History, Facts and
interesting information about Medieval music,
specifically, Pipe Organ
Description of the Pipe Organ
Definition and description of the
Pipe Organ: The Pipe Organ can be described an this instrument that
consists of pipes for producing sound, of which a complete set, one pipe
for each key of the keyboard, is called a stop; bellows and wind chest
for holding the wind, sliders or valves for admitting it to the pipes,
and keys for controlling the valves.
The Pipe Organ -
In church music, the organ is perhaps the
first instrument to be considered. In 951, Elfeg, the Bishop of
Winchester had built in his cathedral a great organ which had four
hundred pipes and twenty-six pairs of bellows, to manage which seventy
strong men were necessary.
The Pipe Organ
An extract from an anonymous
manuscript of the tenth century, in which the author gives directions
for a set of organ pipes details the following instructions:
"Take first, ten
pipes of a proper dimension and of equal length and size. Divide the
first pipe into nine parts; eight of these will be the length of the
second. Dividing the length of this again into nine parts, eight of
these will be the proper length of the third; dividing the first pipe
into four parts, three of them will be the length of the fourth; taking
the first pipe as three parts, two of them will be the length of the
fifth; eight-ninths of this again will give the proper length of the
sixth; eight-ninths of this, the length of the seventh; one-half the
first, the length of the eighth, or octave."
The early pipe organs were
furnished with slides which the organist pulled out when he wished to
make a pipe speak, and pushed back to check its utterance. The date of
the invention of the valve is uncertain, but it must have been about as
soon as the power of the instrument was increased by the addition of the
second or third stop. The earliest chromatic keyboards known are those
in the pipe organ erected at Halberstadt cathedral in 1361. This pipe
organ had twenty-two keys, fourteen diatonics and eight chromatics,
extending from B natural up to A; and twenty bellows blown by ten men.
Organ Bellows in the organ at
Medieval Music -
The Medieval Times website provides interesting facts, history and information about the
musicians and styles of music which scatter the history books including
Pipe Organ. The Medieval Life and Times Sitemap provides full details of all
of the information and facts about the fascinating subject of the lives
of the people who lived during the historical period of the Middle Ages.
The content of this article on Pipe Organ provides free educational details, facts and information for reference and research for schools, colleges and homework for history courses and history coursework.