Setting the Stops

Feeling ready to play a hymn but are overwhelmed by all the choices of stops? Not sure whether to use a Gedeck or a Celeste? This is the place for you!
This section presents Basic Organ Registrations, followed by Guidelines For Organ Registration and Common Stop Names.

For more information see OrganTutor, by Don Cook, Ard Publications.

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Basic Organ Registrations

some standard settings for congregational hymn singing

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Meditative Hymns

With no changes in registration—

Great: Principals 8′ and 4′

Pedal: The main 16′ stop, and Great to Pedal

With a single change of registration—

Great: Principals 8′ and 4′

Swell: Flutes 8′, 4′, and 2′

Pedal: The main 16′ stop, and Great to Pedal

Between verses or between a verse and the chorus, add the Swell to Great coupler.

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Jubilant Hymns

With no changes in registration—

Great: Principals 8′, 4′ and 2′

Pedal: The main 16′ stop, and Great to Pedal

With a single change in registration—

Great: Principals 8′, 4′ and 2′

Pedal: The main 16′ stop, and Great to Pedal

Later, between verses or between verse and refrain, add the Great chorus mixture (usually called Mixtur[e], Fourniture, or Plein Jeu, and followed by a Roman numeral)

For yet another change, you might add a chorus reed 8′ (Trumpet, Trompette, Fagott)

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Guidelines for Organ Registration

for congregational hymn singing

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In General:

Support the congregation with confidence, but do not overpower.

Let the text guide the registrational plan for the hymn.

Begin with principal chorus stops, especially at the 8′ level.

8′ and 4′ pitches are minimum for the manual; 16′ and 8′ are minimum for the pedal.

Substitute flutes for principals at 4′ and 2′ levels as needed to reduce sharpness.

Use changes of registration between verses and/or between verse and chorus.

The expression pedal (swell pedal) normal position is fully open.

The crescendo pedal normal position is fully closed.

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Common Stop Names

listed by pipe category

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Principals

ChoralBass, Diapason, Doublette, Dulciana, Fifteenth, Montre, Octave, Prestant, Quinte, Spitze Principal, Twelfth

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Flutes

Blockflote, Bourdon, Clarabella, Copula, Cor de Nuit, Flautino, Gedackt, Gedeckt, Holzegedackt, Larigot, Melodia, Nazard, Piccolo, Pommer, Speilpfeife, Stopped Diapason, Subbass, Tibia, Tierce

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Strings

Aeoline, Cello, Fugara, Gamba, Salicet, Salicional, Unda Maris, Viola, Violone, Voix Celeste

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Reeds

Chorus Reeds: Bassoon, Bombarde, Clarion, Fagotto (pronounced fuh-GOT), Hautbois, Oboe, Posaune, Rankett, Tromba, Trompette, Waldhorn

Solo Reeds: Clarinet, Cromorne, Festival Trumpet, French Horn, French Trumpet, Krummhorn, Regal, Rohrkrummhorn, Rohr Schalmei, Schalmei, Tuba

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