Definition of bourdon in English:



  • A low-pitched stop in an organ or harmonium, typically a stopped diapason of 16-foot pitch.

    • ‘Bourdons are stopped pipes, that are only half the length of an open pipe of the same pitch.’
    • ‘As might reasonably be expected, the manual BOURDONS are made of a much smaller scale than those introduced in the Pedal Organ.’
    • ‘These names have all been used denote a Bourdon pitched an octave lower, at 16' or 32'.’
    • ‘Bourdons are always stopped pipes, thus they provide a rather muffled sound.’
    • ‘The scale for the Bourdon pipes is the same as the Soubasse pipes except two notes smaller.’


Middle English (in the sense ‘drone of a bagpipe’): from Old French, ‘drone’, of imitative origin.