Manual (music)

A manual is a musical keyboard designed to be played with the hands, on an instrument such as a pipe organ, harpsichord, clavichord, electronic organ, melodica, or synthesizer. The term "manual" is used with regard to any hand keyboard on these instruments to distinguish it from the pedalboard, which is a keyboard that the organist plays with their feet. It is proper to use "manual" rather than "keyboard", then, when referring to the hand keyboards on any instrument that has a pedalboard.

An electronic organ with three manuals. The two lower manuals are each five octaves in range; the uppermost manual spans two octaves.
The console of the Great Organ at the Church of St Sulpice built by Aristide Cavaillé-Coll in 1862.

Music written to be played only on the manuals (instead of using the pedals) can be designated by manualiter (first attested in 1511, but particularly common in the 17th and 18th centuries).[1]