From the PREFACE.
IN projecting this work two courses appeared to me to be open to adoption. The first, entailing the rigid suppression of all personal opinion, at once commended itself as the orthodox and preferable method of compiling a Dictionary. But having tentatively composed a few sheets within the severe confines of this scheme, it soon became evident that not only would such a mere collection of formidably and monotonously technical details be entirely unacceptable to organists in general, but that, also, unless some means were adopted of criticising the diverse modes of treating various stops, the book would be hopelessly indefinite in the nature of its information.
I have therefore selected the second course, and been so far emboldened as to include in the work expressions of personal opinion, and the results of my own heuristic observation. It is, of course, distinctly to be under- stood that these personal opinions are in no sense put forward as ex caihedra pronouncements, or as mere dogmatic assertions to be swallowed, so to speak, as a pill.
Entirely unconnected as I am with the organ building profession, and having acquainted myself with the work of all the foremost English builders, I have felt entirely at liberty to enlarge the description of various stops, and, thereby, in no small measure to augment the general utility of this work, by unusually copious references to organs in which they find a place. That some names occur more frequently in this connection than others is due, mainly, to the fact that they are those of builders, the particular characteristics and the general modernity and artistic merit of whose work have justly demanded especial notice or comment. It is not possible to be altogether impersonal in a work of this character. But I have not been unmindful of the fact that the possible success of this work must, in no small measure, be dependent upon the degree of impartiality instilled into it.
Having adjusted these matters of polity, it remains to review the general scheme of the work. In the first place, every effort has been made to deal fully and practically with modern stops. In occupying one- self so much with details, one is, perhaps, at times, apt to lose sight of principles. I have, nevertheless, attempted, out of the chaotic state to which the modern discoveries seem to have reduced organ tone, to frame a few constructive principles of tonal design, and at any rate to indicate the trend of modern thought. There is but scant merit in destructive criticism, save in so far as it opens the path to a more perfect and complete apprehension of fundamental truth. These matters, however, are discussed more specifically - and in a somewhat more degage style than is here fitting - in a brief and informal brochure issued by the present writer about a year and a half ago, and entitled "Tonal Design in Modern Organ Building...".show more