455. Organs

 •  2 min. read  •  grade level: 11
 
Psalm 150:44Praise him with the timbrel and dance: praise him with stringed instruments and organs. (Psalm 150:4). Praise him with the timbrel and dance: praise him with stringed instruments and organs.
The ugab was one of the most ancient instruments, its invention being ascribed to Jubal (Gen. 4:2121And his brother's name was Jubal: he was the father of all such as handle the harp and organ. (Genesis 4:21)). From Job 21:1212They take the timbrel and harp, and rejoice at the sound of the organ. (Job 21:12) and Job 30:3131My harp also is turned to mourning, and my organ into the voice of them that weep. (Job 30:31) it appears to have been used on festive occasions. In the text it is spoken of as appropriate for use in the worship of God.
Various opinions have been expressed in reference to the character of this instrument. Winer, (Bib. Realty) and Leyrer (in Herzog’s Real-Encyklopadie) following some very old authorities, suppose the ugab to have resembled the bagpipe. They represent it as consisting of two pipes fastened in a leather bag, one above and the other below. Through the upper pipe, which had a mouth-piece, the bag was filled with air, while the lower pipe had holes which were played on with the fingers like a flute, the bag meanwhile rising and falling like a bellows, by means of pressure.
Most authorities, however, identify the ugab with the syrinx or “Pandean pipes,” which is undoubtedly a very ancient instrument, and is generally conceded to be the germ of the modern organ. Kitto says that the syrinx was the instrument which was meant by our translators when they used the word “organ”; thus relieving them from the charge of obscurity, that word having changed its meaning since their day.
The syrinx was used by the Arcadian and other Grecian shepherds, and was supposed by them to have been invented by Pan, their tutelary god, who was sometimes heard playing on it, as they imagined, on Mount Menelaus.
It was made of cane, reed, or hemlock. “In general, seven hollow stems of these plants were fitted together by means of wax, having been previously cut to the proper length, and adjusted so as to form an octave; but sometimes nine were admitted, giving an equal number of notes. Another refinement in the construction of this instrument, which, however, was rarely practiced, was to arrange the pipes in a curve so as to fit the form of the lip, instead of arranging them in a plane.”—Smith Dict. Greek and Roman Ant.
This instrument is still used in some parts of the East. The reeds are of unequal length, but of equal thickness, and vary in number from five to twenty-three. Specimens may be occasionally seen in European and American cities in the possession of itinerant street musicians.