Joseph Gabler | Basilica of St. Martin . Weingarten [Germany]

JGabl_Wei_St Martin_Andreas Praefcke 8 CC BY 3.0_crop

Photography by Andreas Praefcke
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The Weingarten organ contract was signed in 6 July 1737 and construction began on that year, lasting until 1750. In 1720, seventeen years before the contract signature with Gabler, Andreas Silbermann also proposed an organ to Weingarten, rejecting however the idea of an organ spreading along the entire West wall of the basilica.

In Gabler’s instrument the major focus is given to echos, stop timbric definition and stereophonic effects. The narrow scale of pipework creates a soft sound for almost all the registers, producing however little volume. This situation was counterbalanced somehow by the duplication of some stop’s pipework, giving some registers more deepness, as in the Öberwerk’s Bourdon 16’ – from C to b’ it consists of a single rank of stopped wood pipes, but from c’ it gets an extra rank of Viola 16’ pipes (made of tin) and from c’’ increases to 3 ranks. The same technique applies to Unterwerk’s Hohlflöte 4’ – with two ranks from d#’ – and to Flauto traverso 4’ in Rückpositiv.

Apart from the normal registers, there are also two Carillon – one at the Pedal (20 bells) and another one in the Rückpositiv (32 bells from f to c’’’) – and a set of additional stops – Cuculus (cuckoo), Rossignol (nightingale), Tympanum (drum in G) and Cymbala (3 bells). The Carillon bells are arranged in form of grape bunches, contributing to the overall aesthetic of the organ.

To complete the whole set of stops, it is indeed necessary to name the La Force stop, a 49 rank stop played just from the lowest C pedal that produces a C major triad and that was played before the beginning of the celebration.

Both the keyboards and the stop knobs are made in ivory. The console is located behind the lower middle window, separated from the instrument, being one of the earliest freestanding consoles. The mechanical action is a very intricate mechanism, due to the complex disposition of the several sections around the windows; this fascinating design allowed to maintain the windows completely free from obstacles but gave origin to a heavy key action, caused by the long trackers, and even, in some parts, an inadequate wind supply.


1737 (July) – first contract and beginning of construction
1737 (December) – fire in monastery delays organ construction, and second contract is made to a small choir organ
1742 – third contract to finish the main organ
1746 – fourth contract to finish the main organ
1750 – organ construction conclusion
1981-1983 – restoration by Orgelbau Kuhn – pedalboard extension from 20 to 27 notes and change to equal temperament


Hauptwerk Oberwerk Echowerk Brustwerk Pedal
Praestant 16’ Bourdon I-III 16’ Bourdon 16’ Principal doux 8’ [Hauptpedal]
Principal 8’ Principal Tutti 8’ Principal 8’ Flaut douce 8’ Contrabass II 32’+16′
Rohrflöte 8’ Violoncello I-III 8’ Flöten 8’ Quintatön 8’ Subbaß 16′
Octav I-II 4’ Coppel 8’ Quintatön 8’ Violoncello 8’ Oktavbass 8’
Superoctav II 2’+1’ Hohlflöte 8’ Viola douce 8’ Rohrflöte 4’ Violonbass II 16’
Hohlflöte 2’ Unda maris 8’ Octav 4’ Querflöte 4’ Mixturbass V-VI 8’
Mixtur IX-X 2’ Salicional 8’ Hohlflöte II 4’ Flaut travers II 4’ Posaunenbass 16’
Cimbalum XII 1’ Mixtur IX-XII 4’ Piffaro doux II 4’ Flageolet 2’ Bombardbass 16’
Sesquialter VIII-IX 1 1/2′ [Kronwerk] Superoctav 2’ Piffaro V-VI 4’ La force XLIX 4’
Piffaro III-VII 8’ Octav douce 4’ Mixtur V-VI 2’ Cornet VIII-XI 2’ Carillon ped. 2’
Trombetten 8’ Viola II 4’+2’ Cornet V-VI 1’ Vox humana 8’ [Brustpedal]
Cimbalum II 2’+1’ Hautbois 8’ Hautbois 4’ Quintatönbass 16’
Nasat 2’ Carillon 2’ Superoctavbass 8’
Tremulant Flaut douce bass 8’
Violoncellbass 8’
Hohlflötbass 4’
Cornetbass X-XIII 4’
Sesquialter VI-VII 3’
Trompetbass 8’
Fagottbass 8’

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