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History of Music
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Aereophone (i.e. wind instrument) (7/13)
Musical instruments in works of art Paul Hofhaimer: O dulcis Maria

Middle Ages/Geistliche Kultur

Regal or portable reed organ


Image a)

Image b)

Example a) shows a Regal (ca. 1580, Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna). The existence of such small portable organs can be documented from as early as the 11th/12th c. and were called by this name during the 15th-17th c. The instrument concists of a narrow chest which contains the wind chest and reed pipes. In front of these is a keyboard where a musician plays the instrument, and in back, two bellows which require a second person to pump. When it was being played, the Regal was set on a table. It was extremely popular not only in church music but also in the theatre, at banquets (Tafelmusik), dances and private music-making. In the 18th c., musical tastes changed and the Regal went out of fashion because of its nasal-sounding, overtone-heavy texture (pic. ex. b Sound spectrum). The musical example Ave maris stella does not come from Austria. It should however serve as a listening example of the Regal. (E. Stadler)

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© Sound: Romano Zölss, Frankenau (Burgenland). Aufnahme und Klangspektrum: GM-Tonstudio-Musikverlag Dr. Werner Jauk, Ludwig-Benedek-Gasse 19, A-8054 Graz.
© Image: Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien.
Links to other albums:
Encyclopedia of AustriaOrgelbau, Spätmittelalter

 
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