Show Summary Details

Page of

Printed from Grove Music Online. Grove is a registered trademark. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a single article for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy).

date: 27 November 2020


  • Peter Williams,
  • Nicholas Thistlethwaite,
  • Edwin M. Ripin
  •  and John Koster


A device for the gradation of volume in keyboard instruments.

Peter Williams, revised by Nicholas Thistlethwaite

The Swell organ is that manual department of an organ whose chest and/or pipes are enclosed on all sides by a box, one side of which incorporates a device (lid, flap, shutters, sashed panel, etc.) that can be opened and closed by connection with a foot-lever or pedal. A stop or half-stop may be thus enclosed, or several departments (Choir organ, Solo organ) or even the whole organ (Samuel Green, St George's Chapel, Windsor, 1790). The connection from foot-lever to swelling device can be mechanical, pneumatic, electrical, etc. and may be so made that fine gradations in the degree of closure are possible.

Some examples of the small Brustwerk of the 16th century may have had doors that could be opened; most authenticated examples before about 1700, however, have semi-fixed fretwork doors. The idea of foot-operated movable doors or, in chamber organs, flaps, occurred occasionally to builders (T. Mace, ...

You do not currently have access to this article


Please login to access the full content.


Please subscribe to access the full content.