Medieval-style organ unveiled at St Fagans museum

Watch a performance on the reconstructed medieval church organ at the National History Museum at St Fagans, Cardiff

A working reconstruction of a medieval church organ has been unveiled at the National History Museum at St Fagans, Cardiff.

No originals have survived intact after the 16th Century Reformation and the organ has taken nine months to complete.

It recreates a unique sound not heard for hundreds of years.

But it has been a difficult task because of the lack of original reference points.

Officials at St Fagans said the new instrument would recreate the authentic sound of medieval church music and complete the interior of their St Teilo's Church.

They said its sound was different to that of a modern church organ.

Prof John Harper of Bangor University's school of music, who led the project, said the new instrument was partly based on the design of a medieval organ from Powys.

He said: "There are only three bits of late medieval organs surviving. A couple of the bits from inside found in Suffolk and then a wonderful case, but no organ inside it, at Old Radnor in Powys.

"And this little organ, though it's much smaller than that in Old Radnor, takes some of the details and some of the style from that instrument."

St Fagans said Prof Harper, Dr Magnus Williamson, Dominic Gwynn and Fleur Kelly, who have worked on the project, held a workshop on Friday exploring the nature of the late medieval British organ, some of the surviving repertory, and the different ways the organ was used in church before and after the Reformation.

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