Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 2.djvu/597

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spring-. This correspondence of gauges was actually observed by Georgius Kleng in the pedals which he added to the organ at Halberstadt in 1495; and as those pedals were at the same time the earliest of which a representation is to be traced, an engraving has already been given of them below the Halberstadt claviers (Fig. 12, p. 582). It will be observed that in addition to the diatonic keys already mentioned, they had the four chromatic notes corresponding with those on the lower manual with which they communicated. The naturals were made of the kind that were afterwards called 'toe pedals.'

Fig. 15.

Page 597 (A Dictionary of Music and Musicians-Volume 2).jpg

In the early part of the 15th century—in the year 1418—the pedals received the important accession of a stop of independent pedal-pipes, and thus were initiated the 'Pedal Basses' which were destined to impart so much dignity and majesty to the general organ tone.

The manner in which the date of the construction of the first pedal stop was discovered, is thus related in the Leipsic Musical Gazette for 1836 (p. 128):—'In the year 1818 a new organ was erected in the church of Beeskow, five miles from Frankfort on the Oder, on which occasion the organ-builder, Marx senior, took some pains to ascertain the age of the old organ which he had to remove. On a careful investigation it appeared that the old organ had been built just four hundred years, the date mccccxviii being engraved on the upper side of the partition (kern) of the two principal pedal-pipes, for that these two pipes did belong to the pedal was clear from their admeasurement.'

In 1468 or 69 Traxdorff, of Mayence, made an organ for the church of St. Sebald at Nuremberg, with an octave of pedals, which adjuncts led to his being afterwards at times quoted as the originator of them.

Their invention has more usually been attributed to Bernhard in 1470 or 1471, organist to the Doge of Venice; but there can be little doubt that they were known long before his time. Several improvements connected with the pedals seem not to have been traced to their originators; such as the introduction of the semitones, the formation of the frame pedal-board as now made, the substitution of rollers for the rope-action when the breadth of the manual keys was made less than that of the pedals; the separation of the 32-feet stop from the manual, and its appropriation, together with that of other registers, exclusively to the use of the pedals, etc. Bernhard may perhaps have been the first to originate some of these alterations, and Traxdorff others, which tradition afterwards associated with the 'invention of the pedals.'

Dorn Bedos mentions that in the course of the 15th century, 16- and even 32-feet pipes began to be heard of, and that they necessitated a general enlargement of the several parts of the organ, particularly of the bellows. Pipes of 16 and nearly 32 feet were, as we have seen, in existence a century earlier than the period to which Dom Bedos assigns them. His observation therefore may be taken as applying more probably to the fact that means, which he specifies, had been taken to rectify the feebleness existing in the tones of large pipes, such for instance as those at Halberstadt. Hand-bellows were no longer adequate to the supply of wind, either in quantity or strength, and hence more capacious ones were substituted. Prætorius, in 1620, illustrates this improvement by giving a representation of the twenty bellows which he found existing in the old organ in the church of St. Ægidien in Brunswick, and which we have copied (Fig. 16, next page).[1]

Upon each bellows was fixed a wooden shoe; the blowers held on to a transverse bar, and each man, placing his feet in the shoes of two bellows, raised one as he lowered the other. Great ingenuity and constructive labour were bestowed on such bellows; but a supply of wind of uniform strength could never have been obtained from them, and consequently the organ could never have sounded in strict tune.

About the beginning of the 16th century the very ingenious but complicated spring soundboard was discontinued as being subject to

  1. The reader will remember that this method of compressing the organ-wind had been thought of upwards of a thousand years earlier at Constantinople.