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Purely anecdotal


Articles - Gothic/Mediæval

... The fascinating world of 10th to 15th century organs ...

... a personal perspective as an observer, owner and player ...


Project van Eyck

(left):14th-15th century constant-scaled pipes accompanying a contemporary viola d'arco

Some details of Project van Eyck, a performance-based-on-research program.

It was manifested at a concert in Muri (AG) on June 9th 2014, as part of a symposium "Die Orgel im Herbst des Mittelalters".

Project van Eyck links the Rumsey-van der Putten "gothic" organ with the famous 15th century Ghent altarpiece's portrayal of the music-making of that era.

Details and links


Some additional notes for attendees at the Melbourne Masterclass held on 6th August 2013

Click here

Additional document for attendees at the recent Amsterdam symposium held around the Reil "van Straten" organ, emulating Gerritsz 1479.

Click here

Feature article published by the US organists' journal, The Diapason, May 2013 issue.

"In Search of the Secrets of Medieval Organs"

The European Summer of 2012

A report and some reflections by David Rumsey.

Click here for a copy (.pdf) (with kind permission of "The Diapason")


Notes from the Medieval Organ Workshop

9th June 2012 Peterskirche, Basel

Program overview (pdf)

Pipe making technologies - historical survey (htm)

Bibliography, archaeology, select sources and references (htm)

Considerations surrounding the iconography (pdf)

Historical survey of organ pipe scaling (pdf)

The transition from Pythagorean to early mean-tone tempering (pdf)

Organ pedals - historical survey (pdf)

See also the Mediæval page on this web-site

Images courtesy of Gabriela Lewon, Lukas Howald, David Rumsey

Details of the Rumsey "Gothic/Mediæval" organ (.pdf) An updated description (9th October 2012).

Inaugurated by Kimberly Marshall and David Rumsey in 2010 it made its first international visit to France in early 2011. It was heard in a concert at Sint-Pieterskerk, Leuven (B) on Sunday 30th October 2011 with Cappella Pratensis, played by Wim Diepenhorst, then presented on 13th November at a workshop demonstration/concert at Finsterwolde (NL) (.pdf - in Nederlands). Here it featured the new constant-scaled rank. From December 2011 it was again used for services in Laufen (CH) and on Sunday 18th March 2012 was featured in a concert at Weil-am-Rhein (D) - for some recorded excerpts see below. In June 2012 it made its first appearances in Basel (CH) at a concert on Friday 8th followed by an afternoon workshop Saturday 9th. Performers - organists, singers, mediæval instrumentalists - and speakers at these events included Brett Leighton, Winold van der Putten, Crawford Young, Jankees Braaksma, Eva Kopli, Nicolas Savoy, Elizabeth Rumsey, Tobie Miller, Mathias Spoerry and David Rumsey. Some notes and summaries of that event can be found on this site (click here - .pdf file). On Sunday 10th it was used in the morning church service at Peterskirche, Basel played by Babette Mondry. In early September 2012 it went to Friesland for a week-long festival of gothic music and instruments of its kind, travelling from Laufen (CH) to Rhede (D), Huizinge (NL), Rysum (D), Rhede (D), Groningen (NL), Finsterwolde (NL) and back to Laufen in the course of some 12 days. Young Australian organists on a study-tour to Europe played it, observed demonstrations with ensembles including hurdy-gurdy and fidel and had masterclasses on it in late September 2012. It goes to Sissach (CH) for a concert on 13th January 2013, then to the Amsterdam Orgelpark for a symposium 6-8th June. In 2014 it is booked for an all-day "gothic" presentation in Muri (AG-CH).

The Rumsey Gothic organ - concert in Weil-am-Rhein (D)

Sunday 18th March 2012

Ensemble Musica Practica, Basel

Cristina Rosário - Mezzosoprano

Tomoko Mukoyama - Renaissance-Traversflöte

Elizabeth Rumsey - Vihuela d'arco

Orí Harmelin - Renaissance-Laute

David Rumsey - Gothic Organ

Recorded excerpts

Organ solo pieces

Tres IV glosado of Alberto

Paseabase el rey moro by Palero

O Rosa Bella from Buxheimer Orgelbuch

all above with the two 8' registers together

Excerpts from the Mass setting on Nunca fué pena mayor

by Francisco de Peñalosa (ca. 1470-1528).



Sanctus and Benedictus

Agnus Dei

The mastery and mystery of Tomás Luis de Victoria

(ca. 1548-1611)

Vere languores of Victoria

8' only - Arnaut de Zwolle scaling and tempering

Two critiques of the concert

Critique, Badische Zeitung 20th March 2012

Critique, Weiler Zeitung 21st March 2012


A report by Kimberly Marshall on the new Rumsey "Gothic" Organ was published in "The American Organist", January 2011 issue

Click here to see a copy (PDF)

Laat middeleeuws orgel a description of the Rumsey mediæval organ (in Nederlands). [click first on "orgels", then on Middeleeuwse orgels, then, at bottom right of the page, click on the image].

On YouTube played by Jankees Braaksma, with calcant Winold van der Putten

Also on YouTube Binchois played by Tomas Flegr, with calcant Winold van der Putten

Article about Winold van der Putten PDF (in Nederlands)


Orgelmakerij Winold van der Putten and David Rumsey exchanged contracts in January 2010 for a new Mediæval/Gothic-replica organ - a positive - suitable for playing both solo and ensemble 14th-15th century repertoire. This instrument was delivered to Laufen in April 2010. For sketches, photos, specification summary and more details click on "Installed in Laufen" or "Construction details".

Installed in Laufen (PDF)

Construction details (PDF)

For sound and image samples of the new instrument click on "Buxheim" or "redeuntes". Tomas Flegr plays "Aliud Esclaphe" - Buxheimer Orgelbuch nr. 102 ("Esclave puist yl..." by Gilles Binchois) on the new organ. Recorded live by Ingrid Noack at the presentation of the instrument in the church of Beerta, Groningen province (NL) on 31st March 2010. Jankees Braaksma improvises a "redeuntes" using 8', then 8'+6'. (Calcant for both: Winold van der Putten.) For Ileborgh's Praeludium played by David Rumsey (8', electric blower, no calcant) click on "Ileborgh". Recorded after delivery to Laufen.

Buxheim (WMV)

redeuntes (Mp3)

Ileborgh (WMV)

The medieval organ - a reference centre for initiates

Mini-Mediæval glossary for reference (PDF)

Mediæval and Gothic organ types - a summary explanation of the basics.

Mediæval organ types (PDF)

Delving back into Mediæval and Gothic organ culture - a summary history to the 15th century.

Mediæval organ culture (PDF)

© David Rumsey 2009, 2010 and ongoing