Grand Viol English

Audsley lists this stop with the following description:

The name employed to individualize the most important unison (8 ft.) stop yielding unimitative viol organ-tone, inserted in an Organ: in this respect occupying a more commanding position, tonally, than the Geigenprincipal, 8 ft. An example exists in the unexpressive Subdivision of the First or Great Organ of the principal Organ in the Church of Our Lady of Grace, Hoboken, N.J. [New Jersey, USA].

In his entry for Geigenprincipal, Audsley states that a “better English term” for that stop would be Grand Viol.

Irwin also lists Grand Viol, saying:

A String stop of 8' on the manuals, having a solo tone quality similar to the Orchestral Violin stop, but of much keener and more assertive effect than this stop usually has. It is also useful as the loudest unison rank of a String Organ, for it can blend with the brilliant and incisive stops of this division. Its cutting, pungent, loud tone is unsuitable for any of the organ's regular divisions (Great, Swell, Choir, Solo), because its dissonant harmonics (and inharmonics) would clash with the notes of the equal-tempered scale, as sounded by the fundamentals of other stops. Some of this clashing is pleasant and some unpleasant, and the amount tolerated must be judged by the muscal function of the organ in question. The smaller scales of this String naturally have more dissonance within one pipe's tone than the larger scales. The scale of the 8' Violone is assumed by some specimens, and others have a scale so small at low CC that it is little more than one inch inside the pipe. Smaller scales induce hardness as well as dissonance, and have less fundamental with which to sound the melody's pitches. The pipes are constructed like those of the other Viols.
See Solo Violin.


Grand Viol 8', Grand Great; Convention Hall, Atlantic City, New Jersey, USA; Midmer-Losh 1929-32.

Grand Viol 16', Solo; John Wanamaker Store, Phildelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.

Grand Viol 16', Chancel Pedal; Cadet Chapel, United States Military Academy, West Point, New York, USA; Moller 1911.

Grand Viol Flat 8', Grand Viol Natural 8', Grand Viol Sharp 8'; Viol division; Cadet Chapel, United States Military Academy, West Point, New York, USA; Moller 1911.


Audsley[1]: Geigenprincipal; Grand Viol. Irwin[1]: Grand Viol.
Copyright © 1999 Edward L. Stauff, all rights reserved.
GrandViol.html - Last updated 9 April 2003.
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