The Portative Organ (pictured left) Formed a common part of daily life in Medieval Europe. This Small pipe organ was designed with the idea of being so portable that most of them could be carried and played by the same person, even while walking. This type of small Pipe Organ flourshied between 1100 a.d. and 1500 a.d. and then suddenly disappeared.
A few organ builders in the last few decades have begun building them again,, and among them is Sean Koreski Located in Portland, Oregon, USA. As a long time Professional musician and Instrument builder, he understands the need for compact practical instruments,, ones that are truly Portable Organs!! The volume of his Organs are plenty to accompany other instruments and be played both indoors and outdoors yet still be light and compact enough to be taken anywhere,, all without sacrificing the quality of tone!
25 Pipe Portative Organ
The Organ seen above has a Keyboard range From G above 2 foot C,, the same note as the lowest string on the Violin to the g exactly 2 octaves above. The ancient Portatives unlike modern ones many times had their Bellows installed on the bottom of the instrument so that they could drop open and fill automatically between phrases simply by letting go of the bellows. The bellows were squeezed between the thumb and fingers,, very much like clasping a thick book in ones left hand, for example. This made it much easier to carry and play at the same time since the pumping hand could also help to steady the instrument,, something that is nearly impossible on Portatives with vertical bellows which practically require the musician to sit while playing. This is pictured Below Along with the Our modern version:
Ancient Portative Back of our 25 note Organ
with drop Bellows Showing Drop Bellows
As can be seen in the above pictures,, our Portative Organ can be easily Played while being carried!
The Keyboard Range was arrived at after great consideration. The goal was to produce an Organ that would allow the interpretation of the widest amount of music possible, while still keeping the Organ as compact as possible. The result is our 25 note organ pictured above.
Click Here to listen (A brief improvisation on a piece by Thomas Campion.)
Click Here to listen (A quick run through all the notes of the Organ.)
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The Portative Organ pictured above is inspired by the Organs commonly carried by Troubadours and Strolling Minstrels in the 11th-13th Centuries. These small organs were often used to accompany singers,, playing the counter melody and they were never missing from any reputable music ensemble!
This particular Organ has 12 pipes with a diatonic scale ranging from the A below 1 foot C up to the E Above 6 inch C. It features round back Bellows reminicent of the orginal Portative Organs of medieval times. The pipes are made from Red Oak and Aromatic Cedar and have Zinc tuning tabs on their tops for fine tuning. This organ has a carrying strap so it can be played sitting or standing.
Click Here to Listen (This Song shows how a small organ can sound big,, by playing fifths and octaves.)
Click Here to Listen (in this song the organ is being accompanied by guitar.)
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All of our organs are carefully made by Hand over a period of up to several months.
Unlike Many Organ builders,, Sean Koreski Also builds his own Pipes (Some examples pictured Below) He does this to ensure that the Pipes are as compact as possible without sacrificing tone and volume!! .