Bremen: Martinikirche Positiv

The Seventeenth Century


The seventeenth century was a time of great importance in the history of the organ. Changes in political structures and religious institutions caused major upheavals not only for the people of the day, but also for their trades, including organ-building. Some of the changes that occurred - - the importation of continental features to England after the commonwealth, for example - - were dramatic and long-lasting in their effect. Others, such as developments in organ-building in Italy, continued a slow, inevitable line of development already in progress.

These particular events are described on the appropriate pages of this tutorial, of course, but it's important for you to realize that they did not take place in isolation. Every change that we see in the way instruments were conceived and built was made because something else happened -- something outside the limited field of organ-building. The instrument always reflects the life and times of its creator. As you read the pages that follow, remember that the organs you are reading about came into being against a backdrop of very real political and economic forces that shaped not only the instruments, but also the lives of the people that built them.

© 1999 James H. Cook