Terpodion Greek
Holzharmonica German

Around 1816-1820 David Buschmann of Berlin invented a keyboard instrument named “terpodion” which used sonorous wooden rods to produce tones through percussion or friction (by means of a rotating bow). In 1838 the organ builder J. Friedrich Schulze of Paulinzelle introduced an organ stop of the same name in the cathedral of Halberstadt, Germany. The pipes were open cylindrical metal with wide, low mouths. Wedgwood describes it as a Gamba with defective speech, producing a “spit” that was supposed to imitate the keyboard instrument. Audsley calls its tone “reedy”; Locher calls it “flute-like”. According to Williams, and corroborated by Grove, this name was also used for an 8' free-reed stop “with or without resonators, of usual delicately cutting tone; not uncommon in north-central German organs, c. 1830”. Maclean reports that German builders also used the name Holzharmonica for this stop. The name Terpodion is derived from Greek words meaning “to delight” and “song”.


No examples of Holzharmonica are known. Contributions welcome.

Terpodion 8', Manual IV; Cathedral, Halberstadt; Schulze 1838.

Terpodion 8', Oberwerk; Cathedral, Bremen, Germany; Schulze.

Terpodion 8', Manual III; Marienkirche, Lübeck; Schulze 1854.

Terpodion 8', Swell; Parish Church, Doncaster, Yorkshire, England; Schulze 1862.


Audsley[1]: Terpodion. Audsley[2]: I.XIII Terpodion. Grove[1]: Terpodion. Irwin[1]: Terpodion. Locher[1]: Terpodion. Maclean[1]: Terpodion. Sumner[1]: Terpodion. Wedgwood[1]: Terpodion. Williams[1]: Glossary: Terpodion.
Copyright © 2001 Edward L. Stauff, all rights reserved.
Terpodion.html - Last updated 22 December 2001.
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