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Positiv I (South wall)
8 Gedackt - a set of 54 stopped pipes with a gentle singing dark flute tone
4 Prästant - most of the 54 pipes of this set form the facade for the case; they belong to the Prinzipal family of Organ Tone, the characteristic sound of the instrument. These pipes sound one octave higher than normal pitch and are made from 100% burnished tin to insure a rich singing tone quality.
2 Waldflöte - (German "forest flute") a wide-scaled conical shaped set of 54 pipes two octaves above normal pitch
Sesquialter II - a compound mutation stop of two ranks useful when combined with other stops for both solo and ensemble effects. This combination was standard in the classic era for soloing out an ornamented melody.
Scharff IV - a mixture stop of four ranks containing the overtones of the 4' series, since the Prästant of this division is at that pitch level. Sharp penetrating ensemble tone.
16 Rankett - A regal sounding one octave lower than normal pitch; the 54 pipes have short resonators and gentle tone imitating the double-reed instrument of the 15th and 16th Centuries.
8 Dulzian - another imitation of an orchestral reed instrument of the time
8 Trompeta Real - (located at the top of the south wall positiv) These 61 burnished tin "Royal Trumpets" originated with the historic instruments of Spain and Portugal. Their stunning tone is unmistakable because of their horizontal position out of the case and very percussive attack.
Tremultant - not really a stop, because it makes no sound; this device shakes the wind supply thus giving the pipes a slight vibrato.
Zimbelstern - (bells of high pitch located on each case and attached to a rotating star) These were very common on the Baroque Organs of Europe and were much used on feast days in churches. The first probably appeared in Germany on the Munster Cathedral Organ 1585.

Positiv II (North wall)
8 Nachthorn - a set of 54 stopped pipes of very gentle tone quality; not unlike the Gedackt 8' in Positiv I.
4 Koppelflöte - a half-stopped set of 54 conical pipes with a gentle charming flutey sound one octave higher than normal pitch.
2 Prästant - same sound as Prästant 4' in Positiv I, but these 54 pipes are one octave higher in pitch level, thus giving the Positiv II division a characteristic organ sound one octave higher than the pitch level of Positiv I.
1 1/3 Quinte - a mutation stop sounding two octaves and a fifth higher than normal pitch. Used for sprightly solo and color effects.
1 Sifflote - a flute stop sounding three octaves higher than normal pitch.
Glockenzimbel III - a set of three ranks of very high pitched pipes containing a high terz; this mixture may be used for both color effects and ensemble where very high pitches are required.
4 Regal - these 54 pipes have their historical origin in the small medieval keyboard-instrument called "Regal" or "a pair of Regals". The stops had reeds and tongues but very short resonators. The tone of this stop is as lovely as it is antique.
Tremultant - see listing for Positiv I
Zimbelstern - see listing for Positiv I

 

 

Opus 4 and 46 - 1968 and 1977
First Congregational Church
LaCrosse, WI


The Jane Schleiter Davis Memorial Positiv Organs (Positiv I pictured) - Opus 4, 1968

By 1500 A.D. fully-fledged three-manual organs were being designed and we have a record of Daniel van der Distelen contracting for an organ in one of the Guild chapels of Antwerp Cathedral that had three such manuals called by him posityff comen in den stoel staen (positiv or small organ to stand behind the console seat) posityff comen staende inde borst van den principaelen groten werke (positiv standing in the breast of the main organ case) --M.A. Vente, Brabanter Orgel

Thus historically, Positiv Organs were secondary divisions of the main organ and almost always playable from the same console. The pipes of both the main instrument and the Positiv were always enclosed in wooden cases which served to focus and reflect the sound of the pipes in much the same way as a piano or violin case reflects the sound of those instruments. The resulting terracing of the sound of the various organ divisions located at various heights and distances from the listener inspired the great idiomatic music written for the instrument by the classic masters; and with the revival of a historic organ is inspiring composers of this day and age.

First Congregational Church in LaCrosse first added 21 ranks contained in two Positiv organs in 1968, and then added a four-manual console and 8 additional ranks in 1977. The stoplist provided is for the Positiv divisions.

The pipes for the two positiv organs were imported from Holland. Together, both Positiv organs contain 1141 pipes.

 

 

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