of the great and choir organs are usually united. In organs which have two manuals the lower usually repre-sents the united great and choir, the upper is the swell. In organs which have three manuals the lower is usually the choir, but sometimes combines choir and solo, the middle is the great, and the top is the swell. In organs which have four manuals the order is—solo, swell, great, choir, the solo being at the top and the choir at the bottom.

Compositions are mechanical contrivances for moving the stop-handles in groups at a time. The ordinary form consists of pedals, which project from the front just above the pedal keys. The arrangements are various. We may refer to the arrangement in the organ at Windsor, given later on. A species of composition was introduced by Willis some years ago, and has been adopted in many large English instruments, which acts by means of a series of brass disks placed just under the front of the keys of each manual, within reach of the thumb. These act by means of pneumatic levers. A slight pressure on one of the disks sets the machine attached to it in action, and the required change in the stops is made without any exertion on the part of the performer.

The connexion between the keys and their pallets is made by various mechanisms, some of which are very ancient. In square, and trackerwork (fig. 7) the old squares were made of wood. They resemble in function the squares used for taking bell-wires round a corner. The trackers are slight strips of wood, having screwed wires whipped on to their ends, which hold by leather buttons. The trackers play the part of the bell-wires. Where pressure has to be transmitted instead of a pull, thin but broad slips

FIG. 8.—A and B as in fig. 7; C, sticker.

of wood are usedj having pins stuck into their ends to keep them in their places. These are stickers (fig. 8). Backfalls (fig. 9) are narrow wooden levers turning on pins which pass through their centres. The fan frame (fig. 10) is a set of backfalls having one set of ends close together, usually corresponding to the keys; the other ends are spread widely apart. The roller board (fig. 11) is a more general mode of shift-ing the movements sideways. The roller is a slip of wood, or a bit of metal tube, which turns on two pins inserted into its ends. It has two arms pro-jecting at right angles toits length. One of these re-ceives the pull at one point, the other gives it off at an-other. In case a pull has to be transmitted to more than one quarter, a roller will sometimes have more than two arms. The

name of couplers

(fig. 12) is given to r—r~~" f *""""! "* »
the mechanical stop I '
by which the keys FlG- »—Backfall,

FIG. 12.—Coupler.

of one manual are made to take down those of another, or those of the pedal to take down those of the manuals. Some old forms of the mechanism could not be put on while any of the keys were depressed; others had a tendency to throw the fingers off the keys. These forms have been entirely super- I seded. That now used consists of a series of backfalls centred on a movable support. The one set of ends is connected with the moving keys; the other set of ends is pierced by the wires of the trackers or stickers from the FlG-10-—Fan b&me-keys to be moved. In the one position of the support these ends play freely over the wires; in the other they are brought up against the buttons of the | trackers or against the stickers to be moved. The usual couplers are—each of the manuals to the pedal, swell to great, swell to great octave, swell to great sub-octave, swell to choir, choir to great sub-octave, and solo to great. The swell oc-tave and sub-octave couplers are sometimes placed on the swell itself. The objection to this is, that, if they are used when the swell is coupled to the great organ, as is very commonly the case, the octaves are reached through two couplers. And, as couplers are not generally screwed up quite tight, the

The pneumatic lever (fig. 13) consists of a small power bellows attached to each key, so that the depression of the key admits high-pressure wind to the power bellows. The power bellows then performs the work of opening the valves, ifcc. In large organs the work to be done would be beyond the reach of the most powerful finger without this device. Similar de-vices are sometimes applied to the com-positions and other mechanical arrange-ments.

Pneumatic trans-mission, with many other mechanical de-vices, was invented by Willis. It con-sists of a divided pneumatic action.

The pneumatic wind, instead of being at once admitted to the power bellows, is made to traverse a length of tubing, at the farther end of which it reaches the work to be done. This principle admits of application to divided organs, the pneumatic transmission passing under the floor, as in the organ at St Paul's Cathedral. It is peculiarly suitable for the pedals of large organs.

