I'm in the midst of writing a piece which has an organ part which may require stop changes during the performance, possibly mid-note (with the resultant tonal shifts). Searching the web I've tried to find out how to do this but have come up dry. What are the accepted practices for scoring stop changes?

  • There are plenty of 19th century organ music scores you can look at on imslp.org. Anything by Liszt, Franck, Vierne, Widor, Reger, etc, etc will show examples. I don't know of a good reference source for this - organists tend to absorb it by osmosis, and writing for organ without any practical experience of the instrument is likely to be a fairly hazardous undertaking.
    – user19146
    Sep 10, 2015 at 23:12

1 Answer 1


You simply write the desired stops above the staff: something like Gt: + 4' Reed or Sw/Ped off or Soft Fl. 4' solo. If you want to do this while notes are held, then you need perhaps a special symbol like an arrow or star along with the text, with a note at the beginning of the score explaining what it means.

In Cesar Franck's Grand piece symphonique there are several places where the composer asks the organist to add all the reeds while holding a chord.


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