Sunday, June 29, 2014

Unusual Artifacts: A Positive Organ, 1627

Positive Organ
Germany, 1627
This and all related images from:
The Victoria & Albert Museum

The term “Positive Organ” refers to an organ smaller than those typically used for church music. These were mostly employed in domestic settings, set on a table. One person would operate the keys while another pumped the bellows at the back of the instrument.

This one with its carved, painted and gilt pine case features keys made of birch. The organ pipes are constructed of stiffened, layered paper.

It’s believed that this instrument once belonged to Johann Georg, I Duke of Saxony (1585-1656), whose portrait adorns the piece. Strapwork strolls complete the elegant look. The organ was made in Dresden Germany in 1627 by Gottfried Fritzsche (1578-1638).

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