Werner-Bosch German Neo-Baroque
At Grace Lutheran Church
This instrument was built by Werner Bosch in Kassel, Germany and installed at Grace Lutheran in November of 1967. It has two manuals (keyboards): the top manual is the “Positiv” and the lower keyboard is the “Great.” There is also a pedalboard with 32 keys that are played by the feet. With 12 stops (individual voices) and 16 ranks (rows) of pipes equaling 800 pipes, the organ is a beautiful German Neo-Baroque instrument.
The organ is a tracker-action organ, a style of building that was used in the Baroque period (1600-1750). This means that when the organist depresses a key on the organ, a corresponding wooden tracker moves and it allows the wind to mechanically enter the pipe. The console of this instrument is 15 feet in front of the organ and it has trackers running beneath the balcony floor. With each additional voice that is utilized by the organist there is additional resistance for depressing the keys on the organ. Many modern organs use electronic connections.
The organ is tuned in a historic unequal temperment using the Kirnberger III system, making it especially ideal for playing music of the Baroque period, and playing hymns.
Our organ uses three “families” of sounds for its voices: flute (sounding like an orchestral flute), reed (the trumpet sound) and principal (the typical “organ” sound). The list below explains each of the 12 voices of our organ.
8’ Holzgedackt (56 pipes): A German “capped” or “covered” flute-like voice that does not have a lot of overtones, thus making it blend seamlessly with other voices of the organ. It has a very sweet, lovely sound.
4’ Principal (56 pipes): this is a non-imitative sound (it is not meant to sound like any orchestral instrument). The principal is the one sound that is unique to a pipe organ. It is a fairly loud-sounding voice.
2’ Octave (56 pipes): this is also a member of the principal family, and it sounds an octave higher than the 4’.
IV Mixtur (4 ranks – 224 pipes): The Roman numeral indicates that this is a hybrid stop that makes use of multiple ranks of pipes, in this case four ranks (rows) of pipes, sounding in octaves, fifths and thirds above unison pitch. Thus, for every key depressed on the organ there are four pitches that sound. This stop adds a high- pitched brilliance.
8’ Trompete (56 pipes): This is an orchestral reed stop that sounds like a trumpet.
8’ Gedackt (56 pipes) This German “capped” or “covered” flute-like voice is slightly quieter in sound than the Holzgedact on the Great division of the organ. The lower register of this voice is contemplative and relaxing, and the higher register is singing and plaintive. The mouth (opening) of this pipe is cut high to give the flute-like sound to its tone.
4’ Rohrflöte (56 pipes) This type of pipe originated in the Rhineland at the end of the 15th century. It has a tube or “chimney” at the top which gives a “liquid” sound to the voice, and the vibrations that result in the two spaces in the pipe (the body and the chimney) give rise to inharmonic upper partials of overtones.
2’ Blockflöte (56 pipes) This is the term used for the German Baroque wooden recorders. This stop has a convincing recorder-like sound.
2 2/3 – 1 3/5 Sesquialtera (2 ranks - 88 pipes with two pipes-per-key beginning at tenor “c”) A hybrid, high-pitched stop of the principal family, with two different pitches that sound when a key is depressed.
Combined with an 8-4-2′ flute it makes a lovely cornet.
16’ Subbass (32 pipes) This is the lowest voice on our organ. It is a stopped-flute voice and it is characterized by a very dark, heavy tone with very little overtones. It is made of half-length construction (thus a 16’ subbass pipe is actually only 8’ in length, but it sounds at the lower pitch).
8’ Gemshorn (32 pipes) The original gemshorns were made from the horns of cattle with tone holes along their front, like a clarinet or recorder. The organ voice is a hybrid voice somewhere between a flute and a principal, and the pipes are conical with the wind going in at the wide end of the pipe, rather than the narrow end like most pipes on an organ.
4’ Choralbass (32 pipes) A principal voice that sounds an octave higher than it is played.