portative organ


[pawr-tuh-tiv, pohr-]
capable of being carried; portable.
having or pertaining to the power or function of carrying.
Also called portative organ. a small portable pipe organ used especially during the Middle Ages and the Renaissance.

1350–1400; Middle English portatif < Middle French. See port5, -ative

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World English Dictionary
portative (ˈpɔːtətɪv)
1.  a less common word for portable
2.  concerned with the act of carrying
[C14: from French, from Latin portāre to carry]

portative organ
music a small portable organ with arm-operated bellows popular in medieval times

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Encyclopedia Britannica

portative organ

small musical instrument played from the 12th through the 16th century, popular for secular music. It had one rank of flue pipes (producing a flutelike sound), sometimes arranged in rows to save space, and was slung from the player's neck by a strap. The keys and pipes lay at right angles to the player, who used two fingers of his right hand to play melodies. With his left hand he worked a bellows at the back of the instrument. Except for occasional drones (sustained notes played against a melody), the portative organ played music consisting only of a melodic line. Its compass was from two to three octaves

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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