Ventils are valves which control the wind-supply of the different groups of stops. They were much recommended at one time as a substitute for compositions. The practical difference is that compositions shift the stop-handles, so that one can always see what there is on the organ; ventils leave the stop handles unmoved, so that the player is liable to be deceived. Other inconveniences might be mentioned, but it is enough to say that practical opinion appears decidedly to condemn the use of ventils.


The original pedal boards of Germany were flat and of very large scale. The early practice in England was to about the majje them very small, as well as of short compass. Of former. late *ne compass C—-/', thirty notes, has been universally adopted with scales varying from 2^ to 1\ inches from centre to centre of the naturals; 2f inches is the scale now recommended. A large number of organs have been provided with what are called concave radiating pedal boards. These are most objectionable. All the best players dislike them. The objections are mainly two. They present different scales at different distances from the front; and, except just in front, they become so narrow that the smallest foot can hardly put down the pedals singly. This is fatal to legitimate playing, the essence of which consists in putting the feet over each other freely, so as to use the alternate method as much as possible; and this requires that the back of the pedal board shall be as available as the front. The concave parallel form appears to satisfy all requirements.

The diversities of the arrangements of different organs present a great difficulty. The best players take a certain time to master the arrangements of a strange instrument. With a view to the introduction of uniformity, a conference on the subject was arranged by the College of Organists in London, and a series of resolutions and a series of recom-mendations were published which deserve attention (1881). They go into considerable detail, and we must refer to the document itself. But we may mention that the parallel concave form is recommended for the pedal board, and 2| inches for the scale. The positions of the stops of the various organs are to be as follows.

Left. Eight.
Swell Solo.
Pedal. Great.
Couplers. Choir.

The order of compositions, &c, from piano to forte is to be in all cases from left to right. The groups of com-positions are to be in the order from left to right—pedal, swell, couplers, great. Some think that too much has been here sacrificed to uniformity. It is thought that, as the swell and great as a rule are provided with composi-tions, their stops are more properly placed on the right, leaving the solo and choir on the left, as the left hand is the more easily spared. Also some prefer to have the compositions arranged with the pianos in the middle and the fortes at the ends, so that the risk of putting down a loud composition in mistake for a soft one is avoided.

Two other points of detail may be alluded to. One is the position of the pedal board with reference to the keys. The height from the middle of the pedals to the great organ keys, it is agreed, should be 32 inches. But as to the forward position there is a difference. The resolutions say that " a plumb-line dropped from the front of the great organ sharp keys falls 2 inches nearer the player than the front of the centre short key of the pedal board.

" , ,
Great Ûrga.ri'*^ \
fi Old
% 'College of Orgccnxsts
\Mcu/cLrzL&ri College & 'S¤ (reorgeS. WiruLs or

The old arrangement
gave usually 1J inches for this distance. But it is thought that the change has not gone far enough, and 4 inches has been found preferable. There is scarcely any single arrangement which is so important for the comfort of the player as having sufficient space in this direction (fig. 14). The second matter is the provision of some other means of acting on

FlG* '—Relative position of manual and pedal

the swell than by the swell pedal. The use of the swell pedal is inconsistent with the proper use of both feet on the pedal keys; and there is no doubt that incorrect habits in this respect are commonly the result of the English use of the swell pedal. In fact, players sometimes keep one foot on the swell pedal all the time, so that proper pedal playing is impossible. Arrangements have been de-vised by means of which a movable back to the seat can be made the means of acting on the swell. The first " re-commendation " of the College of Organists illustrates the requirement; it is, that " the consideration of organ-builders be directed to the widely-expressed desire for some means of operating on the swell in addition to the ordinary swell pedal."

Clarabella 8
Principal 4
Harmonic flute 4
Twelfth 2§
Fifteenth 2
Sesquialteral in ranks
Mixture 1 ii ranks
Posaune 8
Clarion 4

As an example of an organ of a complete but not enormously large character, we give the details of the organ at St George's chapel, Windsor, which has been recently rebuilt by Messrs. Gray and Davison, according to Mr. Walter Parratt's designs.

