The Tudor Organ

Because there are very few surviving organs of sixteenth-century England, our Tudor-style organ is based on the recent work of Martin Goetze & Dominic Gwynn of Nottinghamshire, England. In turn, their work is based on a 1995 rediscovery of a grid, table, and upper boards of an organ that once played at the collegiate church of Wingfield in Suffolk. At present, there are only two of these five rank Tudor-style organs in existence.

Unlike the recreation of this five rank organ by Goetze & Gwynn, our organ utilizes metal pipes. Pipes are fashioned of high tin metal with the façade pipes being embossed and gilded. The center façade pipe is painted en grisaille.

Our case is made of stained quarter sawn white oak and features hand carved panels of linen fold and Tudor rose carvings. This form of case decoration is inspired by the organ cases at St. Nicholas Church, Stanford-on-Avon and the organ case at the Parish Church of St. Stephen, Old Radnor, Wales.

Keys are made of European pear wood with the sharps made of ebony. The keyboard range is 40 notes from low F to high A, minus high G#. Therefore, there are 40 pipes per rank for a total of 200 pipes for the organ. To supply wind to the organ, it is equipped with two large feeder bellows. From historical data, these somewhat small but tonally versatile organs were the norm in Tudor times.

The organ is tuned in Pythagorean tuning and is pitched a 4th above modern pitch. The specification of the organ is as follows:
8′ Principal
4′ Octave
4′ Octave
2′ Superoctave
2′ Superoctave

The Principal is permanently on with the other four stops controlled by sliders.

The sound of the organ is surprisingly full and has a singing bell like quality. It is our hope that this organ will bring the large amount of sixteenth-century English organ music to life and we will once again be able to experience the sound of these marvelous musical machines. The organ is currently set up at the Memorial Church of Stanford, California.