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date: 03 March 2021


  • Fenner Douglass,
  • Barbara Owen
  •  and David Fuller


The selection of different pitches and tone-colours available on an instrument. The two instruments that offer the player a choice of registration are the organ and the harpsichord.

The musical forces of the organ are available selectively by means of separate stops, or registers, which together provide the entire tonal capacity of the instrument. Each of the stops controls the ‘on’ or ‘off’ position for a series of pipes, grouped so that one or more pipes will respond to each key on a manual or pedal keyboard. The term ‘organ registration’ takes in the large body of advice about what is appropriate when combining organ stops, as well as the aggregate tonal effect of any combination drawn for a particular musical need. There is a rich store of information about registration for the organ that can be classified generally into two categories: practical advice, often supplied by organ builders, which consists of lists of combinations capable of being turned to good use; and instruction from composers or theoreticians about combinations appropriate for performing a particular musical composition....

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