Historic Sounds

Our knowledge as organ builders is constantly growing and changing. Much of our understanding evolves through visits to hear and research the antique organs in Europe. There has been a continuous evolution as the old builders developed the mechanics of the organ, followed the architectural movements of their age and region, and responded to the musical tastes of musicians and changes in church liturgy.

A research trip can be very intense. After careful planning and discussion with contacts in Europe, we arrive at a church with recording equipment, cameras, tape measures, and calipers. During the hours with each organ, we coordinate our work to obtain the greatest amount of information—often when it is cold and dark inside the organ. Upon our return home, we sift and absorb an enormous amount of information. One of the most important parts of this analysis is listening to the recordings of individual stops and combinations.

As time permits I will be adding more sound examples from past trips. The recording quality varies and the sound levels are irregular, but the information is invaluable. For the first examples we have chosen to include many of the reed stops in the two important organs in Stade, Germany and in Norden. In the following pages clicking on a stop name that is followed with a small speaker icon will play that particular clip.

We owe a debt to our friends in Europe for arranging these visits and demonstrating the organs. These clips are truly amazing. Enjoy!