Angelica Latin?
Engelstimme German
Vox Angelica Latin

Audsley lists the name Engelstimme with the following description:

The name originally given to a lingual stop of the Vox Humana class; and subsequently to a stop called Vox Angelica. Of the stop Seidel remarks “Angelica (Vox), die Engelstimme, ein angenehmes, aber jetzt veraltetes Rohrwerk zu 8'. Es geht nur durch die oberen Oktaven vom eingestr. c an. Dieses Register scheint eine frühere Art der Vox Humana zu sein.”

Seidel's remarks translate as: “a pleasant but now outdated reed-stop with a pitch of 8'. It starts at c1 and sounds only in the upper octaves. This stop seems to be an early type of the Vox Humana.” The name Engelstimme means “angel voice”.

Adlung is the only source to list the name Angelica (as opposed to Vox Angelica), and considers Engelstimme to be a synonym. He writes:

Angelica, from angelus, an angel, angelica vox, the voice of an angel, is apparently a sweetly voiced reed. 31) There have been continuous attempts to represent the human voice by means of an organ reed stop. It is also customary to attribute to angels a human voice, namely a treble or female voice, as charming as may be conceived. Such a reed, however, may not be built larger than 4' as regards pitch (Klange) (if it is indeed the same as the author supposes), since the Vox humana [stop], if it is to represent a tenor or bass, is normally found at 8' pitch. It may attain a special charm, reminiscent of a human voice, through a special structure of its body, lips (labii), shallot, etc. I do not know whether it is really necessary to represent angels as women or trebles. For none of us has heard an angel speak or sing, by which we might judge the characteristics of such a voice. And actually their sound cannot be compared to ours, since they as spirits may reveal their thoughts to each other in a far subtler way than through coarse sound waves (Luftwirbel). If however in the Bible angels speak with humans, this comes about through their assuming human form. Nowhere does the Bible state, however, that angels present themselves in the immature stature of a boy or in female form; indeed, it states than they have been seen as mature males. Now if their assumed stature and nature is masculine, and thus also the organs by which they speak and sing, why ought they not also to be assigned a mature and appropriately masculine voice, either tenor or bass? Mr. Mattheson adduces the same highly reasonable exposition of this matter in his Critica musica, Vol. 11, p. 319. And thus nothing especially angelic would be necessary; rather the human voice would be equivalent to the voice of an angel. [Albrecht] I have never seen it or encountered it in any organ stoplist. It is said to be found, however, in several organs built by the organbuilder Stumm from Sulzbach (see Anleitung, loc. cit ., note "c") .


Only two examples of the reed form of Vox Angelica are known, both of which are listed below. The only known example of Angelica is listed below, but it is apparently a flue, not a reed. No examples of Engelstimme are known. Contributions welcome.

Angelica 8', Manual II; St. James Church, Stockholm, Sweden; Akerman 1862. This is apparently a flue, not a reed.

Vox Angelica “B2'/D8'”, Bovenwerk; Reformierte Kirche, Groothusen, Ostfriesland, Germany; Fuehrer 1987.

Vox Angelica 4', Hauptwerk; St. Maximin, Koblenz-Horchheim, Germany; Stumm 1749.


Adlung[1]: §115 Angelica. Audsley[1]: Engelstimme.
Copyright © 1999 Edward L. Stauff, all rights reserved.
Engelstimme.html - Last updated 6 February 2004.
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