John Speller's Web Pages - US Pipe Organs
Transposing Organ Untitled Untitled
Toward a Laudian Organ ...

It is my hope that one day there will exist a two-manual transposing organ (i.e., one in which the pitch is a fifth below Choir pitch, and the lowest note of an 8 ft. rank is 10 ft. long) somewhere in North America.

The Early English Organ Project has produced two one-manual instruments such as might have existed in the sixteenth century. The project originated with Dr. John Harper, formerly Director of Music at Magdalen College, Oxford and subsequently Principal of the Royal School of Church Music. The two instruments were built by English firm of Goetze & Gwynn,who specialize in British organs in historic styles. For short videos see here, and here, and here. The California firm of Hupalo & Repasky has constructed a third, which may be heard here, and Goetze & Gwynn have just completed a fourth for St. Teilo's Church at St. Fagan's National Museum of Wales. Video of this instrument may be seen here.

There is still, however, no instrument anywhere in the world that is capable of giving an authentic performance of the voluntaries for Double Organ by such composers as Thomas Tomkins, Orlando and Christopher Gibbons, Richard Portman and John Lugge.

A good instrument to copy would be the c. 1632 organ that Dallam built for Magdalen College, Oxford. This was used as a residence organ by Oliver Cromwell during the Commonwealth, where it was played by Milton, after which it was returned to Magdalen and subsequently moved to Tewkesbury Abbey. The original stoplist was:

Magdalen College, Oxford

Organ built by Robert Dallam, c. 1632

Great Organ: C (F) short - c 3, 45 notes
Open Diapason
Stopt Diapason
Principal
Principal
Fifteenth
Fifteenth
Two-and-Twentieth
Two-and-Twentieth

Chaire Organ: C (F) short - c3, 45 notes
Stopt Diapason
Principal
Fifteenth
Recorder

The Two-and-Twentieths, or "Squealers" as they were sometimes known, seem to have been one-rank mixtures, starting at 1 ft. pitch. The example at Adlington Hall in Cheshire, c. 1670, breaks back to 22/3 ft. at middle C. The organist at Magdalen College at the time the organ was built was Richard Nicolson, Mus.Bac. (1570-1639), who held the position of Informator Choristarum from 1595 until 1639, and became the first Choragus of the University of Oxford in 1626.
Drawings by Dr. Arthur G. Hill: (1) The Main Organ Case from the Magdalen Organ at Tewkesbury
(3) Embossed pipes in the Tewkesbury façade
(2) The Magdalen Chaire Case, now at St. Nicholas, Stanford-on-Avon, near Rugby
(4) Details of the Stanford façade
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