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Dulcian English

Dulciana English (Primary)

Dulciane French

Dolcean unknown

Dolciane French?

Dulziana unknown

Dulzet unknown


The true English Dulciana is a diminutive Diapason, smaller in scale, softer and more delicate in tone. It is often the softest stop on the organ in which it is placed. It was introduced to England by John Snetzler in 1754 at the Church of St. Margaret, Lynn Regis (King's Lynn), Norfolk. It brought him great acclaim, and was soon a favorite of English organ builders. Snetzler probably encountered the name while working as a junior builder with Egedacher of Salzburg, Austria. According to Grove, those early Dulcianas were as likely to have been small-scale Dolcans as miniature Diapasons. Grove dates the name from as early as c1640, indicating gentle flue stops of various forms in non-Latin Europe. Eventually English builders apparently grew tired of the tone of the Dulciana, and began voicing it with a stringy tone, or even a horny tone like the Keraulophone. In 1905 Wedgwood wrote without remorse: �the real Dulciana is rapidly becoming obsolete, yielding its place to the Salicional.� While most sources agree on the definition of the Dulciana as a diminutive Diapason, and not a string, E. M. Skinner saw it differently. Acknowledging its origin as an Echo Diapason, he writes: Reference has been made to the Dulciana as belonging to the Diapason family, because of its lack of string quality, but this is erroneous as its scale is out of the Diapason range. It may be appraised more accurately as a muted string. While the earliest examples of the Dulciana, according to Grove, were most often at 4' pitch, since its introduction to England it has most often been found at 8' pitch, though 16' examples are not uncommon, and it is not unknown at 32' and 4' pitch. Adlung (via Williams) classifies Dulziana as a flue, but all known examples are reeds; see Dulzian. The names probably derive from the Latin dulcis, �sweet�. The name Dulcian is also a synonym for Dulzian.



Osiris contains about 375 examples of Dulciana, 170 examples of Dulcian, 40 examples of Dulciane (of which two are reeds), and two of Dolciano. No confirmed examples of Dolciane are known, and no examples of Dolcean or Dulzet are known. Contributions welcome.

Dolciane 8', Récit; chamber organ for Alexandre Guilmant; Mutin. This example, cited by Audsley, is the only one known of this name. However, a document issued by Guilmant shows this stop as Dulciane, the usual French spelling, so the Audsley example is probably spurious.
Dolciano 16' (flue), Manual III; Alexander Church, Tampere, Finland; Kangasala 1938.
Dolciano 16', Manual III; Lapua, Finland; Kangasala 1938.

Sound Clips:


Dulciana 8', Great
Prudhoe Methodist Church, Northumberland, Scotland
St. Anne:
Dulciana 8', Great
St. Anne's Church, Moseley, Birmingham, England
Lewis, 1875,
St. Anne:
This page was last last built on June 24, 2020
Original site compiled by Edward L. Stauff. For educational use only.