How Does a Pipe Organ Work?

First, we need to understand what exactly a pipe organ is. Simply stated the pipe organ is a big box of whistles. Each one of these whistles sits on top of a hollow wind chest which is filled with air by a blower or bellows. Th wind chest also contains a series of valves connected to the keyboard via a linkage system. These valves or pallets as they are called, control the flow of air to each pipe. The keyboard of console contains what are known as stops. Each stop represents a set of pipes called a rank. Each rank plays a different tonal sound. Basically, what occurs is a key is pressed, the keys mechanically linked pallet opens, the compressed air travels through the pipe, and a beautiful sound is made.

How does air make sound?

Sound is air vibrating. When you remove the cap a exhale air across the top of a soda bottle you get the same effect – it makes a note. One organ pipe will produce one tome at one pitch. Unlike other instruments such a s flute you cannot manipulate pipes to play multiple note. One pipe equals one not. On a standard 61 key, keyboard there will be 61 individual pipes each creating their very own note.

How does the keyboard control the pipes?

The pipes produce sound when air is blown into the foot or bottom of the pipe. This is caused by release of air from a special chamber called the wind chest. The wind chest has a separate channel or valve for each pipe. Here’s how it works. As the organist presses down on the low C key on the keyboard, special linkage open the low C valve in the wind chest, air is released into the foot of the low C pipe and the organ plays low C note. On a 61-note keyboard, there are 61 valves which 61 pipes sit on top of. Each of these 61 valves is opened and closed as the organist presses and releases the keys of the keyboard.

What sounds can an organ make?

The pitch of the sound coming from each pipe is determined by the length of the pipe. This is very similar to how stringed instruments work. A shorter string produces a higher pitch than a longer one. Thus, a short pipe produces a higher pitch than a long pipe. Let’s go a little deeper. When a piano produces a Middle C it takes a two foot organ pipe to produce the same sound. When the length of the pipe is doubled, the pitch goes down one octave. To produce a Tenor C you would have a four foot pipe, for a Bass C, an eight foot pipe.

Why do organs have several keyboards?

We have been talking about the main 61 note keyboard. The second keyboard controls a second set of pipes. These pipes traditionally lighter tone and are an octave higher than the first set of pipes.

How are pipes made?

Pipes are constructed by taking tin and lead and melting them into a liquid in an iron pot. This liquefied metal is than poured out onto a table to cool and form into a thin sheet. Rectangular pieces are next cut out of the sheet. These pieces are next rolled into a tube. The tube is completed when the foot mouth are added making each tube the whistle we know as a pipe organ.


Worlds Largest Pipe Organ

The organ is one of the oldest instruments in European classical music with many heralding it as the grandest musical instrument in terms of both its size and range. The most common type of organ is the pipe organ so called because the sound is produced from groups of pipes the sets of which are called ranks. Organs are the mainstay of many large venues pipe organs are found most often in Churches, Synagogues, Concert Halls and Theatres to name the most common ones.

The St. Anne’s Cathedral or the Belfast Cathedral church’s organ is considered to be the largest pipe organ of the Northern Ireland.I’m quite sure; almost every movie buff must have watched the movie, Titanic. Now come and witness the history about its origin in real life at the Titanic Quarter. You’ll re-live the entire story of this ship from her birth in this city to her historic maiden voyage and her untimely tragic death in the seabed.

A pipe organ produces sound by driving pressurised air through pipes that they player of the instrument selects via the keyboard of which there are sometimes one or two. Referencing back to the sets of pipes on the organ which are in sets called racks, each pipe produces a certain pitch. The groups or racks as they are known all offer a different sound in terms of how loud, the pitch and the timbre. The racks are operated via the stops which are the controls of the organ and you can opt to play the pipes singly or as part of a combination. As I said before a pipe organ has either one or two keyboards which is obviously played by the hands and there is a pedal board which is operated by the players feet.

One main difference or advantage to a pipe organ is that the pipes can sustain a note for as long as the player has the corresponding key pressed unlike the piano where the sound dissipates off. The other well known type of organ is the electric organ which you may have heard of before, especially the Hammond organ which was used prolifically by many bands in the sixties.

Though derived from the designs developed in France, the harmonium was developed further in India in unique ways, such as the addition of drone stops and a scale changing mechanism. A popular usage is by practitioners of different faiths, who use it in the devotional singing of prayers, called bhajan or kirtan.

Church organs were first recorded as early as the 7th century and Pope Vitalian has been recorded as the one who introduced the organ to religious services. It has also been recorded that even earlier or in some other religious sects that organs or indeed musical instruments did not exist in churches as they were viewed to be secular (which means with no religious or spiritual basis). Pipe organs are not only found in Christian churches but also in Jewish Synagogues and all throughout Europe, America and Australasia.

Throughout the United Kingdom in many churches the organ one of the main focuses in the building. The organ traditionally is incorporated in many different type of services throughout the church including christenings and weddings.


How to Learn the Pipe Organ

One of the most intriguing and interesting instruments to play is the organ. The organ has been nicknamed as the “The King of Instruments” because of its capacity to generate sounds over wide scopes of both pitch and volume. There are numerous varieties of this organ instrument: from the typical electronics to the more advanced Church Organ, Theater Pipe Organ, Orchestral Organ, and the Cathedral Organ. Training to play the organ can appear to be difficult but to some extent greatly satisfying, as one of the musical kind of equipment they are fit for entertainment but it remains an inquiry on What kind of special training is needed to play a pipe organ?. By starting from the piano, attaining the correct materials, and concentrating fully on the organ, you will be headed to organ learning success .if interested here is the special training that is needed in order for one to be able to learn and play the organ instrument.

