The Recent Revolution in Organ Building
The Organ in St. George's Hall, Liverpool, Eng. Built by Henry Willis
in 1855. Rebuilt 1867 and 1898. The White Marble Bust Seen in Front is
That of W. T. Best.
The Recent Revolution
in Organ Building
Being an Account of Modern Developments
GEORGE LAING MILLER
Fellow of the Royal College of Organists, Eng.; First Mus. Bac.,
Dunelm.; Organist of Christ Church, Pelham Manor, N. Y.; late of All
Angels', New York; St. Clement's, Philadelphia, and Wallasey Parish
THE CHARLES FRANCIS PRESS
Copyright, 1909, 1913, by
GEORGE L. MILLER
Entered at Stationers' Hall, London
Reprinted by the Vestal Press, Vestal, N. Y. 13860
1000 copies, 1969
Second Reprinting, April 1971, 1000 copies
Write for catalog of other reprinted books
in the field of piano and organ literature
Some years ago the elders and deacons of a Scotch church were assembled
in solemn conclave to discuss the prospective installation of a pipe
organ. The table was piled high with plans and specifications and
discussion ran rife as to whether they should have a two-manual or a
three-manual instrument—a Great and Swell or a Great, Swell, and Choir
organ. At last Deacon MacNab, the church treasurer and a personage of
importance, got a chance to speak.
"Mr. Chairman," said he, "I don't see why we should have a Great, a
Swell, and a Choir organ. I think that one organ is quite enough."
Now, Deacon MacNab was a master tailor, and a good one at that; so the
musical man who was pushing the thing through appealed to his
professional instincts in explaining the situation by saying:
"Surely, Mr. MacNab, you would not say that a man was properly dressed
with only a coat on! You would expect him to have on a coat, waistcoat
and trousers!" And the day was won for the three-manual organ.
Of course there had been no organ in this church before, or the worthy
deacon might have known more about it. If he had read the second
chapter of this book, he would have known all about it. The following
pages have been written with the idea of helping those who may be
placed in a similar position; who may be called upon to decide the
serious question of the purchase of a new organ for their church, town
hall, or an auditorium, or the rebuilding of the old one now in use;
who are distracted by the conflicting plans and contending claims of
rival organ builders; who are disinclined to rely upon so-called
"expert" opinion, but wish to look into these things for themselves and
intelligently purchase an instrument which is thoroughly up-to-date in
every particular, which will not drive the organist to the verge of
profanity every time he plays upon it, and will not prove a snug source
of income to its builders—for repairs.
The organ-student, the amateur, and eke the professional organist, will
also find much here that will interest them and lead to a better
understanding of the instrument.
The revolution in organ-building herein described has for the most part
taken place under the personal notice of the author, during the last
fifty years. The organists of a younger generation are to be
congratulated on the facilities now placed at their disposal, mainly by
the genius and persevering efforts of four men—as hereinafter
As It Was in the Beginning
The Organ in the Nineteenth Century
The Dawn of a New Era; the Pneumatic Lever
Pneumatic and Electro-pneumatic Actions—Tubular Pneumatics—Division
of Organs—Sound Reflection—Octave Couplers and Extensions
Stop-keys—Control of the Stops
Radiating and Concave Pedal Boards—Pedal-stop Control—Suitable Bass
Means of Obtaining Expression—Crescendo Pedal—Sforzando Pedal—Double
Touch—Balanced Swell Pedal—Control of Swell by Keys—Swell Boxes—the
Sound Trap Joint—Vacuum Swell Shutters
A Revolution in Wind Supply—Springs vs. Weights—Individual
Pallets—Heavy Wind Pressures—Mechanical Blowers
Transference of Stops—Double Touch—Pizzicato Touch—the Unit
Production of Organ Tone—Acoustics of Organ Pipes—Estey Open Bass
Stops (Celestes)—Percussion Stops—the Diaphone
Tuning—Equal Temperament—New Method of Tuning Reeds
Progress of the Revolution in Our Own Country
How We Stand To-day—Automatic Players—Specifications of Notable
Organs: St. George's Hall, Liverpool; Notre Dame, Paris; St. Paul's
Cathedral, London; Westminster Abbey; Balruddery, Scotland; Worcester
Cathedral; Yale University, U. S. A.; St. Paul's Cathedral, Buffalo;
Paris Theatre, Denver; Cathedral of St. John the Divine, New York;
University of Toronto, Canada; City Hall, Portland, Me.; Liverpool
INDEX TO ILLUSTRATIONS
The Organ in St. George's Hall, Liverpool, Eng. . . . Frontispiece
Prehistoric Double Flutes
The Wind-chest; Front View.
The Wind-chest; Side View.
The Pneumatic Lever
Nomenclature of Organ Keyboard
Portrait of Moitessier
Tubular Pneumatic Action
The First Electric Organ Ever Built
The Electro-Pneumatic Lever
Valve and Valve Seat, Hope-Jones Electric Action
Portrait of Dr. Péschard
Console, St. Paul's Cathedral, Buffalo
Console on Bennett System
Console, Trinity Church, Boston
Console, College of City of New York
Principle of the Sound Trap
Sound Trap Joint
The Vacuum Shutter
Series of Harmonics
Estey's Open Bass Pipes
Diapason Pipe with Leathered Lip
Haskell's Clarinet without Reed
Diagram of Reed Pipe
Diaphone in Worcester Cathedral
Diaphone in Aberdeen University
Diaphone in St. Patrick's, N. Y.
Diaphone in Auditorium, Ocean Grove, N. J.
Diaphone in St. Paul's Cathedral, Buffalo
Diaphone Producing Foundation Tone.
New Method of Tuning Reeds
Portrait of Aristide Cavaillé-Coll
Portrait of Charles Spachman Barker
Portrait of Henry Willis
Portrait of Robert Hope-Jones.
Keyboards of Organ, St. George's Hall
Keyboards of Organ, Notre Dame, Paris
Keyboards of Organ, Westminster Abbey
Organ in Balruddery Mansion, Dundee, Scotland
The Author Playing a Hope-Jones Unit Orchestra
THE RECENT REVOLUTION
IN ORGAN BUILDING
AS IT WAS IN THE BEGINNING.
"The Organ breathes its deep-voiced solemn notes,
The people join and sing, in pious hymns
And psalms devout; harmoniously attun'd,
The Choral voices blend; the long-drawn aisles
At every close the ling'ring strains prolong:
And now, of varied tubes and reedy pipes,
The skilful hand a soften'd stop controuls:
In sweetest harmony the dulcet strains steal forth,
Now swelling high, and now subdued; afar they float
In lengthened whispers melting into cadenced murmurs,
Forming soft melodious strains, and placid airs,
Spreading gently all around, then soaring up to Heav'n!"
The origin of the pipe organ is lost in the mists of antiquity.
Tradition hath it that there was one in Solomon's Temple at Jerusalem,
the sound of which could be heard at the Mount of Olives. It has the
honor of being the first wind instrument mentioned in the Bible
(Genesis iv, 21), where we are told that "Jubal is the father of all
such as handle the harp and the organ." The Hebrew word here is
ugab, which is sometimes translated in the Septuagint by cithara (the
ancient lute), sometimes by psalm, sometimes by organ. Sir John
Stainer ("Dictionary of Musical Terms," p. 444) says: "It is probable
that in its earliest form the ugab was nothing more than a
Pan's-pipes or syrinx, but that it gradually developed into a more
important instrument." The passage, however, shows that the ugab was
known in the time of Moses, who was "learned in all the learning of the
The flute, a component part of the organ, is one of the most ancient of
musical instruments. We find it pictured on the walls of early
Egyptian tombs, and specimens of it, still in playable condition, have
been unearthed and can be seen in our museums. Some of them were
double, as shown in the illustration. Side by side with these flutes
we find the shepherd's pipe with a reed or strip of cane in the
mouthpiece, which may be found in the Tyrol at the present day. The
next step was probably the bagpipes. Here we find four of these pipes
attached to a bag. The melody or tune is played on one of the pipes
furnished with holes for the purpose, while the other three give a
drone, bass. The bag, being blown up, forms a wind reservoir and the
amount of tone can be regulated by the pressure of the arm. Here we
have the precursor of the organ bellows. Next comes the Irish
bagpipes, with a bellows worked by the arm furnishing the wind to the
bag, the reservoir, and producing a much sweeter tone. This is one
line of advance.
Pre-historic Double Flutes. From Assyrian and Egyptian Tombs
On the other hand we have the syrinx or Pan's-pipes. Stainer says this
was undoubtedly the precursor of the organ. "It was formed of seven,
eight or nine short hollow reeds, fixed together by wax, and cut in
graduated lengths so as to produce a musical scale. The lower ends of
the reeds were closed and the upper open and on a level, so that the
mouth could easily pass from one pipe to another." This is the
instrument used at the present day by the Punch and Judy man. He wears
it fastened around his throat, turning his head from side to side as he
blows, while with his hands he beats a drum.
The next step would be to combine a set of flutes or shepherd's pipes
with the wind reservoir of the bagpipes, placing a little slider under
the mouthpiece of each pipe which could be opened or closed at will, so
that they would not all speak at once. Then some genius steadied the
wind pressure by pumping air into a reservoir partly filled with water.
This was the so-called "hydraulic organ," which name has given rise to
the impression that the pipes were played by the water passing through
them—which is impossible.
And so we come down the ages to the Christian era. The Talmud mentions
an organ (magrepha) having ten pipes played by a keyboard as being in
existence in the Second Century. "Aldhelm (who died A. D. 709)
mentions an organ which had gilt pipes. An organ having leaden pipes
was placed in the Church of S. Corneille, at Compiegne, in the middle
of the Eighth Century." St. Dunstan had an organ with pipes made of
brass. Then we have the organ in Winchester Cathedral, England,
described by Wulfstan of Winchester in his "Life of Saint Swithin."
This was a double organ, requiring two organists to play it. It
contained 400 pipes and had thirteen pairs of bellows. It was intended
to be heard all over Winchester in honor of St. Peter, to whom the
Cathedral was dedicated.
The year was now A. D. 951, and this is an important date to remember,
as modern harmony took its rise about this time. Before this, as far
as we know, there had been no harmony beyond a drone bass, and the vast
companies of musicians described in Holy Writ and elsewhere must have
played and sung in octaves and unison. I quote Stainer again:
"The large pipes of every key of the oldest organs stood in front; the
whole instrument sounded and shrieked in a harsh and loud manner. The
keyboard had eleven, twelve, even thirteen keys in diatonic succession
without semitones. It was impossible to get anything else than a
choral melody for one voice only on such an organ * * * the breadth of
a keyboard containing nine keys extended to three-quarters the length
of a yard, that of the single key amounted to three inches * * * even
from five to six inches * * * The valves of the keys and the whole
mechanism being clumsy, playing with the finger was not to be thought
of, but the keys were obliged to be struck with the clenched fist, and
the organist was often called 'pulsator organum' (organ beater)."
Gradually the keys were reduced in size and the semitones were added.
By 1499 they had almost reached the present normal proportions. In
1470 pedals were invented by Bernard, the German, a skilful musician of
Venice, the pipe work was improved and so we come to the Sixteenth
Century after which the organ remained almost in statu quo for
hundreds of years.
Since then there have been four great landmarks in organ construction,
1. The invention of the swell box by Jordan in 1713;
2. The invention of the horizontal bellows, by Samuel Green, in 1789;
3. The invention of the pneumatic lever by Barker in 1832; and the
electro-pneumatic action, by Péschard in 1866; and,
4. The marvelous improvements in mechanism and tone production and
control in 1886 to 1913 by Robt. Hope-Jones.
THE ORGAN IN THE NINETEENTH CENTURY.
Before proceeding further we propose to give a brief description of the
construction of the organ at the beginning of the last century and
explain the technical terms we shall use later.
As everybody knows, the tone comes from the pipes, some of which are to
be seen in the front of the instrument. The pipes are of various
shapes and sizes and are arranged in ranks or rows upon the
wind-chest. Each of these ranks is called a stop or register.
It should be borne in mind that this word stop refers to the row of
pipes, and not to the stop-knobs by the keyboard which operate the
mechanism bringing the row of pipes into play. Much confusion of ideas
prevails on this point, and cheap builders used to take advantage of it
by providing two stop-knobs for each row of pipes, thereby making their
instruments appear to contain more pipes than were actually there.
This practice was at one time very prevalent in the United States.
The early organ-builders to obtain variety of tone divided the pipes
into groups placed in various positions, each playable from a separate
keyboard, and this practice prevails to this day. An average church
organ will contain three or four wind-chests, each with its quota of
pipes and designated as follows:
1. The Great organ, consisting of the front pipes and other
loud-speaking stops. Back of this and usually elevated above the level
of the Great organ pipes is
2. The Swell organ, all the pipes of which are contained in a wooden
box with Venetian shutters in front, the opening or closing of which
modifies the tone; below the Swell box is placed
3. The Choir organ, containing soft speaking pipes suitable for
accompanying the human voice; and back of all or on the sides is
4. The Pedal organ, containing the large pipes played by the pedals.
Larger instruments have still another wind-chest called the Solo organ,
the pipes of which are very loud and are usually placed high above the
In some large English organs, notably that in the Town Hall of Leeds, a
further division was effected, the pipes of the Great organ being
placed on two wind-chests, one behind the other. They were known as
Front Great and Back Great.
The original reason for dividing a church organ in this manner seems to
have been the impossibility of supplying a large number of stops with
wind from a single wind-chest.
It will thus be seen that our average church organ is really made up of
three or four smaller organs combined.
The wind-chest is an oblong box supplied with air under pressure from
the bellows and containing the valves (called pallets) controlling
the access of the wind to the pipes. Between the pallet and the foot
of the pipe comes another valve called the slider, which controls the
access of the wind to the whole row of pipes or stop. The pallet is
operated from the keyboard by the key action. Every key on the
keyboard has a corresponding pallet in the wind-chest, and every
stop-knob operates a slider under the pipes, so that both a slider must
be drawn and a pallet depressed before any sound can be got from the
pipes. The drawings will make this plain.
Fig. 1 is a front view and Fig. 2 a side view of the wind-chest. A is
the wind-chest into which compressed atmospheric air has been
introduced, either through the side or bottom, from the end of the
wind-trunk B. The pallets, C C C, are held against the openings, D D
D, leading from the wind-chest to the mouth of the pipes, by springs
Fig. 1. The Wind-chest. Front View
The spring S (Fig. 2) keeps the pallet C against the opening into D.
The wires called pull-downs (P, P, P), which pass through small holes
in the bottom of the wind-chest and are in connection with the
keyboard, are attached to a loop of wire called the pallet-eye,
fastened to the movable end of the pallet. A piece of wire is placed
on each side of every pallet to steady it and keep it in the
perpendicular during its ascent and descent, and every pallet is
covered at top with soft leather, to make it fit closely and work
quietly. When P is pulled down (Fig. 1) the pallet C descends, and air
from the wind-chest A rushes through D into the pipe over it. But the
slider f is a narrow strip of wood, so placed between the woodwork
g and h that it may be moved backwards and forwards from right to
left, and is pierced with holes corresponding throughout to those just
under the pipes. If the apertures in the slider are under the pipes,
the opening of a pallet will make a pipe speak; if, however, the slider
has been moved so that the apertures do not correspond, even if the
pallet be opened and the chest full of air from the trunks, no sound
will be produced.
Fig. 2. The Wind-chest. Side View
When the apertures in the slider are under those below the pipe, the
"stop," the handle of which controls the position of the slider, is
said to be out, or drawn. When the apertures do not correspond,
the stop is said to be in. Thus it is that when no stops are drawn
no sound is produced, even although the wind-chest be full of air and
the keys played upon.
This wind-chest with the slider stop control is about all that is left
to us of the old form of key action. The pallets were connected to the
keys by a series of levers, known as the tracker action.
There were usually six joints or sources of friction, between the key
and the pallet. To overcome this resistance and close the pallet
required a strong spring. Inasmuch as it would never do to put all the
large pipes (because of their weight) at one end of the wind-chest,
they were usually divided between the two ends and it became necessary
to transfer the pull of the keys sideways, which was done by a series
of rollers called the roller-board. This, of course, increased the
friction and necessitated the use of a still stronger spring. That
with the increased area of the pallet is why the lower notes of the
organ were so hard to play. And to the resistance of the spring must
also be added the resistance of the wind-pressure, which increased with
every stop drawn. When the organ was a large one with many stops, and
the keyboards were coupled together, it required considerable exertion
to bring out the full power of the instrument; sometimes the organist
had to stand on the pedals and throw the weight of his body on the keys
to get a big chord. All kinds of schemes were tried to lighten the
"touch," as the required pressure on the keys is called, the most
successful of which was dividing the pallet into two parts which
admitted a small quantity of wind to enter the groove and release the
pressure before the pallet was fully opened; but even on the best of
organs the performance of music played with ease upon modern
instruments was absolutely impossible.
THE DAWN OF A NEW ERA—THE PNEUMATIC LEVER.
Just as we no longer see four men tugging at the steering wheel of an
ocean steamer, the intervention of the steam steering gear rendering
the use of so much physical force unnecessary, so it now occurred to an
organ-builder in the city of Bath, England, named Charles Spachman
Barker, to enlist the force of the organ wind itself to overcome the
resistance of the pallets in the wind-chest. This contrivance is known
as the pneumatic lever, and consists of a toy bellows about nine
inches long, inserted in the middle of the key action. The exertion of
depressing the key is now reduced to the small amount of force required
to open a valve, half an inch in width, which admits wind to the
bellows. The bellows, being expanded by the wind, pulls down the
pallet in the wind-chest; the bellows does all the hard work. The
drawing on the next page, which shows the lever as improved by the
eminent English organ-builder, Henry Willis, shows the cycle of
When either the finger or foot is pressed upon a key connected with
k, the outer end of the back-fall gg is pulled down, which opens
the pallet p. The compressed air in a then rushes through the
groove bb into the bellows cc, which rises and lifts with it all
the action attached to it by l. As the top of the bellows cc
rises, it lifts up the throttle-valve d (regulated by the wire m)
which prevents the ingress of any more compressed air by bb. But the
action of the key on gg, which opened the pallet p, also allowed
the double-acting waste-valve e to close, and the tape f hangs
loose. The compressed air, therefore, as it is admitted through bb
cannot escape, but on the other hand when the key releases the outer
end of g, and lets it rise up again, the tape f becomes tightened
and opens the waste-valve, the bellows cc then drops into its closed
Fig. 3. The Pneumatic Lever
The organ touch could now be made as light as that of a pianoforte,
much lighter than ever before.
This epoch-making invention, introduced in 1832, rendered possible
extraordinary developments. It was at first strangely ignored and
opposed. The English organ-builders refused to take it up. Barker was
at length driven to France, where, in the person of Aristide
Cavaillé-Coll, he found a more far-seeing man.
After Cavaillé-Coll had fully demonstrated the practical value of
Barker's invention, Willis and others joined in its development, and
they contemporaneously overcame all difficulties and brought the
pneumatic action into general favor.
This process, of course, took time, and up to about fifty years ago
pneumatic action was found only in a few organs of large calibre.
The recent revolution in organ building and in organ tone, of which
this book treats, was founded upon the pneumatic and electro-pneumatic
actions invented by Barker.
It is safe to say that the art of organ building has advanced more
during the last fifty years than in any previous three centuries. We
are literally correct in saying that a veritable revolution has already
been effected—and the end is not yet.
As leaders in this revolutionary movement, three names stand out with
startling prominence—Henry Willis, Aristide Cavaillé-Coll and Robert
Others have made contributions to detail (notably Hilborne L.
Roosevelt), but it is due to the genius, the inventions and the work of
those three great men that the modern organ stands where it does to-day.
1. To enumerate and describe the inventions and improvements that have
so entirely transformed the instrument;
2. To trace the progress of the revolution in our own country; and,
3. To describe the chief actors in the drama.
In the middle of the last century all organs were voiced on light wind
pressure, mostly from an inch and a half to three inches. True, the
celebrated builder, William Hill, placed in his organ at Birmingham
Town Hall, England, so early as 1833, a Tuba voiced on about eleven
inches wind pressure, and Willis, Cavaillé-Coll, Gray and Davison, and
others, adopted high pressures for an occasional reed stop in their
largest organs; yet ninety-nine per cent. of the organs built
throughout the world were voiced on pressures not exceeding three and
In those days most organs that were met with demanded a finger force of
some twenty ounces before the keys could be depressed, when coupled,
and it was no uncommon thing for the organist to have to exert a
pressure of fifty ounces or more on the bass keys. (The present
standard is between three and four ounces. We are acquainted with an
organ in New York City which requires a pressure of no less than forty
ounces to depress the bass keys.)
The manual compass on these organs seldom extended higher than f2 or
g3, though it often went down to GG.
It was common to omit notes from the lower octave for economy's sake,
and many stops were habitually left destitute of their bottom octaves
altogether. Frequently the less important keyboards would not descend
farther than tenor C.
The compass of the pedal board (when there was a pedal board at all)
varied anywhere from one octave to about two and a quarter octaves.
The pedal keys were almost invariably straight and the pedal boards
Fig. 4. Nomenclature of Organ Keyboard
PROSPER-ANTOINE MOITESSIER, INVENTOR OF TUBULAR PNEUMATIC ACTION
In the year 1845, Prosper-Antoine Moitessier, an organ-builder of
Montpellier, France, patented what he called "abrégé pneumatique," an
organ action in which all back-falls and rollers were replaced by tubes
operated by exhaust air. In 1850 he built with this action an organ of
42 speaking stops for the church of Notre Dame de la Dalbade at
Toulouse. This organ lasted 33 years. In 1866 Fermis, schoolmaster
and village organist of Hanterire, near Toulouse, improved on
Moitessier's action by combining tubes conveying compressed air with
the Barker lever. An organ was built on this system for the Paris
Exhibition of 1867, which came under the notice of Henry Willis, by
which he was so struck that he was stimulated to experiment and develop
his action, which culminated in the St. Paul's organ in 1872. (From
article by Dr. Gabriel Bédart in Musical Opinion, London, July, 1908.)
PNEUMATIC AND ELECTRO-PNEUMATIC ACTIONS.
Undoubtedly the first improvements to be named must be the pneumatic
and electro-pneumatic actions.
Without the use of these actions most of the advances we are about to
chronicle would not have been effected.
As before stated, Cavaillé-Coll and Willis worked as pioneers in
perfecting and in introducing the pneumatic action.
The pneumatic action used by Willis, Cavaillé-Coll and a score of other
builders leaves little to be desired. It is thoroughly reliable and,
where the keys are located close by the organ, is fairly prompt both in
attack and repetition. Many of the pneumatic actions made to-day,
however, are disappointing in these particulars.
In the year 1872 Henry Willis built an organ for St. Paul's Cathedral,
London, which was divided in two portions, one on each side of the
junction of the Choir with the Dome at an elevation of about thirty
feet from the floor. The keyboards were placed inside one portion of
the instrument, and instead of carrying trackers down and under the
floor and up to the other side, as had hitherto been the custom in such
cases, he made the connection by means of tubes like gaspipes, and made
a pulse of wind travel down and across and up and into the pneumatic
levers controlling the pipes and stops. Sir John Stainer describes it
as "a triumph of mechanical skill." He was organist of St. Paul's for
many years and ought to know. This was all very well for a cathedral,
". . . . the long-drawn aisles
The melodious strains prolong"
but here is what the eminent English organist, W. T. Best, said about
tubular pneumatic action as applied to another organ used for concert
purposes: "It is a complete failure; you cannot play a triplet on the
Trumpet, and I consider it the most d——nable invention ever placed
inside an organ." Notwithstanding these drawbacks this action became
very fashionable after its demonstration at St. Paul's, and was used
even in small organs in preference to the Barker lever. One builder
confessed to the writer that he had suffered severe financial loss
through installing this action. After expending considerable time (and
time is money) in getting it to work right, the whole thing would be
upset when the sexton started up the heating apparatus. The writer is
acquainted with organs in New York City where these same conditions
The writer, however, will admit having seen some tubular actions which
were fairly satisfactory, one in particular in the factory of Alfred
Monk, London, England, where for demonstration purposes the tubes were
fifty feet long. Dr. Bédart informs us that Puget, the famous organ
builder of Toulouse, France, sets fifty feet as the limit of usefulness
of this action.
Henry Willis & Sons in their description of the organ in the Lady
Chapel of Liverpool Cathedral state that their action has been tested
to a repetition of 1,000 per minute, quicker than any human finger can
move. This is a square organ in one case, but we note they have
adopted the electric action for the great cathedral organ where the
distance of the pipes from the keys is too great for satisfactory
In view of the wide use at present of this action we give a drawing and
description of its operation as patented and made by Mr. J. J. Binns,
of Bramley, Leeds, England. J. Matthews, in his "Handbook of the
Organ," says that this action is very good and free from drawbacks.
Fig. 5. Tubular Pneumatic Action
The tubes, N, from each key are fixed to the hole connected to the
small puffs P in the puff-board E. Air under pressure is admitted by
the key action and conveyed by the tubes N which raises the
corresponding button valves S1, lifting their spindles S and closing
the apertures T2 in the bottom of the wind-chest A, and opening a
similar aperture T in the bottom of the cover-board F, causing the
compressed air to escape from the exhaust bellows M, which closes,
raising the solid valve H in the cover-board F and closing the aperture
J1 in the wind-chest A, shuts off the air from the bellows, which
immediately closes, drawing down the pallet B, which admits air (or
wind) to the pipes.
No tubular-pneumatic action is entirely satisfactory when the distance
between the keys and the organ is great. This is often due to a law of
nature rather than to imperfection of design or workmanship.
Pneumatic pulses travel slowly—at a speed which does not reach 1,100
feet per second. In large organs where necessarily some of the tubes
are short and some have to be long, it is impossible to secure
simultaneous speech from all departments of the instrument, and in
addition to this the crisp feeling of direct connection with his pipes,
which the old tracker action secured for the organist, is lost.
It is generally thought amongst the more advanced of the builders and
organists qualified to judge, that the tubular-pneumatic action will
sooner or later be entirely abandoned in favor of the electro-pneumatic
action. Certain it is that the aid of electricity is now called in in
practically every large instrument that is built in this country, and
in an increasing proportion of those constructed abroad.
THE CRYING NEED FOR ELECTRIC ACTION.
The instance of St. Paul's Cathedral cited above shows the demand that
existed at that time for means whereby the organ could be played with
the keyboards situated at some distance from the main body of the
instrument. In the Cathedrals the organ was usually placed on a screen
dividing the Choir from the Nave, completely obstructing the view down
the church. There was a demand for its removal from this position
(which was eventually done at St. Paul's, Chester, Durham, and other
Cathedrals). Then in the large parish churches the quartet of singers
in the west gallery where the organ was placed had been abolished. Boy
choirs had been installed in the chancel, leaving the organ and
organist in the west gallery, to keep time together as best they could.
In the Cathedrals, too, the organist was a long way off from the choir.
How glorious it would be if he could sit and play in their midst!
Henry Willis & Sons stated in a letter to the London Musical News, in
1890, that they had been repeatedly asked to make such arrangements but
had refused, "because Dame Nature stood in the way,"—which she
certainly did if tubular pneumatics had been used. The fact was that
up to this time all the electric actions invented had proved more or
less unreliable, and Willis, who had an artistic reputation to lose,
refused to employ them. As an instance of their clumsiness we may
mention that the best contact they could get was made by dipping a
platinum point in a cell containing mercury! Other forms of contact
rapidly oxidized and went out of business.
Dr. Gauntlet, about the year 1852, took out a patent covering an
electric connection between the keys and the pallets of an organ,
but the invention of the electro-pneumatic lever must be ascribed to
Barker and Dr. Péschard. The latter seems to have suggested the
contrivance and the former to have done the practical work.
Bryceson Bros. were the first to introduce this action into English
organs. They commenced work along these lines in 1868, under the
Barker patents, their first organ being built behind the scenes at Her
Majesty's Opera House, Drury Lane, London, the keys being in the
orchestra. This organ was used successfully for over a year, after
which it was removed and shown as a curiosity in the London Polytechnic
Institute, recitals being given twice daily.
Schmole and Molls, Conti, Trice and others took a leading part in the
work on the European continent, and Roosevelt was perhaps its greatest
pioneer in the United States.
Various builders in many countries have more recently made scores of
improvements or variations in form and have taken out patents to cover
the points of difference, but none of these has done any work of
Not one of the early electric actions proved either quick or reliable,
and all were costly to install and maintain.
The First Electric Organ Ever Built. In the Collegiate Church at Salon, Near Marseilles, France (1866).
This form of mechanism, therefore, earned a bad name and was making
little advance, if not actually being abandoned, when a skilled
electrician, Robert Hope-Jones, entered the field about 1886. Knowing
little of organs and nothing of previous attempts to utilize
electricity for this service, he made with his own hands and some
unskilled assistance furnished by members of his voluntary choir, the
first movable console, stop-keys, double touch, suitable bass, etc.,
and an electric action that created a sensation throughout the organ
world. In this action the "pneumatic blow" was for the first time
attained and an attack and repetition secured in advance of anything
thought possible at that time, in connection with the organ or the
Hope-Jones introduced the round wire contact which secures the ideally
perfect "nibbing points," and he makes these wires of dissimilar
non-corrosive metals (gold and platinum).
