Technology and The Organ in the Nineteenth Century

Kerala J. Snyder

in The Organ as A Mirror of Its Time

Published in print August 2002 | ISBN: 9780195144154
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199849369 | DOI:
Technology and The Organ in the Nineteenth Century

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This chapter is about the technological advancements and their impacts on the organ in the 19th century. In the beginning of the 19th century, the technology of organ building was still based on principles developed in the 15th century. By 1800, however, a general technological revolution was already under way; the organ, once the epitome of cutting-edge mechanical expertise, was rapidly becoming an anachronism. The potential of steam power had been recognized for centuries, but in 1769 James Watt, a Scott, patented the reciprocal-piston steam engine. In a parallel development, the first power-operated loom was patented in 1785. The period from the closing years of the 18th century through the first quarter of the 19th represented something of a nadir in the history of the organ. Something had to change if the organ was to recover its former importance as a musical medium.

Keywords: the organ; technological advancements; organ building; steam power; James Watt; power-operated loom

Chapter.  7899 words. 

Subjects: Musicology and Music History

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