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These pages comprise a dictionary of terms relating to the pipe organ. Please keep definitions to a few sentences, and do not include pictures or sound clips. When more space is needed for a term, a new page can be created for it.

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z



Valve

Valvular Reed

Ventil

Ventil Chest

Vierne, Louis (1870-1937)-- French organist, student of Widor, Vierne was nearly blind from birth. He served at Notre Dame in Paris for 37 years. Although he composed piano, vocal, and chamber music, he is best known for his organ works which include six symphonies and 24 fantasy pieces. He was world famous during his lifetime as a recitalist and improviser.

Violone - A string stop named after the orchestral double bass, and usually appearing at 16' on the manuals or at 16' or 32' in the pedal. It is normally of metal and of moderate scale.

Voicing [noun] - the art, craft and science of making all the pipes in the organ speak properly.

Voicer [noun] - a person who voices organ pipes. Voicers often specialize in either reed pipes or flue pipes.

Voix Céleste - A stop with two similar pipes per key, usually of string tone, with one being tuned slightly sharp (or, rarely, flat) to produce an undulating effect. The ear does not hear it as "out of tune", and the effect is far more subtle than the tremulant. Although similar stops are known from early times, the celeste became most popular in the Romantic period, particularly in France, England, and the United States. Also, a stop with only the sharp-tuned pipes; would need to be drawn together with the in-tune rank. Other names for similar stops include Unda Maris (usually dulciana pipes), Flute Celeste, and Voce Umana (usually diapason pipes).

Vox Humana - A partial-length reed stop, usually 1/4- or 1/8-length, with a muffled, buzzy tone. It was built as far back as the 16th century and was an essential resource (as Voix Humaine) on the Grand Orgue of the French Classical style. The Romantic builders provided it with its own tremulant and sometimes in its own small enclosure, to evoke a more mystical effect. Because of its prominence in the Cavaillé-Coll instrument it is indispensible for the works of Franck and other French Romantic composers. It is a required stop in the theatre organ style. Its name means "human voice", but it doesn't sound much like a singer or choir.

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