Portal:Pipe organ

Portal:Pipe organ
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The Pipe organ Portal

Organ in Katharinenkirche, Frankfurt am Main, Germany

The pipe organ is a musical instrument that produces sound by admitting air (wind) through a series of different sized pipes. This process is controlled through the use of keyboards. One of the oldest musical instruments—its origins can be traced back to the Greeks—the organ is capable of sustaining sound for as long as the key is depressed, in contrast to other keyboard instruments, such as the piano and harpsichord.

Pipe organs range in size from portable instruments with only a few dozen pipes to very large organs with tens of thousands of pipes, causing Mozart to describe it as the king of instruments. (more...)

Selected article

Eight-foot pitch is a term common to the organ and the harpsichord. An organ pipe, or a harpsichord string, designated as eight-foot pitch is sounded at standard, ordinary pitch. For example, the A above middle C in eight-foot pitch would be sounded at 440 Hz. (or at some similar value, depending on how concert pitch was set at the time and place the organ or harpsichord was made).

Eight-foot pitch may be contrasted with four-foot pitch (one octave above the standard), two-foot pitch (two octaves above the standard), and sixteen foot pitch (one octave below the standard). The origin of all these terms is based on the fact that, all else being equal, a pipe or string that is half the length of another will vibrate at a pitch one octave higher. The length "eight feet" is based on the length of an organ pipe sounding the pitch two octaves below middle C.


Selected picture

Spanish trompete stop
Credit: Kantor.JH

This Spanish trumpet reed stop is of a class mounted en chamade. These stops are mounted horizontally rather than vertically in the front of the organ case, projecting out into the church. As a result they will sound louder than other stops operating on the same wind pressure.


Did you know...

  • ... that the recently restored organ of St Botolph's Aldgate has been described as the oldest church organ in the United Kingdom. Although there are older pipes and cases, this is the oldest collection of pipes in their original positions on their original wind chests.
  • ...that it took a musicologist 12 years to reconstruct the missing portions of the only copy of English Renaissance composer and organist Martin Peerson's Latin motets so it could be published and recorded? (DYK, April 13, 2007)
  • ...that the Kotzschmar Memorial Organ was the second-largest pipe organ in the United States when it was built in 1911, and that it is one of only two "municipal organs" remaining in the U.S. today?

Notable pipe organs

Wanamaker Organ, Philidelphia · Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City · United States, Military Academy, Cadet Chapel, Organ, West Point · Royal Albert Hall · Las Piñas Bamboo organ · Sydney Opera House · Spreckels Organ · Hollywood High school · (more...)

Selected biography

Virgil Keel Fox (May 3, 1912–October 25, 1980) was a renowned organist, known especially for his flamboyant "Heavy Organ" concerts of the music of Bach. These events appealed to audiences in the 1970s who were more familiar with rock 'n' roll music, and were staged complete with light shows. His style, particularly his taste for fast tempos and flashy registrations, was often criticized for his unconventional interpretations of classical organ music. But on the album "Heavy Organ", in the introduction to the familiar Toccata and Fugue in D minor attributed to Johann Sebastian Bach, Fox summed up his approach to Bach and to music in general:

"There is current in our land (and several European countries) at this moment a kind of nitpicking worship of historic impotence. They say that Bach must not be interpreted and that he must have no emotion...Pure unadulterated rot!...He has all of this amazing spirit and imagine that you could put all the music on one side of the agenda with his great interpretation and great feeling and put the greatest man of all right up on top of a dusty shelf underneath some glass case in a museum and say that he must not be interpreted!

Related portals

Pipe organ news



  • Oh! there is an organ playing in the street - a waltz too! I must leave off to listen. (Lord Byron)


Types of organ: Barrel organ · Calliope · Extension organ · Fairground organ · Mechanical organ · Orchestrion · Pipe organ · Symphonic organ · Water organ ·

Components: Console · Couplers · Expression pedal · Manuals · Pedalboard · Pipes · Wind system ·

Organ stops:  Bourdon · Celeste · Diapason · En chamade · String stop · Gedackt · Vox Humana · Zimbelstern · (more...) ·

Organ builders: Aeolian-Skinner · Casavant Frères · Cavaillé–Coll · Peter Collins · Harrison & Harrison · Klais · Fratelli Ruffatti · Gottfried Silbermann · 'Father' Willis · (more...)

Organists: Johann Sebastian Bach · Edward Bairstow · Claus Bantzer · Adrian Batten · Jennifer Bate · E. Power Biggs · John Birch · Léon Boëllmann · Georg Böhm · David Briggs · Ernest Bullock · Dieterich Buxtehude · Stephen Cleobury · Pierre Cochereau · E. T. Cook · Carlo Curley · Marcel Dupré · Stephen Farr · Virgil Fox · César Franck · Jean Guillou · Naji Hakim · Herbert Howells · Peter Hurford · Francis Jackson · Piet Kee · Jean Langlais · Olivier Latry · Simon Lindley · Richard Marlow · T. Tertius Noble · Nigel Ogden · Walter Parratt · Simon Preston · Noel Rawsthorne · Barry Rose · David Sanger · Albert Schweitzer · John Scott · John Scott–Whiteley · Frederick Swan · Louis Thiry · Thomas Trotter · Gillian Weir · David Willcocks · Willian Lloyd Webber ·

Composers: Jehan Alain · Johann Sebastian Bach · Léon Boëllmann · Johannes Brahms · Dieterich Buxtehude · François Couperin · Marcel Dupré · Maurice Duruflé · César Franck · Eugène Gigout · Herbert Howells · Jean Langlais · Franz Liszt · Felix Mendelssohn · Olivier Messiaen · Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart · Johann Pachelbel · Max Reger · Camille Saint-Saëns · Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck · Louis Vierne · William Lloyd Webber · Charles–Marie Widor ·

Things you can do

  1. Get Pipe organ nearer to WP:FA status by adding references, and discuss moving some content to subpages (see also talk).
  2. Contribute to the clean up of organ pipe, flue pipe etc., see Mini-projects
  3. Find places to link to organ console
  4. Copy edit organ stop
  5. Create article about the various types of windchest
  6. Add {{organist-stub}} to biographical articles either instead of, or additional to the {{Keyboardist-stub}} that currently exists.
  7. Add Category:Electronic organ manufacturing companies to List of organ builders.


Main project:

  • WP:PipeOrgan

Related projects:

  • WP:Musical instruments
  • WP:Musicians
  • WP:Composers
  • WP:Classical music

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