Pour manuals, C to a'", 58 notes. Pedal, C to /, 30 notes.
Great Organ (S^-inch wind).
Double open diapason 16
Large open diapason 8
Open diapason 8
Stopped diapason 8

== TABLE ==

The swell pedals control two sides of the swell box and the orchestral oboe. The vox humana is in a box which is always shut.

These swell pedals are on a new system, which admits of fixing them at any point, so that the tone can be determined to any strength.


Early allusions. The early history of the organ is very obscure.8 As far back as classical times literary allusions occur occasionally to wind instruments involving the use of pipes and channels and reservoirs of air. Some form of bagpipe appears to have been alluded to in this way. Vitruvius has left a description of the hydraulicon, or hydraulic organ. It is clear that it must have been a machine of some complexity ; but the way in which it acted is not intelligibly described.


Athenaeus also has an account of the water organ. There is a treatise on pneumatics by Hero of Alexandria, which contains apparently actual drawings of a pneumatic organ and of an hydraulic organ, with fairly clear descrip-tions. If these drawings are authentic they are remark-able ; for the pipes shown present very much the appear-ance of modern organ-pipes, and they are arranged in a row with the longest in the middle, just as pipes are often arranged now. There is a bit of sculpture on the obelisk of Theodosius at Constantinople (latter part of 4th century) which represents an instrument having eight pipes stand-ing in a row. The mouths are not shown, and the manipu-lation is apparently going on on the farther side, so that its nature is not shown. The wind is furnished by a sort of blacksmith's bellows, on which two men are standing, as if to give the pressure or "weight to the wand." It appears probable that organs were introduced into churches during the latter half of the first millennium A.D. AS the keyboard does not appear to have been invented till after the close of this period, the notes can only have been sounded one at a time, and rapid successions can-not have been used. The notes seem to have been few in number, about ten, but each note had latterly a number of pipes.

A treatise on the construction of organs by a monk named Theophilus is assigned to the early part of the 11th

century. While some of the practical work is recognizable, most of the descriptions are unintelligible. It appears clear, however, that no keyboard is mentioned.
The first keyboard is said to have been introduced into the organ in the cathedral at Magdeburg about the close of the 11th century. There were sixteen keys; and a drawing exists in a work of the 17th century which pur-ports to represent them. They are said to have been an ell long and 3 inches broad. The drawing represents a complete octave with naturals and short keys (semitones), arranged in the same relative positions as in the modern keyboard. As it is generally admitted that the semitones were not invented till later, it would seem that this draw-ing is probably not authentic. In early "organs with key-boards the keys are said to have required blows of the fist to put them down. In these cases probably sounding the notes of the plain song was all that could be accom-plished.
As to the precise time and conditions under which the keyboard assumed its present form we know nothing. It is commonly said that the change to narrow keys took place in the course of the 14th century, and that the semitones were introduced about the same time. But all these statements rest on the authority of writers long subsequent to the dates in question, and the actual facts appear to be unknown. Many examples of organ key-boards still exist, both in England and on the Continent, which have black naturals and white short keys (semi-tones). The organ in the church at Heiligenblut in the Tyrol had in 1870 two manuals, one having black naturals and white semitones, the other white naturals and black semitones. In this organ the stops were acted on by iron levers which moved right and left. It possessed a reservoir bellows of great capacity, and was altogether a remarkable instrument. Harpsichords with black key-boards also exist.
The mode of blowing practised about the time of the in- Bellows, troduction of the first keyboard appears to have been that which ultimately developed into the method still generally used in Germany. There were a great many separate bellows, each like a magnified kitchen-bellows, but provided with a valve, so that the wind could not return into the bellows. One man had charge of two of these. Each foot was attached to one bellows, and the blower held on by a bar above. It was possible, by raising each of the two bellows in turn and then resting his weight upon it, to produce a constant supply of wind with the pressure due to his weight. A great many such bellows were provided, and it seems that each pair required one man ; so that great numbers of blowers were employed. This description is again drawn from the 17th-century work before alluded to ; and its very completeness and the clearness of the accom-panying drawing seem suspicious. A slight modification is enough to change this method into the German one. Instead of fastening the feet to the bellows and pulling them up, the blower treads on a lever which raises the bellows. The bellows being loaded then supplies the wind of itself. The bellows thus used have diagonal hinges, and various expedients are employed to make them furnish steady wind. But the English system of horizontal reser-voirs and feeders appears far superior.
While the notes were still few, and many pipes were connected with each note, the system of forming a chord on each note appears to have originated, which survives in the modern mixture. There was not at that time any-thing of the nature of stops; all the pipes connected with any one note sounded without exception whenever the note was made use of. The object probably was to give

