Octave Gamba English
Gambette French
Octave Viol (unknown)
Octave Viole (unknown)
Violet (unknown)
Violette (unknown)

A Gamba or Viol pitched an octave higher than normal: 4' on the manuals, or 8' on the pedal. Occasionally found at 2' pitch. Wedgwood is the only source to mention Violette. According to Strony, the name Octave Viol[e] is used on theatre organs for a 4' Viol d'Orchestre.

Adlung describes Violet as a 4' Viole or Viola (see Octave Viola).

Compare with Violetta.


Gambette Celeste


Osiris contains 21 examples of Gambette, all at 4' pitch, seven examples of Octave Gamba, all at 4' pitch, and three examples each of Octave Viole and Violette. No examples are known of Violet, except for Adlung's cryptic reference to “Kindelbruck and Greussen”.

Gambette 4', Great; Holy Cross Cathedral, Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Hook 1875.

Gambette 4', Great; Congregational Church, Great Barrington, Massachusetts, USA; Roosevelt 1883.

Octave Viol 4', Echo, Pedal; Octave Viol 8', Pedal; Convention Hall, Atlantic City, New Jersey, USA; Midmer-Losh.

Octave Viol 4', Swell; John Wanamaker Store, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.

Octave Viole 8', Pedal; St. Paul's Anglican Church, Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Casavant 1914, 1956, 1982.

Octave Viole 4', Solo; Cathedral, Liverpool, England; Willis 1923.

Octave Viole 4', Solo; Cathedral, Norwich, Norfolk, England; Hill, Norman & Beard 1941.

Octave Gamba 4', Solo; Cyrus Northrop Memorial Auditorium, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Aeolian-Skinner 1932-35.

Octave Gamba 4', Swell; St Anne's Cathedral, Belfast, Northern Ireland; Harrison & Harrison 1975.

Octave Gamba 4', Swell; City Hall, Johannesburg, South Africa; Norman & Beard 1916.

Violette 4', Choir; John Wanamaker Store, New York City, New York, USA; Wanamaker 1920.

Violette 2', Solo; Cathedral, Liverpool, England; Willis 1923.

Violette 2', Orchestral String; Town Hall, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia; Hill, Norman & Beard 1929.

Sound Clips

See the Sound Files appendix for general information.

Gambette 4', Solo Kellogg Auditorium, Battle Creek, Michigan, USA Aeolian-Skinner, 1933 St. Anne


Audsley[1]: Gambette; Octave. Audsley[2]: I.XIII Gambette; Octave. Bonavia-Hunt[1]: Gambette; Viola. Irwin[1]: Gambette. Maclean[1]: Gamba; Viola. Skinner[1]: XII Gambette. Strony[1]: Gambette; Octave Viol. Sumner[1]: Gambette. Wedgwood[1]: Gamba; Violette.
Copyright © 2001 Edward L. Stauff, all rights reserved.
Gambette.html - Last updated 17 May 2008.
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