Beckerath pipe

3,467 pipes in 65 ranks,
in 5 divisions, each played
from its own keyboard;
four 61-note keyboards for
the hands and one 32-note
pedalboard for the feet


First, a bit of background information...
Ranks of pipes are called into play by pulling stopknobs at the console. Typically, a stopknob controls 1 rank of pipes with one pipe for each key: 61 pipes (five octaves) for stops in manual divisions, and 32 pipes for pedal stops. Some stops consist of 2 or more ranks; these stops add either piquancy or brilliance. Unlike the piano, which is a percussion instrument, the organ is a wind instrument. When a stopknob is pulled and a note played, the sound continues unchanged until the key is released (or the stop is pushed in and the wind cut off). A 1hp motor supplies the wind (for details about construction, see History). Organs vary tremendously in construction and sound from one century, region, and style to another. To experience this difference, compare and contrast the specifications and sound of Severance Hall's wonderful Skinner, built a quarter century before the Beckerath-and a sonic world away. For more on this, see History.
A few words about the Beckerath's specifications, which are given below:

The name indicates the family to which the rank belongs:
(prinzipal, oktave...),
(-flöte, gedackt...),
reed (posaune, trompet, dulzian, oboe, krummhorn), or
(gemshorn, celeste).

A number indicates the pitch at which that rank sounds. Some
ranks sound at the unison (8');
a few ranks sound 1 octave below (16'); many sound at 1 or more octaves above (4', 2', 1'); a few sound at other overtones, as the 12th (3') and 17th (1½').

A Roman numeral indicates a stop that has more than one rank, from 2 ranks (II) to 6 (VI). The 2-rank stops add piquant overtones and a marked timbre; The stops with 3 or more ranks are designed to add brilliance, especially to the lower range of the keyboard.
Specifications of Trinity's Beckerath organ
Pedal 16' Prinzipal
16' Subbass
8' Oktave
4' Oktav
2' Nachthorn
III Rauschpfeife
VI Mixtur
16' Posaune
8' Trompet
4' Trompet
The Pedal is the Beckerath's most powerful division. Most of its ranks work well at several dynamic levels, from quiet to moderate to full. Especially notable is the Subbass: very quiet, it can be felt physically as well as heard. The left tower ("C side") houses the C, D, E, F#, G#,and A# pipes; the right tower ("C-sharp side") houses the C#, D#, F, G, A, and B pipes.
Hauptwerk 16' Quintadena
8' Prinzipal
8' Rohrflöte
4' Oktave
4' Spitzflöte
3' Nasat
2' Oktave
VI Mixtur
8' Trompet
The Hauptwerk is the chief or head (haupt) manual division. Its principals and flutes are bigger sounding than those on the other manual divisions. Its mixture is also the biggest and brightest of any manual, with six pipes per note. Worth noting: the Trompet is full yet sweet, and not at all blaring.
Rückpositiv 8' Gedackt
4' Prinzipal
4' Koppelflöte
2' Oktave
2' Waldflöte
1-1/2' Quinte
II Sesquialtera
IV Scharf
16' Dulzian
8' Bärpfeife
The Rückpositiv sits on the balcony rail, at the organist's back (rück). In dynamics and function, it is the secondary manual keyboard. It includes the Dulzian, a mellow reed; the Bärpfeife, a quirky and buzzy reed; and the Sesquialtera, a 2-rank stop composed of two overtones that provide piquancy.
Kronpositiv 8' Holzgedackt
4' Prinzipal
4' Rohrflöte
2' Prinzipal
1' Sifflöte
II Terzian
III Scharf
8' Krummhorn
The Kronpositiv literally is the crown (kron). It ranks a close third among the keyboards, with slightly fewer ranks than the Rückpositiv. The Kron has a rather smaller mixture and a single, ravishing reed, the Krummhorn
Schwellwerk 8' Gemshorn
8' Celeste
8' Quintadena
4' Blockflöte
2' Gemshorn
III Zimbel
8' Oboe
The Schwellwerk is in a case with shutters that close or open to decrease or increase (swell, schwell) the volume. The Beckerath's only string stops are here: the Gemshorn and a companion rank of pipes (Celeste) tuned slightly sharp to create a halo effect. The other ranks are scaled accordingly, including a smallish mixture and a lovely Oboe.
Couplers   PEDAL +Schwellwerk +Rückpositiv
+Kronpositiv +Schwellwerk +Rückpositiv
Couplers enable stops of one division to be played on another division. Couplers are generally used either to borrow a sound which is unavailable on the keyboard being played or else to produce a massive sound. An unusual feature of the Beckerath is that manual divisions cannot be coupled to any other manual except the Hauptwerk. (By the way, a Pedal+Hauptwerk is superfluous; the Pedal is the most powerful division.)

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