the single notes a powerful and dominating character, so as to enable them to lead the church song. PedaL The invention of the pedal may be set down to the 15th century. About that time the organ assumed on the Con-tinent the general form which it has retained till lately, more especially in Germany. This may be described generally as having a compass of about four octaves in the manuals and of two octaves in the pedal, with occasionally extra notes at the top in both, and frequently "short octaves" at the bottom. German short octaves are as follows. The manual and pedal appear to terminate on E instead of C. Then the E key sounds C, F = F, F# = D, G = G, G$ = E, and the rest as usual. There were often three, sometimes four, manuals in large organs. The character of all these was in general much the same, but they were more softly voiced in succession, the softest manual being sometimes spoken of as an echo organ. There are one or two examples of the echo as a fourth manual in England at the present time, in organs which have been designed more or less under German inspiration. The old echo was long ago superseded by the swell in England. Cases. A few ancient cases survive in a more or less altered condition. Of these the following are worthy of mention, as bearing on the question of date.
Sion (Switzerland). Gothic. A small instrument 1390
Amiens. Originally Gothic. Large, with 16-foot pipes 1429
Perpignan. Gothic. Large, with 32-foot pipes 1490
Principal 16
Bourdon 16 tone
Principal 8
Viola da Gamba 8
Kohrflöte 8 tone
Octave 4
Spitzflöte 4
Quinta 2f
Quin ta ton 16 tone
Principal 8
Gedackt 8 tone
Unda Maris ... 8 tone
Octave 4
Rohrflöte 4 tone
Nassat 2§
Gedackt 8 tone
Principal 4
Rohrflöte 4 tone
Nassat 2§
Octave 2
Liibeck. One of the finest Gothic organs in Europe. 32s. ..1504 (or, according to Hopkins, 1518). In all these the cases are sufficiently preserved to make it almost certain that pipes of the same lengths were origin-ally employed. The actual pipes are generally modern. Shortly after this date we find Renaissance cases. At La Ferte Bernard (dep. Sarthe) part of the substructure is Gothic, and is known to be of date 1501; the organ above is Renaissance, and is known to be of date 1536. At St Maurice, Angers, an organ was built in 1511, with Renais-sance case, two towers of 32-foot pipes, 48 stops, and a separate pedal. An account of the instrument in a proces _verbal of 1533 furnishes good evidence. In the 16th cen-tury, therefore, the organ had attained great completeness, and the independent pedal was general on the Continent. German We cannot follow the history of German organs through organ. the intervening centuries; but we propose to give the items of one of the principal organs of the Silbermanns, the great builders of the 18th century,—namely, that stand-ing in the Royal Catholic Church, Dresden. Without being an enormously large instrument it is complete in its way, and gives a very good idea of the German organ. The account is taken from Hopkins. The date is 1754. Great.
Octave 2
Tertia If
Mixtur iv ranks
Cymbel in
Cornet v
Fagott 16
Trumpet 8
Clarin 4
Octave 2
Tertia If
Flageolet 1
Mixtur iv ranks
Echo v
Vox humana 8 tone
Quinta \\
Sifflote 1
Mixtur ni ranks
Sesquiáltera il
Chalumeaux 8 tone
Untersatz 32 tone
Principal 16
Octav-bass 8
Octave 4
Mixtur iv ranks
Pausan (trombone) 16
Trompette 8
Echo to great. Great to pedal.
Clarin 4
Tremulant echo. Tremulant great.
Manuals—C to di" in alt. I Pedal—C, to tenor c.
The chief difference between English organs and those English of the Continent was that until the present century the organs, pedal was absolutely unknown in England. The heavy bass given by the pedal being absent, a lighter style of voicing was adopted, and the manuals were usually con-tinued down below the 8-foot C so as to obtain additional bass by playing octaves with the hands. Thus the old or-gan (date 1697) of Father Smith in St Paul's Cathedral had manuals descending to the 16-foot C (C,), with two open diapasons throughout. Green's old organ at St George's, Windsor, had manuals descending to the 12-foot F, also two open diapasons throughout, no F$. But the more usual practice was to make the manual descend to the 10| G, leaving out the G$. At the Revolution most of the organs in England had been destroyed. Shortly afterwards Bernard Smith, a German, commonly called Father Smith, and Thomas and René Harris, Frenchmen, were largely employed in building organs, which were wanted everywhere. Father Smith perhaps had the greatest reputation of any builder of the old time, and his work has lasted wonderfully. There is a list in Rimbault of forty-five organs built for churches by him. The list of René Harris is scarcely less extensive.
The most important step in the development of the old English organ was the invention of the swell. This was first introduced into an organ built by two Jordans, father and son, for St Magnus's church near London Bridge, in 1712.
Burney writes (1771) :—
" It is very extraordinary that the swell, which has been intro-duced into the English organ more than fifty years, and which is so capable of expression and of pleasing effects that it may be well said to be the greatest and most important improvement that was ever made in any keyed instrument, should be utterly unknown in Italy ; and, now I am on this subject, I must observe that most of the organs I have met with on the Continent seem to be inferior to ours by Father Smith, Byfield, or Snetzler, in everything but size ! As the churches there are very often immense, so are the organs ; the tone is indeed somewhat softened and refined by space and distance ; but, when heard near, it is intolerably coarse and noisy ; and, though the number of stops in these large instruments is very great, they afford but little variety, being for the most part duplicates in unisons and octaves to each other, such as the great and small 12ths, flutes, and 15ths ; hence in our organs, not only the touch and tone, but the imitative stops, are greatly superior to those of any other organs I have met with. "
(As to these opinions, compare section on great organ open diapasons above, p. 830.)
In the course of the 18th century most of the old echoes were altered into swells, and the swell came into almost universal use in England. The development of the swell is inseparably associated with the peculiar quality of English swell reeds. These must have originated during the development of the swell. We hear of a " good reed voicer" named Hancock, who worked with Crang, changing echoes into swells. However it originated, the English reed is beautiful when properly made. It has recently entirely superseded the free reed, which had been long used in Germany. The original swells were usually short in compass downwards, frequently extending only to fiddle g. It is only lately that the value of the bass of the swell has been properly appreciated. Short-compass swells may be said to have now disappeared.

