Instruments | Portative Organ | Medieval Era | Classical

Although the early church had been hostile towards instrumental music, the organ was gradually adopted by Christianity following its rediscovery in the eighth and ninth centuries. Since then it has been a largely ecclesiastical instrument, though chamber organs have also been used for secular music in aristocratic houses.

Most medieval organs were small, especially by modern standards. Indeed, the portative organ was small enough to be carried by a strap while the player was walking. It could be balanced on the left knee, played with the right hand and pumped with the left. No such instrument survives and carvings and paintings are the only source of information we have about them. They suggest that, until the fourteenth century, there were two rows of pipes, allowing a two-octave compass; from their size, it seems that middle C was the bottom note.

Styles & Forms | Medieval Era | Classical
Instruments | Positive Organ | Medieval Era | Classical


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