Krone Krone Krone

Roskilde, Cathedral

State of presentation: The  instrument' s outward appearance dating back to the 16th and 17th centuries match its inner state only in part. The parapet organ and the most visible principal pipes and some fundament stops date back to the mid-17th century but later changes have reduced the historic sound elements to a great extent.

Roskilde cathedral, about 30 km west of Copenhagen is a monument of danish history; since the early 15th century Roskilde is the main burial site for Danish monarchs.In 1995 it has been listed a  UNESCO World Heritage Site.


the 17th century organ making in Denmark was heavily influenced by Dutch and German organ makers:

  • H. R. Rottenstein-Pock (or Rodensteen-P.), also working in Saxony
  • Hans Brebos of Antwerp (see also Morlanda)
  • Nicolaus Maas, royal court organ maker from 1603
  • Esaias Compenius (see also Frederiksborg)
  • Johan Lorentz, whose works in Helsingør and Helsingborg might have influenced young Dietrich Buxtehude
  • Hans Christoph Fritzsche, the son of the saxon court organ maker Gottfried Fritzsche

The history of the Roskilde organ is determined by two significant periods, first from 1554 and the enhancement one hundred years later, the second after the decisive changes of the 19th century including the reconstruction in 1988-1991.

History of the organ

1554 new organ

by Herman Raphaëlis Rottenstein-Pock replacing a previous instrument at the southern wall (swallows' nest).

1611 repairs

by Nicolaus Maas

1654–1655 enhancement

maybe planned by Johan Lorentz (+1650), the major parts probably made his journeyman Gregor Mülisch (+1654) and finished by Peter Karstensen Botz


first specification documented  (III+P/29)

1833 enhancement

by Jürgen Marcussen and Andreas Reuter:

Compass widened, new wind chests in main and parapet organ behind the old front. New upper positive with a swell replacing the old chest positive. Pedal moved behind the main organ. New action and wind system. Pitch retuned.

1877 repairs

Th. Frobenius & Co.

1926 repairs and enhancement

Th. Frobenius & Co.


Th. Frobenius & Co., reduction of number of stops

1988–91 restoration and reconstruction

Marcussen & Søn (Åbenrå /Apenrade)

Music sample

Heinrich Scheidemann, Galliarda
played by Gustav Leonhardt


Manual (HW)


Principal 8’ 1654-55 G-c#' in the front
Bordun 16’ 1554 some pipes new
Spitzflöjt 8’ 1554
Octava 4’ new some pipes 1654–55
Rohrflöjt 4’ new
Nassath 3’ new
Super Octava 2’ new some pipes 1654–55
Mixtur IV-V new some pipes 1654–55
Trompet 8’ new

Rückpositiv (RP)

CDE–c3 (1655: CDEFGA–c3)

Wind chest 1654–55. The grooves for F# and G# 1833 

Principal 4’ 1654-55, treble partly new C-g#’ in the front
Gedact 8’ 1554
Gedact 4’ 1554, top octave new
Octava 2’ 1654–55
Salicional 2’ 1654–55
Sesquialt 2’ 1654–55
Sedecima 1’ 1654–55
Mixtur III 1654–55
Hoboy 8’ 1654–55

Brustpositiv (BP)


Gedact 8’ new
Gedactflöjt 4’ new
Waltflöjt 2’ new
Octava 2’ new some pipes 1654–55
Sedecima 1’ new some piipes 1654–55
Regal 8’ 1654–55
Geigen Regal new some pipes 1654–55

Pedal (P)

C–d1 (C# and D# linked to c#° and d#° verbunden.)

Principal 16’ 1654-55 F-c#’ in the front
Octava 8’ new some pipes 1654–55
Gedact 8’ new some pipes 1654–55
Octava 4’ new
Mixtur 5f. new
Posaun 16’ new
Trompet 8’ new
Schalmej 4’ new
Zimbelstern 1654–55
Fuglesang (Vogelgesang) new

stop knobs HW u. BP, RP, P

three tremulants: HW + BP, RP and P)

Four new bellows; couplers BP/HW, HW/RP, W/P, RP/P

Pitch a’ =   432 Hz at 16° C; 1544 resp. 1654–55 presumably mean tone, 1991 uneven  temperament after Neidhardt


© Greifenberger Institut für Musikinstrumentenkunde |