barrel organ

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barrel organ,

mechanical musical instrument requiring nothing but the regular rotary motion of a handle to keep it going. It probably originated at the beginning of the 18th cent., and was once used extensively in English churches. A revolving cylinder is fitted with pegs that open valves, permitting air to enter a set of organ pipes. Some larger ones have several sets of pipes and various couplers. They can be operated by clockwork, by weights, and by electric motors. A portable type of barrel organ whose cylinder is turned by a hand crank has been mistakenly called hurdy-gurdyhurdy-gurdy,
musical instrument with three strings that are caused to vibrate by a wooden wheel turned by a crank. Stopping is accomplished by keys that usually affect only the string that plays the melody, the others acting as drones.
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, from which it is fundamentally different.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Barrel Organ


a mechanical wind instrument. The barrel organ, a type of portative organ, resembles a small box and consists of bellows, organ pipes in one or more ranks, and cylinders equipped with metal pins. As the cylinder is turned by a hand crank, the pins engage a special mechanism that opens a passage permitting air to reach the pipes; at the same time, air is pumped by means of the bellows. Some barrel organs have replaceable cylinders and can thus perform several musical pieces. The instrument, which first appeared in Western Europe in the 18th century and in Russia in the first quarter of the 19th century, was popular among itinerant musicians. The barrel organ is called a katerynka in the Ukraine and a katarynka in Poland.


Buchner, A. Musikinstrumente im Wandel der Zeiten. Prague, 1956.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

barrel organ

1. an instrument consisting of a cylinder turned by a handle and having pins on it that interrupt the air flow to certain pipes, thereby playing any of a number of tunes
2. a similar instrument in which the projections on a rotating barrel pluck a set of strings
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
barrel-organ is first mentioned in the opening scene, after
distant street a barrel-organ begin to play, and it seemed to him that
barrel-organ in the street suddenly sprang with a jerk into a jovial
Among the best known of his tales are Z legend dawnego Egiptu ("A Legend of Old Egypt"), Kamizelka ("The Waistcoat"), and Katarynka ("The Barrel-Organ").
I busied myself for awhile collecting a volume of my letters And published them six months ago, but no one has taken notice When my father dies my Greek will die too: it is not like Latin It fades from the mind so quickly, like a tune on the barrel-organ
Particularly resonant in the first chapter, on flexibility of tempo, are the words of Mahler condoning the practice of frequent speed changes within a symphonic movement: |unless the work is vulgarly ground out in barrel-organ style, the tempo will already have changed by the second bar'.
ANSWERS: 1 Gentlemen Prefer Blondes; 2 The Pacific Ocean; 3 A street musician using a barrel-organ type of instrument; 4 Slicing soil in front of the ploughshare; 5 The Foundations; 6 Spying; 7 If Not For You; 8 Elderly ladies, especially grandmothers; 9 Kashmir; 10 Edward Scissorhands.
I almost spilled my Ribena waiting for the first instalment, just after Pingu helped the barrel-organ man, Postman Pat ran into a hole-in-the-road crisis and bossy-boots Bella decided it was "messy time" on the Tweenies.
For Orange he blends jazz and minimalism with the help of vocalist Elise Caron, accordionist Jean Louis Matinier and Pierre Charial on barrel-organ.
The bass clarinet can sound like a barrel-organ or an accordion, the wordless vocals take on a clarinet or saxophone sound.
Mince pies, mugs of steaming coffee and music from a barrel-organ were waiting for passengers making use of a new rail link between Northumberland and the MetroCentre.
In the narrator's conversations and in his memories of the past, there is created a personal requiem for the old Lisbon, Tabucchi's Lisbon, not the traditional, solemn celebration of the mass for the dead, with its organ music and cathedrals, but the street music of mouth-organs and barrel-organs. As he moves through the hot city streets, Portuguese food and drink become an important part of his homage to Portugal; throughout the day specific recipes are mentioned in detail along with streets and neighborhoods, bars and restaurants, hotels and clubs.