He replaced previous rule-of-thumb methods by scientific calculation,
recognized the value of low voltage, good insulation and the avoidance
of self-induction, with the result that the electro-pneumatic action
has become (when properly made) as reliable as the tracker or pneumatic
DESCRIPTION OF THE ELECTRIC ACTION.
The electric action consists substantially of a small bellows like the
pneumatic lever, but instead of the valve admitting the wind to operate
it being moved by a tracker leading from the key, it is opened by an
electro-magnet, energized by a contact in the keyboard and connected
therewith by a wire which, of course, may be of any desired length. We
illustrate one form of action invented and used by Hope-Jones.
Within the organ, the wires from the other end of the cable are
attached to small magnets specially wound so that no spark results when
the electric contact at the key is broken. This magnet attracts a thin
disc of iron about 1/4 inch in diameter, (held up by a high wind
pressure from underneath) and draws it downward through a space of less
than 1/100 of an inch.
The working is as follows: The box A is connected with the organ
bellows and so (immediately the wind is put into the organ) is filled
with air under pressure, which passes upwards between the poles of the
magnet N. Lifting the small iron disc L it finds its way through the
passage L into the small motor M, thus allowing the movable portion of
the motor M to remain in its lower position, the pallet C1 being
closed and the pallet C2 being open. Under these conditions, the
large motor B collapses and the pull-down P (which is connected with
the organ pallet) rises.
Fig. 6. The Electro-Pneumatic Lever
When a weak current of electricity is caused to circulate round the
coils of the electro-magnet N, the small armature disc J is drawn off
the valve-seat H on to the zinc plate K.
The compressed air from within the small motor M escapes by way of the
passage L, through the openings in the valve seat H into the
atmosphere. The compressed air in the box A then acts upon the movable
portion of the small motor M in such a manner that it is forced upwards
and caused (through the medium of the pull-wire E) to lift the supply
pallet C1 and close the exhaust pallet C2, thus allowing compressed
air to rush from the box A into the motor B and so cause this latter
motor to open and (through the medium of the pull down P) to pull the
soundboard pallet from its seat and allow wind to pass into the pipes.
Fig. 7. Valve and Valve Seat, Hope-Jones Electric Action
The valve-seat H has formed on its lower surface two crescent shaped
long and narrow slits. A very slight movement of the armature disc J,
therefore, suffices to open to the full extent two long exhaust
passages. The movement of this disc is reduced to something less than
the 1/100 part of an inch. It is, therefore, always very close to the
poles of the magnet, consequently a very faint impulse of electricity
will suffice (aided by gravity) to draw the disc off the valve-seat H.
The zinc plate K being in intimate contact with the iron poles of the
magnet N, protects the latter from rust by well-known electrical laws.
All the parts are made of metal, so that no change in the weather can
affect their relative positions. R is the point at which the large
motor B is hinged. G is a spring retaining cap in position; O the
wires leading from the keys and conveying the current to the magnet N;
Q the removable side of the box A.
Fig. 7 represents a larger view of the plate K in which the magnet
poles N are rigidly fixed—of a piece of very fine chiffon M (indicated
by a slightly thicker line) which prevents particles of dust passing
through so as to interfere with the proper seating of the soft Swedish
charcoal iron armature disc J—of the distance piece L and of the valve
On the upper surface of this valve seat H another piece of fine chiffon
is attached to prevent possible passage of dust to the armature valve
J, from outside.
As all parts of this apparatus are of metal changes in humidity or
temperature do not affect its regulation.
The use of this action renders it possible for the console (or
keyboards, etc.) to be entirely detached from the organ, moved to a
distance and connected with the organ by a cable fifty or one hundred
feet or as many miles long. This arrangement may be seen, for example,
in the College of the City of New York (built by the E. M. Skinner
Co.), where the console is carried to the middle of the platform when a
recital is to be given, and removed out of the way when the platform is
wanted for other purposes.
As all the old mechanism—the backfalls, roller-boards and trackers—is
now swept away, it is possible by placing the bellows in the cellar to
utilize the inside of the organ for a choir-vestry, as was indeed
done with the pioneer Hope-Jones organ at St. John's Church, Birkenhead.
DIVISION OF ORGANS.
Before the invention of pneumatic and electro-pneumatic action, organs
were almost invariably constructed in a single mass. It was, it is
true, possible to find instruments with tracker action that were
divided and placed, say, half on either side of a chancel, but
instances of the kind were rare and it was well nigh impossible for
even a muscular organist to perform on such instruments.
The perfecting of tubular pneumatic and especially of electro-pneumatic
action has lent wonderful flexibility to the organ and has allowed of
instruments being introduced in buildings where it would otherwise have
been impossible to locate an organ. Almost all leading builders have
done work of this kind, but the Aeolian Company has been quickest to
seize the advantage of division in adapting the pipe organ for use in
Sound reflectors have recently been introduced, and it seems likely
that these will play an important part in organ construction in the
future. So far they appear to be employed only by Hope-Jones and the
firms with which he was associated. It has been discovered that sound
waves may be collected, focussed or directed, much in the same way that
light waves can. In the case of the Hope-Jones organ at Ocean Grove,
N. J., the greatest part of the instrument has been placed in a
basement constructed outside the original Auditorium. The sound waves
are thrown upward and are directed into the Auditorium by means of
parabolic reflectors constructed of cement lined with wood. The effect
is entirely satisfactory. In Trinity Cathedral, Cleveland, Ohio,
Hope-Jones arranged for the Tuba to stand in the basement at the
distant end of the nave. Its tone is directed to a cement reflector
and from that reflector is projected through a metal grid set in the
floor, till, striking the roof of the nave, it is spread and fills the
entire building with tone. In St. Luke's Church, Montclair, N. J., he
adopted a somewhat similar plan in connection with the open 38-foot
pedal pipes which are laid horizontally in the basement. We believe
that the first time this principle was employed was in the case of the
organ rebuilt by Hope-Jones in 1892 at the residence of Mr. J. Martin
White, Balruddery, Dundee, Scotland.
In the days of mechanical action, couplers of any kind proved a source
of trouble and added greatly to the weight of the touch. The natural
result was that anything further than unison coupling was seldom
In some organs hardly any couplers at all were present.
In Schulze's great and celebrated organ in Doncaster, England, it was
not possible to couple any of the manuals to the pedals, and (if we
remember rightly) there were only two couplers in the whole instrument.
Shortly after the introduction of pneumatic action, an organ with an
occasional octave coupler, that is a coupler which depressed a key an
octave higher or lower than the one originally struck, was sometimes
In the pioneer organ built by Hope-Jones in Birkenhead, England (about
1887), a sudden advance was made. That organ contains no less than 19
couplers. Not only did he provide sub-octave and super-octave couplers
freely, but he even added a Swell Sub-quint to Great coupler!
Octave couplers are now provided by almost all builders.
Though condemned by many theorists, there is no doubt that in practice
they greatly add to the resources of the instruments to which they are
attached. We know of small organs where the electric action has been
introduced for no other reason than that of facilitating the use of
octave couplers, which are now a mere matter of wiring and give no
additional weight to the touch.
Hope-Jones appears to have led in adding extra pipes to the wind-chest,
which were acted upon by the top octave of the octave couplers, thus
giving the organist a complete scale to the full extent of the
keyboards. He made the practice common in England, and the Austin
Company adopted it on his joining them in this country. The plan has
since become more or leas common. This is the device we see specified
in organ builders' catalogues as the "extended wind-chest," and
explains why the stops have 73 pipes to 61 notes on the keyboard. An
octave coupler without such extension is incomplete and is no more
honest than a stop which only goes down to Tenor C.
DR. ALBERT PESCHARD. Inventor of Electro-Pneumatic Action.
Dr. Albert Péschard was born in 1836, qualified as an advocate (Docteur
en droit), and from 1857 to 1875 was organist of the Church of St.
Etienne, Caen, France. He commenced to experiment in
electro-pneumatics in the year 1860, and early in 1861 communicated his
discoveries to Mr. Barker. From that date until Barker left France,
Péschard collaborated with him, reaping no pecuniary benefit therefrom.
Péschard, however, was honored by being publicly awarded the Medal of
Merit of the Netherlands; the Medal of Association Francaise pour
l'Avancement de la Science; Gold Medal, Exhibition of Lyons; and the
Gold Medal, Exhibition of Bordeaux. He died at Caen, December 23,
1903. (From Dr. Hinton's "Story of the Electric Organ.")
On looking at the console of a modern organ the observer will be struck
by the fact that the familiar draw-stop knobs have disappeared, or, if
they are still there, he will most likely find in addition a row of
ivory tablets, like dominoes, arranged over the upper manual. If the
stop-knobs are all gone, he will find an extended row, perhaps two rows
of these tablets. These are the stop-keys which, working on a
centre, move either the sliders in the wind-chest, or bring the various
couplers on manuals and pedals on or off.
Fig. 8. Console, Showing the Inclined Keyboards First Introduced Into This Country by Robert Hope-Jones
We learn from Dr. Bédart that as early as 1804 an arrangement
suggestive of the stop-key was in use in Avignon Cathedral. William
Horatio Clarke, of Reading, Mass., applied for a patent covering a form
of stop-key in 1877. Hope-Jones, however, is generally credited with
introducing the first practical stop-keys. He invented the forms most
largely used to-day, and led their adoption in England, in this
country, and indeed throughout the world.
Fig. 9. Console on the Bennett System, Showing Indicator Discs
Our illustration (Fig. 8) gives a good idea of the appearance of a
modern Hope-Jones console. The stop-keys will be seen arranged in an
inclined semi-circle overhanging and just above the keyboards. Fig. 9
shows a console on the Bennett system. Figs. 10 and 11, hybrids, the
tilting tablet form of stop-keys being used for the couplers only.
Fig. 10. Console of Organ in Trinity Church, Boston, Mass. Built by Hutchings Organ Co.
There is much controversy as to whether stop-keys will eventually
displace the older fashioned draw-knobs.
Fig. 11. Console of Organ in College of City of New York. Built by The E. M. Skinner Co.
A few organists of eminence, notably Edwin H. Lemare, are strongly
opposed to the new method of control, but the majority, especially the
rising generation of organists, warmly welcome the change. It is
significant that whereas Hope-Jones was for years the only advocate of
the system, four or five of the builders in this country, and a dozen
foreign organ-builders, are now supplying stop-keys either exclusively
or for a considerable number of their organs. Austin, Skinner, Norman
& Beard, Ingram and others use the Hope-Jones pattern, but Haskell,
Bennett, Hele and others have patterns of their own. It is a matter of
regret that some one pattern has not been agreed on by all the builders
CONTROL OF THE STOPS.
In older days all stop-keys were moved by hand, and as a natural
consequence few changes in registration could be made during
Pedals for throwing out various combinations of stops were introduced
into organs about 1809; it is generally believed that J. C. Bishop was
the inventor of this contrivance.
Willis introduced into his organs pneumatic thumb-pistons about the
year 1851. These pistons were placed below the keyboard whose stops
T. C. Lewis, of England, later introduced short key-touches arranged
above the rear end of the keys of the manual. Depression of these
key-touches brought different combinations of stops into use on the
keyboard above which they were placed. Somewhat similar key-touches
were used by the Hope-Jones Organ Co. and by the Austin Organ Co.
Metal buttons or pistons located on the toe piece of the pedal-board
were introduced by the ingenious Casavant of Canada. They are now
fitted by various builders and appear likely to be generally adopted.
These toe-pistons form an additional and most convenient means for
bringing the stops into and out of action.
At first these various contrivances operated only such combinations as
were arranged by the builder beforehand, but now it is the custom to
provide means by which the organist can so alter and arrange matters
that any combination piston or combination key shall bring out and take
in any selection of stops that he may desire. Hilborne Roosevelt of
New York, was the first to introduce these adjustable combination
The introduction of the above means of rapidly shifting the stops in an
organ has revolutionized organ-playing, and has rendered possible the
performance of the orchestral transcriptions that we now so often hear
at organ recitals.
In order to economize in cost of manufacture, certain of the
organ-builders, chiefly in America and in Germany, have adopted the
pernicious practice of making the combination pedals, pistons or keys
bring the various ranks of pipes into or out of action without moving
This unfortunate plan either requires the organist to remember which
combination of stops he last brought into operation on each keyboard,
or else necessitates the introduction of some indicator displaying a
record of the pistons that he last touched. In the organ in the
Memorial Church of the 1st Emperor William in Berlin, the builder
introduced a series of electric lights for this purpose. This device
can be seen in use in this country.
When this plan is adopted the player is compelled to preserve a mental
image of the combinations set on every piston or pedal in the organ and
identify them instantly by the numbers shown on the indicator—an
impossibility in the case of adjustable combinations often
changed—impracticable in any case.
Almost all the greatest organists agree in condemning the system of
non-moving stop-knobs, and we trust and believe that it will soon be
RADIATING AND CONCAVE PEDAL BOARDS.
Pedal boards had always been made flat with straight keys until Willis
and the great organist, Dr. S. S. Wesley, devised the radiating and
concave board whereby all the pedal keys were brought within equal
distance of the player's feet. This was introduced in the organ in St.
George's Hall, Liverpool, in 1855, and Willis has refused to supply any
other type of board with his organs ever since. Curiously enough, the
advantages of this board were not appreciated by many players who
preferred the old type of board and at a conference called by the Royal
College of Organists in 1890 it was decided to officially recommend a
board which was concave, but had parallel keys. The following letter
to the author shows that the R. C. O. has experienced a change of heart
in this matter:
THE ROYAL COLLEGE OF ORGANISTS.
LONDON, S. W., 27th May, 1909.
Dear Sir: In answer to your inquiry the Resolutions and Recommendations
to which you refer were withdrawn by my Council some years ago. No
official recommendation is made by them now. It is stated in our
Calendar that the Council wish it understood that the arrangements and
measurements of the College organ are not intended to be accepted as
authoritative or final suggestions. I am,
The radiating and concave board has been adopted by the American Guild
of Organists and has long been considered the standard for the best
organs built in the United States and Canada. It is self-evident that
this board is more expensive to construct than the other. That is why
we do not find it in low-priced organs.
In most American organs built twenty years ago, the compass of the
pedal board was only two octaves and two notes, from CCC to D.
Sometimes two octaves only. Later it was extended to F, 30 notes,
which is the compass generally found in England. Following Hope-Jones'
lead, all the best builders have now extended their boards to g, 32
notes, this range being called for by some of Bach's organ music and
certain pieces of the French school where a melody is played by the
right foot and the bass by the left. The chief reason is that g is the
top note of the string bass, and is called for in orchestral
transcriptions. Henry Willis & Sons have also extended the pedal
compass to g in rebuilding the St. George's Hall organ in 1898.
PEDAL STOP CONTROL.
For a long time no means whatever of controlling the Pedal stops and
couplers was provided, but in course of time it became the fashion to
cause the combination pedals or pistons on the Great organ (and
subsequently on the other departments also) to move the Pedal stops and
couplers so as to provide a bass suited to the particular combination
of stops in use on the manual. This was a crude arrangement and often
proved more of a hindrance than of a help to the player.
Unfortunately, unprogressive builders are still adhering to this
inartistic plan. It frequently leads to a player upsetting his Pedal
combination when he has no desire to do so. It becomes impossible to
use the combination pedals without disturbing the stops and couplers of
the Pedal department.
The great English organist, W. T. Best, in speaking of this, instanced
a well-known organ piece, Rinck's "Flute Concerto," which called for
quick changes from the Swell to the Great organ and vice versa, and
said that he knew of no instrument in existence on which it could be
properly played. An attempt had been made on the Continent to overcome
this difficulty by the use of two pedal-boards, placed at an angle to
each other, but it did not meet with success.
The Hope-Jones plan (patented 1889) of providing the combination pedals
or pistons with a double touch was a distinct step in advance for it
enabled the organist by means of a light touch to move only the manual
registers and by means of a very much heavier touch on the combination
pedal or piston to operate also his Pedal stops and couplers. Most
large organs now built are furnished with a pedal for reversing the
position of the Great to Pedal coupler. Though to a certain extent
useful when no better means of control is provided, this is but a
Thomas Casson, of Denbigh, Wales, introduced an artistic, though
somewhat cumbersome, arrangement. He duplicated the draw-knobs
controlling the Pedal stops and couplers and located one set of these
with the Great organ stops, another set with the Swell organ stops and
a third with the Choir. He placed in the key slip below each manual
what he called a "Pedal Help." When playing on the Great organ, he
would, by touching the "Pedal Help," switch into action the group of
Pedal stops and coupler knobs located in the Great department,
switching out of action all the other groups of Pedal stops and
couplers. Upon touching the "Pedal Help" under the Swell organ keys,
the Great organ group of Pedal stops and couplers would be rendered
inoperative and the Swell group would be brought into action. By this
means it was easy to prepare in advance groups of Pedal stops and
couplers suited to the combination of stops sounding upon each manual
and by touching a Pedal Help, to call the right group of Pedal stops
into action at any moment. The combination pedals affecting the Great
stop-knobs moved also the Pedal stop-knobs belonging to the proper
group. The Swell and Choir groups were similarly treated.
But the simplest and best means of helping the organist to control his
Pedal department is the automatic "Suitable Bass" arrangement patented
by Hope-Jones in 1891 and subsequently. According to his plan a
"Suitable Bass" tablet is provided just above the rear end of the black
keys on each manual.
Each of these tablets has a double touch. On pressing it with ordinary
force it moves the Pedal stop keys and couplers, so as to provide an
appropriate bass to the combination of stops in use on that manual at
the moment. On pressing it with much greater force it becomes locked
down and remains in that position until released by the depression of
the suitable bass tablet belonging to another manual, or by touching
any of the Pedal stop-knobs or stop-keys.
When the suitable bass tablet belonging to any manual is thus locked
down, the stops and couplers of the Pedal department will automatically
move so as to provide at all times a bass that is suitable to the
combination of stops and couplers in use upon that particular manual.
On touching the suitable bass tablet belonging to any other manual with
extra pressure, the tablet formerly touched will be released and the
latter will become locked down. The Pedal stops and couplers will now
group themselves so as to provide a suitable bass to the stops in use
on the latter-named manual, and will continue so to do until this
suitable bass tablet is in turn released.
This automatic suitable bass device does not interfere with the normal
use of the stop-keys of the pedal department by hand. Directly any one
of these be touched, the suitable bass mechanism is automatically
thrown out of action.
The combination pedals and pistons are all provided with double touch.
Upon using them in the ordinary way the manual stops alone are
affected. If, however, considerable extra pressure be brought to bear
upon them the appropriate suitable bass tablet is thereby momentarily
depressed and liberated—by this means providing a suitable bass. In
large organs two or three adjustable toe pistons are also provided to
give independent control of the Pedal organ. On touching any of these
toe pistons all suitable bass tablets are released, and any selection
of Pedal stops and couplers that the organist may have arranged on the
toe piston operated is brought into use. The Hope-Jones plan seems to
leave little room for improvement. It has been spoken of as "the
greatest assistance to the organist since the invention of combination
Compton, of Nottingham, England (a progressive and artistic
builder), already fits a suitable bass attachment to his organs and it
would seem likely that before long this system must become universally
MEANS OF OBTAINING EXPRESSION.
To most organs in this country, to many in Germany, and to a few in
other countries, there is attached a balanced shoe pedal by movement of
which the various stops and couplers in the organ are brought into
action in due sequence. By this means an organist is enabled to build
up the tone of his organ from the softest to the loudest without having
to touch a single stop-knob, coupler or combination piston. The
crescendo pedal, as it is called, is little used in England. It is the
fashion there to regard it merely as a device to help an incompetent
organist. It is contended that a crescendo pedal is most inartistic,
as it is certain to be throwing on or taking off stops in the middle,
instead of at the beginning or end of a musical phrase. In spite of
this acknowledged defect, many of the best players in this country
regard it as a legitimate and helpful device.
We believe the first balanced crescendo pedal in this country was put
in the First Presbyterian Church organ at Syracuse, N. Y., by Steere,
the builder of the instrument.
SFORZANDO PEDAL—DOUBLE TOUCH.
Under the name of Sforzando Coupler, the mechanism of which is
described and illustrated in Stainer's Dictionary, a device was
formerly found in some organs by which the keys of the Swell were
caused to act upon the keys of the Great. The coupler being brought on
and off by a pedal, sforzando effects could be produced, or the first
beat in cadi measure strongly accented in the style of the
orchestration of the great masters. Hope-Jones in his pioneer organ at
St. John's Church, Birkenhead, England, provided a pedal which brought
the Tuba on the Great organ. The pedal was thrown back by a spring on
being released from the pressure of the foot. Some fine effects could
be produced by this, but of course the whole keyboard was affected and
only chords could be played. Various complicated devices to bring out
a melody have been invented from time to time by various builders, but
all have been superseded by the invention of the "Double Touch." On a
keyboard provided with this device, extra pressure of the fingers
causes the keys struck to fall an additional eighth inch (through a
spring giving way), bringing the stops drawn on another manual into
play. If playing on the Swell organ, the Choir stops will sound as
well when the keys are struck with extra firmness; if playing on the
Choir the Swell stops sound; and if playing on the Great the Double
Touch usually brings on the Tuba or Trumpet. It is thus possible to
play a hymn tune in four parts on the Swell and bring out the melody on
the Choir Clarinet; to play on the Choir and bring out the melody on
the Swell Vox Humana or Cornopean; or to play a fugue with the full
power of the Great organ (except the Trumpet) and bring out the subject
of the fugue every time it enters, whether in the soprano voice, the
alto, tenor, or bass.
In the latest Hope-Jones organs arrangements are made for drawing many
of the individual stops on the second touch, independently of the
BALANCED SWELL PEDAL
At the commencement of the period of which we are treating (some fifty
years ago) the Swell shutters of almost all organs were made to fall
shut of their own weight, or by means of a spring. The organist might
leave his Swell-box shut or, by means of a catch on the pedal, hitch it
When, however, he wanted the shutters in any intermediate position, he
had to keep his foot on the pedal in order to prevent its closing.
The introduction of the balanced Swell pedal (Walcker, 1863) has
greatly increased the tonal resources of the organ. It is used almost
universally in this country, but strangely enough the country in which
the Swell-box was invented (England, 1712) lags behind, and even to-day
largely adheres to the old forms of spring pedal.
A further and great step in advance appears in recent organs built by
the Hope-Jones Organ Company. The position of the swell shutters is
brought under the control of the organist's fingers as well as his
feet. Each balanced swell pedal is provided with an indicator key
fixed on the under side of the ledge of the music desk, where it is
most conspicuous to the eye of the performer. As the swell pedal is
opened by the organist's foot, the indicator key travels in a downward
direction to the extent of perhaps one inch and a quarter. As the
organist closes his pedal, the indicator key again moves upward into
its normal position. By means of this visible indicator key the
organist is always aware of the position of the swell shutters.
Through electric mechanism the indicator key is so connected with the
swell pedal that the slightest urging of the key either upward or
downward by the finger will shift the swell pedal and cause it to close
or open as may be desired and to the desired extent. When an organ
possesses four or five swell boxes, and when these swell boxes (as in
the case of Hope-Jones' organs) modify the tone by many hundred per
cent., it becomes highly important that the organist shall at all times
have complete and instant control of the swell shutters and shall be
conscious of their position without having to look below the keyboards.
Hope-Jones also provides what he calls a general swell pedal. To this
general swell pedal (and its corresponding indicator key) any or all of
the other swell pedals may be coupled at will.
Hope-Jones has also recently invented a means of controlling the swell
shutters from the manual keys to a sufficient extent to produce certain
When this contrivance is brought into use upon any manual and when no
keys upon that manual are being played, the swell shutters assume a
position slightly more open than normal in relation to the position of
the swell pedal. Directly any key upon the manual in question is
depressed, the swell shutters again resume their normal position in
relation to the swell pedal. This results in a certain emphasis or
attack at the commencement of each phrase or note that is akin to the
effect obtained from many of the instruments of the orchestra.
These contrivances are applicable only to such organs as have the
balanced swell pedal.
The invention of the Swell is generally attributed to Abraham Jordan.
He exhibited what was known as the nag's head Swell in St. Magnus'
Church, London, England, in the year 1731.
The "nag's head" Swell, with its great sliding shutter, rapidly gave
place to the "Venetian" Swell shades, used almost universally to this
day. At the beginning of the period under consideration Swell boxes
were almost invariably made of thin boards and their effect upon the
strength of the tone was small. Willis was one of the first to realize
the artistic possibilities of the Swell organ and in almost all his
organs we find thick wooden boxes and carefully fitted shutters, and
often an inner swell box containing the delicate reeds, such as the Vox
Humana and Oboe.
Many of the leading organ builders now employ this thicker
construction, and it is no uncommon thing to find Swell boxes measuring
three inches in thickness and "deadened" with sawdust or shavings
between the layers of wood of which they are formed.
A few organs of Hutchings and other makers are provided with a double
set of shutters, so that sound waves escaping through the first set are
largely arrested by the second. The crescendo and diminuendo are
thus somewhat improved.
By the adoption of scientific principles Hope-Jones has multiplied the
efficiency of Swell boxes tenfold. He points out that wood, hitherto
used in their construction, is one of the best known conductors of
sound and should, therefore, not be employed. The effects produced by
his brick, stone and cement boxes (Worcester Cathedral, England; McEwan
Hall, Edinburgh, Scotland, Ocean Grove, New Jersey, etc.) mark the dawn
of a new era in Swell-box construction and effect. It is now possible
to produce by means of scientific Swell boxes an increase or diminution
of tone amounting to many hundred per cent.
We have heard the great Tuba at Ocean Grove, on 50-inch wind pressure,
so reduced in strength that it formed an effective accompaniment to the
tones of a single voice.
The Hope-Jones method seems to be to construct the box and its shutters
(in laminated form) of brick, cement or other inert and non-porous
material, and to substitute for the felt usually employed at the joints
his patented "sound trap." This latter is so interesting and of such
import in the history of organ building that we append, on the next
page, illustrations and descriptions of the device.
If a man should stand at one end of the closed passage (C) he will be
able to converse with a friend at the other end of the passage (D).
The passage will in fact act as a large speaking tube and a
conversation can be carried on between the two individuals, even in
whispers (Figure 12).
This passage is analogous to the opening or nick between Swell shutters
of the ordinary type.
If a man should stand in room 1 at A, he will be able to see a friend
standing in room 4 at B, but the two friends will not be able to
converse. When A speaks, the sound waves that he produces will spread
out and will fill room 1. A very small percentage of them will strike
the doorway or opening into room 2. In their turn these sound waves
will be diffused all through room 2, and again but a small percentage
of them will find access into room 3. The sound waves will by this
time be so much attenuated that the voice of the man standing in room 1
will be lost. Any little tone, however, that may remain will become
dissipated in room 3, and it will not be possible for a person standing
in room 4 to hear the voice.
Fig. 12. The Principle of the Sound Trap
This plan illustrates the principle of the sound trap joint.
Figure 13 shows in section the joint between two Swell shutters. A
small proportion of the sound waves from inside the Swell box striking
the sound trap joint, as indicated by the arrow, will pass through the
nick between the two shutters, but these sound waves will become
greatly weakened in charging the groove A. Such of the sound waves is
pass through the second nick will become attenuated in charging the
chamber B. They will be further lost in the chamber C, and practically
none will remain by the time the chamber D is reached.
It is Hope-Jones' habit to place the shutters immediately above the
pipes themselves, so that when they are opened the Swell box is left
practically without any top. It is in such cases not his custom to fit
any shutters in the side or front of the Swell box.
Fig. 13. Sound Trap Joint
To relieve the compression of the air caused by playing for any length
of time with the shutters closed, he provides escape valves, opening
outside the auditorium. He also provides fans for driving all the cold
air out of the box before using the organ, thus equalizing the
temperature with the air outside—or he accomplishes this result
through the medium of gas, electric or steam heaters, governed by
The Hope-Jones Vacuum Swell Shutters, with sound-trap joints, are shown
in Figures 14 and 15.
It is well known that sound requires some medium to carry it. Readers
will doubtless be familiar with the well-known experiment illustrating
this point. An electric bell is placed under a glass dome. So long as
the dome is filled with air the sound of the bell can be heard, but
directly the air is pumped out silence results, even though it can be
seen that the bell is continuously ringing. As there is no air
surrounding the bell there is nothing to convey its vibrations to the
That is why the hollow swell shutter, from the interior of which the
air has been pumped out, is such a wonderful non-conductor of sound.
The shutters shown in Figures 14 and 15 are aluminum castings.
Ribs R1 and R2 are provided to support the flat sides against the
pressure of the atmosphere, but each of these ribs is so arranged that
it supports only one flat side and does not form a means of
communication between one flat side and the other. Thus R1 supports
one flat side whilst R2 supports the other. The aluminum shutters
are supported by means of pivot P.
Figs. 14-15. The Vacuum Shutter
They are very light and can therefore be opened and closed with great
A very thin vacuum shutter forms a better interrupter of sound waves
than a brick wall two or three feet in thickness.
When partially exhausted the aluminum shutters are dipped into a bath
of shellac. This effectually closes any microscopic blow-hole that may
exist in the metal.
The use of Swell boxes of this vastly increased efficiency permits the
employment of larger scales and heavier pressures for the pipes than
could otherwise be used, and enormously increases the tonal flexibility
of the organ.
