Bible Regal

Copy of original instrument in The Danish Music Museum (Musikhistorisk Museum og Carl Claudius’ Samling), Copenhagen.

This remarkable instrument was probably built in Germany around 1700. It is the smallest among about 10 surviving bible regals from the period and can thus be labelled as the smallest organ in the world (apart from free reed instruments of harmonium type).

Bellows: Oak, painted, covered in leather with brass mountings, each one measuring 203×306 mm.

Chest with keyboard: In four pieces, oak, painted, 634x68x54 mm. Keys of boxwood and pearwood.

Pipes: Open pipes without resonators, pearwood, shallots of tinned iron, reeds of brass.

Range: 4 octaves C-b”, minus lowest C#.

The bright and direct but genial sound characteristic of this regal makes the instrument equally well suited for solo-playing (dances and organ music of the 16th and 17th century) and accompaniment.

Look at this video to see the instrument being transformed from a bible to a musical instrument:

Hear the bible regal in Samuel Scheidt’s Ach du Feiner Reiter played by Oliver Hirsh: