A Dictionary of Music and Musicians/Regal

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REGAL (Fr. Regale; It. Regale or Ninfale). An old German name for a very small organ also called 'Bibelorgan' or 'Bibelregal,' because it was sometimes so small as to fold up into the size of a Church Bible. It had a single rank of reed-pipes only. Prætorius in his Syntagma, vol. iii. pl. iv. gives a view of one, which in its extended condition, bellows and all, appears to be about 3 ft. 6 in. by 3 ft. He ascribes (ii. p. 73) the invention to a nameless monk; others give it to Roll [App. p.769 "Voll"], an organ-builder at Nuremberg in 1575. The specimen preserved in the Musée of the Conservatoire at Paris is said to date from the end of the 16th century, and has a compass of 4 octaves. The instrument has been long since extinct, but the name 'regal' is still applied in Germany to certain reedstops.

In the inventory of Henry VIII's musical instruments we find 13 pairs of single regalls (the 'pair' meant only one instrument) and 5 pair of double regalls (that is with two pipes to each note). The name continued in use at the English Court down to 1773, the date of the death of Bernard Gates, who was 'tuner of the Regals in the King's household.'

[App. p.769 "This name describes a variety of organ (not differentiated by size alone, as is implied in vol. iii. p. 93), which is especially interesting as being in some ways the prototype of the modern harmonium. It consists of a single row of 'beating' reeds, the pipes of which are in some instances so small as hardly to cover the reeds. A fine specimen is in the possession of the Brussels Conservatoire, and was lent to the Inventions Exhibition in 1885. The name 'bible regal' is not a synonym, but the title of another variety, the peculiarity of which consists in its being arranged to fold in two, on a similar principle to that on which leather backgammon boards are made. The bellows are covered with leather, so that when the instrument is folded, it presents the appearance of a large book. Line 11 of article, for Roll read Voll. For further particulars the reader is referred to Mr. A. J. Hipkins's 'Musical Instruments' (A. and C, Black, 1887), where both instruments are figured."]

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