- An organ stop sounding a main register of flue pipes, typically of eight-foot pitch.
- A grand swelling burst of harmony.
- The entire compass, range, or scope of something.
“The final chord of the hymn sounded the diapason through the cathedral.”
“The diapason from the orchestra sent chills through my body.”
“I don’t want just one option; I want to choose from the diapason.”
Greek, late 16th century
Why this word?
To an organist, “diapason” refers to the tonal sounding of the flue pipes — basically all of the notes possible. The word comes from the Greek phrase “dia pasōn (khordōn),” which means “through all (notes).” In other musical uses, “diapason” can refer to any octave (not exclusive to the organ), and also a great swelling of harmonic sound. Away from music, yet still in a poetic sense, “diapason” can mean the entire range or scope, such as “the diapason of possibilities was brimming before me.”
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