It also does away with the need for soft stops in an organ, thus
securing considerable economy. Where all the stops are inclosed in
cement chambers (as in the case of recent Hope-Jones organs) and where
the sound-trap shutters are employed, every stop is potentially a
A REVOLUTION IN WIND SUPPLY.
Prior to the construction of the above-named organ at Birkenhead,
England, it had been the custom to obtain or regulate the pressure of
wind supplied to the pipes by means of loading the bellows with
weights. Owing to its inertia, no heavy bellows weight can be set into
motion rapidly. When, therefore, a staccato chord was struck on one of
these earlier organs, with all its stops drawn, little or no response
was obtained from the pipes, because the wind-chest was instantly
exhausted and no time was allowed for the inert bellows weights to fall
and so force a fresh supply of air into the wind-chests.
BELLOWS SPRINGS VERSUS WEIGHTS.
In one of Hope-Jones' earliest patents the weights indeed remain, but
they merely serve to compress springs, which in turn, act upon the top
of the bellows.
Before this patent was granted he had, however, given up the use of
weights altogether and relied entirely upon springs.
This one detail—the substitution of springs for weights—has had a
far-reaching effect upon organ music. It rendered possible the entire
removal of the old unsteadiness of wind from which all organs of the
time suffered in greater or less degree. It quickened the attack of
the action and the speech of the pipes to an amazing extent and opened
a new and wider field to the King of Instruments.
In the year 1894 John Turnell Austin, now of Hartford, Conn., took out
a patent for an arrangement known as the "Universal air-chest." In
this, the spring as opposed to the weight is adopted. The Universal
air-chest forms a perfect solution of the problem of supplying prompt
and steady wind-pressure, but as practically the same effect is
obtained by the use of a little spring reservoir not one hundredth part
of its size, it is questionable whether this Universal air-chest,
carrying, as it does, certain disadvantages, will survive.
Fifty years ago the pallet and slider sound-board was well nigh
universally used, but several of the builders in Germany, and Roosevelt
in this country, strongly advocated, and introduced, chests having an
independent valve, pallet or membrane, to control the admission of wind
to each pipe in the organ.
In almost all of these instances small round valves were used for this
A good pallet and slider chest is difficult to make, and those
constructed by indifferent workmen out of indifferent lumber will cause
trouble through "running"—that is, leakage of wind from one pipe to
another. In poor chests of this description the slides are apt to
stick when the atmosphere is excessively damp, and to become too loose
on days when little or no humidity is present.
Individual pallet chests are cheaper to make and they have none of the
defects named above. Most of these chests, however, are subject to
troubles of their own, and not one of those in which round valves are
employed permits the pipes to speak to advantage.
Willis, Hope-Jones, Carlton C. Michell and other artists, after lengthy
tests, independently arrived at the conclusion that the best tonal
results cannot by any possibility be obtained from these cheap forms of
chest. Long pallets and a large and steady body of air below each pipe
are deemed essential.
HEAVY WIND PRESSURES.
As previously stated, the vast majority of organs built fifty years ago
used no higher wind pressure than 3 inches. Hill, in 1833, placed a
Tuba stop voiced on about 11 inches in an organ he built for Birmingham
Town Hall (England), but the tone was so coarse and blatant that such
stops were for years employed only in the case of very large
buildings. Cavaillé-Coll subsequently utilized slightly increased
pressures for the trebles of his flue stops as well as for his larger
reeds. As a pioneer he did excellent work in this direction.
To Willis, however, must be attributed greater advance in the
utilization of heavy pressures for reed work. He was the first to
recognize that the advantage of heavy wind pressure for the reeds lay
not merely in the increase of power, but also in the improvement of the
quality of tone. Willis founded a new school of reed voicing and
exerted an influence that will never die.
In organs of any pretensions it became his custom to employ pressures
of 8 to 10 inches for the Great and Swell chorus reeds and the Solo
Tubas in his larger organs were voiced on 20 or 25 inches.
He introduced the "closed eschallot" (the tube against which the tongue
beats in a reed pipe) and created a revolution in reed voicing. He has
had many imitators, but the superb examples of his skill, left in
English Cathedral and town hall organs, will be difficult to surpass.
Prior to the advent of Hope-Jones (about the year 1887) no higher
pressure than 25 inches had, we believe, been employed in any organ,
and the vast majority of instruments were voiced on pressures not
exceeding 3 inches. Heavy pressure flue voicing was practically
unknown, and in reeds even Willis used very moderate pressures, save
for a Tuba in the case of really large buildings.
Hope-Jones showed that by increasing the weight of metal, bellying all
flue pipes in the centre, leathering their lips, clothing their flues,
and reversing their languids, he could obtain from heavy pressures
practically unlimited power and at the same time actually add to the
sweetness of tone produced by the old, lightly blown pipes. He used
narrow mouths, did away with regulation at the foot of the pipe, and
utilized the "pneumatic blow" obtained from his electric action.
He also inaugurated "an entirely new departure in the science of reed
He employs pressures as high as fifty inches and never uses less than
six. His work in this direction has exercised a profound influence on
organ building throughout the world, and leading builders in all
countries are adopting his pressures or are experimenting in that
Like most revolutionary improvements, the use of heavy pressures was at
first vigorously opposed, but organists and acousticians are now filled
with wonder that the old low-pressure idea should have held sway so
long, in view of the fact that very heavy wind is employed for the
production of the best tone from the human voice and from the various
wind instruments of the orchestra.
Karl Gottlieb Weiglé, of Stuttgart, was a little in advance of many of
his confrères in using moderately heavy pressures, but he departed from
the leather lip and narrow mouth used by Hope-Jones and has obtained
power without refinement.
In employing these heavy pressures of wind, increased purity and beauty
of tone should alone be aimed at. Power will take care of itself.
The "organ beater" of bygone days was invariably accompanied by the
"organ pumper," often by several of them. There is a well-known story
of how the man refused to blow any longer unless the organist said that
"we had done very well to-day." The organ pumper's vocation is now
almost entirely gone, especially in this country, although we know of
organs in England which require four men "to blow the same" unto this
When Willis built the great organ in St. George's Hall, Liverpool, in
1855, he installed an eight-horsepower steam engine to provide the wind
supply. There is a six-horse steam engine in use in Chester Cathedral
Gas and petrol (gasoline) engines have been used extensively in
England, providing a cheaper, but, with feeders, a less controllable,
prime mover. By far the commonest source of power has been the water
motor, as it was economical and readily governed, and as water pressure
was generally available, but the decline of the old-time bellows, with
the fact that many cities to-day refuse to permit motors to be operated
from the water mains, have given the field practically to the electric
motor, now generally used in connection with some form of rotary fans.
The principle of fans in series, first introduced by Cousans, of
Lincoln, England, under the name of the Kinetic Blower, is now accepted
as standard. This consists of a number of cleverly designed fans
mounted in series on one shaft, the first delivering air to the second
at, say, 3-inch pressure, to be raised another step and delivered to
the next in series, etc., etc. This plan permits tapping off desired
amounts of air at intermediate pressures with marked economy, and as it
is slow speed, and generally direct connected with its motor on the
same shaft, it is both quiet and mechanically efficient.
TRANSFERENCE OF STOPS.
At the commencement of the period of which we are treating, the stops
belonging to the Swell organ could be drawn on that keyboard only;
similarly the stops on the Great, Choir and Pedal organs could be drawn
only on their respective keyboards. It is now becoming more and more
common to arrange for the transference of stops from one keyboard to
If this plan be resorted to as an effort to make an insufficient number
of stops suffice for a large building, it is bound to end in
disappointment and cannot be too strongly condemned. On the other
hand, if an organ-builder first provides a number stops that furnish
sufficient variety of tonal quality and volume that is ample for the
building in which the instrument is situated, and then arranges for the
transference of a number of the stops to other manuals than their own,
he will be adding to the tonal resources of the instrument in a way
that is worthy of commendation. Many organs now constructed have their
tonal effects more than doubled through adoption of this principle.
It is difficult to say who first conceived the idea of transference of
stops, but authentic instances occurring in the sixteenth century can
be pointed out. During the last fifty years many builders have done
work in this direction, but without question the leadership in the
movement must be attributed to Hope-Jones. While others may have
suggested the same thing, he has worked the system out practically in a
hundred instances, and has forced upon the attention of the organ world
the artistic advantages of the plan.
His scheme of treating the organ as a single unit and rendering it
possible to draw any of the stops on any of the keyboards at any
(reasonable) pitch, was unfolded before the members of the Royal
College of Organists in London at a lecture he delivered on May 5, 1891.
When adopting this system in part, he would speak of "unifying" this,
that or the other stop, and this somewhat inapt phrase has now been
adopted by other builders and threatens to become general.
Extraordinary claims of expressiveness, flexibility and artistic
balance are made by those who preside at "unit (Hope-Jones) organs,"
but this style of instrument is revolutionary and has many opponents.
Few, however, can now be found who do not advocate utilization of the
principle to a greater or less degree in every organ. For instance,
who has not longed at times that the Swell Bourdon could be played by
the pedals? Or that the Choir Clarinet were also in the Swell?
Compton, of Nottingham, England, employs this plan of stop extension
and transference, or unifying of stops, in all the organs he builds.
As additional methods facilitating in some cases the transfer of stops
must be named the "double touch" and the "pizzicato touch." The
former, though practically introduced by Hope-Jones and found in most
of his organs built during the last fifteen years, was, we believe,
invented by a Frenchman and applied to reed organs. The pizzicato
touch is a Hope-Jones invention which, though publicly introduced
nearly twenty years since, did not meet with the recognition it
deserved until recently. The earliest example of this touch in the
United States is found in the organ at Hanson Place Baptist Church,
Brooklyn, N. Y., 1909.
In the French Mustel reed organ the first touch is operated by
depressing the keys about a sixteenth part of an inch. This produces a
soft sound. A louder and different tone is elicited upon pushing the
key further down. In the pipe organ the double touch is differently
arranged. The first touch is the ordinary touch. Upon exerting a much
heavier pressure upon the key it will suddenly fall into the second
touch (about one-eighth of an inch deep) and will then cause an
augmentation of the tone by making other pipes speak. The device is
generally employed in connection with the couplers and can be brought
into or out of action at the will of the organist. For instance, if
the performer be playing upon his Choir Organ Flute and draws the Oboe
stop on the Swell organ, he can (provided the double-touch action be
drawn), by pressing any key or keys more firmly, cause those particular
notes to speak on the Oboe, while the keys that he is pressing in the
ordinary way will sound only the Flute.
The pizzicato touch is also used mostly in connection with the
couplers. When playing upon a soft combination on the Great, the
organist may draw the Swell to Great "pizzicato" coupler. Whenever now
he depresses a Great key the Swell key will (in effect) descend with
it, but will be instantly liberated again, even though the organist
continue to hold his Great key. By means of this pizzicato touch (now
being fitted to all Hope-Jones organs built in this country) a great
variety of charming musical effects can be produced.
THE UNIT ORGAN.
The Unit organ in its entirety consists of a single instrument divided
into five tonal families, each family being placed in its own
independent Swell box. The families are as follows: "Foundation"—this
contains the Diapasons, Diaphones, Tibias, etc.; "woodwind"—this
contains Flutes, Oboes, Clarinets, etc.; "strings"—this contains the
Gambas, Viols d' Orchestre, Dulcianas, etc.; "brass"—this contains the
Trumpets, Cornopeans and Tubas; "percussion"—this contains the
Tympani, Gongs, Chimes, Glockenspiel, etc.
On each of the keyboards any of the stops, from the "foundation" group,
the "woodwind" group, the "string" group, the "brass" group and the
"percussion" group, may be drawn, and they may be drawn at 16 feet, at
8 feet, and, in some instances, at 4 feet, at 2 feet, at twelfth and at
Arranged in this way an organ becomes an entirely different instrument.
It is very flexible, for not only can the tones be altered by drawing
the various stops at different pitches, but the various groups may be
altered in power of tone independently of each other. At one moment
the foundation tone may entirely dominate, by moving the swell pedals
the strings may be made to come to the front while the foundation tone
disappears; then again the woodwind asserts itself whilst the string
tone is moderated, till the opening of the box containing the brass
allows that element to dominate. The variety of the tonal combinations
is practically endless.
The adoption of this principle also saves needless duplication of
stops. In the organ at St. George's Hall, England, there are on the
manuals 5 Open Diapasons, 4 Principals, 5 Fifteenths, 3 Clarinets, 2
Orchestral Oboes, 3 Trumpets, 3 Ophicleides, 3 Trombas, 6 Clarions, 4
Flutes, etc., etc. In the Hope-Jones Unit organ at Ocean Grove effects
equal to the above are obtained from only 6 stops. The organist of
Touro Synagogue, New Orleans, has expressed the opinion that his
ten-stop Unit organ is equal to an ordinary instrument with sixty stops.
A strong reason against the duplication of pipes of similar tone in an
organ is that curious acoustical phenomenon, the bête noir of the
organ-builder, known as sympathy, or interference of sound waves.
When two pipes of exactly the same pitch and scale are so placed that
the pulsations of air from the one pass into the other, if blown
separately the tone of each is clear; blown together there is
practically no sound heard, the waves of the one streaming into the
other, and a listener hears only the rushing of the air. That the
conditions which produce sound are all present may be demonstrated by
conveying a tube from the mouth of either of the pipes to a listener's
ear, when its tone will be distinctly heard. In other words, one sound
destroys the other. Helmholtz explains this phenomenon by saying that
"when two equal sound waves are in opposition the one nullifies the
effect of the other and the result is a straight line," that is, no
wave, no sound. "If a wave crest of a particular size and form
coincides with another exactly like it, the result will be a crest
double the height of each one" (that is, the sound will be augmented).
* * * "If a crest coincides with a trough the result will be that the
one will unify the other," and the sound will be destroyed. That is
why in the old-style organs the builder, when he used more than one
Diapason, tried to avoid this sympathy by using pipes of different
scale, but even then the results were seldom satisfactory; the big
pipes seemed to swallow the little ones. In the big organ in Leeds
Town Hall, England, there was one pipe in the Principal which nobody
could tune. The tuner turned it every possible way in its socket
without avail, and at last succeeded by removing it from the socket and
mounting it on a block at a considerable distance from its proper
place, the wind being conveyed to it by a tube. This is only one
instance of what frequently occurred.
In the Hope-Jones organ the usual plan of putting all the C pipes on
one side of the organ and all the C# pipes on the other, is departed
from. The pipes are alternated and in this ingenious way sympathy is
 Broadhouse: "Musical Acoustics," p. 261.
THE PRODUCTION OF ORGAN TONE.
We now come to the department of the organ which will be of more
interest to the listener, viz., the various organ tones. The general
shape and construction of the pipes now in use, judging from the
earliest drawings obtainable, have not changed for hundreds of years.
The ancients were not wanting in ingenuity and we have pictures of many
funny-looking pipes which were intended to imitate the growling of a
bear (this stop was sometimes labeled Vox Humana!), the crowing of a
cock, the call of the cuckoo, the song of the nightingale, and the
twitter of the canary, the ends of these pipes being bent over and
inserted in water, just as the player blows into a glass of water
through a quill in a toy symphony. Then there was the Hummel, a device
which caused two of the largest pipes in the organ to sound at once
and awake those who snored during the sermon! Finally there was the
Fuchsschwanz. A stop-knob bearing the inscription, "Noli me tangere"
(touch me not), was attached to the console. As a reward for their
curiosity, persons who were induced to touch the knob thereby set free
the catch of a spring, causing a huge foxtail to fly into their
faces—to the great joy and mirth of the bystanders.
In order to understand what follows we must make a short excursion into
the realm of acoustics. We have already remarked upon the extreme
antiquity of the Flute. The tone of the Flute is produced by blowing
across a hole pierced in its side; in other words, like a stream of
wind striking upon a cutting edge. It is possible to produce a tone
in this way by blowing across the end of any tube made of any material,
of glass, or iron, or rubber, or cane, or even the barrel of an
old-fashioned door key. The primitive Flutes found in the Egyptian
tombs and also depicted on the ancient hieroglyphics are made of reed
or cane, about 14 inches long, possessing the usual six finger-holes.
The top end is not stopped with a cork, as in the ordinary Flute, but
is thinned off to a feather edge, leaving a sharp circular ring at
right angles to the axis of the bore. By blowing across this ring a
fair but somewhat feeble Flute tone is produced.
The six holes being closed by the fingers, the ground tone of the tube
is produced. On lifting the fingers in successive order from the
bottom end, we get the seven notes of the major scale. Closing the
holes again and blowing harder, we get the scale an octave higher.
By blowing still harder we get an octave higher still. In other words,
we are now producing harmonics.
It is possible to produce from a plain tube without finger-holes or
valves, such as the French Horn, by tightening the lips and increasing
the pressure of the player's breath, the following series of harmonics:
Series of harmonics
The harmonics of a pianoforte string can be easily demonstrated by the
following experiment: Depress the "loud" pedal and strike any note in
the bass a sharp blow. On listening intently, the 3d, 5th, and 8th
(the common chord) of the note struck will be heard sounding all the
way up for several octaves. In this case the other strings of the
piano act as resonators, enabling the harmonics to be heard.
Coming back to our Flute again and applying the knowledge we have
gained to an organ pipe, we observe:
1. That the pitch of the sound depends on the length of the tube.
2. That the pitch of the sound also depends on the amount of wind
From this last will be seen how important it is that the pressure of
the wind in an organ should be steady and uniform. Otherwise the pipes
will speak a harmonic instead of the sound intended—as, indeed,
When a stop is labeled "8 ft.," that means that the bottom pipe, CC is
8 feet long and the pitch will be that of the key struck. A "16-ft."
stop will sound an octave lower; a "4-ft." stop an octave higher.
These measurements refer to pipes which are open at the top and are
only correct in the case of very narrow pipes, such as the stop called
Dulciana. Wider pipes do not require to be so long in order to produce
"If a tube * * * open at both ends be blown across at one end, the
fundamental tone of the tube will be sounded; but if the hand be placed
at one end of the tube, so as to effectually close it, and the open end
be blown across as before, a sound will be heard exactly one octave
below that which was heard when both ends of the tube were open. One
of these pipes was an open pipe, the other a stopped pipe; and the
difference between the two is that which constitutes the two great
classes into which the flue pipes of organs are divided." 
Thus by stopping up the end of an organ pipe we get 8-ft. tone from a
pipe only 4 ft. long, 16-ft. tone from a pipe 8 ft. long, and so on,
but with loss of power and volume. The harmonics produced from stopped
pipes are entirely different from those of the open ones; their
harmonic scale is produced by vibrations which are as 1, 2, 3, 4, etc.,
those of a stopped pipe by vibrations which are as 1, 3, 5, 7. All
these harmonics are also called upper partials.
The Estey Organ Company claim to have discovered a new principle in
acoustics in their Open Bass pipes, of which we show a drawing
opposite. This invention (by William E. Haskell) enables the builders
to supply open bass tone in organ chambers and swell boxes where there
is not room for full-length pipes.
Fig. 16. Estey's Open Bass Pipes—Wood and Metal
Referring to the illustration, it will be seen that the pipes are
partly open and partly stopped, with a tuning slide in the centre. The
builders write as follows:
"The inserted tube, or complementing chamber, in the pipe is such in
length as to complete the full length of the pipe. It is, as will be
noted, smaller in scale than the outside pipe. The effect is to
produce the vibration that would be obtained with a full-length pipe,
and in no way does it interfere with the quality of tone. In fact, it
assists the pipe materially in its speech. This is most noticeable in
a pipe such as the 32-foot Open Diapason, which when made full length
is quite likely to be slow in speech. With this arrangement the pipe
takes its speech very readily and is no slower in taking its full
speech than an ordinary 16-foot Open Diapason.
"We have worked this out for all classes of tone—string, flute and
diapason—and the law holds good in every instance."
Helmholtz was the first to demonstrate that the quality of all
musical tones depends entirely upon the presence or absence of their
upper partials. In the hollow tone of the Flute they are almost
entirely absent; in the clanging tone of the Trumpet many of the higher
ones are present; and if we take an instrument like the Cymbals we get
the whole of the upper lot altogether.
The different qualities of tone of the organ pipes are therefore
determined: (1) By the material of which the pipes are made; (2) by the
shape of the pipe; (3) by the amount of wind pressure; (4) by the shape
and size of the mouth, the relation of the lip to the stream of wind
impinging on it from a narrow slit, and the shape and thickness of the
lip itself. The manipulation of the mouth and lip to produce the tone
desired is called voicing and calls for considerable artistic skill.
The writer recollects an instance of a clever voicer (Gustav Schlette)
taking a new organ in hand, which was not quite satisfactory, and on
the following Sunday he hardly knew it again.
Another kind of harmonics must now be described, called combinational
or Tartini tones (from Tartini, a celebrated Italian violinist of the
XVII century, who first described them). "These tones," says
Helmholtz, "are heard whenever two musical tones of different pitches
are sounded together loudly and continuously." There is no necessity
for giving a table of all of their tones here; we select the two most
useful. If two notes at an interval of a fifth are held down, a note
one octave below the lower one will be heard. So organ builders take
two pipes—one 16 feet long (CCC) and one 10 2/3 feet long (GG)—which
make the interval of the fifth, and, by sounding them together, produce
the tone of a pipe 33 feet long (CCCC). This is the stop which will be
found labeled "32-ft. Resultant." Hope-Jones makes a stop which he
calls Gravissima, 64-ft. Resultant, in his large organs. Many contend
that this system produces better results than if pipes of the actual
lengths of 32 or 64 feet were employed. Indeed, a pipe 64 feet long
would be inaudible; the human ear has its limitations and refuses to
recognize tone lower than 32 feet (just as we cannot lift water by a
suction pump over 32 feet)—but, these great pipes produce
harmonics which wonderfully reinforce the tone of the organ.
Therefore their use is worth while.
The other combinational tone to which we refer is that produced by the
interval of a major third. It sounds two octaves below the lower note.
The writer is not aware that this has ever been used as an organ stop,
but it is found written in the organ compositions of Guilmant and other
first-rate composers. It will be seen that a skilful organist, with a
knowledge of these tones, can produce effects from small organs not
available to the ordinary player.
Reverting once more to our Flute, whose tube is shortened by lifting
the fingers from the holes, it is not generally known that this can be
done with an organ pipe; the writer has met with instances of it in
England. The two lowest pipes of the Pedal Open Diapason were each
made to give two notes by affixing a pneumatic valve near the top of
the pipe. When the valve was closed the pipe gave CCC. When the
organist played CCC sharp, wind was admitted to the valve, which
opened, and this shortened the pipe. The device worked perfectly, only
that it was not possible to hold down both CCC and CCC sharp and make
"thunder"! The organist of Chester Cathedral had been playing his
instrument twice daily for ten years before he found this out, and then
he only discovered it when the pipes were taken down to be cleaned. It
is an admirable makeshift where a builder is cramped for room.
Organ pipes are divided into three families—Flues, Reeds and
Diaphones. The flues are subdivided into Diapasons, Flutes, and
Strings, and we now proceed to consider each of these groups separately.
The pipes usually seen in the front of an organ belong to the Great
organ Open Diapason, long regarded as the foundation tone of the
instrument. The Open Diapason may vary in size (or scale) from 9
inches diameter at CC to 3 inches. The average size is about 6 inches.
The Diapasons of the celebrated old organ-builders, Father Schmidt,
Renatus Harris, Green, Snetzler and others, though small in power, were
most musical in tone quality. Though sounding soft near the organ, the
tone from these musical stops seems to suffer little loss when
traveling to the end of quite a large building. About the year 1862
Schulze, in his celebrated organ at Doncaster, England, brought into
prominence a new and much more brilliant and powerful Diapason. The
mouths of the pipes were made very wide and they were more freely
blown. Schulze's work was imitated by T. C. Lewis, of England, and by
Willis. It has also exercised very great influence on the work done by
almost all organ-builders in this country, in Germany, and elsewhere.
Schulze's method of treatment added largely to the assertiveness and
power of the tone, but gave the impression of the pipes being overblown
and led to the loss of the beautiful, musical, and singing quality of
tone furnished by the older Diapasons. Hard-toned Diapasons became
almost the accepted standard. Willis even went so far as to slot all
of his Diapason pipes, and Cavaillé-Coll sometimes adopted a similar
practice. Walker, in England, and Henry Erben, in this country,
continued to produce Diapasons having a larger percentage of foundation
tone and they and a few other builders thus helped to keep alive the
In the year 1887 Hope-Jones introduced his discovery that by leathering
the lips of the Diapason pipes, narrowing their mouths, inverting their
languids and increasing the thickness of the metal, the pipes could be
voiced on 10, 20, or even 30-inch wind, without hardness of tone,
forcing, or windiness being introduced. He ceased to restrict the toe
of the pipe and did all his regulation at the flue.
His invention has proved of profound significance to the organ world.
The old musical quality, rich in foundation tone, is returning, but
with added power. Its use, in place of the hard and empty-toned
Diapasons to which we had perforce become accustomed, is rapidly
growing. The organs in almost all parts of the world show the
Hope-Jones influence. Few builders have failed now to adopt the
Wedgwood, in his "Dictionary of Organ Stops," pp. 44, 45, says:
"Mr. Ernest Skinner, an eminent American organ-builder, likens the
discovery of the leathered lip to the invention by Barker of the
pneumatic lever, predicting that it will revolutionize organ tone as
surely and completely as did the latter organ mechanism, an estimate
which is by no means so exaggerated as might be supposed. The
leathered Diapason, indeed, is now attaining a zenith of popularity
both in England and America. A prominent German builder also, who,
on the author's recommendation, made trial of it, was so struck with
the refined quality of tone that he forthwith signified his intention
of adopting the process. A few isolated and unsuccessful experimental
attempts at improving the tone of the pipes by coating their lips with
paper, parchment, felt, and kindred substances, have been recorded, but
undoubtedly the credit of having been the first to perceive the value
and inner significance of the process must be accorded to Mr. Robert
Hope-Jones. It was only at the cost of considerable thought and labour
that he was able to develop his crude and embryonic scientific theory
into a process which bids fair to transform modern organ building. The
names of Cavaillé-Coll and George Willis, and of Hope-Jones, will be
handed down to posterity as the authors of the most valuable
improvements in the domains of reed-voicing and flue-voicing,
respectively, which have been witnessed in the present era of organ
The desire for power in Diapason tone first found expression in this
country by the introduction into our larger organs of what was called a
Stentorphone. This was a large metal Diapason of ordinary
construction, voiced on heavy wind pressure. It was most harsh,
unmusical and inartistic. It produced comparatively little foundation
tone and a powerful chord of harmonics, many of them dissonant. In
Germany, Weiglé, of Stuttgart, introduced a similar stop, but actually
exaggerated its want of refinement by making the mouth above the normal
width. As knowledge of the Hope-Jones methods spreads, these coarse
and unmusical stops disappear. He is without question right in urging
that the chief aim in using heavy pressure should be to increase
refinement, not power of tone. Sweet foundation tone produced from
heavy wind pressure always possesses satisfactory power. He is also
unquestionably right in his contention that when great nobility of
foundation tone is required, Diapasons should not be unduly multiplied,
but Tibias or large Flutes should be used behind them.
Every epoch-making innovation raises adversaries.
We learn from these that pure foundation tone does not blend. True,
there are examples of organs where the true foundation tone exists but
does not blend with the rest of the instrument, but it is misleading to
say that "pure foundation tone does not blend." Hope-Jones has proved
conclusively that by exercise of the requisite skill it does and so
have others who follow in his steps. A view of the mouth of a
Hope-Jones heavy pressure Diapason, with inverted languid, leather lip
and clothed flue, is given in Figure 17.
Fig. 17. Diapason Pipe with Leathered Lip
The dull tone of the old Diapasons was due to the absence of the upper
harmonics or partials. With the introduction of the Lutheran chorale
and congregational singing it was found that the existing organs could
not make themselves heard above the voices. But it was discovered
empirically that by adding their harmonics artificially the organs
could be brightened up and even made to overpower large bodies of
singers. Hence the introduction of the Mixture stops (also called
compound stops), which were compounded of several ranks of pipes.
The simplest form was the Doublette sounding the 15th and 22nd (the
double and treble octave) of the note struck. Other ranks added
sounded the 12th, 19th, and so on, until it was possible to obtain not
only the full common chord, but also some of the higher harmonics
dissonant to this chord, from a single key.
THE DECLINE OF MIXTURES.
Fifty years ago it was common to find the number of ranks of mixtures
in an organ largely exceed the total number of foundation stops.
Mixtures were inserted in the pedal departments of all large organs.
Organists of the time do not seem to have objected and many of the
leading players strongly opposed Hope-Jones when he came out as the
champion of their abolition. These stops greatly excited the ire of
Berlioz, who declaims against them in his celebrated work on
The tone of these old organs, when all the Mixture work is drawn, is
well nigh ludicrous to modern ears, and it is hard to suppress a smile
when reading the statements and arguments advanced in favor of the
retention of Mixtures by well-known organists of the last generation.
