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MMD > Archives > September 2000 > 2000.09.26 > 01Prev  Next

Water Organ at Moldova National Museum, Romania
By Helmut Kowar

-- non-subscriber, please reply to sender and MMD --

Dear Robbie,  I saw and heard the water organ at the Moldava
National Museum in Iasi, Romania.  [Ref: 000818 MMDigest]

On the lower barrel there is an inscription: a name (most
probably the maker's name) not decipherable, and then "Zittau,
Sachsen".  It was most likely made circa 1900.

The organ, with several wooden flue pipes, is located on top of the
inner (floating) barrel.  In order to start the mechanism you have
to open a vent hole on top of the inner barrel and pull the barrel
out from the outer one, then close the hole again (it is an ordinary
screw cap) and let the barrel sink again.

By the weight of the inner barrel the air is now driven through the
little organ works, making the pinned cylinder rotate (I saw only
bridges on the cylinder).  The cylinder rotates very slowly, so it
is hard to say that it plays a melody; it is rather a succession of
more-or-less long tones of different pitches.  There is no device for
a constant air supply, like a feeder bellows, to the inner barrel.

The instrument looks like a demonstration object -- it's certainly
a unique piece.  It is interesting in the technical respect, but it
is not a source regarding musical performance.

Kind regards,

Helmut Kowar
Sound Archive, Austrian Academy of Sciences
Vienna, Austria

 [ See photos at
 [ Thanks for your report, Helmut.  -- Robbie

(Message sent Thu 14 Sep 2000, 05:34:54 GMT, from time zone GMT+0200.)

Key Words in Subject:  Moldova, Museum, National, Organ, Romania, Water

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