Bal, Fray Miguel
- Edward Charles Pepe
(fl Mexico, early 17th century). Spanish organ builder working in New Spain (Mexico). Bal, a Franciscan who in 1603 had immigrated to Michoacán from Aragón, came to be held in such high regard throughout the vice-royalty that the capitular acts of Mexico City Cathedral dated 17 May 1610 state: ‘he is the most qualified … of [all] those in this kingdom’. In 1611 Bal was enlisted to repair the cathedral’s two organs (still in the ‘primitive’ building since the current cathedral building was not occupied until 1625). One Gaspar Sánchez was sub-contracted to construct 275 missing pipes—a good indication of prevailing conditions since the two organs together likely had only 14 to at most 20 registers, or 750 to 1050 pipes. (Agustín de Santiago built the small organ in 1599–1600 —no information about it survives—and repaired the large organ at the same time.) Bal planned to take two to three weeks to tune and repair the large organ and to tune the small organ, but had to return in ...