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Mander Organs
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Firenze, Santa Maria del Fiore

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Is Florence Cathedral's the most impossible reverberation in the world?  I read somewhere it's about 20 seconds - certainly I remember the building just never fell silent during a service when I was there.

Mascioni did a major rebuild in 2017 and I found their solution interesting (if perhaps not surprising) given the ocean of reverberation.  There are eight manual divisions in six different locations around the dome, and four consoles!

- NE segment of the dome = Great Organ (and main pedal organ, I think)
- SE segment of the dome = Swell Organ
- On wheels = Positive Organ (with its own pedal stops) (added 1990)
- S of the dome at floor level = Choir Organ (with its own pedal stops) (c. 1970?)
- N transept = 'Chapel Great' (with its own pedal stops)
- N transept = 'Chapel Swell'
- S transept = 'Echo Great' (with its own pedal stops) (added 2017)
- S transept = 'Echo Swell' (2017)

It seems the transepts are used as separate liturgical spaces so it seems to make sense for each to have its own organ.

The five-manual and four-manual consoles control the whole lot (don't know why you need both); a 3-man console in the N transept controls the chapel organ plus the Great Organ, and a 2-man console in the S transept controls the Echo organ and the Swell organ.

Phew!  Anyone heard it?  There's an impromptu demo here (terrible audio): link (youtube) - and a verbal description here which I've used as a basis for this post, though my Italian is far from reliable:  link (youtube)

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