New edited
The book with pictures of the voicings was reassembled with new photos in high resolution to get perfectly sharp pictures for the printer.
On request with the e-mail address and the complete postal address it will be sent free of charge. 
                     Mail to:  John Boersma
Praestant       8’
Quintadena    8'
Roerfluit        8'
Octaav          4'
Fluit              4'
Quintfluit       3'
Superoctaav   2'
Sexquialtera   II
Scherp           IV
Cimbel          III
Fagot          16'
Schalmey      8'
Arp Schnitger Organ 1721    

The Schnitger-Orgel in the large or St. Michael's Church of Zwolle is one of the most important organs of the northern Baroque period. The organ was designed in 1718 by Arp Schnitger (1648-1719), the best organ builder in the North German area of the time.

Arp Schnitger had gained great fame in Hamburg as organ builder. He was also known in the Netherlands and even had a workshop in Groningen. The organ of the Martini church in Groningen was built in 1450 but in 1691 by Arp Schnitger. He added 32 feet Principal pipes to the pedal and several registers to the manuals. Schnitger respected the beautiful sound of the old pipes and voiced old and new pipes to a harmonious harmony in his own style. The organ in the Martini church can be entitled to be a Schnitger organ.

In 1718 he was invited by the municipality of Zwolle to create a design for a very large organ for the large or St. Michael's Church. Arp Schnitger offered the city Council a comprehensive plan for the construction of a four keyboard organ with 64 registers. It was the largest organ the Schnitger had designed and he was instructed to build this plan.

Schnitger himself could not realize the construction of the organ, he died in 1719. His sons Franz Schnitger and Johann Schnitger have completed the construction of this large organ in 1721.

Arp Schnitger was the best North German organ maker of the Baroque era. Most organs were built for Northern Germany, but also in the Netherlands and especially in Groningen there are several organs made by him. At the end of the 19th and early 20th centuries the art of the organ building was completely lost. With inexpensive material and dubious constructions, organs with characterless sounds were built.

The craft had to be rediscovered by some well-preserved historical organs investigations. The pioneering work was done by Cor H. Edskes in Groningen and because Schnitger's organs were the best examples, he studied them intensively. His discoveries formed the basis for many restorations and in 1996 the University of Gothenburg granted him an honorary doctorate.                   

Praestant        8'
Holpyp            8'
Viola              8'
Quinta           6'
Octaav           4'
Holpyp           4'
Quinta           3'
Superoctaav    2'
Woudfluit       2'
Sifflet       1 1/2'
Tertiaan         II
Scherp            V
Viola d Gamba 8'
Trompet 4'
Praestant      16'
Quintadena   16'
Octaav          8'
Roerfluit        8'
Octaav          4'
Speelfluit      4'
Nasaat         3'
Superoctaav  2'
Ruyschpijp    II
Mixtuur        VI
Cimbel        III
Trompet      16'
Trompet       8'
Vox humana  8
Fluitgedekt      8'
Praestant        4'
Roerfluit          4'
Spitsfluit         3'
Superoctaav     2'
Gemshoorn      2'
Quintanus  1 1/2'
Nachthoorn      1'
Sexquialtera    II
Mixtuur      III-IV
Dulciaan         8'
Regaal           8'
Praestant      16'
Subbas         16'
Octaav           8'
Holpyp           8'
Superoctaav    4'
Vlakfluit         2'
Mixtuur       VIII
Fagot           32'
Basuin         16'
Trompet        8'
Trompet        4'
Cornet          2'
Sample set Schnitger-orgel

The sounds of this Schnitger organ are exquisitely recorded by Jiri Zurek of Sonus Paradisi and saved in the samples. Since the microphones were at a short distance from each pipe, the claim and the construction to the full sound were carefully recorded. The nature of the organ and the way the sounds are stored in the samples determine the value of the sample set. The sounds in the samples are used in a living room (study room) and that requires an adaptation from the large church to the small room at home. That is with this set is optimally possible.

The sample set of the Schnitger organ in Zwolle is one of the most successful sample sets, but an organ type based on works is not useful in a living room. In this type of organ there are four works: Rückpositive, Hauptwerk, Oberwerk and Brustwerk (German names) and every work is designed as an independent organ. In the church the differences are audible and it can be used musically, but in the living room it is not effective.

Powerful sounds are never desired in a living room, so it is more practical to strengthen the overtones a little more and to keep the tonics more restrained. If I voice organ pipes for the living room, I can make that choice. A sample with well recorded sounds gives me the same possibility. The sounds of this Schnitger organ are perfectly stored in the samples and so I was able to focus more on colored sounds than on powerful sounds.

When voicing, the brightness must always be increased, since the overtones are more weakened by reducing the volume than the basic tone. On my organ I increased the brightness even more in the style of the middle German sound idiom. The registers of the Hauptwerk and the Oberwerk, which are doubly present, I have given a different voicing, so that different tone coloring arises. With the transient and boost equalizer, a strong shift in tone coloring can be achieved. It is an effect that does not depend on the loudspeakers and allows the same sound to be heard on every Hauptwerk organ. However, the brightness and amplitude must be set per organ.

The Principal 8’ at the Oberwerk is a doubling since the Octave 8’ this function already fulfilled. That's why I voiced the register exactly as a Viola 8’, which was very well possible. Since there are now two Viola 8’ registers, I have degraded the tuning so that they sound together as an Unda Maris 8’. The humiliated Viola 8’ together with the Vox Humana 8’ gives a nice beating, more pleasant than when the Vox Humana is played with the tremulant. Bach appreciated not only a Viola 8’ as well as a Viola 4’. On the keyboard where the Viola 8’ is planned, I have the Octave 4’ voiced as Viola 4’.

I wrote a book about this Schnitger organ in which my voicings are described in detail. It is illustrated with 180 illustrations showing how the control sliders are set.