Barrel Organ


Not on view

Instead of having a keyboard played by an organist, a barrel organ is a mechanical instrument that has the musical notes encoded in an arrangement of metal pins in a wooden barrel or cylinder. This instrument is activated by a person turning a hand crank, which both powers a single-fold bellows that provides air, and also rotates the cylinder that engages the mechanism that sends the air through specific pipes.

Technical description: Rectangular mahogany case with nine display pipes in cloth backed panel on front; inlaid striping around front edges; 28 open metal pipes, the lowest mitered, set in two rows, percussion instrument (?), crank on case front turns a combination worm and crank shaft that rotates the barrel and pumps the single fold center pivoted feeder beneath a reservoir; barrel slides on a bracket and has a ten notch shift pin extending through right side of case where it is engaged by a drop latch for tune selection; door on left side allows removal of barrel; three hand stops extend through bottom of case front, operating (L to R) front rank, rear rank, percussion; two additional barrels stored in separate box (b); compass indicated by letters on pipes: C D E F G A A# B C D E F G (A), with another set of letters a half step or whole step lower, crossed out; pipes come from another source, perhaps, and the B is marked Mix 12 and does not match the scale of the other pipes; list of tunes on label glued inside hinged lidpiece.

Barrel No. 1: 1. Adeste Fideles, 2. Lord My Pasture, 3. Evening Hymn, 4. Kelvin grove, 5. Bridesmaid song, 6. Butterfly, 7. Isabelle, 8. Home Sweet Home, 9. Rise Gentle Moon, 10. Heart & Lute

Barrel No. 2: 1. Spanish Dance, 2. Chatsworth House, 3. Tancreda, 4. Miss Gayton
5. Litte Litte, 6. Highland Laddie, 7. Les Lancers, 8. My Love is a Lassie, 9. Vulcans Cave, 10. Nouvelle Fantasie

Barrel No. 3: 1. La Rose, 2. La Dorset, 3. Der Frieshutz (sic), 4. La Divine, 5. L'Egelante (sic), 6. Hunters Chorus, 7. La Finale, 8. Dame Blance, 9. Darling White Sergant, 10. Oh its Love

Barrel Organ, Wood, various materials, British

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