This pipe organ is a two manual with pedals, in other words, 2 keyboards and some
pedals. The top manual, or keyboard, is called the 'Swell' and it contains a variety
of sounds like strings, flutes and reeds. The use of a pedal controls some shutters,
which when opened create an increase in sound and when shut...well, you get the picture.
The lower manual, or keyboard, is called the 'Great' and is the main division of
the organ, creating a more robust and deeper sound than that created on the Swell
manual. The Pedals are the challenging bit - a keyboard played with the feet. In
effect an organist has four fingers with which to play this keyboard, two heels and
The pipe organ at Mauchline is a Willis organ, built by the famous organ builders
Henry Willis and Sons in 1888. It was originally to be found at Strathbungo Parish
Church in Glasgow and found it's way to Mauchline in 1980.
Stewart likes to find his way around the pedals with a pair of rather dashing and
exceptionally supple shoes.
The pipes are to be found inside the casing, although some real and dummy pipes are
visible. There is a pipe for every key and tone colour on the organ. That's a lot
The organ is a wind instrument controlled by a keyboard. When a key is pressed it
opens a valve under a pipe. This then allows the wind to enter the pipe thus producing
sound. The length of time sound is produced for is controlled by the organist pressing
on the keys - this is different from a piano where the sound has a natural end after
a short period of time. This continuous tone is the most important characteristic
of the organ. The tone of sound is controlled by the selection of a voice, or 'stop'.