Avery's _____The organ in St Stephen's, Coleman Street, is probably nearly in its original condition. It was built by Avery in 1775. At all events the following arrangements might very well have been the original ones. The pedal clavier without pipes is no doubt a subsequent addition, and is

Sesquiáltera—III ranks. Mixture—n ranks. Trumpet. Clarion.
Cornet to middle c—v ranks.
omitted. _ .
Fifteenth. Cremona to tenor c.
Open diapason. Stopped diapason. Principal. Twelfth. Fifteenth.
Stopped diapason.
Cornet—in ranks.
Open diapason. Stopped diapason. Principal.
Compass, a'", Swell-
-fiddle g to e"
-Gj to
Great and choir no GxJ.

This gives an excellent idea of the old English organ. There are several different accounts of the introduction of Pedals in pedals into England. It took place certainly before the England. end of the 18th century, but only in a few instances. And, for long after, the usual arrangement was simply to provide a pedal clavier, usually from F1 or Q1 to tenor e or d, which took down the notes of the great organ. Unison diapason pipes (12-foot) were occasionally used. In one or two cases, as in the transition states of the old organ at St George's, Windsor, a 24-foot open diapason was employed as well as the unison stop. But a more usual arrangement, of a most objectionable character, was to combine the G1—c pedal-board with a single octave of so-called pedal-pipes, extending from the 16-foot to the 8-foot C; so that, instead of a uniform progression in ascending the scale, there was always a break or repetition in passing C.