These mutation stops still have their place in large instruments, but
it is no longer thought that they are necessary to support the singing
of a congregation and that they should be voiced loudly. The decline
of Mixture work has in itself entirely altered and very greatly
improved the effect of organs when considered from a musical point of
view. The tone is now bright and clear. Mr. James Wedgwood says:
"The tendency to exaggerate the 'upper work' of the organ reached a
climax in the instrument built by Gabler, in 1750, for the Monastic
Church at Weingarten, near Ravensburg. This organ comprised no less
than ninety-five ranks of Mixture, including two stops of twenty-one
and twenty ranks, respectively. Toward the close of the Eighteenth
Century, the Abt Vögler (1749-1814) came forward with his
'Simplification System,' one feature of which consisted in the
abolition of excessive Mixture work. The worthy Abbe, who was a
capable theorist and a gifted player, and possessed of an eccentric
and, therefore, attractive personality, secured many followers, who
preached a crusade against Mixture work. The success of the movement
can well be measured by the amount of apologetic literature it called
forth, and by the fact that it stirred the theorists to ponder for
themselves what really was the function of the Mixture. * * * The
announcement by Mr. Hope-Jones at the beginning of the last decade of
the past century of his complete discardment of all Mixture and
mutation work may fairly be stated to have marked a distinct epoch in
the history of the controversy."
It is indeed strange to find that this man, who did much to discourage
the use of mixtures, has never quite abandoned their employment and is
to-day the sole champion of double sets of mixture pipes, which he puts
in his organs under the name of Mixture Celestes! However, these are
very soft and are of course quite different in object and scope from
the old-fashioned mixture—now happily extinct.
The chief developments in Flutes that have taken place during the
period under consideration are the popularization of the double length,
or "Harmonic," principle, by Cavaillé-Coll, by William Thynne and
others, and the introduction of large scale leather-lipped "Tibias" by
Harmonic Flutes, of double length open pipes, are now utilized by
almost all organ builders. Speaking generally, the tone is pure and
possesses considerable carrying power. Thynne, in his Zauber Flöte,
introduced stopped pipes blown so as to produce their first harmonic
(an interval of a twelfth from the ground tone). The tone is of quiet
silvery beauty, but the stop does not seem to have been largely adopted
by other builders. Perhaps the most beautiful stop of this kind
produced by Thynne is the one in the remarkable organ in the home of
Mr. J. Martin White, Balruddery, Dundee, Scotland.
The Hope-Jones leathered Tibias have already effected a revolution in
the tonal structure of large organs. They produce a much greater
percentage of foundation tone than the best Diapasons and are finding
their way into most modern organs of size. They appear under various
names, such as Tibia Plena, Tibia Clausa, Gross Flöte, Flute
Fundamentale and Philomela.
"The word Tibia has consistently been adapted to the nomenclature of
organ stops on the Continent (of Europe) for some centuries. The word
Tibia is now used in this country to denote a quality of tone of an
intensely massive, full and clear character, first realized by Mr.
Hope-Jones, though faintly foreshadowed by Bishop in his Clarabella.
It is produced from pipes of a very large scale, yielding a volume of
foundation tone, accompanied by the minimum of harmonic development.
Even from a purely superficial point of view, the tone of the Tibia
family is most attractive; but, further, its value in welding together
the constituent tones of the organ and coping with modern reed-work is
"The Tibia Plena was invented by Mr. Hope-Jones, and first introduced
by him into the organ at St. John's, Birkenhead, England, about 1887.
It is a wood Flute of very large scale, with the mouth on the narrow
side of the pipe. The block is sunk, and the lip, which is of
considerable thickness, is usually coated with a thin strip of leather
to impart to the tone the requisite smoothness and finish. It is
voiced on any wind pressure from 4-inch upwards. The Tibia Plena is
the most powerful and weighty of all the Tibia tribe of stops. It is,
therefore, invaluable in large instruments. * * * The Tibia Profunda
and Tibia Profundissima are 16-ft. and 33-ft. Pedal extensions of the
Tibia Plena." 
"The Tibia Clausa is a wood Gedackt of very large scale (in other
words, a stopped pipe), furnished with leather lips. It was invented
by Mr. Hope-Jones. The tone is powerful and beautifully pure and
liquid. The prevailing fault of the modern Swell organ is, perhaps,
the inadequacy of the Flute work. * * * It was the recognition of this
shortcoming which led to the invention of the Tibia Clausa." 
The Tibia Dura is another of Mr. Hope-Jones' inventions. It is an open
wood pipe of peculiar shape, wider at the top than the bottom, and
described by Wedgwood as of "bright, hard, and searching" tone.
The Tibia Minor was invented by Mr. John H. Compton, of Nottingham,
England, one of the most artistic builders in that country. "The Tibia
Minor bears some resemblance to Mr. Hope-Jones' Tibia Clausa, but being
destined more for use on an open wind-chest, differs in some important
respects. The stop is now generally made of wood, though several
specimens have been made of metal. In all cases the upper lip is
leathered. The tone of the Tibia Minor is extraordinarily effective.
In the bass it is round and velvety * * * in the treble the tone
becomes very clear and full * * * it forms a solo stop of remarkably
fine effect, and in combination serves to add much clearness and
fulness of tone to the treble, and, in general, exercises to the
fullest extent the beneficial characteristics of the Tibia class of
stop already detailed. If only by reason of the faculty so largely
exercised, of thus mollifying and enriching the upper notes of other
stops—which too often prove hard and strident in tone—the Tibia Minor
deserves recognition as one of the most valuable of modern tonal
The Tibia Mollis, invented by Mr. Hope-Jones, is a Flute of soft tone,
composed of rectangular wooden pipes. The name Tibia Mollis is also
employed by Mr. John H. Compton to denote a more subdued variety of his
Other Flutes found in organs are the Stopped Diapason, Clarabella,
Clarinet Flute, Rohrflöte ("Reed-flute"), Wald Flöte, Flauto Traverso,
Suabe Flute, Clear Flute, Doppel Flöte (with two mouths), Melodia,
Orchestral Flute, etc., each of a different quality of tone and varying
in intensity. The Philomela as made by Jardine is a melodia with two
Under this head are grouped the stops which imitate the tones of such
stringed instruments as the Viola, the Violoncello, the Double Bass,
and more especially the old form of Violoncello, called the Viol di
Gamba, which had six strings and was more nasal in tone.
At the commencement of the period herein spoken of string-toned stops
as we know them to-day scarcely existed. This family was practically
represented by the Dulciana and by the old slow-speaking German Gamba.
These Gambas were more like Diapasons than strings.
Edmund Schulze made an advance and produced some Gambas and Violones
which, though of robust and full-bodied type, were pleasant and musical
in tone. They were at the time deemed capable of string-like effects.
To William Thynne belongs the credit of a great step in advance. The
string tones heard in the Michell and Thynne organ at the Liverpool,
England, exhibition in 1886 were a revelation of the possibilities in
this direction, and many organs subsequently introduced contained
beautiful stops from his hands—notably the orchestral-toned instrument
in the residence of J. Martin White, Dundee, Scotland—an ardent
advocate of string tone. Years later Thynne's partner, Carlton C.
Mitchell, produced much beautiful work in this direction. Hope-Jones
founded his work on the Thynne model and by introducing smaller scales,
bellied pipes and sundry improvements in detail, produced the keen and
refined string stops now finding their way into all organs of
importance. His delicate Viols are of exceedingly small scale (some
examples measuring only 1 1/8 inches in diameter at the 8-foot note).
They are met with under the names of Viol d' Orchestre, Viol Celeste
and Dulcet. These stops have contributed more than anything else
towards the organ suitable for the performance of orchestral music.
Haskell has introduced several beautiful varieties of wood and metal
stops of keen tone, perhaps the best known being the labial Oboe and
Saxophone, commonly found in Estey organs. His work is destined to
exert considerable influence upon the art.
Other string-toned stops found nowadays in organs are the Keraulophon,
Aeoline, Gemshorn, Spitzflöte, Clariana, Fugara, Salicet, Salicional,
As remarked in our opening chapter, pipes with strips of cane or reeds
in the mouthpiece are of great antiquity, being found side by side with
the flutes in the Egyptian tombs. These reeds, as those used at the
present day, were formed of the outer siliceous layer of a tall grass,
Arundo donax, or sativa, which grows in Egypt and the south of
Europe. They were frequently double, but the prototype of the reed
organ-pipe is to be seen in the clarinet, where the reed is single and
beats against the mouthpiece. Of course, an artificial mouthpiece has
to be provided for our organ-pipe, but this is called the boot. See
Figure 19, which shows the construction of a reed organ-pipe. A is the
boot containing a tube called the eschallot B, partly cut away and the
opening closed by a brass tongue C, which vibrates under pressure of
the wind. D is the wire by which the tongue is tuned; E the body of
the pipe which acts as a resonator.
Fig. 18. Haskell's Clarinet Without Reed
In the last half-century the art of reed voicing has been entirely
revolutionized. Prior to the advent of Willis, organ reeds were poor,
thin, buzzy things, with little or no grandeur of effect, and were most
unmusical in quality. Testimony to the truth of this fact is to be
found in old instruction books for organ students. It is there stated
that reeds should never be used alone, but that a Stopped Diapason or
other rank of flue pipes must always be drawn with them to improve the
Fig. 19. Diagram of Reed Pipe
Willis created an entirely new school of reed voicing. He was the
first to show that reeds could be made really beautiful and fit for use
without help from flue stops. When he wanted power he obtained it by
raising the pressure, in order that he might be able to afford still to
restrain the tone and to consider only beauty of musical quality.
He was the first to show that every trace of roughness and rattle could
be obviated by imparting to the reed tongue exactly the right curve.
He restrained too emphatic vibrations in the case of the larger reed
tongues by affixing to them with small screws, weights made of brass.
He quickly adopted the practice of using harmonic, or double-length
tubes, for the treble notes, and secured a degree of power and
brilliance never before dreamed possible.
Willis gave up the open eschallot in favor of the closed variety,
thereby securing greater refinement of musical quality, though of
course sacrificing power of tone. He designed many varieties of reed
tubes, the most notable departure from existing standards being
probably his Cor Anglais and Orchestral Oboe.
Under the guiding genius of Willis, the Swell organ—which had hitherto
been a poor and weak department, entirely over-shadowed by the
Great—became rich, powerful and alive with angry reeds, which were
nevertheless truly musical in effect. Hope-Jones took up the work
where Willis left it, and has not only pushed the Willis work to its
logical conclusion, but has introduced a new school of his own.
He has taken the Willis chorus reeds and by doubling the wind pressures
and increasing the loading and thickness of tongues, has produced
results of surpassing magnificence. From the Willis Cor Anglais he has
developed his Double English Horn, from the Willis Oboe his Oboe Horn,
and from the Willis Orchestral Oboe the thin-toned stops of that class
now being introduced by Austin, Skinner and by his own firm. His chief
claim to distinction in this field, however, lies in the production of
the smooth reed tone now so rapidly coming into general use; in his
85-note Tuba; in the use of diminutive eschallots with mere saw-cut
openings; in providing means for making reed pipes stand in tune almost
as well as flue pipes; and in the utilization of "vowel cavities" for
giving character to orchestral-toned reeds.
The latter are of particular interest, as their possibilities are in
process of development. The results already achieved have done much to
make the most advanced organ rival the orchestra.
To exemplify the principle of the vowel cavities Hope-Jones was in the
habit, in his factory in Birkenhead, England, in 1890, of placing the
end of one of his slim Kinura reed pipes in his mouth and by making the
shape of the latter favor the oo, ah, eh, or ee, entirely altered and
modified the quality of tone emitted by the pipe.
Some years ago in an organ built for the Presbyterian Church,
Irvington-on-Hudson, N. Y., Hope-Jones introduced a beating reed having
no pipes or resonators of any kind. He is using this form of reed in
most of his organs now building.
In England this vowel cavity principle has been applied to Orchestral
Oboes, Kinuras and Vox Humanas, but in this country it was introduced
but seven years ago and has so far been adapted only to Orchestral
Oboes. At the time of writing it is being introduced in connection
with Hope-Jones' Vox Humanas and Kinuras. Examples are to be seen in
the Wanamaker (New York) organ; in Park Church, Elmira; Buffalo
Cathedral; Columbia College, St. James' Church, New York; College of
the City of New York; Ocean Grove Auditorium, and elsewhere. There
undoubtedly lies a great future before this plan for increasing the
variety of orchestral tone colors. Figure 20 shows a vowel cavity
applied to a Vox Humana (Norwich Cathedral, England), Figure 21 to an
Orchestral Oboe (Worcester Cathedral, England), and Figure 22 to a
Kinura (Kinoul, Scotland).
Fig. 20. Vox Humana with
Vowel Cavity Attached. Fig. 21. Orchestral Oboe with Vowel Cavity
Attached Fig. 22. Kinura with Vowel Cavity Attached
Builders who have not mastered the art of so curving their reed tongues
that buzz and rattle are impossible have endeavored to obtain
smoothness of tone by leathering the face of the eschallot. This
pernicious practice has unfortunately obtained much headway in the
United States and in Germany. It cannot be too strongly condemned, for
its introduction robs the reeds of their characteristic virility of
tone. Reeds that are leathered cannot be depended upon; atmospheric
changes affect them and put them out of tune.
The French school of reed voicing, led by Cavaillé-Coll, has produced
several varieties that have become celebrated. Many French Orchestral
reeds are refined and beautiful in quality and the larger Trumpets and
Tubas, though assertive and blatant, are not unmusical. The French
school, however, does not appear to be destined to exercise any great
influence upon the art in this country. (For further information
regarding reeds see chapter on tuning.)
The writer is not aware who first introduced into the organ a rank of
soft-toned pipes purposely tuned a trifle sharp or flat to the normal
pitch of the organ, so as to cause a beat or wave in the tone. Fifty
years ago such stops were sparingly used and many organists condemned
their employment altogether. Stops of the kind were hardly ever found
in small organs and the largest instruments seldom contained more than
A great development in this direction has taken place and further
advance seems to be immediate. Already most builders introduce a
Celeste into their small organs and two or three into their larger
instruments—whilst Hope-Jones' organs are planned with Vox Humana
Celestes, Physharmonica Celestes, Kinura Celestes and even Mixture
Most modern Celestes are tuned sharp, the effect being more animated
than if it were tuned flat; but the aggregate effect and general
utility of the stop are greatly enhanced by the use of two ranks of
pipes, one being tuned sharp and the other flat to the organ pitch. A
three-rank Celeste (sharp, flat, and unison) formed one of the novel
features of the organ in Worcester Cathedral, England, built by
Hope-Jones in 1896. Wedgwood credits its invention to Mr. Thomas
Casson. The three-rank Celeste is also to be found in the organs of
the Bennett Organ Company.
Apart from the inherent beauty of the tones there is much to be said in
favor of the presence of these stops—if the organ is to be used as an
adjunct to, or a substitute for, the orchestra. The whole orchestra is
one huge and ever-varying "Celeste." Were it not so its music would
sound dead and cold. Few of the instrumentalists ever succeed in
playing a single bar absolutely in tune with the other components of
This class of stop is also now finding its way into organs more
generally than heretofore. Resonating gongs giving, when skillfully
used, effects closely resembling a harp have been introduced freely by
the Aeolian Company in its house organs, and there seems no possible
objection to such introduction. The tone is thoroughly musical and
blends perfectly with the other registers. Under the name of "Chimes"
these resonant gongs are now finding place in many Church and Concert
organs. Tubular bells are also used in a similar capacity by all the
The greatest development in this direction is found in the Hope-Jones
Unit Orchestra. In these instruments fully one-third of the speaking
stops rely on percussion for production of their tones. Even small
instruments of this type have all got the following percussion stops:
Chimes, Chrysoglott, Glockenspiel, Electric Bells (with resonators),
Xylophone, and carefully-tuned Sleigh Bells—in addition to single
percussive instruments, such as Snare-drum, Bass-drum, Kettle-drum,
Tambourine, Castanets, Triangle, Cymbals, and Chinese Gong.
As all these tone producers are enclosed in a thick Swell box, an
artist is able to employ them with as much refinement of effect as is
heard when they are heard in a Symphony Orchestra.
Mr. Hope-Jones informs the writer that he has just invented an electric
action which strikes a blow accurately proportioned to the force
employed in depressing the key, thus obtaining expression from the
fingers as in the pianoforte. He will apply this to the percussion
stops in organs he may build in the future.
When skilfully employed many of these percussion stops blend so
perfectly with the flue and reed pipes that they become an important
integral part of the instrument—not merely a collection of fancy stops
for occasional use.
The invention of the Diaphone by Hope-Jones in 1894 will some day be
regarded as the most important step in advance hitherto achieved in the
art of organ building. The existence of patents at present prevents
general adoption of the invention and limits it to the instruments made
by one particular builder. In addition to this the Diaphone takes so
many forms and covers so large a field that time must necessarily pass
before its full possibilities are realized.
Enough was, however, done by Hope-Jones in connection with the organs
he built in England a dozen or eighteen years ago to leave the
experimental stage and prove the invention to be of the greatest
practical importance to the future of organ building. The author's
opinion that before long every new large organ will be built upon the
Diaphone as a foundation, is shared by all who have had opportunity to
judge. By no other means known to-day can anything approaching such
grand and dignified Diapason tone be produced. Were twenty large
Diapasons added to the instrument in Ocean Grove, N. J., or to that in
the Baptist Temple, Philadelphia, and were the Diaphone removed, the
instrument would suffer most seriously. In the Pedal department no
reed or flue pipe can begin to compare with a Diaphone, either in
attack or in volume of tone.
In Figure 23 we give a sectional view of the first large Diaphone made,
namely that constructed for the Hope-Jones organ in Worcester
Cathedral, Eng., 1896.
Fig. 23. Diaphone in Worcester Cathedral, Eng.
M is a pneumatic motor or bellows to which is attached a rod bearing
the compound and spring valve V, V1, working against the spring S.
On the admission of wind (under pressure) to the box A, the motor M is
caused to collapse, and thereby to open the valves V, V1. Wind then
rushes into the chamber B, and entering the interior of motor M through
the passage C, equalizes the pressure in the motor. The action of the
springs now serves to close the valves V, V1, and to open out the
motor M, whereupon the process is repeated.
Fig. 24. Diaphone in Aberdeen University.
In Fig. 24 we illustrate the Diaphone in the Hope-Jones organ built for
Aberdeen University, Scotland. The action is as follows:
Wind from the organ bellows enters the pipe foot F, and raises the
pressure in the chamber C. The air in the chamber will press upon the
back of the valve V, tending to keep it closed. It will press also
upon the bellows or motor M, and as this bellows has a much larger area
than that of the valve, it will instantly collapse, and, through the
medium of the tail piece T, will pull the valve V off its seat and
allow the compressed air in the chamber C to rush into the resonator or
pipe P. Owing to the inertia of the column of air contained in the
pipe P, a momentary compression will take place at the lower end of the
pipe, and the pressure of the air inside the motor M will, in
consequence, be raised. The motor having now increased pressure both
sides, will no longer keep the valve off its seat, and the spring S
will open the motor and close the valve. The compression caused by the
admission of the puff of air into the lower parts of the pipe P will be
followed by the usual rarefaction, and as this rarefaction will exhaust
or suck the air from the inside of the motor M, the valve will again be
lifted from its seat, and the cycle of operations will be repeated as
long as the wind supply is kept up. A series of regular puffs of wind
will thus be delivered into the lower part of the resonator or pipe,
resulting in a musical note.
Figs. 25, 26, 27 represent the first Diaphone heard in a public
building in this country, namely that of a model sounded in St.
Patrick's Cathedral, New York City, in 1905. In this form of Diaphone
the pressure of air operating the Diaphone has been varied between 10
inches and 500 inches, without perceptible variation in the pitch of
the note emitted.
Figs. 25, 26, 27. Diaphone in St. Patrick's Cathedral, New York
Referring to Fig. 25, the chamber WW is supplied with air under
pressure whenever the organist presses a key or pedal calling into use
this particular note. The pressure of air enters through the circular
engine supply port S, thus raising the pressure in the chamber C and
forcing in an upward direction the aluminum piston P through the medium
of the division D (colored black), which forms a portion of the
When the lower edge of the piston has risen a certain distance it will
uncover the circular engine exhaust port E, and will allow the
compressed air to escape into the atmosphere. At this moment the rise
of the piston will have closed the engine supply port S.
The momentum acquired by the piston (see Fig. 27) will cause it to
travel upward a little further, and this upward travel of the division
D will cause a compression of air to take place at the foot of the
resonator or pipe R. This compression will be vastly increased through
the simultaneous opening of the eight circular speaking ports SP.
The pressure of the compressed air at the foot of the resonator E will
now by acting on the upper surface of the division D depress the
aluminum piston until the engine supply port S is again opened.
By this time the compression at the foot of resonator R will have
traveled up the pipe in the form of a sound wave, and will have been
followed by the complementary rarefaction. This rarefaction on the
upper side will render more effective the pressure of the compressed
air again admitted through the engine supply port S on the underside of
It will be seen that this cycle of operations will be repeated as long
as the organist holds down his pedal or key admitting compressed air to
the chamber W.
As the aluminum piston P is very light and is in no way impeded in its
movement or swing, the speed of its vibration, and consequently the
pitch of the note emitted, will be governed by the length of the
resonator or pipe R.
The tone given by this particular form of Diaphone possesses a peculiar
sweetness in quality, while the power is limited only by the pressure
of air used to operate it.
Fig. 28. Diaphone in the Auditorium, Ocean Grove, N. J.
In Fig. 28 we give an illustration of the form of Diaphone used in the
Hope-Jones Unit organ at the Auditorium, Ocean Grove, N. J.
P is a pallet controlling the admission of air into the body of the
pipe P1. M is a motor adapted for plucking open the pallet P through
the medium of strap s. The box B is permanently supplied with air
under pressure from the bellows. When the valves V and V1 are in the
position shown in the drawing, the Diaphone is out of action, for the
wind from the box B will find its way through the valve V (which is
open) into the interior of the motor M.
When it is desired to make the note speak, the small exterior motors
M1 and M2 are simultaneously inflated by the electro-pneumatic
action operated by depressing the pedal key. The valve V will
thereupon be closed and the valve V1 be opened. As the pressure of
air inside the motor M will now escape into the pipe or resonator P1,
the motor will collapse and the pallet P will be opened in spite of the
action of the spring S which tends to keep it closed.
The wind in the box B will now suddenly rush into the lower end of the
pipe P1, and by causing a compression of the air at that point will
again raise the pressure of the air inside the motor M. The pallet
will thereupon close and the cycle of operations will be repeated—thus
admitting a series of puffs of wind into the foot of the pipe P1 and
thereby producing a musical tone of great power.
As the valve V1 is open, the sound waves formed in the pipe P1 will
govern the speed of vibration of the motor M. It will thus be obvious
that the Diaphone will always be in perfect tune with the resonator or
pipe P1, and that the pitch of the note may be altered by varying the
length of the pipe.
Fig. 29. Diaphone in St. Paul's Cathedral, Buffalo, N. Y.
In Fig. 29 will be found an illustration of the Diaphone (or valvular
reed) used in the Hope-Jones organ at St. Paul's Cathedral, Buffalo, N.
Upon depressing a key, wind is admitted into the box B. Pressing upon
the valve V it causes it to close against its seat in spite of the
action of the spring S. This, however, does not take place until a
pulse of air has passed into the foot of the pipe P, thereby
originating a sound wave which in due time liberates the valve V and
allows the spring S to move it off its seat and allow another puff of
air to enter the pipe P. By this means the valve V is kept in rapid
vibration and a powerful tone is produced from the pipe P. At
Middlesborough, Yorkshire, England, Hope-Jones fitted a somewhat
similar Diaphone of 16 feet pitch about 1899, but in this case the
resonator or pipe was cylindrical in form and measured only 8 feet in
In Fig. 30 will be found another type of Diaphone in which the tone is
produced through the medium of a number of metal balls, covering a
series of holes or openings into the bottom of a resonator or pipe, and
admitting intermittent puffs of air.
Fig. 30. Diaphone Producing Foundation Tone
The action is as follows. Air under pressure enters the chamber B
through the pipe foot A, and passing up the ports C, C1, C2, etc.,
forces the metal balls D, D1, D2, etc., upwards into the chamber E;
the bottom end of the resonator or pipe. The pressure of air above the
balls in the resonator E, then rises until it equals or nearly equals
the pressure of air in chamber B. This is owing to the fact that the
column of air in the pipe or resonator E possesses weight and inertia,
and being elastic, is momentarily compressed at its lower end. This
increased pressure above the balls allows them to return to their
original position, under the influence of gravity. By the time they
have returned to their original position, the pulse of air compression
has traveled up the pipe in the form of a sound wave, and the
complementary rarefaction follows.
The cycle of movement will then be repeated numerous times per second,
with the result that a very pure foundation tone musical note will be
The Diaphone is tuned like ordinary flue pipes and will keep in tune
with them; the pressure of wind (and consequently the power of the
tone) may be varied without affecting the pitch. The form of the pipe
or resonator affects the quality of the tone; it may be flue-like or
reedy in character, or even imitate a Pedal Violone, a Hard and Smooth
Tuba, an Oboe, or a Clarinet.
In closing this chapter, the writer desires to express indebtedness for
much of the material therein to the comprehensive "Dictionary of Organ
Stops," by James Ingall Wedgwood, Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries,
Scotland, and Fellow of the Royal Historical Society (published by the
Vincent Music Co., London, England). Although the title is somewhat
forbidding, it is a most interesting book and reveals an amount of
original research and personal acquaintance with organs in England and
the Continent that is simply marvelous. It ought to be in the library
of every organist.
Having described the improvements in pipes, we now consider how they
are tuned, and the first thing we must notice is the introduction of
About fifty years ago most organs were so tuned that the player had to
limit himself to certain key signatures if his music was to sound at
all pleasant. Using excessive modulation or wandering into forbidden
keys resulted in his striking some discordant interval, known as the
"wolf." The writer remembers being present at a rehearsal of Handel's
"Messiah" in St. George's Hall, Liverpool, Eng., in 1866, when the
organ was tuned on the unequal temperament system, and there was a
spirited discussion between the conductor and Mr. W. T. Best, who
wanted the orchestra to play "Every Valley" in the key of E flat so as
to be in better tune with the organ.
The modern keyboard is imperfect. One black key is made to serve, for
instance, for D sharp and for E flat, whereas the two notes are in
reality not identical. To secure correct tuning and tone intervals
throughout, forty-eight keys per octave are required, instead of the
twelve now made to suffice.
In what is called the equal temperament system the attempt is made to
divide the octave into twelve equal parts or semi-tones, thus rendering
all keys alike. To do this it is necessary to slightly flatten all the
fifths and sharpen the major thirds. The difference from just
intonation is about one-fiftieth of a semi-tone. Although recommended
and used by J. S. Bach, equal temperament was not introduced into
English organs until 1852.
Much has been lost by adopting equal temperament, but more has been
gained. To a sensitive ear, the sharp thirds and fourths, the flat
fifths and other discordant intervals of our modern keyed instrument,
are a constant source of pain; but the average organist has become so
accustomed to the defect that he actually fails to notice it!
The change to equal temperament has on the other hand greatly increased
the scope of the organ and has rendered possible the performance of all
compositions and transcriptions regardless of key or modulation.
The tuning of an organ is seriously affected by the temperature of the
surrounding air. Increased heat causes the air in the open pipes to
expand and sound sharp contrasted with the stopped pipes through which
the air cannot so freely circulate. The reeds are affected
differently, the expansion of their tongues by heat causing them to
flatten sufficiently to counteract the sharpening named above. Hence
the importance of an equable temperature and the free circulation of
air through swell-boxes, as described on page 59, ante.
NEW METHOD OF REED TUNING.
Organ reed pipes, especially those of more delicate tone, fail to stand
well in tune, especially when the tuner is in a hurry or when he does
not know enough of his business to take the spring out of the reed wire
after the note has been brought into tune.
Few persons fully understand the reason why reeds fail to stand in tune
as they ought to.
Figs. 31-35. New Method of Tuning Reeds
Figures 31, 32, and 33 will serve to make clear the chief cause for
reeds going out of tune. Figure 31 may be taken to represent a reed
block, eschallot, tongue and tuning wire at rest.
In this case the tuning wire will be pressing firmly against the tongue
at the point B, but said tuning wire will not be subjected to any
Turning to Figure 32, if we use the reed knife and slightly lift the
tuning wire at the point C, friction against the tongue at the point B
will prevent said point B from moving upward. (In this connection it
must be borne in mind that the co-efficient of friction in repose is
much greater than the co-efficient of friction in motion.)
In consequence of the drawing up of the tuning wire at point C, and the
frictional resistance at point B holding the latter steady, the lower
part of the tuning wire will assume the shape shown in Figure 32, and
point A will in consequence move farther away from the tongue.
Now, if the reeds be left in this state and the organ be used for any
length of time, it will be found that point B of the tuning wire will
have risen upward until the abnormal strain upon the tuning-wire spring
has been satisfied. In consequence of this, this particular note will
be sounding flatter in pitch than it ought to do.
Conversely, if the portion of the tuning wire lettered C be slightly
driven down, as in Figure 33, the retarding effect of the friction of
repose at point B will cause the lower portion of the tuning wire to
approach nearer the tongue than it should do.
If now this reed be left in this state, after the pipe has been used
for some time and the tongue has been vibrating, it will be found that
point B on this tuning wire will have traveled nearer to the tip of the
tongue, in order to relieve the abnormal strain upon the lower portion
of the tuning wire. Point A will then have resumed its normal position.
