Positive organ

beginning of the 18th century, Attributed to: Franz Walter



Positive organ

Small instruments of the organ family, mainly used in chapels or churches as a replacement for or an alternative to the large choir organ, are referred to as positive organs. Although they possess fewer registers - usually between four and six - these provide enough tonal possibilities for the positive to be used as a solo instrument or in accompaniment. Tradition has it that this positive organ was originally in the possession of Emperor Joseph I. It subsequently came to the Order of Elisabeth in Vienna where the daughter of the Emperor lived as a canoness. The attribution of this five-register instrument to Franz Lothar Walter is based on a graphite inscription on the bellows mechanism, though the authenticity of the inscription cannot be ascertained for certain. (rh)

Lit.: Rudolf Hopfner: Masterpieces from the Collection of Historic Musical Instruments. A Short Guide through the Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna, Vol. 1, Vienna 2019

Currently not displayed.

Object data

Object Name

Positive organ


Austria, Vienna (?)


beginning of the 18th century

Attributed to

Franz Walter (ca. 1656 Wien - 1733) - GND

Dimensions Cover size is a museum or exhibition-specific information. It does not specify the real dimensions of the musical instrument.

1040 mm x 2130 mm x 660 mm

Image rights

Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien, Sammlung alter Musikinstrumente

Inv. No.

Sammlung alter Musikinstrumente, 544

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