Waart, Edo de. 56 Wachmann, Eduard 56

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Wind-chest [soundboard]

(Fr. sommier; Ger. Windlade; It. somiere; Sp. secreto).

In an organ, the long, broad, but rather shallow wooden structure that collects wind under pressure from the Bellows or Reservoir and distributes it to the pipes as required. In the classical organ the heart of the wind-chest is a wooden grid, which is partitioned into as many grooves or note-channels as there are notes in the keyboard compass; above this are the table, stop mechanism and upperboard. Below the grid is an enclosed substructure, the pallet-box, which receives the wind from the wind-trunk and contains a row of pallets, one for each of the notes on the keyboard. Each Pallet is held by a spring to cover the underside of a groove in the grid above, and is connected directly or indirectly to a key. When a key is depressed the pallet opens, and wind is admitted to the corresponding groove and then directed via holes in the table, slider and upperboard to the foot or feet of the appropriate pipe(s), depending on the operation of the stop mechanism.

Many forms of wind-chest have been devised: before about 1420 all organs had only one sound per chest (i.e. no stop mechanism; see Blockwerk), but in the course of the next century three important inventions allowed builders to give separate sounds: the multiple chest (where a key would connect to two chests), the spring-chest (where a ‘stop’ had its own row of secondary pallets admitting wind individually to its pipes), and the slider-chest (see Slider). The latter became the most commonly used mechanical action wind-chest. Many other forms and variations (e.g. ventil- or membrane-chests), were devised during the 19th century in order to cope with the commercial expansion of organ-building and with the increase in organ size and the new types of key action. The application of electricity to the organ encouraged the invention of even more types (e.g. unit-chest, pitman chest), but the principle of the slider-chest has proved capable of very flexible application.

James Talbot (MS, c1695, GB-Och Music 1189) used the term ‘soundboard’ to mean the whole wind-distributing apparatus, and ‘wind-box’ for the pallet-box. The term ‘soundboard’ has been more common in England, and ‘wind-chest’ in the USA.

For further discussion and illustrations see Organ.


Wind chime [aeoliphone].

Term applied to a set of concussion plaques suspended so that they can be activated by the wind (the instrument is classified as an idiophone). The plaques may be made of metal, glass, bamboo, stone, porcelain or shell. In the orchestra, the player activates the chimes by hand stroker; bamboo chimes create a loud ‘thwack’ when pushed together sharply between the two hands. Although not a precision instrument, wind chimes were being used increasingly in all types of music at the end of the 20th century. Glass wind chimes appear in Birtwistle’s The Mask of Orpheus (1973–84), Boulez’s Notations I–IV (1977–80) and Henze’s Voices (1973); shell wind chimes in Henze’s Compases para preguntas ensimismadas (1969–70) and Das Floss der ‘Medusa’ (1968, rev. 1990); and glass, shell and bamboo chimes in Messiaen’s Des canyons aux étoiles (1970–74).

A similar instrument is the mark tree, a set of 30–40 thin brass tubes, graduated in length from 10 to 30 cm and suspended from a stick (set of concussion-percussion tubes). When lightly stroked it produces a shimmering glissando. The mark tree (named after its inventor, Mark Stevens) was, at the end of the 20th century, widely used in all types of music from pop to orchestral.


Windet, John

(fl London, 1584–1611). English music printer. He owned one of the most successful general printing businesses in London. He held several important offices in the Company of Stationers and ultimately became Printer to the City of London. From 1592 he printed several editions of the Sternhold and Hopkins psalter for John Day and for his son Richard Day. His publications began with John Dowland’s Lachrimae (dated 2 April 1604 in the Stationers’ register); it was financed by Thomas Adams and was one of the most important musical publications of the time. Windet’s music output is not large, numbering only a dozen volumes, including Coprario’s Funeral Teares (1606), Robert Jones’s The First Set of Madrigals (1607) and Ultimum vale (1605) and Thomas Ford’s Musicke of Sundrie Kindes (1607). Windet worked with type, and his printing was always of a high standard, distinguished by spacious layout and a clean, sharp impression. His skill must have been stretched to its limits by the eccentric demands of Tobias Hume’s The First Part of Ayres (1605) and Poeticall Musicke (1607), both of which he printed. His secular music bears the imprint of ‘the Crosse Keys at Powles Wharfe’ where he carried on his business from about 1594 until 1611. After his death, most of his copyrights passed to William Stansby, his former apprentice and partner.



E. Arber: A Transcript of the Registers of the Company of Stationers of London, i–iv (London, 1875–7/R); v (Birmingham, 1894/R)

R.B. McKerrow, ed.: A Dictionary of Printers and Booksellers in England, Scotland and Ireland … 1557–1640 (London, 1910/R)

J.K. Bracken: ‘William Stansby’s Early Career’, Studies in Bibliography, xxxviii (1985), 214–16


Windgassen, Wolfgang

(b Annemasse, Switzerland, 26 June 1914; d Stuttgart, 5 or 8 Sept 1974). German tenor and director. He studied in Stuttgart with his father, the tenor Fritz Windgassen, and Alfons Fischer. In 1941 he made his début at Pforzheim as Don Alvaro (La forza del destino). He was a member of the Stuttgart Staatsoper (1945–72), singing first in the Italian repertory and in such parts as Tamino, Max, Hoffmann and Florestan; he then began to prepare Wagnerian roles and in 1950 sang his first Siegmund. In 1951 he sang Parsifal at Bayreuth to acclaim; he appeared there each year until 1970, as Froh, Siegmund, Siegfried, Lohengrin, Tannhäuser, Walther, Erik, Loge and Tristan, establishing himself as the leading postwar Heldentenor. In 1972 he was appointed director of the Stuttgart Staatsoper, where his productions includedBoris Godunov (1972). He appeared regularly in the Wagnerian repertory at Covent Garden (1955–66). His roles included Adolar (Euryanthe), Rienzi, the Emperor (Die Frau ohne Schatten) and Otello. He made his American début at the Metropolitan as Siegmund in 1957 and sang Tristan at San Francisco in 1970. Windgassen’s musicality and vocal intensity can be heard in his Siegfried on several Bayreuth Ring recordings and under Solti, and in his searing Tristan under Böhm.


K. Honolka: ‘Wolfgang Windgassen’, Opera, xiii (1962), 590–95

A. Natan: ‘Windgassen, Wolfgang’, Primo uomo (Basle and Stuttgart, 1963) [with discography]

B.W. Wessling: Wolfgang Windgassen (Bremen, 1967)


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