In Figures 32 and 33, the defective action of the lower portion of the
tuning spring has been purposely exaggerated in order to make the point
clear. This bending of the tuning wires, however, takes place to a
much larger extent than most organ builders imagine. It is the chief
reason why reeds fail to stand in tune.
When point A on the reed tuning wires is rigidly supported and held by
force in its normal position, reeds can be made to stand in tune almost
as well as flue pipes.
Figure 34 represents the Hope-Jones method of supporting the tuning
wire at point A. It consists of having a brass tube T inserted in the
block moulds before the block is cast. This tube T therefore becoming
an integral part of the block itself. The inside bore of tube T is of
such diameter that the tuning wire fits snugly therein.
In Figure 35 another method used by him for accomplishing the same
purpose is shown. In this case a lug L is cast upon the block,
forming, indeed, a portion of said block. The lower end of lug L is
formed into a V, which partly embraces a tuning wire and supports it in
such manner as to prevent improper movement of said tuning wire at
When this method of construction is employed, the reeds are very much
easier to tune, and, when once tuned, will stand infinitely better than
reeds made in the ordinary way.
PROGRESS OF THE REVOLUTION IN OUR OWN COUNTRY.
In the study of the art of organ-building one cannot fail to be struck
by the fact that almost all the great steps in advance have been due to
Englishmen: the compound horizontal bellows, the concussion bellows,
the swell box, the pneumatic lever, the tubular-pneumatic action, the
electro-pneumatic action, the Universal air chest, the leathered lip,
the clothed flue, the diaphone, smooth reed tone, imitative string
tone, the vowel cavity, tone reflectors, cement swell boxes, the sound
trap joint, suitable bass, the unit organ, movable console, radiating
and concave pedal board, combination pedals, combination pistons and
keys, the rotary blower—and many other items—were the inventions and
work of Englishmen.
Speaking in general terms, this country lagged very far behind not only
England, but also behind France, and even Germany, in the art of
organ-building until comparatively a few years ago.
It has recently advanced with extraordinary rapidity, and if it be not
yet in the position of leader, it is certainly now well abreast of
Hilborne Roosevelt constructed a number of beautiful organs in this
country, beginning his work about the year 1874. While his organs
altogether lacked the impressive dignity of the best European
instruments of the period, they were marked by beauty of finish and
artistic care in construction. He invented the adjustable combination
action, and this forms about all his original contribution destined to
live and influence the organ of the future. Nevertheless, his marks on
organ-building in this country were great and wholly beneficial. He
studied the art in Europe (especially France) and introduced into this
country many features at that time practically unknown here. Several
of the organs constructed by his firm are in use to-day and are in a
good state of repair. They contain Flutes that it would be hard to
surpass, Diapasons that are bold and firm, and far above the average,
though thought by some to lack weight and dignity of effect. The
action is excellent and the materials employed and the care and
workmanship shown throughout cannot be too highly praised.
Roosevelt must be set down as the leader of the revolution which, by
the introduction of foreign methods, has in the last twenty years so
completely transformed organ-building in the United States.
Roosevelt was also the pioneer in using electro-pneumatic action here.
Accounts had reached England of his wonderful organ in Garden City
Cathedral, part of which was in the gallery, part in the chancel, part
in the roof, and part in the choir vestry in the basement. The author,
on arriving in Philadelphia in 1893, as organist of St. Clement's
Church there, was anxious to see a Roosevelt electric organ and was
invited to see one in the concert hall of Stetson's hat factory. He
was shown one of the magnets, which was about six inches long! Here is
an account of the organ in Grace Church, New York City, which appeared
in the American Correspondence of the London Musical News, February
There are three organs in this church by Roosevelt—in the chancel, in
the west gallery, and an echo in the roof, electrically connected and
playable from either of the keyboards, one in the chancel and one in
the gallery. The electric action is of an old and clumsy pattern,
operated from storage batteries filled from the electric-light main,
and requiring constant attention. The "full organs" and "full swells"
go off slowly, with a disagreeable effect, familiar to players on
faulty pneumatic instruments.
This organ has lately been entirely rebuilt with new action and vastly
improved by Mr. E. M. Skinner.
In 1894 the writer made the acquaintance of the late Mr. Edmund
Jardine, who was then building a new organ for Scotch Presbyterian
Church in Central Park West, with an entirely new electric action that
had been invented by his nephew. Of course by this time Mr.
Hope-Jones' inventions were well known over here, and Mr. Jardine told
the writer that some of the other organ-builders had been using actions
which were as close imitations of the Hope-Jones as it was possible to
get without infringement of patents. The Jardine action seemed to the
writer a very close imitation also, and he can testify to its being a
good one, as he later on had nearly three years experience of it at All
But the pioneers had troubles of their own, no doubt, caused by using
too large and heavy magnets, which exhausted the batteries faster than
the current could be produced. The writer had this experience with the
batteries at two different churches and had some difficulty in getting
the organ-builders to see what was the matter. The steady use of the
organ for an hour-and-a-half's choir rehearsal would exhaust the
batteries. The organ-builder would be notified, and, on coming next
day, would not find anything the matter, the batteries having
recovered themselves in the interim. Finally, two sets of batteries
were installed with a switch by the keyboard, so that the fresh set
could be brought into use on observing signs of exhaustion. Many
churches have installed small dynamos to furnish current for the key
action. Even in these cases signs of weakness are often apparent—the
organist in playing full does not get all the notes he puts down. Same
cause of trouble—too heavy magnets. Here is where the Hope-Jones
action has the whip-hand over all others, all the current it requires
being supplied by a single cell! At the writer's churches there were
six and eight cells. Most of the electric organs erected in this
country, 1894-1904, have had to be entirely rebuilt.
About the year 1894 Ernest M. Skinner (at that time Superintendent of
the Hutchings Organ Co., of Boston, Mass.), went over to England to
study the art in that country. He was well received by Hope-Jones, by
Willis and others. He introduced many of the English inventions into
this country—the movable console (St. Bartholomew's, New York;
Symphony Hall, Boston, etc.), increased wind pressure and the leathered
lip (Grace Church, Plymouth Church, Columbia College, College of the
City of New York, Cleveland Cathedral, etc.), smooth heavy pressure
reeds, Tibias (Philomela) small scale strings, etc. In this work
Skinner eventually had the advantage of Hope-Jones' services as
Vice-President of his own company and of the assistance of a number of
his men from England.
About the year 1895 Carlton C. Michell, an English organ-builder, who
had been associated with Thynne and with Hope-Jones, and who had as the
latter's representative set up new-type organs in Baltimore, Md., and
Taunton, Mass., joined the Austin Organ Co., Hartford, Conn. He
rapidly introduced modern string tone and other improvements there.
In 1903 Hope-Jones came to this country and also joined the Austin
Organ Co. as its Vice-President, whereupon that company adopted his
stop-keys, wind pressures, scales, leathered lip, smooth reeds,
orchestral stops, etc. (Albany Cathedral, Wanamaker's organ, New York,
the organs now standing in the Brooklyn Academy of Music, and others.)
In 1907 the Hope-Jones Organ Co., Elmira, N. Y., commenced the
construction of organs containing all these and other English
improvements (Ocean Grove, N. J.; Buffalo Cathedral, N. Y.; New
Orleans, La., etc.).
The influence of the work already done by the aforenamed pioneers in
this country is being manifested in a general improvement in organ tone
and mechanism throughout the United States.
Musical men, hearing the new tones and musical effects now produced,
realize for the first time the grandeur and refinement and amazing
variety of musical effects that the organ is capable of yielding; on
returning to their own churches they are filled with "divine
discontent," and they do not rest until a movement for obtaining a new
organ, or at least modernizing the old one, is set on foot. The
abandonment of old ideas as to the limitations of the organ is begun,
new ideals are being set up, and a revolution which will sweep the
whole country has now obtained firm foothold.
Until recently England unquestionably led in the development of the
organ, and Hope-Jones led England. Now that his genius is at work in
this country, who shall set limit to our progress? Even when
expressing himself through other firms, his influence entirely altered
the standard practice of the leading builders, and now, since direct
expression has been obtained, improvements have appeared with even
It is the author's opinion (based on a wide knowledge of the
instruments in both countries) that in the course of the last ten years
this country has made such great strides in the art that it may now
claim ability to produce organs that are quite equal to the best of
these built in England. And he ventures to prophesy that in less than
another ten years, American-built organs will be accepted as the
world's highest standard.
At a banquet given in his honor in New York in 1906, the late Alexandre
Guilmant complained that no organ that he had played in this country
possessed majesty of effect. The advent of Hope-Jones has entirely
changed the situation. Tertius Noble, late of York Minster, England,
who has just come to this country, asserts that organs can be found
here equal to or superior to any built in England, and the celebrated
English organist, Edwin Lemare, pronounced the reeds at Ocean Grove, N.
J., the finest he had ever heard.
THE CHIEF ACTORS IN THE DRAMA.
We now purpose to give a brief account of the leaders in
revolutionizing the King of Instruments, the men whose genius and
indomitable perseverance in the face of prejudice, discouragement and
seemingly insurmountable obstacles, financial and otherwise, have made
the modern organ possible. First of all these comes
CHARLES SPACHMAN BARKER,
who was born at Bath, England, on Oct. 10, 1806. Left an orphan when
five years old, he was brought up by his godfather, who gave him such
an education as would fit him for the medical profession, and he was in
due time apprenticed to an apothecary and druggist in Bath. This
apothecary used to draw teeth, and it was Barker's duty to hold the
heads of the patients, whose howls and screams unnerved him so that he
refused to learn the business and left before his term of
Dr. Hinton does not credit the story that Barker, accidentally
witnessing the operations of an eminent organ-builder (Bishop, of
London) who was erecting an organ in his neighborhood, determined on
following that occupation, and placed himself under that builder for
instruction in the art. It seems to be admitted, however, that after
spending most of the intervening time in London, he returned to Bath
two years afterwards and established himself as an organ-builder there.
About 1832 the newly built large organ in York Minster attracted
general attention, and Barker, impressed by the immense labor
occasioned to the player by the extreme hardness of touch of the keys,
turned his thoughts toward devising some means of overcoming the
resistance offered by the keys to the fingers. The result was the
invention of the pneumatic lever by which ingenious contrivance the
pressure of the wind which occasioned the resistance to the touch was
skilfully applied to lessen it. He wrote to Dr. Camidge, then the
organist of the Cathedral, begging to be allowed to attach one of his
levers in a temporary way to one of the heaviest notes of his organ.
Dr. Camidge admitted that the touch of his instrument was "sufficient
to paralyze the efforts of most men," but financial difficulties stood
in the way of the remedy being applied. Barker offered his invention
to several English organ-builders, but finding them indisposed to adopt
it, he went to Paris, in 1837, where he arrived about the time that
Cavaillé-Coll was building a large organ for the Church of St. Denis.
M. Cavaillé-Coll had adopted the practice of making his flue and reed
pipes produce harmonic tones by means of wind of heavy pressure; but he
encountered difficulty as the touch became too heavy for practical use.
Mr. Barker's apparatus, which simply overpowered the resistance that
could not be removed, was therefore an opportune presentation; he took
out a brevet d' invention for it in 1839, and M. Cavaillé-Coll
immediately introduced it, together with several harmonic stops, into
the St. Denis organ. Besides the organ of St. Denis, Barker's
pneumatic lever was applied to those of St. Roch, La Madeleine, and
other churches in Paris.
"Barker's connection with Cavaillé was not of long duration, and we
next find him in the Daublaine & Callinet organ-building company. At
this time the company was rebuilding the magnificent organ at St.
Sulpice, the acknowledged masterpiece of Cliquot, the French 'Father
Schmidt.' * * *
"During the time this restoration of the organ was in hand, Louis
Callinet experienced acute financial difficulties, and, failing to
induce Daublaine, his partner, to advance him a relatively small sum, *
* * Callinet became so bitterly incensed that one day, going to the
organ on some trifling pretext, he entirely wrecked it with axe and
"This act of vengeance or criminal folly involved Daublaine in the same
financial ruin as himself, and through this tragic occurrence the firm
in which Barker was beginning to be securely established came to an
end. Callinet, being absolutely penniless, was not prosecuted, but
ended his days in the employ of Cavaillé as voicer and tuner.
"Nor was this the only disaster which occurred during the time Barker
was with Daublaine & Callinet. In 1844 (December 16th), it was
Barker's ill-fortune to kick over a lighted candle while trying to
remove a cipher in the organ his firm had recently erected in St.
Eustache, which occasioned the total destruction of the organ. * * *
"The outlook seemed unpromising for Barker when the firm of Daublaine &
Callinet came to an end. The good will of that concern was, however,
purchased by M. Ducroquet (a capitalist), who entrusted him with its
"J. B. Stoltz, Daublaine & Callinet's foreman, a very able man and a
splendid workman, feeling aggrieved at Barker's promotion, seceded and
set up for himself, his place in the new firm being filled by M.
Verschneider, in whom Barker found efficient support in matters of
technical knowledge and skill.
"During the time Barker was with M. Ducroquet the present organ at St.
Eustache was built, to replace that so unfortunately destroyed by fire;
also an organ which was exhibited at the great exhibition of London in
1851. * * *
"In the Paris exhibition of 1855 Barker was admitted as an exhibitor,
independently of M. Ducroquet (who was in bad health and on the eve of
retiring from business), obtaining a first-class medal and nomination
as Chevalier of the Legion of Honor.
"At the death of M. Ducroquet, which occurred shortly afterwards,
Merklin took over the business carried on by Ducroquet, and Barker
remained with him until 1860, when he set up on his own account in
partnership with M. Verschneider, before named, and it was during the
decade 1860-70 that the electric organ came into being."
The story of Dr. Péschard's invention has been already set forth in
this book (see page 37). Barker seems to have been somewhat jealous of
him and always described the action as "Pneumato-electrique," objecting
to the term "Electro-pneumatic," although this was putting the cart
before the horse. Dr. Hinton says: "Though I was much in touch with
Barker during part of his brief period of activity in electric work,
Péschard's name was rarely mentioned and carried little meaning to me.
I did not know if Péschard were a living or a dead scientist, and if I
(a mere youth at the time) ever thought of him, it was as being some
kind of bogie Barker had to conciliate."
Bryceson Brothers, of London, exhibited an organ at the Paris
Exposition Universelle in the Champ de Mars in 1867, on which daily
recitals were given by Mons. A. L. Tamplin, who induced Mr. Henry
Bryceson to visit the electric organ then being erected in the Church
of St. Augustin. Mr. Bryceson, being convinced that this was the
action of the future, lost no time in investigating the system
thoroughly, and arranged with Barker for the concession of the sole
rights of his invention as soon as he should obtain his English patent,
which he got in the following year. Barker, however, repented him of
his bargain, and the exclusive rights were eventually waived by the
Brycesons, although they retained the right to use the patent
themselves. They made considerable improvements on Barker's action,
the chief defects of which seem to have been the resistance of the
pallets (which had to be plucked from their seats; he did not even use
the split pallet) and the cost of maintenance of the batteries, which
rapidly deteriorated from the action of the powerful acids employed. A
full description and drawing of Péschard's and Barker's action will be
found in Dr. Hinton's "Story of the Electric Organ."
This same Paris Exposition of 1867 is also responsible for the
introduction of tubular-pneumatic action into England by Henry Willis.
He there saw the organ by Fermis which induced him to take up that
mechanism and develop it to its present perfection.
The Franco-Prussian War of 1870 drove Barker from Paris, his factory
was destroyed in the bombardment, and thus at the age of 64 he was
again cast adrift. He came to England and found, on attempting to take
out a patent for his pneumatic lever, that all the organ-builders were
using what they had formerly despised!
He succeeded, however, in obtaining the contract for a new organ for
the Roman Catholic Cathedral in Dublin, Ireland, and it was arranged
that he should receive a certain sum in advance, and a monthly
allowance up to the amount of the estimated cost of the instrument. He
seems to have had trouble in obtaining expert workmen and only
succeeded in getting a motley crowd of Frenchmen, Germans, Dutch and
Americans. They spoke so many different languages that a Babel-like
confusion resulted. Hilborne Roosevelt, the great American
organ-builder, was at that time in Europe, and in response to Barker's
earnest entreaty, came to Dublin incognito, so as not to detract from
Barker's reputation as the builder. Roosevelt's direction and advice
were most invaluable, being moreover given in the most chivalrous and
generous spirit; but, notwithstanding this and the excellent material
of which the organ was constructed, the result was anything but an
artistic or financial success.
CHARLES SPACHMAN BARKER.
Barker built an organ for the Roman Catholic Cathedral at Cork, which
was no better, and this was his last work. These misfortunes
culminated in an appeal to his countrymen for subscriptions on his
behalf in the musical papers. In his old age he had married the
eighteen-year-old daughter of M. Ougby, his late foreman. He died at
Maidstone, Eng., November 26, 1879.
This sketch of Barker's career is taken partly from Grove's Dictionary
of Music, from Hopkins and Rimbault's History, and from Dr. Hinton's
"Story of the Electric Organ." The paragraphs within quotation marks
are verbatim from this book by kind permission of Dr. Hinton, whom we
have to thank also for the portrait of Barker which appears on another
The following sketch of the life of this eminent artist is taken from
Dr. Bédart's forthcoming book on "Cavaillé-Coll and His Times," and
from Le Monde Musical, of Paris, October 30, 1899, translated by Mr.
Robert F. Miller, of Boston. The portrait is from the same magazine.
Aristide Cavaillé-Coll was born at Montpellier, France, on the 4th day
of February, 1811. He was the son of Dominique Cavaillé-Coll, who was
well known as an organ-builder in Languedoc, and grandson of Jean
Pierre Cavaillé, the builder of the organs of Saint Catherine and Merci
of Barcelona. The name of Coll was that of his grandmother. If we
should go back further we find at the commencement of the Eighteenth
Century at Gaillac three brothers—Cavaillé-Gabriel, the father of Jean
Pierre; Pierre, and Joseph, who also was an organ-builder. Aristide
Cavaillé, therefore, came honestly by his profession and at the age of
18 years was entrusted by his father to direct the construction of the
organ at Lerida, in which he introduced for the first time the manual
to pedal coupler and the system of counter-balances in the large wind
In 1834 Aristide, realizing the necessity of cultivating his knowledge
of physics and mechanics, went to Paris, where he became the pupil of
Savart and of Cagnard-Latour. The same year a competition was opened
for the construction of a large organ in the royal church of St. Denis;
Aristide submitted his plan and succeeded in obtaining the contract.
This success decided the Messrs. Cavaillé to remove their organ factory
to Paris, where they established themselves in the Rue Neuve St.
George. On account of repairs being made to the church building, the
organ of St. Denis was not finished until 1841, but it showed
improvements of great importance, first and foremost of which was the
Barker pneumatic lever (see ante, page 120). The wind pressure was
on a new system, whereby increased pressure was applied to the upper
notes, giving more regularity of tone to each stop. The wind
reservoirs were provided with double valves, insuring a more steady
supply, whether all the stops were played together or separately. The
introduction of Harmonic stops was practically an innovation, as their
use hitherto had been almost prohibited by the difficulty of playing on
a high wind pressure (see ante, page 21). This enriched the organ
with a new group of stops of a superior quality on account of the
roundness and volume of sound.
In 1840 Cavaillé-Coll submitted to the Académie des Sciences the result
of his experimental studies of organ pipes; on the normal tone of the
organ and its architecture; the length of pipes in regard to intonation
and precision in blowing. He made many experiments and improvements in
wind supply. He was also the inventor of "Poikilorgue," an expressive
organ, which was the origin of the harmonium.
Between 1834 and 1898 he built upward of 700 organs, including Saint
Sulpice, Notre Dame, Saint Clotilde, la Madeleine, le Trocadero, Saint
Augustin, Saint Vincent de Paul, la Trinite (all in Paris); Saint Ouen
at Rouen, Saint Sernin at Toulouse; the Cathedrals at Nancy, Amsterdam,
and Moscow; the Town Halls of Sheffield and Manchester, England. The
most celebrated of these is Saint Sulpice, which contains 118 stops and
was opened in April 29, 1862.
The fine period of Cavaillé-Coll was during the Empire, about 1850.
The Emperor Napoleon III, to flatter the clergy and the bishops,
ordered the Cathedral organs to be rebuilt, and gave the order to
Cavaillé-Coll. He in many instances preserved the old soundboards,
dividing them on two ventils for reeds and for flues, increased the
wind pressures, introduced pneumatic levers, and transformed the small
Tenor C Swells into large 15 to 20 stop Swells, with 16-foot reeds
included, and so crowned the fine flue work and mixture work of these
We all know the fine effect of a large Swell. The French Cathedral
organs were deprived of this tonal resonance in 1850, and
Cavaillé-Coll, by judicious overhauling, use of good materials, and by
the addition of large Swells, transformed the sonority of these large
instruments located in splendid positions above the grand west
entrance doors of these fine Gothic buildings.
Cavaillé-Coll, during his long career, received from the Universal
Expositions the highest honors. He was appointed a Chevalier of the
Legion of Honor in 1849, and officer of the same order in 1878. He was
also Honorary President of the Chamber of Syndicates of Musical
Much enfeebled by age, he in 1898 relinquished the direction of his
factories to one of his best pupils, M. Charles Mutin, who has never
ceased to maintain the high integrity of the house.
Aristide Cavaillé-Coll died peacefully and without suffering on October
13, 1899, in his 89th year. He was interred with military honors. A
simple service was held at Saint Sulpice and M. Charles Widor played
once more, for the last time to the illustrious constructor, the grand
organ which was the most beautiful conception of his life.
We have in the course of our review mentioned some of Cavaillé-Coll's
principal contributions to the progress of organ-building, his
development of harmonic stops and use of increased wind pressures. Mr.
W. T. Best, in 1888, in a report to the Liverpool Philharmonic Society
as to the purchase of a new organ for their Hall, recommended
Cavaillé-Coll as "the best producer of pure organ tone" at that time.
Next to him he placed T. C. Lewis & Sons, then W. Hill & Son.
But the organists of the world have to thank Cavaillé-Coll chiefly for
the assistance he gave Barker in developing the pneumatic lever,
without which the present tonal system with its heavy wind pressures
would have been impossible of attainment.
"Blest be the man," said Sancho Panza, "who first invented sleep! And
what a mercy he did not keep the discovery to himself!" Joseph Booth,
of Wakefield, England, put what he called a "puff bellows" to assist
the Pedal action in the organ of a church at Attercliffe, near
Sheffield, in 1827. But he kept the invention to himself, and it only
came to light 24 years after his death! Note on the other hand the
perseverance of Barker. For five weary years he kept on trying one
builder after another to take up his idea without avail, and then took
it beyond the seas. Which reminds us of the Rev. William Lee, the
inventor of the stocking-knitting frame in the time of Queen Elizabeth,
whose countrymen "despised him and discouraged his invention. * * *
Being soon after invited over to France, with promises of reward,
privileges and honor by Henry IV * * * he went, with nine workmen and
as many frames, to Rouen, in Normandy, where he wrought with great
applause." Thus does history repeat itself.
The following sketch of the greatest organ-builder of the Victorian Era
has been condensed from an interview with him as set forth in the
London Musical Times for May, 1898.
Henry Willis was born in London on April 27, 1821. His father was a
builder, a member of the choir of Old Surrey Chapel, and played the
drums in the Cecilian Amateur Orchestral Society. The subject of this
sketch began to play the organ at very early age; he was entirely
self-taught and never had a lesson in his life.
In 1835, when he was fourteen years of age, he was articled for seven
years to John Gray (afterwards Gray & Davidson), the organ-builder.
During his apprenticeship he invented the special manual and pedal
couplers which he used in all his instruments for over sixty years. He
had to tune the organ in St. George's Chapel, Windsor, where he made
the acquaintance of Sir George Elvey, who took a great fancy to the boy
While still "serving his time" and before he was out of his teens,
Henry Willis was appointed organist of Christ Church, Hoxton. In the
early fifties he was organist of Hampstead Parish Church, where he had
built a new organ, and for nearly thirty years he was organist at
Islington, Chapel-of-Ease, which post he only resigned after he had
passed the Psalmist's "three score years and ten." In spite of the
engrossing claims of his business, Mr. Willis discharged his duties as
organist with commendable faithfulness; he would often travel 150 miles
on a Saturday in order to be present at the Sunday services. In his
younger days he also played the double-bass and played at the
provincial Musical Festivals of 1871 and 1874.
After his apprenticeship expired he lived in Cheltenham for three
years, where he assisted an organ-builder named Evans, who afterwards
became known as a manufacturer of free reed instruments. They produced
a model of a two-manual free reed instrument with two octaves and a
half of pedals which was exhibited at Novello's, in London. Here
Willis met the celebrated organist, Samuel Sebastian Wesley.
About the year 1847 Henry Willis started in business for himself as an
organ-builder, and his first great success was in rebuilding the organ
in Gloucester Cathedral. "It was my stepping-stone to fame," he says.
"The Swell, down to double C, had twelve stops and a double Venetian
front. The pianissimo was simply astounding. I received 400 pounds
for the job, and I was presumptuous enough to marry."
For the Great Exhibition of 1851 in the Crystal Palace (then in Hyde
Park), Mr. Willis erected a magnificent organ which attracted
extraordinary attention and was visited by the Queen and Prince
Consort. It had three manuals and pedals, seventy sounding stops and
seven couplers. There were twenty-two stops on the Swell, and the
Swell bellows was placed inside the Swell box. The manual compass
extended to G in altissimo and the pedals from CCC to G—32 notes.
There were other important features in this remarkable instrument which
went a long way towards revolutionizing the art of organ-building.
First, the introduction of pistons, inserted between the key-slips,
which replaced the clumsy composition pedals then in vogue. Again, to
use Mr. Willis' own words, "that Exhibition organ was the great pioneer
of the improved pneumatic movement. A child could play the keys with
all the stops drawn. It never went wrong."
This organ was afterwards re-erected in Winchester Cathedral in 1852,
and was in constant use for forty years before being renovated. It was
also the means of procuring Willis the order for the organ in St.
George's Hall, Liverpool. "The Town Clerk of Liverpool wrote to me,"
said Mr. Willis, "to the effect that a committee of the Corporation
would visit the Exhibition on a certain day at 6 A. M., their object
being to test the various organs with a view to selecting a builder for
the proposed new instrument in St. George's Hall. He asked me if I
could be there. I was there—all there! The other two competing
builders, X and Z, in anticipation of the visit, tuned their organs in
the afternoon of the previous day, with the result that, owing to the
abnormal heat of the sun through the glass roof, the reeds were not fit
to be heard! I said nothing. At five o'clock on the following morning
my men and I were there to tune the reeds of my organ in the cool of
the morning of that lovely summer's day. At six o'clock the Liverpool
committee, which included the Mayor and the Town Clerk in addition to
S. S. Wesley and T. A. Walmisley, their musical advisers, duly
appeared. Messrs. X and Z had specially engaged two eminent organists
to play for them. I retained nobody. But I had previously said to
Best, who had given several recitals on my organ at the Exhibition, 'It
would not be half a bad plan if you would attend to-morrow morning at
six o'clock, as you usually do for practice.' Best was there. After
the two other organs had been tried, the Town Clerk came up and said:
'We have come to hear your organ, Mr. Willis. Are you going to play it
yourself?' I said, 'There's one of your own townsmen standing there
(that was Best); ask him.' He did ask him. 'Mr. Best has no objection
to play,' said the Town Clerk, 'but he wants five guineas!' 'Well,
give it to him; the Corporation can well afford it.' The matter was
arranged. Best played the overture to 'Jessonda' by Spohr, and it was
a splendid performance." The organ was quite a revelation to the
Liverpudlians, and after talking it over in private for twenty minutes
the committee decided to recommend Willis to the Council to build the
organ in St. George's Hall. He had, however, serious differences with
Dr. S. S. Wesley, who wanted both the manuals and pedals to begin at
GG. "I gave in to him in regard to the manuals," said Mr. Willis, "but
I said, 'unless you have the pedal compass to C, I shall absolutely
decline to build your organ.'" And so the matter was compromised. But
Willis lived to see the manual compass of his magnificent Liverpool
organ changed to CC (in 1898). When the organ was finished he
recommended that Best should be appointed organist, although Dr. Wesley
officiated at the opening ceremony in 1855. Not only did Willis
practically get Best appointed to Liverpool, but he had previously
coached him up in his playing of overtures and other arrangements for
the organ. "I egged him on," said the veteran organ-builder, and we
all know with what results. Notwithstanding all that Best owed to
Willis, he quarreled with him violently towards the close of his career
over the care of the St. George's Hall organ. As Best told the writer,
"not because Willis could not, but because he would not" do certain
things in the way of repairs, that he claimed did not come under his
contract. This led to the care of the organ being transferred to T. C.
Lewis & Sons, but it was given back to Willis after Best's death.
Mr. Willis gained a wide and deservedly high reputation as the builder
of many Cathedral organs—upwards of sixteen. His largest instrument
is that in the Royal Albert Hall, London. He designed it entirely
himself; he had not to compete for the building of it, but had carte
blanche in regard to every detail.
