Diversity in Unity: Discussions on Organ Building in Germany between 1880 and 1918

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At the end of the 19th century and in the first decades of the 20th century many aspects of German organ building changed. Appreciation for mixtures and reeds declined, 8’ stops became more important, cone chests replaced the traditional slider chests, pneumatic and electropneumatic action systems replaced the mechanical action systems, freestanding consoles became popular – to name just the major changes. These developments were discussed intensively in magazines and books. This study contains an inventory and an analysis of these public discussions, resulting in a new interpretation of the 'modern organ', as contemporaries liked to call their beloved discussion subject: whereas organs from the 18th and earlier centuries are famous for their 'unity in diversity' (many sound colors forming one instrument), the German 'modern organ' represents 'diversity in unity' instead (one basic sound color available in a countless number of shades, from bright to dark, from loud to - very - soft). This new perspective is checked in practice in eleven critical organ portraits, including suggestions as to how to combine stops on these 'modern organs'.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationDieren
PublisherKNOV (Royal Dutch Organists Association)
Number of pages360
ISBN (Print)9080559121
Publication statusPublished - 2002


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