Middle Ages/Geistliche Kultur#
Regal or portable reed organ#
Fig. a) shows a Regal (ca. 1580, Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna).
The existence of such small portable organs can be documented from as
early as the 11th/12th c. and were called by this name during the
15th-17th c. The instrument consists of a narrow chest which contains
the wind chest and reed pipes. In front of these is a keyboard where a
musician plays the instrument, and in back, two bellows which require a
second person to pump. When it was being played, the Regal was set on a
table. It was extremely popular not only in church music but also in
the theatre, at banquets (Tafelmusik), dances and private music-making.
In the 18th c., musical tastes changed and the Regal went out of
fashion because of its nasal-sounding, overtone-heavy texture (Fig. b:
Sound spectrum). The musical example Ave maris stella does not
come from Austria. It should however serve as a listening example of
the Regal. (E. Stadler)
© Sound: Romano Zölss, Frankenau (Burgenland). Aufnahme und Klangspektrum: GM-Tonstudio-Musikverlag Dr. Werner Jauk, Ludwig-Benedek-Gasse 19, A-8054 Graz.
© Picture: Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien.