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Organs with the black/white keys reversed


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#1 hummingbird

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Posted 18 November 2018 - 23:02

IIRC, there's an organ in Yorkshire (is it South Yorkshire?) where the black keys are white and the white keys are black.  Does anyone know where it is, and are there any others in the UK?

 

Why do they do this, does anyone know?


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#2 Vox Humana

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Posted 20 November 2018 - 17:20

I am surprised that no one has replied to this before now since I'm sure other people know more than I do. These "reversed colour" keyboards were quite common in Germany in the Baroque period. Both the Silbermanns used them as standard, I think. At least I don't believe I have seen a Silbermann organ without them. The Hildebrandt organ at St Wenceslaus, Naumburg, which Bach may have helped to design, also has them. I think it was the Orgelbewegung (organ reform) movement in the mid twentieth century that revived the fashion. I have played a few Klais organs in Germany with these "reversed colour" keyboards: St Laurentius, Ahrweiler; Aachen Cathedral; Dreifaltigskeitkirche, Aachen (since removed elsewhere) and a number of other German builders have used them.  I have played a few in this country, but the only one I can recall offhand is the von Beckerath at Marlborough College. William Drake Ltd have used them on the reconstructed George England organ at the Chapel of God's Gift, Dulwich, although there the sharps are "skunk-tailed", which is to say that they are white with a central dark line.


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#3 Tenor Viol

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Posted 20 November 2018 - 18:54

Most of the chamber organs I have seen have 'reversed' keys.  


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#4 LoneM

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Posted 20 November 2018 - 20:19

Quite a lof of harpsichords have reversed keys, too.  I can't say it bothers me.


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#5 hummingbird

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Posted 21 November 2018 - 23:47

Thanks very much for the info :)


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