Bible Regal


Not on view

The regal is a small pipe organ with a single rank of pipes. Inside each pipe is a thin brass tongue (or reed) that produced a loud, nasal sound when air is pushed through the pipe. Although the pipes function as resonators, because on a regal they are very short they do little to moderate the reeds' aggressive tone. Usually used as a continuo instrument, the regal's louder tone made it of use in larger groups of musicians than a more typical chamber organ. Composers occasionally specified it, as Monteverdid did in Orfeo, for his scenes of the underworld. 

The keyboard of this instrument folds in the middle, and with the pipes can be placed within the book-shaped case; hence the name Book or Bible Organ. This example is an early twentieth century reproduction based on an example that belonged to Francis Galpin.

Technical description: Compass, 4 octaves--C to C. An oak case in book form, placed at the back of the keyboard, contains two bellows, which were lifted alternately, supplying wind to the instrument. Immediately behind the keyboard is a set of pipes, furnished with beating reeds, placed on their sides. Keys, light wood naturals, with black sharps.

Bible Regal, Wood, German

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