About the middle of the present century it began to be generally admitted that the German arrangement of the pedal was the better, and the practice gradually became general of providing a complete pedal-board of 1\ octaves (C—-/'), with at least one stop of 16-foot tone throughout, even on the smallest organs that pretended to be of any real use. The study of the classical works of Bach and Mendelssohn went hand in hand with this change; for that study was impossible without the change, and yet the desire for the study was one of the principal motives for it. In the meantime Bishop, an English builder, had invented composition pedals, which so greatly facilitate dealing with groups of stops. About the same time (1850) the mechanics of the organ were advanced by the general introduction of the pneumatic lever into large in-struments ; the whole mechanism of the organ was revolu-tionized by Willis's improvements; and the organ-builders of England, having obtained from the Continent the funda-mental ideas necessary for completeness, advanced to a point at which they appear to be decidedly ahead. The English organ is now probably superior to that of any other country.


The organ probably presents more difficulties than any other instrument in the way of a sound elementary mastery. A person of ordinary capacity may work at it for years before being able to play passages of moderate difficulty with confidence and correctness. Element- The special difficulty appears to be chiefly mental, and arises from the iry difii- number of things that have to be thought of simultaneously. It culties. does not lie in the execution—at least not chiefly ; for to play a hymn-tune correctly, the bass being taken with the pedals, the tenor with the left hand, and the two upper parts with the right, is a matter in which there is no execution required ; but it is of great difficufty to an inexperienced player Other distributions of parts—such as bass with pedals, treble with right hand on a solo stop {e.g., clarionet), two inner parts with a soft open diapason, or something of the kind—are of much greater difficulty in the first instance. Another distribution is bass with pedals, melody with reed or solo combination in the tenor with left hand (an octave below its true pitch), inner parts with right hand on a soft open diapason, or something that balances. This is of far greater difficulty. All this can be practised with common hymn-tunes ; but the performer who can do these things with ease is in some respects an advanced player.

What has been said above has much bearing on the arrangement Balance of the different departments of the organ. It is one of the first o'f tone, requisites that as many balances of tone as possible should be avail-able between the different manuals and the pedal. How many large organs there are on which such a balance can hardly be obtained !

It would be difficult to lay too much stress on the above observa-tions with respect to balance between the manuals. This is all-important in the performance of organ trios, such as the organ Trios, sonatas of Bach. In these compositions there are generally three notes sounding, which may be regarded as belonging to three dif-ferent voices, of nearly equal strength, but different mean pitch, aud, if possible, different quality ; of these one is appropriated by each hand and one by the pedal. They are written in three lines, and are intended to be played on two manuals and the pedal. If there is a good choir organ, not too weak in tone, the clearest way is to play these things with a medium strength open diapason on the great organ for the right hand, the full 8-foot choir with or with-out the 4-foot flute with the left, and a metal 16-foot and 8-foot bass flute on the pedal. A usual course in England is to play the treble on a swell reed (oboe) with open swell, tenor on great diapason, and pedal as before ; or treble great diapason, tenor oboe, pedal as be-fore. Here there is some risk of the reed in the tenor being un-pleasant. We may also suggest harmonic flute solo treble, open diapason great tenor, pedal as before. These compositions, how-ever, admit of infinite variety in treatment. It appears probable that they were written for harpsichords, and in any case the inten-tions of the composer have not come down to us. As a matter of fact they are rarely successful on large English organs, on account of the want of balance between the manuals. And nothing could point the direction in which improvement is needed more than this observation.

The fugues of Bach are the classical organ music par excellence. Bach's As to these it is also true that nothing has come down to us as organ to the composer's intentions, except that he generally played the fugues, fugues on the full organ with doubles. It does not seem clear that this was the case with the preludes ; and, any way, the modern organ, with its facilities for managing the stops, appears to coun-tenance a different treatment. The effect of doubles when a subject or tune is given out in solo is very bad. They may be drawn with advantage when the parts are moving in massive chords. The usual practice is perhaps to employ various manual effects of a light char-acter until the pedal enters, and then to produce full organ in its various modifications, but always to aim at variety of tone. If a prelude begins with heavy chords and pedal, then produce full organ at once. If it then passes to lighter matter, reduce to some extent. Some begin a fugue on the stopped diapason of the great organ, add more as the parts enter, and continue working up throughout. But perhaps it is the better practice to throw in loud organ during the pedal parts, and soften between times.

