Bird Whistle English
Nachtigall German
Nightingale English
Pájaros Spanish
Passarinhos Portuguese
Rossignol French
Vogelgesang German
Vogelgeschrei German
Vogelgeschrey German
Avicinium Latin
Canary English
Merula Latin
Oiseau French
Rosignolo (unknown)
Uccelli Italian?
Usignuolo Italian

A stop which imitates the warbling of birds. Most sources describe the construction of these stops as consisting of two or more small metal pipes whose ends are immersed in a vessel of water or light oil. Williams, however, writes:

The usual distinction is between small pipes twittering when the stop-knob admits wind to their miniature chest (Uccelli, Vogelgesang), stopped pipes a third apart and successively blown, thereby creating a cuckoo (Kuckuck), and small open pipes suspended in a metal dish of water, the pipes and dish of one construction (Nachtigall, Rossignol, Usignuolo - ‘nightingale’).

He also states the the Vogelgesang might be “a very high Zimbel or Flageolet (Adlung), repeating or only slightly varying in pitch from note to note”. Grove dates these stops from at least 1450. According to Williams, they were found mainly in the 16th and 17th centuries throughout Europe, and as late as the mid-19th century in some parts of Spain, Italy and southern Germany.

See also Cuckoo.


No examples of Canary, Merula, Oiseau, or Rosignolo are known. Contributions welcome.

Avicinium 3 Ordini, Organo Eco (III); Chiesa di San Filippo, Firenze, Italy, Fabbri 1664. A mixture (4'-2'-1') which reportedly creates a sound like the whistle of birds.

Bird Whistle; Temple Theatre, Hammond, Indiana, USA; Wurlitzer (relocated).

Bird Whistle; Virginia Theater, Chapaign, Illinois, USA; Wurlitzer 1921.

Nachtigall; Musée des Augustins, Toulouse, France; Ahrend 1981.

Nachtigall; Opera House, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia; Sharp 1979.

Nightingale; First Presbyterian Church, Richmond, Virginia, USA; Andover 1994.

Pájaros; Parroquia de Santa Engracia, Uztarroz, Navarra, Spain; de Rueda 1738.

Pájaros; San Juan Bautista, Santoyo, Palencia, Spain; de la Rosa 1738.

Passarinhos; Braga Cathedral (Gospel side), Braga, Spain; Simón Fontanes 1737.

Rossignol, Brustwerk; Abbey Church, Schlaegl, Austria; Putz 1634.

Rossignol; St. Sulpice, Paris, France; Cavaillé-Coll 1862.

Uccelli, Organo di Risposta (II); Cattedrale di San Filippo, Firenze, Italy; Fabbri 1664. Five metal pipes with the ends immersed in a dish of water.

Usignolo, Manual I; residence, Mayen, Germany; Oberlinger 1985.

Vogelgesang; St. Jacobi, Lüdingworth, Germany; Wilde 1598, Schnitger 1682.

Vogelgesang, Solo; Shadyside Presbyterian Church, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Reuter 1995.

Vogelgeschrei; Marienkirche, Stralsund, Germany; Stellwagen 1659 (restored mid-1900's).


Adlung[1]: §166 Merula, §207 Vogelgesangs. Audsley[1]: Vogelgesang. Grove[1]: Vogelgesang. Irwin[1]: Percussions. Maclean[1]: Traps Unit. Sumner[1]: Vogelgesang. Wedgwood[1]: Avicinium; Vogelgesang. Williams[1]: Glossary: Vogelgesang.
Copyright © 2001 Edward L. Stauff, all rights reserved.
Vogelgesang.html - Last updated 29 September 2007.
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