There was an amusing incident in connection with deciding upon the
pitch of the instrument. The authorities arranged that Sir Michael
Costa, Mr. R. K. Bowley, then general manager of the Crystal Palace,
and some of the leading wind-instrument players of the day, including
Lazarus (a famous clarinetist), should attend at the factory to settle
the question of the pitch of the organ. "They also brought a
violinist," said Mr. Willis; "but I couldn't see what a fiddler, who is
a very useful man in his way, had to do with settling the pitch. (I
should tell you," added Mr. Willis, sotto voce, "that I had
formulated some idea of the proper pitch before these gentlemen
arrived.) However, we duly proceeded, Costa presiding over the
conclave. When they began to blow into their different instruments
each man had a different pitch! It was a regular pandemonium! By and
by we settled upon something which was considered satisfactory, and we
bade each other good morning." The sequel need not be told. We leave
it to our readers to draw their own conclusions as to whether the Royal
Albert Hall organ was actually tuned to the pitch of Messrs. Costa,
Bowley, Lazarus & Co., or to that previously decided upon by Mr. Willis.
He erected two large organs for the Alexandra Palace, and one in
Windsor Castle with two keyboards, one in St. George's Hall, and one in
His Majesty's Private Chapel, whereby the instrument is available for
use in both places.
It was entirely owing to Willis' dominating personality that the organ
in St. Paul's Cathedral was rebuilt in its present form. He had the
old screen taken down and the old organ case, which happened to be
alike on both sides, he cut in two and re-erected on each side of the
choir. The change also involved the removal of the statues of Lord
Nelson and Lord Cornwallis. When one of the committee asked him if he
proposed to have two organists for his divided organ, he replied, "You
leave that to me." And proceeded to invent his tubular pneumatic
action (see page 25). When this organ was used for the first time at
the Thanksgiving service for the recovery of the Prince of Wales from
typhoid fever in 1873, the pneumatic action for the pedals was not
finished. Willis rigged up a temporary pedal board inside the organ
near the pedal pipes and played the pedal part of the service music
himself while George Cooper was at the keys in the regions above.
After the service Goss said to Ousley, who was present, "What do you
think of the pedal organ?" "Magnificent!" replied the Oxford
Professor. "You know that the pipes are a long way off; did the pedals
seem to go exactly together with the manuals?" Goss asked.
"Perfectly," replied Ousley, "but why do you ask me in that way?" Then
Goss let out the secret—for it was really a great secret at the time.
Willis' great hobby was yachting. He owned a 54-ton yacht named the
Opal, and attributed the wonderful health he enjoyed to his numerous
sea voyages. "I have circumnavigated the whole of England and
Scotland," he said, "and I am my own captain. Those two men over
there" (pointing to two of his employees working in the factory) "are
my steward and shipwright. The steward is a fisherman—a fisherman
being very useful as a weather prophet. * * * I do all the repairs to
the yacht myself and have re-coppered her bottom two or three times. I
also put entirely new spars into her, and there stands her old mast.
Some years ago I injured the third and fourth fingers of both my hands
with the ropes passing through them. These four fingers became bent
under, and for a long time I had to play my services with only the
thumb and two fingers of each hand. But Dr. Macready, a very clever
surgeon, begged me to allow him to operate on my disabled fingers, with
the result that I can use them as of old, or nearly so."
Henry Willis died in London on February 11, 1900, in his 80th year,
deeply mourned by all who knew him, and was interred in Highgate
cemetery. In the course of this work we have referred to the many
improvements he effected in organ construction and reed voicing. As
Sir George Grove said, his organs are celebrated for "their excellent
engineering qualities." Clever, ingenious, dauntless and
resourceful—qualities blended together with a plentiful supply of
sound judgment and good common sense—were some of the striking
characteristics of this remarkable man. He gave his personal attention
to every department of his factory; nothing was too insignificant to
claim his notice; his thoroughness was extraordinary—every pipe went
through his hands. An organist himself, he was always thinking of the
player in laying out his instruments. He had a remarkably inventive
genius, which he turned to good account in the mechanical portions of
his organs. He took infinite pains with everything and his enthusiasm
knew no bounds. But, above all, he possessed in a striking degree that
attribute which a similar successful worker once aptly described as
"obstinate perseverance." He had a strong aversion to newspaper men
and sent them away without ceremony. While free from conceit, he was
not always amenable to dictation, especially when he had disputes with
architects—in which the architects were generally worsted.
He regarded his organ in St. Paul's Cathedral (rebuilt in 1899), as his
magnum opus. "There is nothing like it in the world," he remarked,
with pardonable pride, one Saturday when Sir George Martin was playing
that kingly king of instruments. To paraphrase the inscription on
Purcell's monument in Westminster Abbey:—
"He has gone where only his own Harmony can be excelled,"
leaving behind him many noble specimens of his remarkable achievements.
Robert is the third son of the late William Hope-Jones, Hooton Grange,
His father, a man of means, was prominent as one of the pioneers in
organizing the volunteer army of Great Britain. He was musical,
playing the cornet and having an unusual tenor voice. His mother
(Agnes Handforth)—also musical and a gifted singer—was a daughter of
the Rector of Ashton-under-Lyne, Lancashire,—a highly nervous woman.
There were nine children of the marriage—two girls and seven boys.
Robert appeared on the ninth of February, 1859. He inherited in
exaggerated degree his mother's highly strung nervous nature.
Melancholy, weak and sickly as a child, he was not expected to live.
To avoid the damp and cold of English winters he was periodically taken
to the south of France. Deemed too delicate for school, a private
tutor was provided. Joining in sports or games was out of the question
for so sensitive and delicate a youth,—what more natural, therefore,
than that he should become a dreamer—a thinker? Too ill for any real
study, his musical instincts drove him to the organ, and we find him
playing for occasional services at Eastham Parish Church at the age of
nine. After his father's death, when he was about fourteen, he spent a
couple of years in irregular attendance at school, and at the time of
his confirmation was persuaded that by superhuman effort of will his
physical disabilities might be disregarded and a life of some value be
worked out. Then began the desperate struggle that gradually overcame
every obstruction and resulted in the establishment of an iron will and
determination to succeed that no misfortunes have been able to quell.
His want of health greatly interfered with his career till he was
nearly thirty years of age.
When fifteen he became voluntary organist and choir-master to the
Birkenhead School Chapel. Two or three years later he simultaneously
held a similar office at St. Luke's Church, Tranmere, where he trained
a boy choir that became widely celebrated. For this Church he bought
and set up a fine organ. He subsequently served as Churchwarden and
was active in many other Church offices. He erected an organ in the
Claughton Music Hall and organized and conducted oratorio performances
in aid of various Church funds; training a large voluntary chorus and
orchestra for the purpose. For Psalms whose verses are arranged in
groups of three, he wrote what he called "triple chants"—a form of
composition since adopted by other Church writers; he also composed
Canticles, Kyries and other music for the services of the Church.
Though St. Luke's Church was situated in a poor neighborhood, the men
and boys forming his choir not only gave their services but also
gratuitously rang the Church bell, pumped the organ bellows, bought all
the music used at the services, paid for the washing of the surplices
and helped raise money for the general Church fund. Hope-Jones'
enthusiasm knew no bounds and he had the knack of imparting it to those
who worked under him.
So earnest and energetic was this young man that in spite of
indifferent health and without at once resigning his work at St.
Luke's, he became choirmaster and honorary organist of St. John's
Church, Birkenhead, doing similar work in connection with that
institution. He trained both the latter-named choir together, and the
writer (whose son was in St. John's choir) frequently assisted him by
playing the organ at the services on Sunday. It was at this Church and
in connection with this organ that Hope-Jones did his first great work
in connection with organ-building. The improved electric action,
movable console and many other matters destined to startle the organ
world, were devised and made by him there, after the day's business and
the evening's choir rehearsals. He had voluntary help from
enthusiastic choirmen and boys, who worked far into the night—on some
occasions all night. Certain of these men and boys are to-day
occupying responsible positions with the Hope-Jones Organ Company.
All this merely formed occupation for his spare time. About the age of
seventeen he began his business career. He was bound apprentice to the
large firm of Laird Bros., engineers and shipbuilders, Birkenhead,
England. After donning workman's clothes and going through practical
training in the various workshops and the drawing office, he secured
appointment as chief electrician of the Lancashire and Cheshire
(afterwards the National) Telephone Company. In connection with
telephony he invented a multitude of improvements, some of which are
still in universal use. About this time he devised a method for
increasing the power of the human voice, through the application of a
"relay" furnished with compressed air. The principle is now utilized
in the best phonographs and other voice-producing machines. He also
invented the "Diaphone," now being used by the Canadian Government for
its fog signal stations and declared to be the most powerful producer
of musical sound known (in a modified form also adapted to the church
About 1889 he resigned his connection with the telephone company in
order that he might devote a greater part of his attention to the
improvement of the church organ, a subject which, as we have seen, was
beginning to occupy much of his spare time. He had private practice as
a consulting engineer, but gradually his "hobby"—organ
building—crowded out all other employment—much to his financial
disadvantage and to the gain of the musical world.
His organ at St. John's Church, Birkenhead, became famous. It was
visited by thousands of music lovers from all parts of the world.
Organs built on the St. John's model were ordered for this country
(Taunton, Mass., and Baltimore, Md.), for India, Australia, New
Zealand, Newfoundland, France, Germany, Malta, and for numbers of
English cathedrals, churches, town halls, etc. Nothing whatever was
spent on advertisement. The English musical press for years devoted
columns to somewhat heated discussion of Hope-Jones' epoch-making
inventions, and echoes appeared in the musical periodicals of this and
In spite of every form of opposition, and in spite of serious financial
difficulties, Hope-Jones built organs that have influenced the art in
all parts of the globe. He proved himself a prolific inventor and can
justly claim as his work nine-tenths of the improvements made in the
organ during the last twenty years. Truly have these words been used
concerning him—"the greatest mind engaged in the art of organ-building
in this or in any other age."
Every organist fully acquainted with his work endorses it, and upwards
of thirty organ-builders have honored themselves by writing similar
testimony. The Austin Organ Company, of Hartford, Conn., says: "We
have taken considerable pains to study his system and to satisfy
ourselves as to the results he has achieved. There is, we find, no
doubt whatever that he has effected a complete revolution in the
development of tone."
Sir George Grove, in his "Dictionary of Music and Musicians" (p. 551),
says: "No reference to this description of action [electric] as set up
in recent years would be complete without mentioning the name of Mr.
Robert Hope-Jones. * * * The researches in the realm of organ tone by
Mr. Hope-Jones and others who are continually striving for excellence
and the use of an increased and more varied wind-pressure (ranging from
3 to 25 inches) all combine to produce greater variety and superiority
in the quality of organ tone than has ever existed before."
Elliston in his book on Organ Construction devotes considerable space
to a description of the organs built by Hope-Jones in England and
Scotland, and says: "The Hope-Jones system embraces many novelties in
tone and mechanism."
Matthews, in his "Handbook of the Organ," referring to the Hope-Jones
"In his electric action Mr. Hope-Jones sought not only to obtain a
repetition of the utmost quickness, but also to throw the reeds and
other pipes into vibration by a 'percussive blow,' so to speak; being
in this way enabled to produce certain qualities of tone unobtainable
from ordinary actions. Soundness and smoothness of tone from the more
powerful reeds, and great body and fullness of tone as well as depth
from the pedal stops, are also noticeable features in these organs."
Ernest M. Skinner, of Boston, used the following words: "Your patience,
research and experiment have done more than any other one agency to
make the modern organ tone what it is. I think your invention of the
leathered lip will mean as much to organ tone as the Barker pneumatic
lever did to organ action, and will be as far-reaching in its effect.
"I believe you were the first to recognize the importance of a low
voltage of electric action, and that the world owes you its thanks for
the round wire contact and inverted magnet.
"Since I first became familiar with your work and writing I have found
them full of helpful suggestions."
At first Hope-Jones licensed a score of organ-builders to carry out his
inventions, but as this proved unsatisfactory, he entered the field as
an organ-builder himself, being liberally supported by Mr. Thomas
Threlfall, chairman of the Royal Academy of Music; J. Martin White,
Member of the British Parliament, and other friends.
It was, perhaps, too much to expect that those who had so far profited
from Hope-Jones' contracts and work should remain favorably disposed
when he became a rival and a competitor.
For nearly twenty years he has met concerted opposition that would have
crushed any ordinary man—attacks in turn against his electrical
knowledge, musical taste, voicing ability, financial standing, and
personal character. His greatest admirers remain those who, like the
author, have known him for thirty years; his greatest supporters are
the men of the town in which he lives; his warmest friends, the
associates who have followed him to this country after long service
under him in England.
Long before Hope-Jones reached his present eminence, and dealing with
but one of his inventions, Wedgwood, a Fellow of the Royal Historical
Society and a learned student of organ matters, classed him with
Cavaillé-Coll and Willis, as one whose name "will be handed down to
posterity"—the author of most valuable improvements.
Early in his organ-building career, Hope-Jones had the good fortune to
meet J. Martin White, of Balruddery, Dundee, Scotland. Mr. White, a
man of large influence and wealth, not only time and again saved him
from financial shipwreck and kept him in the organ-building business,
but rendered a far more important service in directing Hope-Jones'
efforts toward the production of orchestral effects from the organ.
Mr. White, in spite of his duties as a member of the British
Parliament, and in spite of the calls of his business in Scotland and
in this country, has managed to devote much time and thought to the art
of organ playing and organ improvement.
Thynne, who did pioneer work in the production of string tone from
organ pipes, owes not a little to Martin White; while Hope-Jones
asserts that he derived all his inspiration in this field from
listening to the large and fine organ in Mr. White's home.
Mr. White argued that the Swell Organ should be full of violin tone and
be, as the strings in the orchestra, the foundation of accompaniment as
well as complete in themselves. He lent to Hope-Jones some of his
"string" pipes to copy in Worcester Cathedral, whence practically all
the development of string tone in organs has come. Mr. White further
urged that the whole organ should be in swell boxes.
It is extraordinary that an outsider like Mr. White, a man busy in so
many other lines of endeavor, should exert such marked influence on the
art of organ building, but it remains a fact that but for his artistic
discernment and for the encouragement so freely given, the organ would
not to-day be supplanting the orchestra in theatres and hotels, nor be
what it is in the churches and halls.
Mr. White has for nearly thirty years helped, enthused and encouraged,
not only artistic organ-builders like Casson, Thynne, Hope-Jones and
Compton, but also the more progressive of the prominent organists.
All honor to Martin White!
In the spring of 1903 Hope-Jones visited this country. At the
instigation of Mr. R. P. Elliot, the organizer, Vice-President and
Secretary of the Austin Organ Company, of Hartford, Conn., he decided
to remain here and join that corporation, taking the office of
Vice-president. Subsequently a new firm—Hope-Jones & Harrison—was
tentatively formed at Bloomfield, N. J., in July, 1904, but as
sufficient capital could not be obtained, Hope-Jones and his corps of
skilled employees joined the Ernest M. Skinner Company, of Boston,
Hope-Jones taking the office of Vice-president, in 1905. Working in
connection with the Skinner Company, Hope-Jones constructed and placed
a fine organ in Park Church, Elmira, N. Y., erected in memory of the
late Thomas K. Beecher. He there met, as chairman of the committee,
Mr. Jervis Langdon (Treasurer of the Chamber of Commerce, Elmira).
That gentleman secured the industry for his city by organizing a
corporation to build exclusively Hope-Jones organs.
This "Hope-Jones Organ Company" was established in February, 1907, the
year of the financial panic. It failed to secure the capital it sought
and was seriously embarrassed throughout its three years' existence.
It built about forty organs, the best known being the one erected in
the great auditorium at Ocean Grove, N. J.
The patents and plant of the Elmira concern were acquired by the
Rudolph Wurlitzer Co. in April, 1910, and Mr. Hope-Jones entered its
employ, with headquarters at its mammoth factory at North Tonawanda, N.
Y., continuing to carry on the business under his own name.
Robert Hope-Jones is a member of the British Institute of Electrical
Engineers; of the Royal College of Organists, London, England; of the
American Guild of Organists; and of other bodies.
In 1893 he married Cecil Laurence, a musical member of one of the
leading families of Maid stone, England. This lady mastered the
intricacies of her husband's inventions, and to her help and
encouragement in times of difficulty he attributes his success.
We suppose that the reason "history repeats itself" is to be found in
the fact that human nature does not vary, but is much the same from
generation to generation. From the Bible we learn that one Demetrius,
a silversmith of Ephesus, became alarmed at the falling off in demand
for silver shrines to Diana, caused by the preaching of the Apostle
Paul, and called his fellow craftsmen together with the cry of "Our
craft is in danger," and set the whole city in an uproar. (Acts
In the year 1682 a new organ was wanted for the Temple Church in
London, England, and "Father" Smith and Renatus Harris, the
organ-builders of that day, each brought such powerful influence to
bear upon the Benchers that they authorized both builders to erect
organs in the church, one at each end. They were alternately played
upon certain days, Smith's organ by Purcell and Dr. Blow, and Harris'
organ by Baptist Draghi, organist to Queen Catherine. An attempt by
the Benchers of the Middle Temple to decide in favor of Smith stirred
up violent opposition on the part of the Benchers of the Inner Temple,
who favored Harris, and the controversy raged bitterly for nearly five
years, when Smith's organ was paid for and Harris' taken away. This is
known in history as "The Battle of the Organs." In the thick of the
fight one of Harris' partisans, who had more zeal than discretion, made
his way inside Smith's organ and cut the bellows to pieces.
In 1875-76 the organ in Chester Cathedral, England, was being rebuilt
by the local firm of J. & C. H. Whiteley. The London silversmiths took
alarm at the Cathedral job going to a little country builder and got
together, with the result that, one by one, Whiteleys' men left their
employ, tempted by the offer of work at better wages in London, and had
there not been four brothers in the firm, all practical men, they would
have been unable to fulfil their contract. The worry was partly
responsible for the death of the head of the firm soon after.
All this sounds like a chapter from the dark ages, of long, long ago,
and we do not deem such things possible now.
But listen! In the year 1895 what was practically the first Hope-Jones
electric organ sold was set up in St. George's Church, Hanover Square,
The furor it created was cut short by a fire, which destroyed the organ
and damaged the tower of the church. With curious promptitude
attention was directed to the danger of allowing amateurs to make crude
efforts at organ-building in valuable and historic churches, and to the
great risk of electric actions. Incendiarism being more than
suspected, the authorities of the church ordered from Hope-Jones a
similar organ to take the place of the one destroyed.
About the same time a gimlet was forced through the electric cable of a
Hope-Jones organ at Hendon Parish Church, London, England. Shortly
afterwards the cable connecting the console with the Hope-Jones organ
at Ormskirk Parish Church, Lancashire, England, was cut through. At
Burton-on-Trent Parish Church, sample pipes from each of his special
stops were stolen.
At the Auditorium, Ocean Grove, N. J., an effort to cripple the new
Hope-Jones organ shortly before one of the opening recitals in 1908 was
made. And in the same year, on the Sunday previous to Edwin Lemare's
recital on the Hope-Jones organ in the First Universalist Church,
Rochester, N. Y., serious damage was done to some of the pipes in
almost each stop in the organ.
Robert Hope-Jones died at Rochester, N. Y., on September 13, 1914, aged
55 years, and was interred at Elm Lawn Cemetery, No. Tonawanda, near
Niagara Falls, N. Y.
Since his association with the Rudolph Wurlitzer Company in April,
1910, they have built under his personal supervision the organs in the
Baptist Temple, Philadelphia; the rooms of the Ethical Culture Society,
New York; and amongst others the unit orchestras in the Vitagraph
Theatre, New York; the Crescent Theatre, Brooklyn; the Paris Theatre,
Denver, Colo.; the Imperial Theatre, Montreal; and the Pitt Theatre,
Pittsburgh, Pa., which last Hope-Jones considered his chef d'oeuvre.
NOTE.—This book has been translated into French, and published with
annotations by Dr. G. Bédart, Professor Agrégé à la Université de
Lille, France, under the title of "Révolution Récente dans la Facture
d'Orgue." Lille: Librairie Générale Tallandier, 5, Rue Faidherbe.
Prix net 4 Fr.
HOW WE STAND TO-DAY.
Looking backward over the field we have traversed we find that the
modern organ is an entirely different instrument from that of the
Tracker action, bellows weights, the multitude of weak, drab-toned
stops, have disappeared, and in their place we have stops of more
musical character, greater volume, under perfect and wide control; new
families of string and orchestral tones; great flexibility, through
transference of stops; an instrument of smaller bulk than the old one,
but yet of infinitely greater resources.
In his "Handbook of the Organ" (page 24), J. Matthews says: "There can
be no finality in organ building. Whilst the violin fascinates by
its perfection, the organ does so no less by its almost infinite
possibilities, and modern science is fast transforming it into a highly
sensitive instrument. The orchestral effects and overwhelming
crescendos possible from such organs as those described in this work,
'double touch,' new methods of tone production, such as the Diaphone,
the ease with which all the resources of a powerful instrument can now
be placed instantaneously at the performer's command are developments
of which Bach and Handel never dreamed."
And the modern tendency of the best builders is to make the organ still
more orchestral in character, by the addition of carillons and other
The late W. T. Best, one of the finest executants who ever lived,
stated to a friend of the writer who asked him why he never played the
Overture to Tannhauser, that he considered its adequate rendition upon
the organ impossible, "after having had the subject under review for a
long time." Nowadays many organists find it possible to play the
Overture to Tannhauser; the writer pleads guilty himself. Dr. Peace
played it at the opening of Mr. White's organ at Balruddery and stated
that he found the fine string tones it contained of peculiar value for
Wagnerian orchestral effects. Dr. Gabriel Bédart says that music ought
to be specially written for these new instruments.
While we associate the organ chiefly with its use in Church services, a
new field is opening up for it in Concert Halls, Theatres, Auditoriums,
College and School Buildings, Ballrooms of Hotels, Public Parks and
Seaside Resorts, not as a mere adjunct to an orchestra but to take the
place of the orchestra itself. The Sunday afternoon recitals in the
College of the City of New York are attended by upwards of 2,500
people, many hundreds being unable to gain admittance; and the daily
recitals at Ocean Grove during July and August, 1909, reaped a harvest
of upwards of $4,000 in admission fees. Organs have been installed in
some of the palatial hotels in New York and other cities, and one is
planned for an ocean pier, where the pipes will actually stand under
sea level, the sound being reflected where wanted and an equable
temperature maintained by thermostats.
Organists have found it necessary to make special study of these new
instruments, and the University of the State of New York has thought
the matter of sufficient importance to justify it in chartering the
"Hope-Jones Unit Orchestra School" as an educational institution.
Our review would be incomplete without some mention of
When one listens to the Welte-Mignon Piano Player, it seems difficult
to believe that a skilled artist is not at the keyboard performing the
The exact instant of striking each note and the duration during which
the key is held are faithfuly recorded and reproduced with absolute
accuracy, and a pretty close approximation to the power of blow with
which each key is struck is obtained.
The first of these, that is, the time and duration of the note, is
directly recorded from the artist who plays the piece to be reproduced.
The second of these, that is, the power of tone, is subsequently added
to the record either by the artist himself or by musicians who have
carefully studied his manner of playing.
The result of this is a very faithful reproduction of the original
In the case of the organ, the pressure with which the keys are struck
does not need to be recorded or reproduced, but instead of this, we
have to operate the various stops or registers and the various swell
shades if we would obtain a faithful reproduction mechanically of the
piece of music played by an artist on the organ.
Automatic Players are attached to many pipe organs. They, for the most
part, consist of ordinary piano players so arranged that they operate
the keys, or the mechanism attached to the keys, of an organ.
This is a very poor plan, and the resulting effect is thoroughly
mechanical and unsatisfactory. Only one keyboard is played upon at a
time as a rule, and neither the stops nor the pedals, nor the
expression levers are operated at all.
The Aeolian Company, of New York, effected an improvement some years
ago when they introduced what they term the double tracker bar. In
this case, the holes in the tracker bar are made smaller than usual and
they are staggered--or arranged in two rows. Every evenly numbered
hole is kept on the lower row, and the oddly numbered holes are raised
up to form a second row.
Provided the paper be tracked very accurately, and be given careful
attention, this plan adopted by the Aeolian Company allows of two
manuals of an organ being played automatically; but still the stops and
expression levers are left to be operated by hand.
More recently a plan has been brought out by Hope-Jones that provides
for the simultaneous performance of music upon two manuals and upon the
pedals--each quite independent of the other. It also provides for the
operation of all the stops individually in a large organ, and for the
operation of the expression levers.
A switch is furnished so that when desired the stops and expression
levers may be cut off and left to be operated by hand. The Hope-Jones
Tracker Bar has no less than ten lines of holes--it is, of course,
We look for a great development in the direction of organs played by
The piano player has done a very great deal to popularize the
pianoforte and in the same way it is believed that the automatic player
will do a very great deal to popularize the organ.
Many people who cannot play the organ will be induced to have them in
their homes if they knew that they can operate them at any time
desired, even in the absence of a skilled performer.
We now give specifications of some of the most notable organs of the
world, all of which have been built or rebuilt since the year 1888, and
embody modern ideas in mechanism, wind pressures, and tonal resources.
First in the writer's estimation comes the
ORGAN IN ST. GEORGE'S HALL, LIVERPOOL, ENG.
This noble instrument was built by Henry Willis to the specification of
Dr. S. S. Wesley, by whom it was opened on the 29th and 30th of May,
1855. The writer made its acquaintance in 1866, when it was tuned on
the unequal temperament system. In 1867 Mr. Best succeeded in getting
it re-tuned in equal-temperament, several improvements were made, and
the wind pressure on four of the reed stops on the Solo organ increased
from 9 1/2 inches to 22 inches. In 1898 the organ was thoroughly
rebuilt with tubular pneumatic action in place of the Barker levers.
The compass of the manuals was changed from GG--a3 to CC--c4,
five octaves, and the pedals were carried up to g--33 notes. A Swell
to Choir coupler was added (!) and various changes made in the stops,
the Vox Humana transferred from the Swell to the Solo organ, and two of
the Solo wind-chests were enclosed in a Swell-box. We note that the
Tubas are still left outside. The cast-iron pipes of the lowest octave
of the 32-ft. Double Open Diapason on the Pedal organ were replaced by
pipes of stout zinc, and four composition pedals added to control the
Keyboards of Organ in St. George's Hall, Liverpool.
Two Rows of Stops at Left Omitted
The following is the specification of the organ as it now stands, in
its revised form:
FIRST MANUAL (CHOIR), 18 STOPS.
Double Diapason 16 Gamba 4
Open Diapason 8 Twelfth 2 2/3
Clarabella 8 Fifteenth 2
Stopped Diapason 8 Flageolet 2
Dulciana 8 Sesquialtera, 3 ranks
Viol da Gamba 8 Trumpet 8
Vox Angelica 8 Cremona 8
Principal 4 Orchestral Oboe 8
Harmonic Flute 4 Clarion 4
SECOND MANUAL (GREAT), 25 STOPS.
Dble. Open Diap. (metal) 16 Twelfth 2 2/3
Open Diapason, No. 1 8 Fifteenth 2
Open Diapason, No. 2 8 Harmonic Piccolo 2
Open Diapason, wood 8 Doublette, 2 ranks
Open Diapason, No. 3 8 Sesquialtera, 5 ranks
Stopped Diapason 8 Mixture, 4 ranks
Violoncello 8 Trombone 16
Quint 5 1/2 Trombone 8
Viola 4 Ophicleide 8
Principal, No. 1 4 Trumpet 8
Principal, No. 2 4 Clarion, No. 1 4
Flute 4 Clarion, No. 2 4
Tenth 3 1/2
THIRD MANUAL (SWELL), 25 STOPS.
Double Diapason (metal) 16 Piccolo 2
Open Diapason, No. 1 8 Doublette, 2 ranks
Open Diapason, No. 2 8 Fourniture, 5 ranks
Dulciana 8 Trombone 16
Viol da Gamba 8 Contra Hautboy 16
Stopped Diapason 8 Ophicleide 8
Voix Celeste 8 Trumpet 8
Principal 4 Horn 8
Octave Viola 4 Oboe 8
Flute 4 Clarionet 8
Twelfth 2 2/3 Clarion, No. 1 4
Fifteenth, No. 1 2 Clarion, No. 2 4
Fifteenth, No. 2 2
FOURTH MANUAL (SOLO), 15 STOPS.
Viol da Gamba 8 Vox Humana 8
Open Diapason, wood 8 Orchestral Oboe 8
Stopped Diapason 8 Corno di Bassetto 8
Flute (Orchestral) 4 *Ophicleide 8
Flute Piccolo 2 *Trumpet 8
Contra Fagotto 16 *Clarion, No. 1 4
Trombone 8 *Clarion, No. 2 4
These stops are all placed in a new swell-box, except those marked*,
which are on the heavy wind pressure.
PEDAL ORGAN (17 STOPS).
Double Open Quint (metal) 5 1/2
Diapason (wood) 32 Fifteenth 4
Double Open Fourniture, 5 ranks
Diapason (metal) 32 Mixture, 3 ranks
Open Diapason (wood) 16 Posaune 32
Open Diapason (metal) 16 Contra Fagotto 16
Salicional (metal) 16 Ophicleide 16
Bourdon (wood) 16 Trumpet 8
Bass Flute (wood) 8 Clarion 4
Principal (wood) 8
Solo Super-Octave. Choir to Great.
Solo Sub-Octave. Choir Super-Octave.
Solo to Great. Choir Sub-Octave.
Swell to Great Super-Octave. Solo to Pedals.