One of the greatest requisites in organ-playing is dignity of treat- Dignity ment. This is continually competing with clearness. The chief and mode of keeping the different parts distinct, where that is neces- clear-sary, is by using reeds of a pronounced character. These reeds ness. almost invariably verge on the comic, and anything more than the most sparing and careful employment of them is undesirable. Expression is not possible unless the stops are enclosed in a swell box, —a most desirable arrangement. In all cases hurry is to be avoided. A calm steadiness, a minute finish of all the phrasing, forms most of the difference between first and second rate players.

Modern music. With reference to the general treatment of modern music we quote the preface to Mendelssohn's Organ Sonatas:—"In these sonatas very much depends on the correct choice of the stops ; but, since every organ with which I am acquainted requires in this respect special treatment, the stops of given names not producing the same effect in different instruments, I have only indicated cer-tain limits, without specifying the names of the stops. By for-tissimo I mean the full organ ; by pianissimo, usually one soft 8-foot stop alone; by forte, full organ without some of the most powerful stops ; by piano, several soft 8-foot stops together ; and so on. In the pedal I wish everywhere, even in pianissimo, 8-foot and 16-foot (tone) together, except where the contrary is expressly in-dicated, as in the sixth sonata [this refers to a passage where an 8-foot pedal is used without 16]. It is therefore left to the player to combine the stops suitably for the different pieces, but particu-larly to see that, in the simultaneous use of two manuals, the one keyboard is distinguished from the other by its quality, without forming a glaring contrast."

The treatment thus indicated is very different from that to which the suitability of English swell reeds for solo purposes has given vise. The effects commonly obtained by means of these reeds could hardly be more expressly described than in tlffe final warn-ing sentence above quoted. However, these reed effects possess great clearness, and, with the improved character of modern reeds and the toning down of the swell box, they are probably not so objectionable as what Mendelssohn had in his mind. Indeed the deficiency of good balances between flue stops answering the re-quirements above described is usually such that there is hardly any option but to employ swell reeds in such cases.

Consider particularly the pianissimo balances necessary for carry-ing out the above directions. In the first place it is clear that the soft 8-foot stops alluded to are not stops of extreme softness, such as the dulciana or salicional, as the attempt to produce a melody on such stops would everywhere be a failure. We must recognize for such purposes a further degree of softness, which may be denoted by ppp. We may take the average great organ stopped diapason as the measure of loudness of the soft stops pp ; then it is requisite that on the choir or elsewhere there should be stops that will, especially in the tenor, combine and balance singly with the great stopped diapason in two-manual work. Choir stops would have to be decidedly stronger than usual for this purpose. Such a stop might be a small open diapason, or perhaps a gamba or keraulophon. Other balances of various kinds might be suggested. Some such must be present if the smooth and liquid character, which the soft parts of Mendelssohn's works at least were undoubtedly intended to possess, is to be preserved at all.

As a ppp is needed for extreme softness, so an fff is needed to express the exceptional degree of force attainable in modern instru-ments by adding the solo reed (tromba) to the ordinary full organ.

Modern music generally indicates in detail the treatment in-tended by the author. We may mention one matter which has come forward lately ; this is the use of one hand on two manuals.. This has become possible in consequence of the modern arrange-ment by which the manuals overhang.

For further details as to the history and construction of the organ, with numerous specifications, we must refer to the work of Hopkins and Rimhault on the organ. (R. H. M. B.)


1 This stop consists of a soft stop slightly out of tune, producing a waving tone with the dulciana.
2 These are the old mixtures.
3 As regards this section the writer desires to acknowledge his obli-gations to Eimbault's History of the Organ, published with Hopkins's treatise.

The above article was written by: Prof. R. H. M. Bosquanet.

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