The Recent Revolution in Organ Building - Being an Account of Modern Developments
by George Laing Miller
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[1] One object of this was to prevent what was called "robbing." While the pressure of the wind might be ample and steady enough with only a few stops drawn, it was found that when all the stops were drawn the large pipes "robbed" their smaller neighbors of their due supply of wind, causing them to sound flat. By giving each pipe a pallet or valve to itself, the waste of wind in the large grooves was prevented. Another object was to get rid of the long wooden slides, which in dry weather were apt to shrink and cause leakage, and in damp weather to swell and stick.

[2] A striking instance of the difference between the two kinds of pallet can be seen in All Angels' Church, New York. The organ was built originally by Roosevelt, with two manuals and his patent wind-chest. In 1890 the church was enlarged and Jardine removed the organ to a chamber some thirty feet above the floor and fitted his electric action to the Roosevelt wind-chest. At the same time he erected an entirely new Choir organ, in the clerestory, with his electric action fitted to long pallets. The superiority of attack and promptness of speech, especially of the lower notes, of the Choir over the Great and Swell organs is marvelous. The same thing can be seen at St. James' Church, New York, where the Roosevelt organ was rebuilt with additions by the Hope-Jones Organ Co. in 1908.

[3] Some congregations could not stand them and had them taken out.

[4] Wedgwood: "Dictionary of Organ Stops," p. 167.



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 another.

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 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 tierce pitches.

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 bete 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.[1] 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 largely avoided.

[1] Broadhouse: "Musical Acoustics," p. 261.



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:

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 pressure.

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, frequently happens.

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 8-ft. tone.

"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." [1]

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.

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 Cavaille-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 old traditions.

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 leathered lip.

Wedgwood, in his "Dictionary of Organ Stops," pp. 44, 45, says:

"Mr. Ernest Skinner, an eminent American organ-builder,[2] 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.[3] 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 Cavaille-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 building."

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, Weigle, 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.

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.


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 orchestration.

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 Voegler (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,[4] by Cavaille-Coll, by William Thynne and others, and the introduction of large scale leather-lipped "Tibias" by Hope-Jones.

Harmonic Flutes, of double length open pipes,[5] are now utilized by almost all organ builders. Speaking generally, the tone is pure and possesses considerable carrying power. Thynne, in his Zauber Floete, 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 Floete, 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 inestimable." [6]

"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." [7]

"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." [8]

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 inventions." [9]

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 Tibia Minor.

Other Flutes found in organs are the Stopped Diapason, Clarabella, Clarinet Flute, Rohrfloete ("Reed-flute"), Wald Floete, Flauto Traverso, Suabe Flute, Clear Flute, Doppel Floete (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 mouths.


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.[10] 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, Spitzfloete, Clariana, Fugara, Salicet, Salicional, and Erzaehler.[11]


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.

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 tone quality.

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).

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 Cavaille-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 one.

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 Celestes!

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 the band.


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 leading organ-builders,

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.

M is a pneumatic motor or bellows to which is attached a rod bearing the compound and spring valve V, V 1 , 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, V 1 . 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, V 1 , and to open out the motor M, whereupon the process is repeated.

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.

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 aluminum piston.

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 division D.

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.

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 P 1 . 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 V 1 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 M 1 and M 2 are simultaneously inflated by the electro-pneumatic action operated by depressing the pedal key. The valve V will thereupon be closed and the valve V 1 be opened. As the pressure of air inside the motor M will now escape into the pipe or resonator P 1 , 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 P 1 , 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 P 1 and thereby producing a musical tone of great power.

As the valve V 1 is open, the sound waves formed in the pipe P 1 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 P 1 , and that the pitch of the note may be altered by varying the length of the pipe.

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. Y.

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 length.

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.

The action is as follows. Air under pressure enters the chamber B through the pipe foot A, and passing up the ports C, C 1 , C 2 , etc., forces the metal balls D, D 1 , D 2 , 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 produced.

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.

[1] Broadhouse, J., "Musical Acoustics," p. 27.

[2] Mr. Skinner has built some of the finest organs in this country.

[3] Much of Roosevelt's finest work is now being improved by various builders by leathering the lips.

[4] The "Harmonic" principle is described in Dom Bedos' book, published in 1780, as applied to reeds, and Dr. Bedart states that this principle was applied to flutes as early as 1804.

[5] That is to say, the pipes are made double the length actually required, but are made to sound an octave higher by means of a hole pierced half-way up the pipe.

[6] Wedgwood; "Dictionary of Organ Stops," p. 150.

[7] Wedgwood: Ibid., p. 153.

[8] Wedgwood: Ibid., p. 151.

[9] Wedgwood: Ibid. p. 153.

[10] "The Hope-Jones pattern of Muted Viol is one of the most beautiful tones conceivable."—Wedgwood: "Dictionary of Organ Stops," p. 173.

[11] The Erzaehler, a modified Gemshorn, is found only in organs built by Ernest M. Skinner.



Having described the improvements in pipes, we now consider how they are tuned, and the first thing we must notice is the introduction of equal temperament.

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.[1] 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.


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.

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 abnormal strain.

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 point A.

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.

[1] Some organs have been made (notably that in Temple Church, London) with separate keys for the flats and sharps.



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 other nations.

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 15, 1896:

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 Angels' Church.

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 greater rapidity.

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.



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


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 apprenticeship expired.

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 Cavaille-Coll was building a large organ for the Church of St. Denis. M. Cavaille-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. Cavaille-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 Cavaille 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 handsaw.

"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 Cavaille 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 management.

"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. Peschard'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, Peschard's name was rarely mentioned and carried little meaning to me. I did not know if Peschard 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 Peschard'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.

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 page.


The following sketch of the life of this eminent artist is taken from Dr. Bedart's forthcoming book on "Cavaille-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 Cavaille-Coll was born at Montpellier, France, on the 4th day of February, 1811. He was the son of Dominique Cavaille-Coll, who was well known as an organ-builder in Languedoc, and grandson of Jean Pierre Cavaille, 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—Cavaille-Gabriel, the father of Jean Pierre; Pierre, and Joseph, who also was an organ-builder. Aristide Cavaille, 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 reservoirs.

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. Cavaille 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 Cavaille-Coll submitted to the Academie 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.[1]

The fine period of Cavaille-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 Cavaille-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 Cathedral organs.

We all know the fine effect of a large Swell. The French Cathedral organs were deprived of this tonal resonance in 1850, and Cavaille-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.

Cavaille-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 Instruments.

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 Cavaille-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 Cavaille-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 Cavaille-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 Cavaille-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 tuner.

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."

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