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date: 15 January 2021


  • Peter Williams
  • , revised by Martin Renshaw


Term currently used by organ theorists to denote a list of the speaking stops, accessories and compass of an organ. To a builder, however, ‘specification’ would include technical information on the bellows, action, pressure, chests, case, façade, placement etc., as well as the pipes and stops. The term was used by Hopkins (Hopkins and Rimbault, The Organ, 1855) as an occasional alternative to such phrases as ‘a list of the contents’ or ‘the distribution of stops’. Previous English writers used only such phrases as ‘list of stops’ (J.A. Hamilton: Catechism of the Organ, London, 1842), ‘Catalogue of the Stops’ (Burney), ‘Schedule’ (Father Smith at the Temple Church, 1688), and ‘The Name and number of the stoppes’ (Dallam’s contract at York, 1632).

The term ‘disposition’ (see Disposition), which is sometimes used synonymously with ‘specification’, properly refers to the arrangement of different stops among the keyboards or divisions of a harpsichord or organ, whereas ...

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