Cornelius H. Edkses
Honorary Doctor



awarded to the Dutch organologist

Cornelius H. Edskes


in the Göteborg University, Sweden, on October 19, 1996


Cornelius H. Edskes, Doctor Honoris Causa / Publication in Honor of Cornelius H. Edskes, 1996

Programme of the Ceremony Oct. 18-19, 1996

Cor H. Edskes

Undoubtedly among the most influential organologists of the second half of the twentieth century, Cor H. Edskes (b. 1925) revolutionized the field of pipe organ restoration by shaping the development of restoration theory and practice.

Edskes's pioneering efforts, such as the introduction of thorough documentation as an element essential to organ restoration, have set world-wide standards. His exhaustive documentation of the monumental organ in the Martinikerk in Groningen, published in 1971/72, still serves as a model for many yet on-going European restoration projects.

The practice of organ restoration was virtually reinvented in the 1950s due to his insistence upon the adoption of historical building techniques most closely resembling those of the particular organ-builder in question. Together with the organ-builders J¸rgen Ahrend and Gerhard Brunzema (Leer, Germany), Edskes was able to refine this notion, turning a philosophy into a standard of practice. As an organ-builder himself, he has successfully combined the skills of the historian with those of the craftsman thereby initiating a new bread of historically con-scientious organ-builders.

Further contributions to historically conscientious organ building include his reconstruction of the employment of proportional systems involved in the design of pipe scales and case dimensions.

Innumerable restoration projects have profited and been kept in good balance by his ingenious Rahmenplan or 'master plan'. The combination of thorough documentation and historically informed building techniques represents the key to this invaluable 'plan of actions' to be worked out before any actual restoration is done.

Edskes's efforts have been equally influential on the aesthetics of music. His research and consequential employment of historical tuning systems in restored organs represent a turning point for the appreciation and understanding of early organ music. In 1955 the organ of Westerhusen (Germany) from 1642, was the first to have its original 'meantone' tuning (with pure tuned major thirds) restored: proving that even for a 'normal' congregation historical tunings present no significant drawbacks.

For more than 40 years, Cor H. Edskes has embodied a model integration of scholarship, musicology, technical research and performance. His decades of highly interdisciplinary achievements as a foremost organologist have resulted in the creation of a legacy: in the absence of which, the remarkably high standards of contemporary organ-building and restoration could not have been achieved.

The following is a list of restoration and reconstruction projects of instruments dating from the 16th to the 19th centuries in which Edskes played a defining role:

The Netherlands




Contact with Sweden

Edskes has a keen interest in the organological history of Denmark and Sweden, due to numerous connections between the Scandinavian and Dutch organ building traditions. As early as the 1950s, he was engaged in a study and documentation of important historical organs in Sweden together with the Swedish organologist Dr. Einar Erici. Edskes has recently accepted the task of documenting the organ in Morlanda, said to be of Dutch origin dating from the early 17th century.

The North German Organ Research Project at Göteborg University

Edskes's very important work as a consultant for the restoration of the Arp Schnitger organ in the Jacobikirche in Hamburg, including a detailed investigation of pipe construction and scalings, has formed the basis for the reconstruction of the pipework of a large North German organ in the Nya Örgryte kyrka in Göteborg. The work is being carried out by the organ research workshop within the interdisciplinary research project of the Göteborg Organ Art Center at Göteborg University.


Cornelius H. Edskes, Doctor Honoris Causa
- Publication in Honor of Cornelius H. Edskes -

Curriculum Vitae - Bibliograhpy
Essay: "Über die Stimmtonhöhe und Temperatur der Arp Schnitger-Orgel von St. Jacobi in Hamburg" (On the Pitch and Temperament of the Arp Schntiger-Organ in St. Jacobi, Hamburg)

Edited in the series Studies from the Musicology Department, University of Göteborg, No 45, 1996.
46 pages.
ISBN 91 85974 37-4

GOArt Publications and CD's

Programme of the Ceremony

Friday, Oct. 18, 1996
18:30 Concert in Cor Edskes' Honour with Gustav Leonhardt, Harald Vogel and Kristian Olesen in the Haga Church, Göteborg

Saturday, Oct. 19, 1996
14:00 Conferring of Doctors' Degrees in the Vasa Church, Göteborg


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