Innovation Centre     Department of Church Music     Virtual Cathedral Sibelius-Akatemia

Urkujen kuva

Tammisaari Church
  • Thulé, Anders 1844
  • 23 stops, 2 manuals and pedal
  • mechanical action and mechanical stop action

Tammisaari Church, which dates back to the 17th century, was repaired following a devastating fire in 1825. Acquiring an organ was enabled by a donation from court counsellor and nobleman Berndt Eric Inberg in the 1840s.

At around the same time, Anders Thulé, foreman to organ builder Gustav Andersson, was involved in constructing the organs in Oulu Cathedral, Turku Cathedral and Inkoo Church. Tammisaari Parish signed a contract for a new organ with Thulé. Gustav Andersson challenged the contract, and the case passed through Turku Cathedral Chapter and ended up in the Imperial Senate; the contention was that Anders Thulé had not been granted the privilege of operating as an independent organ builder. The Senate, however, granted him that privilege, and about one year later, on August 29, 1844, to be precise, the completed organ was given a good review by inspectors.

The history of repairs to the Tammisaari organ reflects the changing ideals in organ building. In 1902, Zachariassen added a swell box to Manual II and built a new console, turning the organist towards the altar. The disposition also underwent some changes. In repairs carried out by Th. Frobenius in 1959, the organist was again turned towards the instrument, a new action was built, and the disposition was altered in accordance with the Danish organ renovation principles.

The frame and chests of the organ have remained intact throughout these repairs, but some of the original pipes, the action and the bellows have been lost. In the most recent renovation, carried out by Grönlunds Orgelbyggeri in 1992, the organ was restored to something closely resembling its original guise.

The Tammisaari organ is important in a number of ways. It is a representative example of the organ building practice of the era, and it remains in its original location. It was with this instrument that Anders Thulé embarked on his career as a full-time organ builder, the first in Finland. Although it is his ‘op. 1’, the Tammisaari organ is in no way a test case, but a mature and professional achievement.


The façade of the Tammisaari organ is in two tiers. At the sides are great towers, from which broad straight flats descend towards the centre. A portrait of the benefactor is mounted between these flats. Above in the middle is the Oberwerk, consisting of two towers and a flat between them. The organization of the façade is reminiscent of the 18th-century tradition, but the details display features of the design and form concepts that the builder was later to use frequently. These include narrow dummy pipes in the façade, towers that are only slightly rounded, and relief-like carved decorations affixed to pillars and other outlining structures. The width of the façade is necessary because of the lowness of the loft and the large size of the instrument. The organ case is white, and the decorations are gilt.

As the façade indicates, the chests of the main division are in two halves immediately behind the façade, while the chest for Manual II — described by the builder as the Oberwerk — is in the centre and above the previous ones. The pedal chest and bellows are behind the manual divisions.

Technical features

The chests are sponselled slider chests, with amply dimensioned structures, channels, borings and pallets. The builder wanted to ensure that the pipes have space in which to sound and that each pipe receives enough air to produce a grand tone strong on the fundament.

The air supply is managed with four wedge-shaped bellows. Each of these in turn feeds into the large main wind trunk, from which smaller channels lead directly to the chests. The organ can be operated by foot, although normally a blower is used.

The new console is in the middle of the front wall; it includes two manuals and a pedal. The console corresponds to the original in both form and function. The large stop knobs are on either side of the music stand. The manual keyboards have bone and ebony key coverings like the originals. The two manual couplers are unusual: Manual II can be coupled to Manual I as is usual, but Manual I can also be coupled to Manual II. The compass of the pedal in the Tammisaari organ is two octaves, whereas Thulé used a pedal of only one and a half octaves in many of his later organs. It was not until the late 1860s that he adopted the subsequently standardized 27-key pedal.

Sound and playability

The organ has a heavy touch. There is a clear point of resistance or ‘pluck’ in depressing a key before it actually goes down. This has the paradoxical effect of lightening the effort in playing: once a key is depressed, it remains so with a minimum of pressure. This kind of touch is common in mechanical organs, but in Tammisaari it is enhanced because of the great force required. The heavy touch is a direct consequence of the large pallets and air volumes, and it reflects that grand, broad sound of the instrument. This is not an instrument to be taken lightly.

The sound of the organ is dark, solid and sombre. The sound persists in all registrations, and the bass-favouring balance of the strong stops reinforces the effect. The strong bass is due to pipe mensuration and voicing. The sound is excellent for accompanying congregational hymn singing, and it provides a warm and broad overall tone for organ performances.

The sound of the Tammisaari organ is in the broad, clean late Baroque style and as such akin to the Nauvo organ, but the quieter stops of the Tammisaari organ point forward towards the caressing and mystical tones of Romanticism. In 19th-century organs, this development increased in importance as time went on. It also became increasingly important to create a seamless continuum of dynamics; for this reason, Manual I is strong while Manual II is quieter and lyrical.



Manual I C-f3

Manual II C-f3

Pedal C-c1

Borduna 16fot

Fugara 8f

Subbas 16f

Flauto Doppio 8f

Gamba 8f

Violoncello 8f

Corno di basette 8f

Principal 4f

Gedacht 8f

Gedacht 8f

Spetsflöjt 4f

Violon 4f

Octava 4f

Valdflöjt 2f

Bassun 16f

Flauto 4f

Qvinta 3f

Super octava 2f

Scharf 3chor 1½f

Trompet 8f B/D

II/I, I/II, I/Ped.

Two cut-out valves

Calcant [organ blower] bell