Nov 29, 2005


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Festival Pictures
Stier Pictures
Stier History Papers
Organ Restoration
Barrel Restoration
The Stier Roars
Events Calendar
Tour Operators
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The Salzburg Stier (Bull) Barrel Organ

Located In The Fortress Hohensalzburg

fortress loftview

Introduction & Welcome

From Ron Schmuck - Web Site Sponsor

Dear Friends,

This web site was created as a meeting place for everyone interested in antique Automated Musical Instruments. It is hoped that this site will attract historians, restorers, collectors and everyone interested in learning more about Automated Musical instruments and especially the instruments and the builders of these wonderful instruments which, actually go back over 2000 years! It is hoped you will use this site to share your knowledge, meet folks of similar interests and even plan to travel to distant parts of the world such as Salzburg to see, and take part in various events.

It is only through our combined efforts that more information can be gathered covering instruments known as Hornwerk, of which the "Salzburg Stier Barrel Organ" is the last example of Gothic organ construction to survive. The Stier (To my knowledge) is the oldest daily played Automated Musical instrument in the world. Its history starts in 1502 and continues right up to today. Presently the Stier is receiving a complete restoration scheduled to be completed by the spring of 2002. Around that date the Stier will be over 500 years old and plans for a Gala Celebration are presently being finalized. Please take the time to navigate this web site and follow the restoration of the Stier, as time goes by, meet the restorers and discover their findings, just as they are also discovering the secrets of the organ builders of 500 years ago.

Also of equal interest is the music which was recorded on the wooden barrels (which operated the keys of the Stier) and actually play the music. I'm sure you will be surprised to learn some of the famous names of those involved in this feat. But most important I hope you find this site interesting enough to actually plan to be at the 2002 Celebration for the Salzburg Stier, in Salzburg Austria and perhaps even help out financially by joining "The Friends of the Salzburg Stier" and have your name listed in the book which will be located beside the Salzburg Stier in the mighty Fortress Hohensalzburg.

Sincerely, Ron Schmuck

Report and Pictures
Fortress Hohensalzburg Stierfest
October 26, 2002
Click Here for More Information

Fortress Hohensalzburg Stierfest
October 26, 2002
Click Here for More Information

Recent Pictures
of the Organ Restoration
Click Here to See Them

A New Article
Mechanical Organ (Hornwerk)
at the Fortress Hohensalzburg
by Prof. Gerhard Walterskirchen
Click Here to read the article

Pour les français, on peut lire un article écrit par Phillipe Rouillé à propos du Taureau de Salzbourg

Cliquez ici

walton From Mrs. Barbara Walton, Director
Salzburg Castles and Palaces Enterprises
Salzburg Regional Government

Dear friends of the 'Salzburg Bull',

In the summer of 2002, after almost seven years of silence the world-wide unique mechanical organ from the late middle ages, the Salzburg Bull' will again be able to roar.

The organ was installed as a form of siren/alarm clock in 1500 under the instruction of the Archbishop Leonard von Keutschach, who ruled the independent dukedom of Salzburg from 1495 until 1519. From then on the bull roared three times a day for nearly 500 years to remind the inhabitants of Salzburg of the time of day. The roar is actually a very strange organ sound, reminiscent of a bull roaring , hence the local name which has remained until this day: - the 'Salzburg Bull.'

The mechanical organ is to be found at Europe's biggest castle complex, the fortress of Hohenslazburg, which has stood majestically above the town, famous as the birthplace of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, since the 11th. century.

Naturally a not inconsiderable sum must be planned for and invested each year in order to maintain the historic buildings in a condition, commensurate with the expectations of the almost 1 million visitors from all over the world.

In addition to such necessary building maintenance, in 1995 the Department for Conservation sounded the alarm concerning the organ mechanism; to continue to play it three times a day would damage the drum and the pins set into it. They appealed for the restoration of the 'Salzburg Bull'.

At the end of the millennium renowned experts were contacted with regard to the renovation: - a firm of traditional organ builders in Lower Austria, whose heritage stretches back over generations, and an expert on barrel organ drums from Utrecht, known for his work throughout the world, were selected to carry out the work.

Such specialist knowledge, however, has its price; by completion in the summer of 2002, the project will have accounted for a sum of 5 Million ATS (approx. 330,000 US$). The regional government of Salzburg and the Republic of Austria, the latter being the legal owner of the fortress of Hohensalzburg, have part financed the project. To make up the rest of the sum, the SBSB (Salzburg Castles and Palaces Enterprises, a department of the regional government, which is responsible for the historic site) has established with the help of international enthusiasts, the fund raising project: -

"Help make the Salzburg Bull roar again".

If you would also like to help rescue a unique cultural asset which has been recognised by UNESCO since 1997 as part of the world's cultural heritage, then please read the following pages of this web site.

As a sponsor your name will be engraved on a plaque and thereby preserved for posterity. In addition you will be invited as a guest of honour to the "reincarnation of the Bull' in Salzburg in June 2002. But even if this time you can't help financially, I am sure that the history of the 'Salzburg Bull' will be an enrichment for every knowledgeable reader and castle enthusiast.

