One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A small portable pipe organ.
- ‘Not until the 13th century do some of the earlier devices begin to reappear with the portative organ, for example keys that would return to their closed position when the finger was removed.’
- ‘For the Bach Consort's performance, J. Reilly Lewis conducted while playing some of the continuo parts on the portative organ, while Scott Dettra played the other continuo parts from the harpsichord.’
- ‘Erik Suter, who had performed the harmonium part in the Debussy on the small portative organ in the nave, went to the main organ in the choir for two pieces by Olivier Messiaen.’
- ‘Played here on portative organ, fiddle and harp, the dancing polyphony dazzles and delights.’
Early 16th century (as a compound): portative from Old French portatif, -ive, apparently an alteration of portatil, based on Latin portare ‘carry’.
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