Swell to Great Unison. Swell to Pedals.
Swell to Great Sub-Octave. Great to Pedals.
Swell to Choir. Choir to Pedals.
In addition to these coupling movements there are other accessories,
consisting of 36 pneumatic pistons, 6 to each manual, and 12 acting
upon the Pedal stops. There are also 6 composition pedals acting upon
the "Great" and "Pedal" stops simultaneously, and 4 pedals acting upon
the Swell organ pistons. The Swell and Solo organs are each provided
Two large bellows in the basement of the Hall, and blown by two steam
engines of 8 h.p. and 1/2 h.p. respectively, supply the wind, which
passes from the bellows to 14 reservoirs in various positions in the
instrument, the pressure varying from 3 1/2 to 22 inches.
ORGAN IN THE CATHEDRAL OF NOTRE-DAME, PARIS, FRANCE.
The ancient organ in the Cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris was built in
the reign of Louis XV by Thierry Leselope and the best workmen of his
time. In the Eighteenth Century repairs and additions were made by the
celebrated Cliquot. Further repairs were made by Dalsey from 1832 to
1838, and in 1863 the French Government confided the complete
reconstruction of the instrument to Aristide Cavaillé-Coll. He spent
five years over the work, and the new organ was solemnly inaugurated on
the 6th of March, 1868.
Keyboards, Cathedral Notre Dame, Paris
It will be noticed that this illustration is not a photograph, but a
wood engraving, drawn by hand, and the artist was evidently not a
musician--he only shows 38 keys on each manual; there should be 56.
It stands in a gallery over the west door of the Cathedral. It has
five manuals of 56 notes each, CC to g3, pedal of 30 notes, CCC to F;
86 sounding stops "controlled by 110 registers"; 32 combination pedals,
and 6,000 pipes, the longest being 32 feet. The action is
Cavaillé-Coll's latest improvement on the Barker pneumatic lever. The
wind reservoirs contain 35,000 litres of compressed air, fed by 6 pairs
of pompes furnishing 600 litres of air per second. Here is the
PEDAL ORGAN (16 STOPS).
Principal-Basse 32 Quinte 5 2/3
Contre-Basse 16 Septième 4 4/7
Grosse Quinte 10 2/3 Centre Bombarde 32
Sous-Basse 16 Bombarde 16
Flute 8 Trompette 8
Grosse Tierce 6 2/5 Basson 16
Violoncelle 8 Basson 8
Octave 4 Clairon 4
FIRST CLAVIER (GRAND CHOEUR), 12 STOPS.
Principal 8 Larigot 1 1/3
Prestant 4 Septième 1 1/7
Bourdon 8 Piccolo 1
Quinte 2 2/3 Tuba Magna 16
Doublette 2 Trompette 8
Tierce 1 3/5 Clairon 4
SECOND CLAVIER (GBAND ORGUE), 14 STOPS.
Violon-Basse 16 Octave 4
Montre 8 Doublette 2
Bourdon 16 Fourniture, 2 to 5 ranks
Flute Harmonique 8 Cymbale, 2 to 5 ranks
Viola de Gambe 8 Basson 16
Prestant 4 Basson-Hautbois 8
Bourdon 8 Clairon 4
THIRD CLAVIER (BOMBARDES), 14 STOPS.
Principal-Basse 16 Quinte 2 2/3
Principal 8 Septième 2 1/7
Sous-Basse 16 Doublette 2
Flute Harmonique 8 Cornet, 2 to 5 ranks
Grosse Quinte 5 1/3 Bombarde 16
Octave 4 Trompette 8
Grosse Tierce 3 1/5 Clairon 4
FOURTH CLAVIER (POSITIF), 14 STOPS.
Montre 16 Flute Douce 4
Flute Harmonique 8 Doublette 2
Bourdon 16 Piccolo 1
Salcional 8 Plein Jeu, 3 to 6 ranks
Prestant 4 Clarinette-Basse 16
Unda Maris 8 Cromorne 8
Bourdon 8 Clarinette Aigue 4
FIFTH CLAVIER (RECIT EXPRESSIF), 16 STOPS.
Voix Humaine 8 *Prestant 4
*Basson-Hautbois 8 *Plein Jeu, 4 to 7 ranks
*Diapason 8 Quinte 2 2/3
*Flute Harmonique 4 Octavin 2
Voix Celeste 8 Cornet, 3 to 5 ranks
*Flute Octav 4 Bombarde 16
Voile de Gambe 8 Trompette 8
Quintaton 16 Clairon 4
The printed specification kindly furnished to us by Dr. William C.
Carl, of New York, who obtained it specially from Mr. Charles Mutin, of
Paris, Cavaillé-Coll's successor in business, is not clear on the
matter of couplers. Apparently all the manuals can be coupled to the
Grand Choeur; the Grand Orgne and the Grand Choeur to the Pedals; and
each manual has a suboctave coupler on itself. One of the combinations
to the Pedal organ is designated, "Effets d'orage"--a thunder stop.
The organ was completely overhauled and renovated by Cavaillé-Coll
shortly before his death (in 1899) and the stops marked * were inserted
in the Swell (Recit Expressif) in place of others. The inauguration
announcement states that it is one of the largest and most complete in
Europe, and that independently of the perfection of the mechanism it
possesses a power and variety of tone hitherto unknown in organ
building, and now only realized for the first time. It is undoubtedly
Cavaillé-Coll's finest work, and a lasting monument to his genius.
ST. PAUL'S CATHEDRAL ORGAN, LONDON, ENG.
The old organ in St. Paul's Cathedral, London, on which Sir John Goss
played, and which had felt the magic touch of Mendelssohn, had 13 stops
on the Great, 7 on the Swell, 8 on the Choir and only one on the Pedal.
It stood in a case on the screen between the choir and the nave of the
Cathedral. We have noted elsewhere in this book how Willis had this
screen removed, and rebuilt the organ on each side in 1872. In 1891 it
was rebuilt in its present form as noted below. The writer first saw
and heard this organ in 1873, and never failed, on his frequent visits
to London in later years, to attend a service in St. Paul's Cathedral,
where there are two choral services daily all the year round. No
summer vacations here. The effect of the Tuba ringing up into the dome
is magnificent. Willis looked upon this organ as his chef d' oeuvre,
saying "There is nothing like it in the whole world!"
The Great organ is situated on the north side of the chancel. The
Swell and Choir organs are on the south side. The Solo organ and
one-third of the Pedal organ are under the first arch on the north side
of the chancel. The Altar organ, which can be played through the Solo
organ keys, is under the second arch on the north side of the chancel.
The remaining two-thirds of the Pedal organ and three Tuba stops occupy
the northeast quarter gallery in the dome. The keyboards are on the
north side of the chancel, inside the organ case, and can be seen from
the "whispering gallery." There are five manuals, CC to c3, 61
notes; pedals CCC to g, 32 notes.
PEDAL ORGAN (NORTHEAST GALLERY OF DOME), 10 STOPS
Double Diapason 32 Octave 8
Open Diapason, No. 1 16 Mixture, 3 ranks
Open Diapason, No. 2 16 Contra Posaune 32
Violone Open Diapason 16 Bombardon 16
Violoncello 8 Clarion 4
PEDAL ORGAN (UNDER ARCH, NORTH SIDE OF CHANCEL), 8 STOPS
Violone 16 Octave 8
Bourdon 16 Ophicleide 16
Open Diapason 16
CHOIR ORGAN, 11 STOPS
Contra Gamba 16 Flute Harmonique 4
Open Diapason 8 Principal 4
Dulciana 8 Flageolet 2
Violoncello 8 Corno di Bassetto 8
Claribel Flute 8 Cor Anglais 8
Lieblich Gedackt 8
GREAT ORGAN, 16 STOPS
Double Diapason 16 Principal 4
Open Diapason, No. 1 8 Octave Quint 3
Open Diapason, No. 2 8 Super Octave 2
Open Diapason, No. 3 8 Fourniture, 3 ranks
Open Diapason, No. 4 8 Mixture, 3 ranks
Open Diapason 8 Trombone 16
Quint, metal 6 Tromba 8
Flûte Harmonique 4 Clarion 4
SWELL ORGAN, 13 STOPS
Contra Gamba 16 Fifteenth 2
Open Diapason 8 Echo Cornet, 3 ranks
Lieblich Gedackt 8 Contra Posaune 16
Salicional 8 Cornopean 8
Vox Angelica 8 Hautbois 8
Principal 4 Clarion 4
SOLO ORGAN (NOT IN SWELL BOX), 3 STOPS
Flûte Harmonique 8 Piccolo 2
Concert Flûte Harmonique 4
SOLO ORGAN (IN SWELL BOX), 10 STOPS
Open Diapason 8 Tuba 8
Gamba 8 Orchestral Oboe 8
Contra Fagotto 16 Corno di Bassetto 8
Contra Posaune 16 Cornopean 8
Cor Anglais 8 Flute 8
ALTAR ORGAN (PLAYED THROUGH SOLO ORGAN KEYS), 5 STOPS
Contra Gamba 16 Vox Humana 8
Gamba 8 Tremulant
Vox Angelica, 3 ranks 8
TUBA ORGAN, 6 STOPS
Double Tuba (in Tuba (in quarter gallery) 4
quarter gallery) 16 Tuba Major (over Great organ) 8
Tuba, (in quarter gallery) 8 Clarion (over Great organ) 4
COUPLERS AND ACCESSORIES--PNEUMATIC
Swell to Great Sub-octave. Dome Tubas to Great.
Swell to Great Unison. Chancel Tubas to Great.
Swell to Great Super-octave. Chancel Tubas to Great.
Solo to Swell.
Tuba Organ to Pedal. Great Organ to Pedal.
Solo Organ to Pedal. Choir Organ to Pedal.
Swell Organ to Pedal.
Six Pistons operate on the whole Organ.
About forty Adjustable Pistons and Composition Pedals.
The mechanism is entirely new. The quarter dome portion of the organ
is playable by electric agency; the rest being entirely pneumatic.
There are one hundred draw-stops. The most novel features are the new
Altar and Tuba organs. The former, containing Vox Humana, Vox Angelica
(3 ranks), and two Gambas (16 and 8 feet) serves for distant and
mysterious effects and to support the priest while intoning at the
altar; while the Tuba organ produces effects of striking brilliancy;
three of the Tubas being located in the northeast quarter-gallery and
speaking well into the body of the building. Among the accessories,
also, may be noted the large supply of adjustable combination pistons,
which bring the various sections of the instrument well under the
player's control. Various wind pressures are employed, from 3 1/2 to
WESTMINSTER ABBEY ORGAN, LONDON, ENG.
All good Americans when they visit London go to Westminster Abbey, and
will be interested in the organ there; in fact we believe it was
largely built with American money. The house of William Hill & Son,
who built this organ, is the oldest firm of organ-builders in England,
being descended from the celebrated artist, John Snetzler, whose
business, founded in 1755, passed into the possession of Thomas Elliot,
and to his son-in-law, William Hill (inventor of the Tuba), in the
earlier part of the Nineteenth Century. The business has been in the
Hill family nearly a hundred years and is now directed by William
Hill's grandson. The firm has built many notable instruments in Great
Britain and her colonies (Sydney) celebrated for the refinement and
purity of their tone.
The Console, Westminster Abbey
The organ in Westminster Abbey is placed at each side of the choir
screen, except the Celestial organ, which is placed in the triforium of
the south transept (Poets' Corner) and connected with the console by an
electric cable 200 feet long. The form of action used is Messrs.
Hill's own, and the "stop-keys" therefor (made to a pattern suggested
by Sir Frederick Bridge) will be seen in the picture to the left of the
music desk. Note that this organ can be played from two keyboards.
The main organ has pneumatic action throughout. It was commenced in
1884, added to as funds were available, and finished in 1895. The
specification (containing the additions made in 1908-9) follows:
GREAT ORGAN (14 STOPS)
Double Open Diapason 16 Harmonic Flute 4
Open Diapason, large scale 8 Twelfth 2 2/3
Open Diapason, No. 1 8 Fifteenth 2
Open Diapason, No. 2 8 Mixture, 4 ranks
Open Diapason, No. 3 8 Double Trumpet 16
Hohl Flöte 8 Posaune 8
Principal 4 Clarion 4
CHOIR ORGAN (11 STOPS)
Gedackt 16 Nason Flute 4
Open Diapason 8 Suabe Flute 4
Keraulophon 8 Harmonic Gemshorn 4
Dulciana 8 Contra Fagotto 16
Lieblich Gedackt 8 Cor Anglais 8
SWELL ORGAN (18 STOPS)
Double Diapason, Bass 16 Dulcet 4
Double Diapason, Treble 16 Principal 4
Open Diapason, No. 1 8 Lieblich Flöte 4
Open Diapason, No. 2 8 Fifteenth 2
Rohr Flöte 8 Mixture, 3 ranks
Salicional 8 Oboe 8
Voix Celestes 8 Double Trumpet 16
Dulciana 8 Cornopean 8
Hohl Flöte 8 Clarion 4
SOLO ORGAN (8 STOPS)
Gamba 8 In a Swell Box
Rohr Flöte 8 Orchestral Oboe 8
Lieblich Flöte 4 Clarinet 8
Harmonic Flute 4 Vox Humana 8
(heavy wind) 8
CELESTIAL ORGAN (17 STOPS)
Double Dulciana, Bass 16 Voix Celestes 8
Double Dulciana, Treble 16 Hohl Flöte 8
Flauto Traverso 8 Dulciana Cornet, 6 ranks
Viola di Gamba 8
The following Stops are available, when desired, on the Solo keyboard,
thus furnishing an independent Instrument of two Manuals; whilst in
combination with Coupler Keys, Nos. 1 and 2, Coupler Keys Nos. 3 and 4
can be interchanged, thus reversing the Claviers.
Cor de Nuit 8 Vox Humana 8
Suabe Flute 4 Spare Slide
Flageolet 2 Glockenspiel, 3 ranks
Harmonic Trumpet 8 Gongs (three octaves of
Musette 8 brass gongs, struck by
Harmonic Oboe 8 electro-pneumatic hammers).
ORGAN (10 STOPS)
Double Open Diapason 32 Bass Flute 8
Open Diapason 16 Violoncello 8
Open Diapason 16 Contra Posaune 32
Bourdon 16 Posaune 16
Principal 8 Trumpet 8
Manuals--CC to a|3|. Pedal--CCC to F.
The entire instrument is blown by a gas engine, actuating a rotary
blower and high pressure feeders.
There are 24 Couplers; 10 Combination Pedals affecting Great, Swell,
and Pedal stops; 24 Combination Pistons, and 3 Crescendo Pedals.
In 1908-1909 the organ was refitted throughout with William Hill &
Sons' latest type of tubular pneumatic action (excepting the Celestial
organ, for which the electric action was retained), an entirely new
console was provided, a large-scale Open Diapason added to the reed
soundboard of the Great organ, and several additions made to the
couplers and combination pistons.
William Hill & Sons are also the builders of the organ in the Town
Hall, Sydney, Australia, once the largest in the world; it has 126
speaking stops. It may be looked upon as the apotheosis of the old
style of organ-building, with low pressures, duplication, and mixtures.
The highest pressure used is 12 inches and there are no less than 45
ranks of mixtures which were characterized by Sir J. F. Bridge as being
"like streaks of silver." The writer saw this organ in the builder's
factory in London before it was shipped to Sydney. A unique novelty
was the Contra Trombone on the Pedal of 64 feet actual length. The
bottom pipes were doubled up into three sections and the tongue of the
reed of the CCCCC pipe was two feet long. Although almost inaudible
when played alone this stop generated harmonics which powerfully
reinforced the tone of the full organ. The organ is inclosed in a case
designed by Mr. Arthur Hill after old renaissance examples.
ORGAN IN THE MANSION OF J. MARTIN WHITE, ESQ.,
The organs heretofore described have been somewhat on the old lines,
but we come now, in 1894, to "the dawn of a new era," and the star of
Hope-Jones appears on the horizon. With the exception of an instrument
rebuilt by Hope-Jones in Dundee Parish Church, this is the first organ
with electric action in Scotland.
Organ in Hall of Balruddery Mansion, Dundee, Scotland
Balruddery mansion, the rural residence of Mr. J. Martin White, stands
in a fair country seven miles to the west of Dundee. The grounds of
the mansion are a dream of sylvan beauty, with the broad bosom of the
River Tay within the vision and beyond that the blue line of the Fife
The organ is the work of three hands. It was originally built by
Casson; the most notable characters in the voicing are due to Thynne;
and it remained for Mr. Hope-Jones to entirely reconstruct it with his
electric action, stop-keys, double touch, pizzicato touch and some of
his new stops. The console is movable, connected with the organ by a
cable about one inch thick, containing about 1,000 wires, enabling the
player to hear the organ as the audience hears it.
Referring to the view of the hall on page 167, the Great organ is in
the chamber behind the pipes seen in the upper gallery. The Swell and
Solo organs are in the attic above, and the sound of these can be made
distant by shutting the Swell shutters, or brought near by opening
them. The pedal pipes are put upside down so that their open ends may
be toward the music room.
Three manuals, CC to a|3|, 58 notes. Pedal CCC to F, 30 notes.
PEDAL ORGAN (G STOPS).
Open Diapason 16 Principal 8
"Great" Bourdon 16 (Partly from 16 feet
"Swell" Violone 16 open.)
Ophicleide 16 Couplers:
(First and second touch, Great to Pedal.
partly from Tuba.) Swell to Pedal.
"Swell" Viola 8 Solo to Pedal.
GREAT ORGAN (9 STOPS).
In swell box No. 2, except the Open Diapason, Clarabel and Sourdine.
Bourdon 16 Principal 4
Open Diapason 8 Zauber Flöte 4
Clarabel 8 Piccolo 2
Sourdine 8 Mixture, 5 ranks
Couplers: Swell to Great (first and second touch).
" Swell to Great Sub-Octave.
" Swell to Great Super-Octave.
" Solo Unison to Great (first, second, and pizzicato touch).
" Solo to Super-Octave to Great.
5 Composition Pedals.
SWELL ORGAN (10 STOPS).
In Swell Box No. 1.
Violone 16 Geigen Principal 4
Geigen Open 8 Horn 8
Violes d' Orchestre 8 Oboe 8
Harmonic Flute 8 Violes Celestes (Tenor C) 8
Echo Salcional 8 Vox Angelica (Tenor C) 8
Couplers: Sub-Octave and Super-Octave.
" Solo to Swell (second touch).
" Great to Swell (second touch).
5 Composition Pedals.
SOLO ORGAN (5 STOPS).
In Swell Box No. 2.
Harmonic Flute Tuba Mirabilis
(8 inches wind) 8 (8 inches wind) 8
Violoncello 8 Cor Anglais 8
Couplers: Sub-Octave; Super-Octave.
Three Pedal Studs p, f, ff.
Sforzando Pedal f, ff.
Stop Switch (Key and Pedal).
Tremulant (Swell and Solo).
ORGAN IN WORCESTER CATHEDRAL, ENGLAND.
Next in chronological order comes the epoch-making organ in Worcester
Cathedral, England, built by Hope-Jones in 1896. Here he gave to the
world the result of his researches into the production of organ tone,
and we make bold to say that no other instrument has so revolutionized
and exerted such an influence on the art of organ-building both in
England and the United States. Here for the first time we find that
wonderful invention, the Diaphone, and even the nomenclature of the
various stops is new, however familiar they may be now, seventeen years
later. Hope-Jones is reported to have spent several days in the
Cathedral studying its acoustic properties before planning this organ,
and the result was a marvelous ensemble of tone. The fame thereof
spread abroad and eminent musicians made pilgrimages from all parts of
the earth to see and hear it, as mentioned in our account of Yale
University Organ later.
Charles Heinroth, Organist and Director of Music, Carnegie Institute,
Pittsburgh, Pa., says:
"I don't believe I could forget my first impression on hearing the
Worcester Cathedral organ, to me a perfect masterpiece. At once a
sense of something out of the ordinary took hold of me at hearing the
tone quality of the various stops and combinations--it seemed
Similar opinions were expressed by many others.
There were two organs in Worcester Cathedral. The older of the two,
standing on the north side of the choir, though it had been rebuilt by
Hill & Son, contained pipes over 200 years old from the original
instrument by Renatus Harris. The second organ, built by Hill & Son in
1875, stood in the south transept. It was a gift to the Cathedral from
the late Earl of Dudley.
In 1895-1896 Hope-Jones constructed a new organ retaining the Renatus
Harris and some of the Hill pipes. It stands in three portions, part
against the south wall of the transept and part on either side of the
choir, all controlled from the console originally placed inside the
screen just west of the choir stalls, but since moved into the north
choir aisle. It was planned to have the Solo Tuba on a wind pressure
of 100 inches, but we regret to say the funds for this have not been
forthcoming. The specification follows; the compass of the manuals is
from CC to c4, 61 notes; of the pedals, CCC to F, 30 notes.
GREAT ORGAN (11 STOPS).
Diapason Phonon 16 Octave Diapason 4
Tibia Plena 8 Quintadena 4
Diapason Phonon 8 Harmonic Piccolo 2
Open Diapason 8 Tuba Profunda 16
Hohl Flute 8 Tuba 8
Viol d'Amour 8
SWELL ORGAN (15 STOPS).
Contra Viola 16 String Gamba 8
Violes Celestes 8 Quintaton 8
Tibia Clausa 8 Gambette 4
Horn Diapason 8 Harmonic flute 4
Harmonic Piccolo 2 Cor Anglais (free) 8
Double English Horn 16 Vox Humana 8
Cornopean 8 Clarinet 8
CHOIR ORGAN (10 STOPS).
Double Open Diapason 16 Dulciana 8
Open Diapason 8 Flute 4
Cone Leiblich Gedackt 8 Flautina 2
Viol d'Orchestre 8 Cor Anglais (beating) 8
Tiercina 8 Clarionet 8
SOLO ORGAN (5 STOPS).
Rohr Flute 4 Tuba Sonora 8
Bombarde 16 Orchestral Oboe 8
Tuba Mirabilis 8
PEDAL ORGAN (13 STOPS).
Gravissima 64 Octave Violone 8
Double Open Diapason 32 Flute 8
Contra Violone 32 Diaphone 32
Tibia Profunda 16 Diaphone 16
Open Diapason 16 Tuba Profunda 16
Violone 16 Tuba 8
Couplers: Choir, Great, Swell, Solo to Pedal; light wind Great Sub Oct
(on itself); Great reeds Super Oct (on themselves); Solo to Great, Sub,
Super and Unison; Swell to Great, Sub, Super and Unison; Choir to
Great, Sub and Unison. Swell Sub and Super Octave (on itself); Solos
to Swell; Choir to Swell.
Choir Sub and Super Octave (on itself); Swell to Choir, Sub, Super and
Solo Organ Sub and Super Octave (on itself).
Solo Tuba to Great 2d touch.
Swell to Great 2d touch.
Swell to Choir 2d touch.
Choir to Swell 2d touch.
Solo and Pedal Tubas have double tongues and are voiced on 20 inches of
Accessories: 5 compound composition keys for Great and Pedal, Swell and
Pedal, Solo; 3 for Choir and Pedal, and 2 to each manual for couplers;
2 combination keys; Tremulant to Swell; 5 composition pedals; Stop
Switch, Key and Pedal.
The composition keys between the manuals if touched in the centre give
automatically an appropriate Pedal bass in addition to the particular
stops acted upon; but if touched on one side do not disturb the Pedal
department. All combination movements affect the stop keys themselves.
The "stop switch" enables the player to prepare in advance any special
combination of stops and couplers, bringing them into play at the
moment desired. The organ is blown by a six-horse gas engine.
ORGAN IN WOOLSEY HALL, YALE UNIVERSITY,
NEW HAVEN, CONN.
This magnificent instrument, built by the Hutchings-Votey Organ Company
in 1902, possesses increased foundation tone and higher wind pressures.
The late Professor Samuel S. Sanford, devoted much time and interest in
its design. He visited Worcester Cathedral, England, and was
profoundly impressed with the new epoch in tone production heralded by
that organ. He made an effort to have Mr. Hope-Jones voice one of his
Tibias and Smooth Tubas for the Yale organ; and though his effort was
not successful, leading features of the Worcester instrument were
frankly imitated and generously acknowledged. It was largely due to
the liberality of Mr. George S. Hutchings in interpreting the terms of
the contract that such a complete instrument was secured for the
University. In recognition of this and in view of Mr. Hutchings'
artistic contributions to the art of organ-building, the University
conferred upon him the honorary degree of Master of Arts. The
Diapasons are voiced on pressures ranging from 3 1/2 to 22 inches; the
reeds in the Great and Swell on 10 inches, and the Tuba on 22 inches.
The builders state that the mixtures have been inserted at the request
of many noted organists. There are now 78 sounding stops.
Compass of Manuals from CC to c|4|, 61 notes. Compass of Pedals from
CCC to g, 32 notes.
GREAT ORGAN (19 STOPS).
Diapason 16 Octave 4
Quintaton 16 Wald Flute 4
Diapason 8 Gambette 4
Diapason 8 Twelfth 2 2/3
Diapason 8 Fifteenth 2
Doppel Floete 8 Mixture, 5 ranks
Principal Flute 8 Trumpet 16
Gross Gamba 8 Trumpet 8
Viol d'Amour 8 Clarion 4
SWELL ORGAN (21 STOPS).
Contra Gamba 16 Vox Celestis 8
Bourdon 16 Harmonic Flute 4
Stentorphone 8 Principal 4
Diapason 8 Violina 4
Gamba 8 Flautino 2
Bourdon 8 Dolce Cornet, 6 ranks
Flauto Traverso 8 Posaune 16
Salicional 8 Cornopean 8
Quintadena 8 Oboe 8
Unda Maris 8 Vox Humana 8
Aeoline 8 Tremolo
CHOIR ORGAN (13 STOPS).
(Inclosed in a Swell Box)
Contra Dulciana 16 Violoncello 8
Diapason 8 Viola 4
Melodia 8 Flauto Traverse 4
Viol d'Orchestre 8 Piccolo Harmonique 2
Lieblich Gedacht 8 Clarinet 8
Dulciana 8 Contra Fagotto 16
Viol Celeste, 2 ranks 8 Tremolo
SOLO ORGAN (6 STOPS).
(In a Swell Box)
Tibia Plena 8 Hohlpfeife 4
Tuba Sonora 8 Dolce 8
Gross Flute 8 Orchestral Oboe 8
PEDAL ORGAN (19 STOPS).
Gravissima (Resultant) 64 Contra Bass (Resultant) 32
Diapason 32 Diapason 16
Contra Bourdon 32 Diapason 16
There are 20 Couplers; 29 Combination Pistons; 11 Composition Pedals; 3
Balanced Swell Pedals and Balanced Crescendo Pedal.
ORGAN IN ST. PAUL'S CATHEDRAL, BUFFALO, N. Y.
This instrument, built by the Hope-Jones Organ Company and opened
Christmas, 1908, in one of the finest churches in America, takes
position among the great and important organs of the New World. It is
built on the "Unit" principle, and is divided between the extreme ends
of the lofty structure.
The chancel organ, consisting of four extended stops, occupies the old
organ chamber, which opens into the chancel and the transept of the
church. This portion of the instrument stands in a cement swell box,
its tone being thrown through the arch and into the chancel by means of
reflectors. It contains a Diaphone, the full organ being very
powerful, although its various tones can be reduced to whispers by
closing the laminated lead shutters, which are electrically controlled
through the general swell pedal at the console.
The other division of the instrument, the organ proper, is located in
the gallery at the distant end of the nave of the church, and in an
adjacent room. This gallery division, complete in itself, represents
the latest type of Unit organ. Speaking generally, all the stops are
common to all four manuals, and to the pedals, and can be drawn at
various pitches. Following more or less the analogy of the orchestra,
the organ is divided into four distinct portions, each enclosed in its
own cement swell box with its laminated lead shutters, controlled
electrically from the console swell pedals. These divisions represent,
respectively: "Foundation," "wood wind," "string" and "brass."
The entire instrument is played from one console, located in the nave,
connected with the chancel organ by an electric cable sixty feet in
length, and with the gallery organ by one of one hundred and sixty
feet. This key desk is of the well-known Hope-Jones type, which
appeals so strongly to most organists. It contains all the latest
conveniences: Stop-keys, in semi-circular position above the manuals;
combination keys, which move the stop-keys (with switch-board within
easy reach for changing the selection of stops); suitable bass tablets,
saving time and worry to the player; double touch, offering its wealth
of tonal effects, etc. Through the operation of a small tablet the
organs can be played separately or together.
COMPASS: MANUALS, 61 NOTES; PEDALS, 32 NOTES.
PEDAL ORGAN (16 STOPS).
_Foundation._ Cello 8
Tibia Profundissima 32 Cello Celeste 8
Resultant Bass 32 _Brass._
Tibia Profunda 16 Ophicleide 16
Contra Tibia Clausa 16 Trombone 16
Open Diapason 16 Tuba 8
Tibia Plena 8 Clarion 4
Tibia Clausa 8 Great to Pedal.
_Wood Wind._ Swell to Pedal.
Clarinet 16 Swell Octave to Pedal.
_String._ Choir to Pedal.
Contra Viola 16 One Stud to release all
Dulciana 16 Suitable Basses.
GREAT ORGAN (14 STOPS).
