Pipings by Valerie Stipcak What is a posaune

by Valerie Stipcak
What is a posaune (say po'zaʊnə) pipe? At Trinity UMC, it is a set (a “rank”) of pipes in our organ’s pedal
division designed to sound as a low brass instrument and give music considerable gravity. Usually,
posaune pipes appear in “batteries” or “choruses,” and ours does, and can be combined with the fagot
(say fa'ɡɔt, unison pitch) and regal (say re'ɡa:l, one octave above unison pitch) stops. The word posaune
is German for the word trombone and it sounds an octave lower than unison pitch.
Why take an interest in posaune pipes? At Trinity, part of the rank of posaune pipes is about to be
replaced. Pipes are made from different metals and alloys, some more durable than others. Over the
years, the posaune pipes in our organ have warped from heat and physical support. They literally have
become bent and misshapen. Fortunately, our organ tuner and curator was able to find replacement
pipes and will be installing them soon, improving the condition and life of the organ!
When will the new pipes be heard? Be on the lookout in your weekly 10:30am Sunday bulletin for a
postlude called “Prelude, Fugue, and Chaconne” by Dietrich Buxtehude. I have selected this postlude
specifically to show off our new posaune pipes. They will be heard most during the pedal solo at the
beginning of the postlude and then for the chaconne, in which you will hear short variations over a
reoccurring harmonic progression. Enjoy!