Flaut Hemiol (unknown)
Hemiolflöte German

Maclean contains an entry entitled “Hybrid Stops” in which he says:

These are stops in which the diameter of the pipes remains constant within the whole range, so that the relative scale is constantly changing, with a corresponding variation in the tone quality. Thus, if the lowest pipe is of narrow scale, tone will get progressively flutier as it ascends in pitch; conversely, starting with a wide scale, the higher tones become more stringy in quality. Many historians are of the opinion that the earliest known ranks of pipes were constructed according to this pattern.
A stop of this kind, called Hemiolflöte or Flaut Hemiol, was much in favor among the Silesian organ-builders of the early seventeenth century; its curious name is said to be derived from a contraction of Hemi and Viol, i.e. half a viol!

It is not clear how Maclean thought a rank of pipes of constant width could get stringier as they ascended; this seems patently incorrect. Wedgwood lists Flaut Hemiol with the following description:

8 ft. A stop which, as the pitch rose, gradually varies its quality through Gamba, Salicet, Fugara, and Flute. (See Hamel[1], Vol. III, p. 540.

There was probably as much accident in design in this peculiarity. The difficult task in voicing modern keen Gambas on a low wind pressure is to preserve the stringy quality, combined with proportionate power in the treble. Some of the late Mr. Thynne's Viols became quite fluty in the upper octaves. The orchestral French Horn presents a remarkable instance of this transition of quality. Whereas at one time it was considered the standard of excellency to endeavour - often with the final result of ruining the stop - to preserve one quality of tone throughout the compass, now of late years a wonderful field has been opened in the skilful merging of one quality into other in different portions of the compass. Perhaps the most advanced organ in this respect - the one which suggested this point to the author - is that at Battersea Polytechnic (Beale & Thynne, voiced by Whiteley).

Compare with Hemiol.


None known. Contributions welcome.


Maclean[1]: Hybrid Stops. Wedgwood[1]: Flaut Hemiol.
Copyright © 1999 Edward L. Stauff, all rights reserved.
FlautHemiol.html - Last updated 5 November 2001.
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