_Foundation._ _Wood Wind._
Tibia Profunda 16 Concert Flute 8
Contra Tibia Clausa 16 Flute 4
Tibia Plena 8 _String._
Tibia Clausa 8 Dulciana 8
Open Diapason 8 _Brass._
Horn Diapason 8 Ophicleide 16
Octave 4 Tuba 8
Swell Octave to Great.
Tromba 8 Swell Sub to Great.
Clarion 4 Choir Unison to Great.
Swell Sub to Great. Choir Octave to Great.
Swell Unison to Great. Tuba to Great Second Touch.
One Double Touch Tablet to cause the Pedal Stops and Couplers to move
so as at all times to furnish automatically a Suitable Bass.
Ten Double Touch Adjustable Combination Keys for Great Stops and
CHOIR ORGAN (22 STOPS).
_Foundation._ Quintadena 8
Contra Tibia Clausa 16 Quint Celeste (Ten C) 8
Tibia Clausa 8 Dulciana 8
Horn Diapason 8 Unda Maris (Ten C) 8
_Wood Wind._ Octave Celeste 4
Orchestral Oboe (Ten C) 16 Quintadena 4
Concert Flute 8 Quint Celeste 4
Clarinet 8 _Brass._
Oboe Horn 8 Trombone 16
Orchestral Oboe 8 Tuba 8
Vox Humana 8 Tromba 8
Flute 4 _Percussion._
_String._ Harmonic Gongs 8
Contra Viola 16 Harmonic Gongs 4
Viole d' Orchestre 8 Unison Off. Sub-Octave. Octave
Viole Celeste 8 Choir to Swell Second Touch.
One Double Touch Tablet to cause the Pedal Stops and Couplers to move
so as at all times to furnish automatically a Suitable Bass.
Ten Double Touch Adjustable Combination Keys for Swell Stops and
CHOIR ORGAN (22 STOPS).
_Foundation._ Flute 4
Contra Tibia Clausa 16 Piccolo 2
Tibia Clausa 8 _String._
Horn Diapason 8 Dulciana 16
_Wood Wind._ Viole d' Orchestre 8
Clarinet 16 Viole Celeste 8
Vox Humana (Ten C) 16 Quintadena 8
Concert Flute 8 Quint Celeste 8
Clarinet 8 Dulciana 8
Oboe Horn 8 Unda Maris (Ten C) 8
Orchestral Oboe 8 Dulcet 4
Vox Humana 8 Unda Maris 4
FEET. Swell Sub to Choir
_Percussion._ Swell Unison to Choir
Harmonic Gongs 8 Swell Octave to Choir
Unison Off. Sub-Octave. Octave. Swell to Choir second touch
One Double Touch Tablet to cause the Pedal Stops and Couplers to move
so as at all times to furnish automatically a Suitable Bass.
Ten Double Touch Adjustable Combination Keys for Choir Stops and
SOLO ORGAN (8 STOPS).
_Foundation._ Clarion 4
Tibia Profunda 16 _Percussion._
Tibia Plena 8 Harmonic Gongs 8
Open Diapason 8 Great to Solo.
_Brass._ Swell Sub to Solo.
Ophicleide 16 Swell Unison to Solo.
Tuba 8 Swell Octave to Solo.
Four Adjustable Combination Keys.
CHANCEL PEDAL ORGAN (2 STOPS).
Diaphonic Diapason 16 Bourdon 16
CHANCEL GREAT ORGAN (7 STOPS).
Bourdon 16 Flote 4
Open Diapason 8 Octave Gamba 4
Doppel Flote 8 Horn 8
CHANCEL CHOIR ORGAN (4 STOPS).
Doppel Flote 8 Flote 4
Gamba 8 Horn 8
Sforzando Pedal, Balanced Swell Pedal for Foundation, Balanced Swell
Pedal for Wood Wind, Balanced Swell Pedal for String, Balanced Swell
Pedal for Brass.
General Balanced Swell Pedal for all or any of the above.
Five Keys for indicating and controlling the position of the various
Tremulant for Wood Wind.
Tremulant for String.
ORGAN KNOWN AS THE HOPE-JONES UNIT ORCHESTRA,
IN THE PARIS THEATRE, DENVER, COLORADO.
This fine instrument was installed in May, 1913, and hailed by the
people of Denver with great enthusiasm. The president of the Paris
Theatre Company, writing under date of June 9, says:
"The wonderful instrument * * * is proving a source of interest to the
whole city and has materially added to the fame of 'The Paris' as the
leading picture theatre of Denver. No thirty-piece orchestra could
accompany the pictures so well as the Hope-Jones Unit Orchestra does.
Neither would it so completely carry away with enthusiasm the crowd
that flock to hear it."
The Author Playing a Hope-Jones Unit Orchestra.
Only the keyboards are visible from the auditorium; the instrument is
placed on each side of the proscenium, occupying the place of the usual
stage boxes, the tone being reflected into the theatre through
ornamental case work. The 32-foot open diaphone is located behind the
picture screen. The specification:
PEDAL ORGAN (32 NOTES).
Diaphone 32 Octave 8
Ophicleide 16 Clarinet 8
Diaphone 16 Cello 8
Bass 16 Flute 8
Tuba Horn 8 Flute 4
Bass Drum, Kettle Drum, Crash Cymbals--Second Touches.
Great to Pedal; Solo Octave to Pedal.
Diaphone 32 ft. Second Touch; Ophicleide 16 ft. Pizzicato Touch.
Six Adjustable Toe Pistons.
ACCOMPANIMENT ORGAN (61 NOTES).
Vox Humana (Ten C) 16 Octave Celeste 4
Tuba Horn 8 Flute 4
Diaphonic Diapason 8 Twelfth 2 2/3
Clarinet 8 Piccolo 2
Viole d'Orchestre 8 Chrysoglott 4
Viole Celeste 8 Snare Drum
Flute 8 Tambourine
Vox Humana 8 Castanets
Triangle, Cathedral Chimes, Sleigh Bells, Xylophone, Tuba Horn, Solo to
Flute, Solo to Accompaniment--Pizzicato Touch.
Ten Adjustable Combination Pistons.
One Double Touch Tablet to cause the Pedal Stops and Couplers to move
so as at all times to furnish automatically a Suitable Bass.
GREAT ORGAN (61 NOTES).
Ophicleide 16 Clarinet (Ten C) 16
Diaphone 16 Contre Viole (Ten C) 16
Bass 16 Tuba Horn 8
Diaphonic Diapason 8 Flute 4
Clarinet 8 Twelfth 2 2/3
Viole d'Orchestre 8 Viol 2
Viole Celeste 8 Piccolo 2
Flute 8 Tierce 1 3/5
Vox Humana 8 Chrysoglott 4
Clarion 4 Bells 4
Viol 4 Sleigh Bells 4
Octave Celeste 4 Xylophone 2
Octave, Solo to Great.
Ophicleide, Solo to Great--Second Touches.
Solo to Great Pizzicato Touch.
Ten Adjustable Combination Pistons.
One Double Touch Tablet to cause the Pedal Stops and Couplers to move
so as at all times to furnish automatically a Suitable Bass.
SOLO ORGAN (37 NOTES).
Tibia Clausa 8 Quintadena 8
Trumpet 8 Cathedral Chimes 8
Orchestral Oboe 8 Bells 4
Kinura 8 Sleigh Bells 4
Oboe Horn 8 Xylophone 2
Six Adjustable Combination Pistons.
Two Expression Levers, two Indicating and Controlling Keys, Thunder
Pedal (Diaphone), Thunder Pedal (Reed), Two Tremulants, Re-Iterator for
Strings, Re-Iterator for Solo.
One Double Touch Sforzando Pedal, First Touch, Full Stops, Second
One Double Touch Sforzando Pedal, First Touch Snare Drum, Second Touch
Bass Drum, and Crash Cymbals.
CATHEDRAL OF ST. JOHN THE DIVINE, NEW YORK CITY.
This organ was built by the Ernest M. Skinner Company, Boston, Mass.,
in 1911. It is the gift of Mr. and Mrs. Levi P. Morton, and is said to
have cost $50,000. It is contained in two cases on each side of the
triforium of the chancel and blown by an electric installation of 85
GREAT ORGAN (21 STOPS).
Diapason 16 Harmonic Flute 8
Bourdon 16 Octave 4
1st Diapason 8 Gambette 4
2d Diapason 8 Flute 4
3d Diapason 8 Fifteenth 2
Philomela 8 Mixture
Grosse Floete 8 Trombone 8
Hohl Flute 8 Ophicleide 16
Gedackt 8 Harmonic Tuba 8
Gamba 8 Harmonic Clarion 4
SWELL ORGAN (26 STOPS).
Dulciana 16 1st Flute 4
Bourdon 16 2d Flute 4
1st Diapason 8 Violin 4
2d Diapason 8 Flautino 2
3d Diapason 8 Mixture
Spitz Floete 8 Trumpet 16
Salicional 8 English Horn 16
Viola 8 Cornopean 8
Claribel Flute 8 French Trumpet 8
Aeoline 8 Oboe 8
Voix Celestes 8 Vox Humana 8
Unda Maris 8 Clarion 4
Gedackt 8 Tremolo
CHOIR ORGAN (IN BOX) (18 STOPS).
Gedackt 16 Piccolo 2
Gamba 16 Fagotto 16
Diapason 8 Saxaphone 8
Geigen Principal 8 Clarinet 8
Dulciana 8 English Horn 8
Dulcet 8 Orchestral Oboe 8
Concert Flute 8 Vox Humana 8
Quintadena 8 Carillons
Flute 4 Tremolo
SOLO ORGAN (17 STOPS).
Stentorphone 8 Gamba 8
Philomela 8 Hohl Pfeife 4
Claribel Flute 8 Flute 4
Harmonic Flute 8 Octave 4
Voix Celestes 8 Cymbal
Ophicleide 16 Choir Clarinet 8
Tuba 8 Choir Orchestral Oboe 8
Tuba Mirabilis 8 Clarion 4
Flugel Horn 8 Tremolo
PEDAL ORGAN (24 STOPS).
Diapason 32 1st Octave 8
Contra Violone 32 2d Octave 8
Violone 16 Super Octave 4
1st Diapason 16 Bombarde 32
2d Diapason 16 Euphonium 16
Gamba 16 Ophicleide 16
1st Bourdon 16 English Horn 16
2d Bourdon 16 Tuba Mirabilis 8
Dulciana 16 Tuba 8
Gedackt 8 1st Clarion 4
Quinte 10 2/3 2d Clarion 4
'Cello 8 Pizzicato 8
There are 32 Couplers. Stop Knobs are used, with Stop Keys for the
Couplers. (See illustration of the College of City of New York, page
Suitable combination action adjustable at Console, and visibly
affecting the registers.
The organ is provided with the following Expression Pedals and
Sforzando Pedal, Great to Pedal Reversible, Swell to Pedal Reversible,
Balanced Swell Pedal, Balanced Choir Pedal, Balanced Solo Pedal,
ORGAN IN UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO, CANADA.
Many fine organs have been erected in Canada and the northern part of
the United States by Casavant Frères, of St. Hyacinthe, Province of
Quebec, among which we may mention the Church of Notre-Dame in
Montreal, the Cathedrals of Montreal and Ottawa, the Northwestern
University, Chicago, and the Grand Opera House, Boston. The organ in
the Convocation Hall of the University of Toronto has 4 manuals of 61
notes, CC to c4; pedals of 32 notes, CCC to g; electro-pneumatic
action; 76 speaking stops; 32 couplers, and 4,800 pipes.
The organ was inaugurated June 6, 1912.
The specification follows:
GREAT ORGAN (10 STOPS).
*Double Open Diapason 16 **Octave 4
*Bourdon 16 **Harmonic Flute 4
*Open Diapason (large) 8 *Principal 4
*Open Diapason (medium) 8 **Twelfth 2 2/3
**Violin Diapason 8 **Fifteenth 2
*Doppel Flöte 8 **Harmonics (15-17-10-b21-22)
*Flûte Harmonique 8 **Double trumpet 16
**Gemshorn 8 **Tromba 8
* Stops marked * can be played by Coupler in Super Octave.
** Stops marked ** can be played by Coupler in Sub Octave.
[Transcriber's note: in "Harmonics", the "b21" above, the "b"
represents the music "flat" symbol.]
SWELL ORGAN (17 STOPS).
Gedeckt 16 Piccolo 2
Open Diapason 8 Mixture 3 rks.
Clarabella 8 Cornet 4 rks.
Stopped Diapason 8 Bassoon 16
Dolcissimo 8 Cornopean 8
Viola di Gamba 8 Oboe 8
Voix Celeste 8 Vox Humana 8
Fugara 4 Clarion 4
Flauto Traverso 4
Wind pressure 5 inches; Cornopean and Clarion 6 inches.
Wind pressure 4 inches; Large Open Diapason and Reeds 6 inches.
CHOIR ORGAN (ENCLOSED) (12 STOPS).
Salicional 16 Suabe Flute 4
Open Diapason 8 Violina 4
Melodia 8 Quint 2 2/3
Gamba 8 Flageolet 2
Dulciana 8 Contra Fagotto 16
Lieblich Gedeckt 8 Clarinet 8
Wind pressure, 3 1/2 inches.
SOLO ORGAN (DIVISION I, ENCLOSED) (8 STOPS).
Rohr Flöte 8 Concert Flute 4
Quintadena 8 Orchestral Oboe 8
Viole d'Orchestre 8 Cor Anglais 8
Violes Célestes (2 rks.) 8 Célesta
SOLO ORGAN (DIVISION II, ENCLOSED) (8 STOPS).
Stentorphone 8 Harmonic Piccolo 2
Tibia Plena 8 Tuba Magna 16
Violoncello 8 Tuba Mirabilis 8
Octave 4 Tubular Chimes
Wind pressure, 12 inches.
PEDAL ORGAN (15 STOPS).
Double Open 32 Violoncello 8
Open Diapason (wood) 16 Octave 8
Open Diapason (metal) 16 Bourdon 8
Violone 16 Super Octave 4
Dulciana 16 Trombone 16
Bourdon 16 Trumpet 8
Gedeckt 16 Clarion 4
Wind pressure, 5 inches; Reeds, 12 inches.
There are 32 Couplers operated by Draw-stops, also by Pistons and
Combination Pistons, 6 to each Manual, and 4 (Pistons) to the Pedals.
Four Foot Pistons on all Stops and Couplers; one Foot Piston for Great
to Pedal reversible; one Foot Piston for Full Organ.
Balanced Swell Pedal to Swell, Choir, and Solo; Balanced Crescendo
Tremulants to Choir, Swell, and Solo.
CITY HALL, PORTLAND, MAINE.
This organ was built by the Austin Organ Company, of Hartford, Conn.,
in 1912. It was presented to the city of Portland by Mr. Cyrus K.
Curtis, of the Saturday Evening Post, in memory of the late Hermann
Kotschmar, whose "Te Deum" is well known in the United States. The
organ is in a handsome case on the platform at one end of the hall and
is entitled to take its place among the world's great instruments. It
is certainly a coincidence that those who have been associated with Mr.
Hope-Jones in business now rank as the foremost organ builders in
America, as witness this fine organ and that in the Cathedral of St.
John the Divine in New York.
The Portland organ has four manuals of 61 notes, CC to c3, and pedal
of 32 notes, CCC to g. There are 88 sounding stops and 33 couplers.
GREAT ORGAN (18 STOPS).
Sub Bourdon 32 2d Open Diapason 8
Bourdon 16 3d Open Diapason 8
Violone Dolce 16 Violoncello 8
1st Open Diapason 8 Gemshorn 8
Doppel Flute 8 Double Trumpet 16
Clarabella 8 Trumpet 8
Octave 4 Clarion 4
Hohl Flute 4 Cathedral Chimes (enclosed
Octave Quint 3 in Solo Box).
Super Octave 2
SWELL ORGAN (16 STOPS).
Quintaton 16 Harmonic Flute 4
Diapason Phonon 8 Flautino 2
Horn Diapason 8 Mixture, 3 and 4 ranks
Viole d'Gamba 8 Contra Fagotto 16
Rohr Flute 8 Cornopean 8
Flauto Dolce 8 Oboe 8
Unda Maris 8 Vox Humana 8
Muted Viole 8 Tremulant
ORCHESTRAL ORGAN (13 STOPS).
Contra Viole 16 Quintadena 8
Geigen Principal 8 Flute d'Amour 4
Concert Flute 8 Flageolet 2
Dulciana 8 French Horn 8
Viole d'Orchestra 8 Clarinet 8
Viole Celeste 8 Cor Anglais 8
Vox Seraphique 8 Tremulant
SOLO ORGAN (12 STOPS)
Violone 16 Concert Piccolo 2
Flaute Major, Open Chests 8 Tuba Profunda 16
Grand Diapason 8 Harmonic Tuba 8
Gross Gamba 8 Tuba Clarion 4
Gamba Celeste 8 Orchestral Oboe (enclosed) 8
Flute Overte 4 Tuba Magna 8
ECHO ORGAN (IN ROOF) (7 STOPS).
Cor de Nuit 8 Echo Cornet, 3 ranks
Gedackt 8 Vox Humana 8
Vox Angelica 8 Harp
Viole Aetheria 8 Tremulant
Fern Flute 4
PEDAL ORGAN (AUGMENTED) (21 STOPS).
Contra Magnaton 32 Gross Flute 8
Contra Bourdon 32 Violoncello 8
Magnaton 16 Octave Flute 4
Open Diapason 16 Contra Bombarde 32
Violone 16 Bombarde (25-inch wind) 16
Dulciana (from Great) 16 Tuba Profunda 16
First Bourdon 16 Harmonic Tuba 8
Contra Viole 16 Tuba Clarion 4
Second Bourdon 16 (From Solo Enclosed)
Lieblich Gedackt (Echo) 16 Contra Fagotto 16
Gross Quint 10 1/2 (From Swell)
Flauto Dolce 8
There are 6 Composition Pedals to the Pedal Organ and 8 Adjustable
Pistons to each Manual controlling the Stops and Couplers. Stop-keys
Accessory: Balanced Crescendo Pedal, adjustable, not moving registers;
Balanced Swell Pedal; Balanced Orchestral Pedal; Balanced Solo and Echo
Pedal; Great to Pedal, reversible; Solo and Echo to Great, reversible;
LIVERPOOL CATHEDRAL, ENGLAND.
The firm of Henry Willis & Sons was established in 1845 by the late
"Father" Willis, who took his two sons, Vincent Willis and Henry
Willis, into partnership with him in 1878. The majority of the patents
and improvements produced by the firm were solely the work of "Father"
Willis, although his son Vincent was associated with him in certain of
the later patents. Vincent Willis left the firm in 1894, six years
previous to the death of "Father" Willis, which occurred in February,
1900, and the business has since been carried on by his son, Mr. Henry
Willis, with whom is associated Mr. Henry Willis, Jr., the grandson of
The famous traditions of the firm in the field of reed-voicing and flue
tone have been maintained by the present partners, who are both
experienced voicers; and in general up-to-date mechanical details the
firm is in the forefront of the English organ-building industry; as is
evidenced by their recently obtaining the contract for the magnificent
divided organ which they have now under construction (1913) for the
enormous New Cathedral of Liverpool, the specification of which is here
There are five manuals, of 61 notes, CC to c3, and a radiating and
concave pedal board of 32 notes, CCC to g. There are no extensions or
duplications. With the exception of the Celestes, which go down to FF
only, every stop is complete, of full compass. There are 167 speaking
stops and 48 couplers, making a total of 215 draw stop knobs.
PEDAL ORGAN (33 STOPS).
Dble. Open Diapason, wood 32 *Violoncello, metal 8
Dble. Open Diapason, metal 32 Flute, metal 8
Contra Violone, metal 32 *Quintadena, metal 8
Double Quint, wood 21 1/3 Twelfth, metal 5 1/3
Open Diapason No. 1, wood 16 Fifteenth, metal 4
Open Diapason No. 2, wood 16 Mixture, 17th, 19th, 22d
Open Diapason No. 3, wood 16 Fourniture, 19, b2l, 22, 26, 29
Open Diapason, metal 16 Contra Trombone 32
Contra Basso, metal 16 *Contra Ophicleide 32
*Geigen, metal 16 Trombone 16
Dolce, metal 16 Bombardon 16
*Violone, metal 16 *Ophicleide 16
Bourdon, wood 16 *Fagotto 16
*Quintaton, metal 16 Octave Trombone 8
Quint, wood 10 2/3 *Octave Bassoon 8
Octave, wood 8 Clarion 4
Principal, metal 8
* Stops marked * are in separate Swell Box.
Wind pressures: 6, 7, 10, 15, and 25 inches.
CHOIR ORGAN (23 STOPS).
Contra Dulciana 16 *Gambette 4
*Contra Gamba 16 Dulciana 2
Open Diapason 8 *Flageolet 2
*Violin Diapason 8 *Dulciana Mixture, 10, 12, 17,
Rohr Flute 8 19, 22
*Claribel Flute 8 *Bass Clarinet 16
Dulciana 8 *Baryton, dble. vox humana 16
*Gamba 8 *Corno di Bassetto 8
*Unda Maris (FF) 8 *Cor Anglais 8
Flute Ouverte 4 *Vox Humana 8
*Suabe Flute 4 *Trumpet (orchestral) 8
Dulcet 4 *Clarion 4
* Stops marked * in separate Swell Box.
Wind pressures: 4 inches; Trumpet and Clarion, 7 inches.
GREAT ORGAN (28 STOPS, 1 COUPLER).
Double Open Diapason 16 Octave Diapason 4
Contra Tibia 16 Principal 4
Bourdon 16 Flute Couverte 4
Double Quint 10 2/3 Flute Harmonique 4
Open Diapason, No. 1 8 Twelfth 2 2/3
Open, No. 2 8 Fifteenth 2
Open, No. 3 8 Piccolo Harmonique 2
Open, No. 4 8 Mixture, 10, 12, 17, 19, 22
Open, No. 5 8 Sesquialtera, 19, b21, 22, 26, 29
Open, No. 6 8 Double Trumpet 16
Tibia Major 8 Trumpet 8
Tibia Minor 8 Trompette Harmonique 8
Stopped Diapason 8 Clarion 4
Doppel Flöte 8 Solo Trombas on Great
Quint 5 1/3 (By Coupler)
Wind pressures: 5, 10, and 15 inches.
[Transcriber's note: in "Sesquialtera", the "b21" above, the "b"
represents the music "flat" symbol.]
SWELL ORGAN (31 STOPS).
Contra Geigen 16 Lieblich Flöte 4
Contra Saliciona 16 Doublette 2
Lieblich Bordun 16 Lieblich Piccolo 2
Open Diapason, No. 1 8 Lieblich Mixture, 17, 19, 22
Open Diapason, No. 2 8 Full Mixture, 12, 17, 19, b21, 22
Geigen 8 Double Trumpet 16
Tibia 8 Wald Horn 16
Flauto Traverso 8 Contra Hautboy 16
Wald Flöte 8 Trumpet 8
Lieblich Gedackt 8 Trompette Harmonique 8
Echo Gamba 8 Cornopean 8
Salicional 8 Hautboy 8
Vox Angelica (FF) 8 Krummhorn 8
Octave 4 Clarion, No. 1 4
Geigen Principal 4 Clarion, No. 2 4
Wind pressures: 5, 7, 10, and 15 inches.
[Transcriber's note: in "Full Mixture", the "b21" above, the "b"
represents the music "flat" symbol.]
SOLO ORGAN (23 STOPS).
*Contra Hohl Flöte 16 Concert Flute 4
Contra Viole 16 Octave Viole 4
*Hohl Flöte 8 Piccolo Harmonique 2
Flute Harmonique 8 Violette 2
Viol de Gambe 8 Cornet de Violes, 10, 12, 15
Viol d'Orchestre 8 Cor Anglais 16
Viole Celeste (FF) 8 Clarinet (orchestral) 8
*Octave Hohl Flöte 4 Bassoon (orchestral) 8
French Horn (orchestral) 8 Tromba Real 8
Oboe (orchestral) 8 Tromba Clarion 4
Contra Tromba 16 *Diapason Stentor 8
All Stops in a Swell Box except Stops marked *.
Wind pressures: 7, and 20 inches.
CLAVIER DES BOMBARDES (TUBA ORGAN) (6 STOPS).
Contra. Tuba 16 Octave Bombardon 4
Bombardon 8 Tuba Clarion 4
Tuba Mirabilis 8 Tuba Magna 8
Wind pressures: 30 inches; Tuba Magna, 50 inches.
The Stops of this department will be played from the fifth Keyboard,
the action being controlled by Draw-stop Knob marked "Tuba On."
ECHO ORGAN (19 MANUAL AND 4 PEDAL STOPS).
Salicional 16 Fugara 8
Echo Bass 16 Dulzian (reed) 16
Quintaton 16 Flautina 2
Echo Diapason 8 Harmonica Aetheria (flute
Cor de Nuit 8 mixture), 10, 12, 15
Carillon (gongs) 8 Chalumeau 16
Flauto Amabile 8 Cor Harmonique 8
Muted Viole 8 Trompette 8
Aeoline Celeste (FF) 8 Musette 8
Celestina 4 Voix Humaine 8
Fernflöte 4 Hautbois d'Amour 8
Rohr Nasat 2 2/3 Hautbois Octaviante 4
Wind pressures: 3 1/2 and 7 inches.
Both Pedal and Manual Stops in Swell Box. The Echo Manual Stops played
from the fifth Keyboard, the action being controlled by Draw-stop Knob
marked "Echo On."
Arranged in two double columns on the left-hand or bass jamb are 48
draw-stop knobs for the Couplers and Tremulants. The principal
Couplers may also be operated by reversible pistons and the Tremulants
(3) by reversible pedals. There are also 5 reversible pedal pistons
for the Manual to Pedal Couplers. In addition to the usual
Inter-manual Couplers there are on the Choir, Swell, Solo, and Echo
organs Sub and Super and Unison (off) Couplers, each on its own Manual.
A novelty is a coupler labeled Solo Tenor to Pedal. By its use the
upper 20 notes of the pedal-board are available for a tenor solo by the
right foot, at the same time the Pedal tones are cut off from these
notes and the remainder of the pedal-board is available for use by the
left foot as a bass.
The stop control is effected in the first place by 9 Adjustable
Combination Pedals to the Pedal Organ. Then there are 9 Adjustable
Combination Pistons to the Choir, Great, Swell, Solo and Echo organs
and 5 to the Tuba organ. It is possible to couple each set of these
Manual Pistons to the Pedal organ Combination Pedals, either by
draw-stops or by piston, thus moving pedal and manual stops
All these Combination Pedals and Pistons move the draw-stop knobs,
showing a valuable index of their position to the organist.
There are 5 Adjustable Pistons on the treble key frame (and 5
duplicates on the bass key frame) for special combinations, on Manuals,
Pedal, and Couplers.
There are 5 pedals to operate the various swell boxes of the lever
locking type--a locking movement allowing the performer to leave pedal
in any position. The swell pedal for the Pedal stops can be coupled to
any of the others.
The Tremulants have attachments allowing the performer to increase or
decrease the rapidity of the vibrato at will.
The action throughout is electro-pneumatic and tubular-pneumatic
(according to distance of pipes from keyboard), excepting the Manual to
Pedal Couplers, which are mechanical to pull down the manual keys.
There are seven separate blowing installations of electric motors.
The instrument occupied two special chambers on each side of the
chancel, and a portion of the south chancel triforium. There are four
fronts, two facing the chancel and two (32 feet) facing the transepts.
The console is placed on the north side above the choir stalls. The
organ is the gift of Mrs. James Barrow and cost (without cases) about
$90,000. The specification was drawn up by Mr. W. J. Ridley, nephew of
Mrs. Barrow, with the full approval of her committee, Mr. Charles
Collins, Mr. E. Townsend Driffield, the Cathedral organist, Mr. F. H.
Burstall, F. R. C. O., and Henry Willis & Sons.
It is claimed that this organ is now "the largest in the world." We
give the dimensions of some notable instruments for the sake of
Paris, St. Sulpice, 118 stops; London, Albert Hall, 124; Sydney Town
Hall, 144; St. Louis Exposition, 167; Hamburg, St. Michael's, 163, and
Liverpool Cathedral, 215.
James Ingall Wedgwood, in writing his excellent "Dictionary of Organ
Stops," felt it incumbent upon him to offer an apology, or rather,
justification for introducing the name of Hope-Jones so frequently.
The author of this present volume feels the same embarrassment. He,
however, does not see how it would be possible for him, or for any
future writer, who values truth, to avoid reiteration of this man's
name and work when writing about the modern organ.
The author's thanks are due to the Austin Organ Company, the Bennett
Organ Company, Dr. W. C. Carl, the Estey Organ Company, the Hook &
Hastings Company, the Hope-Jones Organ Company, the Hutchings Organ
Company, Mr. M. P. Moller, Messrs. J. H. & S. C. Odell, and the E. M.
Skinner Company, of the United States; to Messrs. Casavant Frères, of
Canada; to Messrs. J. H. Compton, W. Hill & Son, Dr. J. W. Hinton,
Alfred Kirkland, John Moncrieff Miller, and Henry Willis & Sons, of
England; to Dr. Gabriel Bédart, of Lille, and M. Charles Mutin, of
Paris, France, for valuable data, photographs and drawings, kindly
furnished for this book.