With this in mind, my enthusiastic team at the fortress Hohensalzburg and I leave you with our best wishes from the musical town of Salzburg; home of the mediaeval bull's roar, the unforgettable music of Mozart and the well known musical, 'the Sound of Music.'

Barbara Walton
Salzburg Castles and Palaces Enterprises
Salzburg Regional Government

Responsible for the fortress of Hohensalzburg, the Salzburg Residence - for many centuries home of the prince-archbishops, the fortress of Hohenwerfen, and Mauterndorf castle.

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It is with great sorrow that we inform you of the death of Mr. Otto Fichtinger on May 5, 2002. Otto worked many long hours in the planning and preparation for the Salzburg Stier's Celebration to be held October 26, 2002.

Otto was 59 years old and was a major collector of Automated Musical instruments. He was also a member of many Automated Musical Instrument societies. Being a long time resident of Salzburg Otto Fichtinger was very familar with the Salzburg Stier and worked hard for its restoration. He will indeed be missed.

Hear The Stier Play


Organ Restoration


The organ has recently been removed from Hohensalzburg (for a complete and thorough restoration) to Vienna, Austria and is under the expert guidance of Mr. Ing Brauneis, Preservation officer for musical instruments, Austria. We plan on having regular reports on the restoration of the Stier, so please visit this site regularly. Brauneis.jpg
Engineer Brauneis

THE BARRELS are receiving particular attention at the world famous museum and restoration facilities of The National Museum, Van Speelklok Tot Pierement, Netherlands. under the guidance of its director, Dr Jan-Jaap Haspels. The National Museum, Van Speelklok Tot Pierement, is dedicated to the preservation and display of all types of automated musical instrument. Dr Jan-Jaap Haspels is personally in charge of this very interesting and demanding work of examining the barrels to attempt to learn what was pinned on the barrels at different times over the last 500 years.

The instrument is planned to be completed and back in position at its home, The Fortress Hohensalzburg for the Fall of 2002. Celebrations are presently being planned for the great event. To be kept up to date on this event simply send me, Ronald Schmuck, an email marked Stier Celebrations at nickelodeonco@gmail.com.

View Pictures of the Stier

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Barrel Restoration

See the Work of Dr Haspels and Team

Barrel Restoration
Historical details of the barrels used on the Salzburg Stier

The barrel itself is made of wood (Maple) and is 5ft.7inches long and 9.8 inches in diameter. There are two barrels with the instrument. One has the drive gear made in wood while the other barrels gear is made of iron. The key frame is weighted with steel blocks and the action adjustment is made at the front end of the key by raising or lowering the actual pins that engages with the Barrel.

Originally there was only one composition on the barrel. In 1753 Leopold Mozart increased the repertoire to twelve compositions on the barrel. One for each month. In 1893 a new barrel was prepared having only nine tunes, the tunes are as follows:
1. J Haydn; Austrian National Anthem (1797)
2. A Ebler; Chorale (1502)
3. P Hofhaimer; Horace's "Oda ad Lydiam (1791)
4. W A Mozart; May Song;Komm Licher Mai (1791)
5. M Haydn; Longing for a Rural Life (1804)
6. J E Eberlin; Minuet (1753)
7. J E Eberlin; Lullaby (1753)
8. L Mozart; The Hunt (1753)
9. L Mozart; Pastorial Minuet (1753) "the organ shout"
Joyful final, rural mood,

The songs were also scored to be played on the piano and the sheet music for these melodies were sold to the public. During the first world war several patriotic songs were pinned onto the barrels and again during the second world war the Nazies also had several of their favorite songs pinned onto the barrels. These were removed shorly after the end of both wars and replaced with the original melodies.

View Pictures of the Stier

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Guest Book

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  Read Our Guestbook

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Salzburg Weather

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Web Site Visits

This page has been visited times.
Since Jan 6, 2001

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Links to Other Sites

Interesting Links For Additional Salzburg Information
Salzburg Through the Eyes of a Local
Salzburg Hotel and Tourist Information
A Stroll through Salzburg
Hohensalzburg Fortress
Salzbuger Burgen und Schlšesser

Links To Participating Museums and Businesses
The Great Canadian Nickelodeon Company - Ron Schmuck
MBSI - Music Box Society International
Waldkirch Organ Foundation - Wolfgang Brommer
Jäeger & Brommer German Organ Builders
Musica Mecanica - Philippe Rouillé
National Museum van Speelklok tot Pierement - Utrecht, Netherlands
het Orgel - Internet Magazine On European Organ Art

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Web Page Owner/Sponsor

Contact us by e-mail at: nickelodeonco@gmail.com
or by Phone, Fax, or Snailmail at
Phone: (519) 323-3582  |  Fax: (519) 323-0309

Ronald Schmuck
RR#4, 1 Minto Pines Rd.
Mount Forest, Ontario, Canada

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Copyright ©2001-2012
Ronald Schmuck
All Rights Reserved Worldwide.