Manuel Rosales: 213.925.8633
Office: 323.262.9253
Fax: 323.262.8018




Opus 14

Mission San José
(Founded 1797)

Fremont, California

Rosales Organ Builders, Inc.
Los Angeles, California
Opus 14, 1989

Click for Opus 14 photographs



Mano Izquierda   Mano Derecha   Tubos
Flautado de 13 Flautado de 13 23+26
Violón Violón 25+26
Flauta travesera (2 ranks) (prepared) 52
Octava Clara Octava Clara 25+26
Espigueta Octava Nasarda 25+26
Docena Clara Docena Nasarda 25+26
Quincena Clara Quincena Clara 25+26
Nasardos (3 ranks) Corneta (5 ranks) 75+130
Lleno (3 ranks) Lleno (4 ranks) 75+104
Trompa Real Trompa Real 25+26
Bajoncillo Clarín de Campaña (horizontal) 25+26
Bordon de los pies 27
Acoplada (manual to pedal)
Temblante Tremulant
Pedal Movements
Campanitas 4 Small Bells
Pajaritos Little Birds
Timbala (do) Tympani in C
Timbala (fa) Tympani in F
Caja de Ecos Expression for the Corneta V
Clarínes Horizontal reeds ventil

A Brief Glossary of
Spanish Organ Terminology

Principal Chorus
Flautado de 13 palmos "Principal 8', for both hands"
Octava Clara "Octave 4', for both hands"
Docena Clara "Twelfth 2-2/3', for the left hand only"
Quincena Clara "Fifteenth 2', for both hands"
Lleno "Mixture, for both hands"
Violón "Chimney Flute 8', for both hands"
Octava Nasarda "Open Flute 4', for the right hand only"
Espigueta "Chimney Flute 4', for the left hand"
Docena Nasarda "Nasard 2-2/3', for the right hand only"
Corneta en Eco "Echo Cornet V ranks, for the right hand only"
Nasardos "III ranks - Left hand only, 2', 1-3/5', 1-1/3'"
Trompa Real "Trumpet 8', for both hands, inside the case"
Bajoncillo "Small Tumpet 4', left hand only, horizontal"
Clarín de Campaña "Military Trumpet 8', right hand only , horizontal"
Other Terms
Teclado Keyboard
Mano Izquireda Left hand
Mano Derecha Right hand
Accoplado Manual to Pedal Coupler
Campanitas Little Bells
Pajaritos Little Birds in water
Timbala Drum roll effect
Caja de Eco (foot lever) Echo box; expression for the Corneta V
Clarínes (foot lever) Horizontal reeds ventil foot lever
Tubos Pipes
Registro Stop
Secreto Windchest
Fuelle Bellows
Ventilador Blower
The instrument is tuned in 1/4 syntonic comma Meantone in which there are 8 major thirds.
Note names: C & C-sharp – D - E-flat & E - F & F-sharp - G & G-sharp - A - B-flat & B
There are two different sizes of chromatic intervals; notes of the same name have a narrow space between them; notes of different names have a wide space between them.

The Construction of a Spanish-Style Organ
A talk presented by Manuel Rosales at
Westfield Center for Keyboard Studies symposium
"The Historical Organ in America"
January 1992

The year 1989 saw the completion of events that were begun in the early nineteenth century. An organ originally ordered in 1819 was delivered and inaugurated. They only had to wait 171 years!

To protect their interests in New Spain, the Spanish expanded into the territories of Alta California. A chain of missions extending from San Diego to San Francisco were constructed from 1769 to 1823. The 14th was Mission San José. It was founded in 1797 and is one of four which surround the lower San Francisco Bay. Among these is Mission Santa Clara which had the most highly developed music program and to which the other surrounding missions sent their Indians to be trained. Although the Ohlone Indians of this region had a simple way of life as compared to the civilizations of Central Mexico, it is apparent that they were no less intelligent.

In 1809, a permanent structure was constructed on the present site. An organ was requested by the Pastor in correspondence with the Bishop of Mexico. His requests in 1818 were denied. As far as we know, Mission San José, nor any of the other mission in Alta California, never had an organ. The musical scene, however, was very lively. Secular and religious music were freely interchanged and performed with great gusto using string, woodwind and brass instruments. Several original compositions have survived.

As the missions increased in size and wealth, the influence of the clergy in the affairs of state became an increasing annoyance to the Mexican government of Alta California. Secularization of the missions and "Emancipation Proclamation of 1836" freeing the Indians from servitude destroyed the mission culture.

After California became part of the United States the mission properties were returned to the Church by a Proclamation from President Lincoln. Although they did not regain their former stature, they gained a "mythical prominence" in California folklore. We are lucky that most of the missions still exist and many have their original structures.

In 1981, the community of Fremont embarked on the restoration of the original building, which had been destroyed in the earthquake of 1868. With a seed gift of several million dollars from Bay Area philanthropist, Walter Gleason, an unprecedented authentic restoration using adobe construction techniques on the original foundation commenced. Although it was successfully completed, the (building restoration) project taxed all involved. The exasperation of trying to use authentic materials was evident when in 1985 we suggested (the idea of) having an "authentically styled" organ as well. Our delivery time was fortunately long enough to allow for the "dust to settle" on the project. As we have learned, a certain amount of patience is necessary to allow for the right solution to evolve.

In 1986, a Curator was appointed for Mission San José. Kerry Quaid, who had recently graduated with a degree in Historic Preservation, systematically completed and corrected the details of the (Mission reconstruction) project including (completion of the building decoration and) the replanting of the Mission gardens with native California species. When his attention turned to the already contracted organ, his curiosity about what might be an appropriate instrument set into motion the forces which resulted in our Opus 14. Since only a year remained before we needed to commence with the design, an intensive research effort on the part of the Builder and Curator ensued. This would be a unique project among the California missions. With the advice of Guy Bovet, Susan Tattershall, Dr.Lawrence Moe of U.C. Berkeley, John Fesperman of the Smithsonian Institution, Dirk Flentrop founder of Flentrop Orgelbow and Organ Builder Greg Harrold, the following conclusions formed the rationale for our design:

  1. The instrument would have one manual keyboard of 51 notes divided at middle c1/c1#. A chromatic bass octave would reflect 19th century keyboards

  2. A typical Castilian stop list, with certain changes, would fit our budget but also considered were 19th century tonal developments in Mexico. Ultimately, the available literature which is almost exclusively Iberian dictated the final choices of stops.

  3. Mission San José, unlike most of the others, is a museum adjacent to a parish church. Although daily Mass is celebrated, occasions when the organ would be played are limited to special services, weddings, funerals and concerts. The opportunity presented by these requirements suggested two important considerations: 1/4 comma mean-tone tuning would be desirable and a more complete pedal board (27 notes rather that 13 notes) than those found in Iberian instruments would be necessary.

  4. The Greco-Roman revival of the 1830's was the rage for Mission decor. Painted in bright colors and sparingly gilded, the organ case would be well integrated with its surroundings. 







Rosales Pipe Organ Services, Inc.   3020 East Olympic Boulevard  ▪  Los Angeles  CA  90023-3402
Manuel Rosales: 213.925.8633    Office: 323.262.9253    Fax: 323.262.8018