Talk:Water organ

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
WikiProject Pipe Organ (Rated C-class, High-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Pipe Organ, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of Pipe Organ on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
C-Class article C  This article has been rated as C-Class on the quality scale.
 High  This article has been rated as High-importance on the importance scale.

"For the latter, solar heat was used to syphon water from one closed tank into another, thereby producing compressed air for sounding the pipes."

This sentence, in the third paragraph, is confusing. Someone who knows how this mechanism works should revise it. While "syphon" may be used correctly, it confuses because it seems that gravity is not the driving mechanism.

Would this be an accurate revision?

"For the latter, solar heat warmed and expanded air in a closed tank partially filled with water. This forced water into another tank, compressing air in the second tank. Compressed air in the second tank sounded the pipes."

Let's not bother with the words Where is the evidence that anything like this existed. The story sounds like a 19th century invention 17:25, 5 October 2006 (UTC)

The last paragraph seems to describe a trompe, a simple form of hydraulic blast pump --scruss 02:50, 1 July 2006 (UTC)


The explanation of how water blows the air in the non-ancient water organ makes no sense at all. I too am suspicious of this "device". I've never read of an organ being blown by water action alone without bellows.


I'm sorry, but the ancient Greco-Roman hydraulis is a different machine from the Renaissance "water organ"... I, coming to the Wikipedia to find information about the hydraulis for a presentation to a Junior Classics league and was quite disappointed at the state of this article. I disagree with the redirect. A distinction must be made between the two different instruments. Links between the articles are appropriate, but they ought NOT be conflated. Afterall, we don't put them in with the pneumatic organ do we? The principle applies equally here: There is a difference that makes a significant difference and so separate articles are called for...

At this point, the Wikipedia's treatment of Ctesibius' invention is rather shoddy. There is plenty of good material to be had to develop a decent article. The tangential brush that the pipe organ article gives isn't adequate for the world's first keyboard instrument. I hope that someone takes this to heart and works on it... I haven't the time at the moment, but will check back.

All the best, Emyth 01:22, 3 December 2007 (UTC)

Yes these are two completely different types of machines. Should split.Ebruchez (talk) 17:28, 21 November 2013 (UTC)


Is there more information known about the keyboard itself? I assume it didn't already have "white" and "black" keys as the modern western keyboad had, since the Greeks used quarter-tones as well... are "low" notes on the left and "high" notes on the right? etc... -- megA (talk) 14:59, 19 March 2011 (UTC)

According to the book by Jean Perrot, we don't know much about the keyboard but we do know a few things. The keys were directly facing the pipes, as they were pulling sliders, and likely all the same, so no black/white keys (there was no reason for them in ancient Greek music either). The exact tuning of the instruments is uncertain, and organs had different numbers of pipes, so hypotheses range from roughly semitone to sometimes maybe smaller intervals between the notes.

Still according to Perrot, most iconographical evidence shows the shorter pipes to the right of the organist, of the trebles (high notes) were to the right, as is the case on modern instruments. The reverse layout is visible as well, but it's unclear if this was due to laziness on the part of the artist reproducing the instrument, or if in facts antique organs could have the trebles to the left.Ebruchez (talk) 17:34, 21 November 2013 (UTC)


The introduction of this article is totally wrong! The water in the hydraulis was not the power source at all: there was a cistern with a constant amount of water, which acted as a pressure regulator. The instrument was in use in the Greco-Roman era, from about the third century BCE to the fifth century CE. This is extremely well documented, see:

Perrot, Jean (1971). The organ, from its invention in the Hellenistic period to the end of the thirteenth century. London: Oxford University Press.

I see that there is a proposal to split this page, and this might be the right thing to do.

Ebruchez (talk) 17:21, 21 November 2013 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

Hello fellow Wikipedians,

I have just added archive links to one external link on Water organ. Please take a moment to review my edit. If necessary, add {{cbignore}} after the link to keep me from modifying it. Alternatively, you can add {{nobots|deny=InternetArchiveBot}} to keep me off the page altogether. I made the following changes:

When you have finished reviewing my changes, please set the checked parameter below to true to let others know.

Question? Archived sources still need to be checked

Cheers.—cyberbot IITalk to my owner:Online 14:38, 10 January 2016 (UTC)