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The Organ

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> Details the organ

The Arp Schnitger Organ The Mariana organ has 18 stops (ranks of pipes with different sounds and heights) distributed in two manuals (keyboards). It blends Portuguese and German influences: the front, called “Hamburg façade,” is a trademark of Arp Schnitger and his school, just like the division in two manuals. The division of the stops – they can be selected together, the right hand only, or the left hand only – indicates the Portuguese influence.

The organ’s stay in Portugal influenced its decoration: it is done with Chinese motifs in shades of burgundy, dark green, and golden, probably resulting from the strong influence of the 18th century Asian colonies. The trumpeter angel, atop the case, carries a standard with crossed arms, emblematic of the Franciscan order.

Installed in a veranda or balcony slightly lower than the church’s high choir, the organ lies against the wall of the superior tribune. The only artist to enter the 1753 contest, José Francisco Lisboa, the father of the architect and sculptor Aleijadinho, built the balcony. Although the instrument was not built for the cathedral, its physical and sound volume is very adequate to the church’s internal area.