Tibia Minor Latin

This name was used by John Compton for an 8' stopped flute of very large scale, which Bonavia-Hunt gives as 2 1/8" at middle C, and Wedgwood gives as 6" by 5" at CC for a wooden pipe, or up to 6" for a metal pipe at CC. It was made of wood or metal, or metal with a wooden bass, similar in construction to the Tibia Clausa of Hope-Jones, but having a very narrow mouth: 1/6, according to Bonavia-Hunt. The upper lips were leathered, arched, and cut high, 1 3/4" for a wooden CC, according to Wedgwood, who provides the illustration reproduced here (click on it for a larger image). Irwin claims it is of small scale, but provides no further details of construction or history. The tone of Compton's Tibia Minor is described by Wedgwood (and quoted by Audsley) as follows:

The tone of the Tibia Minor is extremely effective. In the bass it is round an velvety with a suspicion of smooth French Horn quality. In the treble the tone becomes very clear and full. The top notes of this stop, indeed, bear in them some resemblance to the full liquid notes of the Ocarina, though free, of course, from the undesirable features of that instrument. Whilst entirely devoid of the objectionable hooting quality sometimes displayed by powerful Flutes, it forms a solo stop of remarkably fine effect, and in combination serves to add much clearness and fulness of tone to the treble, and, in general, exercises to the fullest extent the beneficial characteristics of the Tibia class of stop. If only by reason of the faculty so advantageously exercised, of thus mollifying and enriching the upper notes of other stops - too often prone to become hard, strident and thin in tone - the Tibia Minor deserved recognition as one of the most valuable of modern tonal inventions.

Bonavia-Hunt provides a less glowing review: “The tone is superior to the tibia clausa, but both stops fail in the treble register, which, admirable as it may be for an abnormal solo effect, is very unsociable in combination.” Irwin, who is almost certainly not talking about Compton's stop, says “its tone is smooth and pure, and lacks the intense fundamental heard in many other Flutes”.

This name has also been used in Germany for a large-scale stopped flute, the “minor” indicating a higher pitch than some other flute stop. On theatre organs it indicates the smaller of two Tibia Clausas.

See Tibia Mollis.


Tibia Minor 4', Choir, Swell; Auditorium, Ocean Grove, New Jersey, USA; Hope-Jones 1907. (Both divisions also contain an 8' Tibia.)

Tibia Minor 8', Echo; St. Patrick's Cathedral, New York City, New York, USA; Kilgen 1930.


Audsley[1]: Tibia Minor. Bonavia-Hunt[1]: Stopped Diapason. Irwin[1]: Tibia Minor. Maclean[1]: Tibia. Strony[1]: Tibia Minor. Wedgwood[1]: Tibia Minor. Williams[1]: Glossary: Tibia.
Copyright © 2001 Edward L. Stauff, all rights reserved.
TibiaMinor.html - Last updated 27 January 2002.
Full Index