Organs Were “Purely Secular” Instruments Until The 10th Century

Known from the time of classical antiquity, the organ remained a purely secular instrument until the 10th cent., when it began to appear in major churches, such as Glastonbury and Winchester. What liturgical part, if any, it played remains largely unknown until c. 1400, when the alternating of organ verses with plainsong or polyphony sung by the choir became an established custom in both the Mass and Office.

F. L. Cross and Elizabeth A. Livingstone, eds., The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005), s.v., organs.

    Post authored by:

  • R. Scott Clark
    Author Image

    R.Scott Clark is the President of the Heidelberg Reformation Association, the author and editor of, and contributor to several books and the author of many articles. He has taught church history and historical theology since 1997 at Westminster Seminary California. He has also taught at Wheaton College, Reformed Theological Seminary, and Concordia University. He has hosted the Heidelblog since 2007.

    More by R. Scott Clark ›

Subscribe to the Heidelblog today!