The Regal as a forgotten instrument from the past
The small organ on exhibit is a beautiful, well-preserved example of a common place musical instrument in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. This instrument was used in both secular and sacred contexts and was commonly known as a Regal.
The regal is a one stop organ with one set of very small and rather simple reed pipes, plus a set of wedge bellows. It took two people to play it: one to play the manual, the other one to operate the bellows.
A regal pipe does not have a resonator, which normally amplifies certain frequencies so that the sound is more stable and has more body. Thats why the regals sound is extraordinarily bright and clear. This may seem strange to our modern-day ears.
The unique sound of these instruments, plus the somewhat complicated position you need to handle it and, lastly, the changing musical fashions in the 18th century led to its disappearance. It was during this period that builders stopped making the instrument, players lost interest in it as tastes changed and as a result, the instrument soon disappeared altogether.