The name Bourdun is derived from the French word for 'buzz' and normally denotes a stopped flute/flue type of pipe in an organ, though in organ building the stop has no "buzz", but rather a very dark, heavy tone, strong in fundamental, with little overtone development. The flute is a musical instrument of the woodwind family. ...
This stop is nearly always found at 16' pitch (meaning the lowest pitched pipe is 16 feet in length). It is also common in the pedal division at 32' pitch, where it's very heavy roll of sound can actually shake the building it is installed in. It can occasionally be found at 8' although this is generally unnecessary as many stopped flute/flue pipes, such as the Gedackt and stopped Diapason, give a similar sound . Its tone is low pitched and firm, although this can vary greatly between builders. The pipes can be built of wood or metal, but are overwhelmingly constructed of wood in modern organ building. They are thick walled, and generally square in cross section, with a high mouth cut-up to produce the fluty tone. Bourdon is a stopped pipe, having an airtight stopper fitted into the top. This both makes the tone one octave lower than a similar pipe of open construction, and also limits the overtone development, helping to create the characteristic dark tone.
This stop is very common in church organs and indeed theatre organs. In a church or theatre organ so small as to have only one 16' stop in the pedal division, it will almost invariably be a bourdon, as the deep, dark and penetrating tone can be clearly heard under soft or loud combinations, and blends well with all sounds of the organ.
'Bourdon' has many spellings and German organ builders will often use "Bordun", or even "Untersatz" on the stop knob for this rank. "Subbass" was originally a stop of somewhat different design than the Bourdon, but the word is accepted today as a synonym for a Bourdun in the pedals. The Italian spelling is "bordone".
- Bourdun 16' Oberwerk, St. Wenzelkirche Naumburg Germany (Zacharias Hildebrandt)
- Bourdun 16' Swell, York Minster, England (J. W. Walker).