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Heckelphone English


Skinner describes this rare stop as follows: A close-knit pungent and highly individual orchestral reed of 16' and 8' pitches, developed by the author. It resembles the English Horn but has more power. The Heckelphone is related to the English Horn about as the Bass Clarinet is related to the Clarinet. It is difficult to realize that so marked a difference in character between the English Horn and the Heckelphone is due to so slight a difference in scale. One of the finest examples of this stop is to be found at Hill Auditorium, the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, where it appears at both 16' and 8' pitches. Irwin, the only other source to list it, has this to say: An imitative Reed of 8' on the manuals, having a round and deep timbre somewhat like the color of the English Horn stop, but this ´┐ŻBaritone Oboe´┐Ż is of stronger volume and greater individuality. Since it is quite rare as an organ stop, its position is usually in the Solos of very large instruments. The medium-large resonators are shaped as two inverted-conical sections: a very narrow one, two-thirds the unison length, is at the bottom; one of wider flare, completing the unison length, sits on the top and is capped, with a slot near the top for the emission of the sound. The top diameter is not of unusually wide scale, but just a little wider than the Fagotto. The brass reeds are tuned by spring-like wires, the pipes by rolls of metal in the slots. The stop is named after the orchestral instrument, a member of the oboe family with a wide bore, invented around 1904. Its range descends to A below 8' C.


We know of nine examples, seven of which are by Skinner:

Heckelphone; Eastman School of Music, Rochester, New York, USA; Skinner 1920. Heckelphone 8', Solo; Municipal Auditorium, Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Skinner 1921. Heckelphone 8', Solo; 2nd Congregational Church, Holyoke, Massachusetts, USA; Skinner 1921.
Heckelphone 8'; Abbey Chapel, Mt. Holyoke College, South Hadley, Massachusetts, USA; Skinner 1922. See photos. Heckelphone 16', 8', Solo; Hill Auditorium, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA; Skinner 1927-28. This example resembles the Woolsey Hall example in its construction. Heckelphone 8', Solo; Woolsey Hall, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, USA; Skinner 1928. See photos.
Heckelphone 16', Chancel Solo; Rockefeller Memorial Chapel, University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, USA; Skinner 1928. Heckelphone 16', Swell; St. Matthew's Lutheran Church, Hanover, Pennsylvania, USA; Austin 1925-1982. Heckelphone 32', Pedal; Cameron residence, New York City, New York, USA; Gluck 1991. Extension of 16' Bassoon with capped half-length resonators.
This page was last last built on June 24, 2020
Original site compiled by Edward L. Stauff. For educational use only.