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date: 25 November 2020


  • Barbara Owen


A name given to certain 16th- and 17th-century tower organs of central Germany and Austria. At first such outdoor organs could play only a few chords, and were used for signalling in the same manner as bells. Later they were enlarged and fitted with self-playing mechanisms of the pinned barrel type, enabling them to play melodies in the manner of a carillon. Two operable examples exist in Austria. One, dating from 1502, known as the ‘Salzburger Stier’, is in the tower of the bishop’s castle in Salzburg. Originally its 138 pipes played only a single loud chord, accounting for the name Stier (Ger.: ‘bull’). About 1640 a separate 25-note barrel organ was added, which played an unidentified hymn tune. In 1753 Johann Rochus Egedacher provided barrels with a different piece for each month, five composed by Johann Ernst Eberlin and six by Leopold Mozart; the old hymn tune was played during the twelfth month.Für den zwölften Monat sollte wieder der »Alte Choral« verwendet werden. During World War II the music was reprogrammed by the Nazis but in ...

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