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  • Writer's pictureTim Braithwaite

John Baptist Cuvillie on Using a ‘Tramblan Stop’ to Make the Organ More Like the Human Voice (1699)

‘3dly I removed the Voxhumane which was on the Chairorgan before, Now to the Great Organ, and for to adorne that Stop and to make itt appeare like a humane voice, I added a Tramblan Stop to itt—and to make itt ye more naturall. which no organ in England can show the like, for they have not found out to make a Tramblan Stop—And for want of that Stop all their Voxhumanes are deficient, whereas I have made this stop ye naturall imitation of a voxhumane as perfect as any organ beyond Sea’



John Baptist Cuvillie (1699), reproduced in Barra Boydell, Music at Christ Church Before 1800: Documents and Selected Anthems (Dublin, 1999), 167-169.

Found in Lisandro Abadie, “Vocal Undulations and the Vox Humana Organ Stop,”, accessed December 17, 2022,

There is a great deal of rhetoric around the relationship between Vox Humana stops and the human voice, but very few historical comparisons are quite as clear as the above which states explicitly that 'to make itt [the great organ] appeare like a humane voice, I added a Tramblan Stop to itt.'

The painting below is ‘The Singing Lesson’ by the Dutch painter Herman van Aldewereld, painted in 1652.

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