Tuesday, January 19, 8545

Pedro de Soto (b. c. 1545) - Renaissance Organ

[World's Oldest Organ, c. 1435, Switzerland]

Pedro de Soto (b. c. 1545)

Entrada Real (c. 1575)
(Renaissance Organ, Church of Santa Maria, Darocca, 1562)

Until the mid-1400's, most large organs had no stop controls. Each manual controlled many ranks at multiple pitches. This large number of ranks was called the Blockwerk.

Around 1450, controls were designed that allowed the ranks of the Blockwerk to be played individually. These devices were the forerunners of modern stop actions.

Some of the higher-pitched ranks of the Blockwerk remained grouped together under a single stop control; these stops developed into mixtures.

During the Renaissance and Baroque periods, the organ's tonal colors became more varied.

Organ builders fashioned stops that imitated various instruments, such as the krumhorn and the gamba. The Baroque period is often thought of as organ building's "golden age," as virtually every important refinement was brought to a culminating art.

Builders such as Arp Schnitger, Jasper Johannsen, and Gottfried Silbermann constructed instruments that were in themselves artistic masterpieces, displaying both exquisite craftsmanship and beautiful sound. All of these organs featured well-balanced mechanical key actions, giving the organist precise control over the pipe speech. Schnitger's organs featured particularly distinctive reed timbres and large Pedal and Rückpositiv divisions.

[8548 Aymara / 8545 Pedro de Soto / 8543 Byrd]