1. Training to use the keyboard.

Before you can start training to play the organ, you should have some understanding on the piano. Truth be told, many organ educators won’t accept you without any less than one year of piano training. Start your adventure by training about the keyboard on the piano. You should first comprehend what the different keys do, and which notes they can create.

• The keyboard of a piano rehashes its notes from upper to lowest over a few octaves. This implies the notes alternate from high (right side) to low (left side), but don’t fluctuate in pitch.
• There are twelve notes a piano can deliver: seven white key notes (C, E, F, B, G, D, A) and five dark keynotes (C-sharp, D-sharp, F-sharp, A-level, and B-level).

2. Training to play scales.

Playing scales (a progression of notes) is the cornerstone of learning to play piano procedure. Know some elementary piano scales, beginning with straightforward two-finger scales and afterwards progressing to three-finger scales. Train your piano scales each day.

3. Training to read music.

As organ is viewed as a propelled instrument, most instructors will anticipate that you will have the capacity to read sheet music before you start organ consider. Training to read music can challenge at in the first place, but it is a critical ability for playing any musical instrument, including piano and organ.

• Train the treble clef.
• know the bass clef.
• Train the parts of the note (head, the stem, and the banner).
• Train about rhythm.

4. Training to use your hands unconventionally.

When you have turned out to be contented with piano scales, and maybe began playing some straightforward structures, you should train to apply both your hands independently. Ultimately, you should have the capacity to play two different developments (one with every hand) in the meantime. This concurrent playing must be aced before you can progress to organ play.


Training is just a single approach to ace any instrument: rehearse, hone, hone. Make the daily training plan for yourself and stay in touch. The more training you can do, the more you will get in return.


What is a pipe organ?

A typical pipe organ is a diversion that produces sound by blowing air through a gathering of empty boats took care of by consoles. Water line organs are recognized from reed organs, in which air causes thin brightening pieces of metal to vibrate. They are additionally known from electronic organs that utilization electrical gadgets to create sounds a ton like water line organs. The extensive water pipe organs utilized as a part of open structures are by much the greatest and a considerable measure entangled melodic instruments ever constructed.

A pipe organ includes four fundamental parts. The support contains the consoles, foot pedals, and puts a stop to. The pipes, which might be as short as 1 in (2. 5 cm) or gave that thirty two ft (10 m), create the sound. The activity is the intricate framework which is worked by the reassure to control the stream of air to the pipes. The wind generator supplies air to the pipes.

A little pipe body organ may have a gaming console with just a single key cushion, with every key dealing with the stream of air to one pipe. Pretty much all pipe organs, yet, have reassures with two to five consoles, a gathering of feet pedals, and two or three counteracts. Stops are controls which open or close the air supply to a group of pipes, known as a rank. In this way, every key can control the surge of air to a few pipes.

The pipes exist in two essential structures. Around four-fifths of the pipes in a run of the mill pipe organ are pipe pipes. A pipe comprises of an empty barrel with an opening in the side of the pipe. Whatever remains of the pipes are reed pipes. A reed pipe comprises of an empty barrel, containing a vibrating segment of metal, associated with an empty cone. The biggest pipe organ on the planet, situated in Philadelphia, contains 28,500 pipes.

The British acquainted pipe organs with India amid their decision period. The instrument rapidly got to be distinctly well known there: it was convenient, dependable and simple to mater. Its prominence has expanded to the present day, and the pipe organ is an imperative instrument in many sorts of Indian music. It is normally found in Indian homes. In spite of the fact that got from the plans created in France, the pipe organ was produced promote in India in exceptional routes, for example, the expansion of automaton stops and a scale evolving component.

The activity might be mechanical, pneumatic, electric, or electro pneumatic. A mechanical activity interfaces the comfort to the valves which control the stream of air to the pipes with wrenches, rollers, and levers. A pneumatic activity utilizes air weight, initiated by the comfort, to control the valves. An electric activity utilizes electromagnets, controlled by the support, to enact the valves. An electro-pneumatic activity utilizes electromagnets, initiated by the support, to control air weight which enacts the valves.

Breeze generator of a present day pipe organ is normally a rotating blower, driven by an electric engine. Some little pipe bodily organs utilize hand-pumped roars as twist generators, as all pipe organs did until the begin of the twentieth century.

The first known ancestor of the pipe organ was the hydraulus, imagined by the Greek architect Ctesibius in Alexandria, Egypt, in the third century B. C. This gadget contained a supply of air which has been situated in an enormous box of water. Air was pumped into the tank repository, and the weight of this specific kept up a steady supply of air to the pipes. Pipe bodily organs with howls showed up around four hundred years after the fact.


Pipe Organ vs. Regular Organ

Pipe organs are majestic musical instruments which use pressurized wind to create sounds. The air is blown through the pipes to create various notes on the keyboard. The pipe organ player uses both hands and feet to play the organ. They use pipes made up of wood or metal to create beautiful music in churches, cathedrals, and big town halls. These pipes can vary in size and each pipe produces different notes. The sound also depends upon the material of the pipes. Organs have been used in ceremonies since centuries and pipe organs are very different from the modern digital organs that we see these days.

The main difference between a pipe organ and the regular organ is the quality of sound they produce. The Pipe organ is a very majestic instrument which uses real pipes and wind control instruments to create a sound which reverberates throughout the room. The size of the two organs also varies in size. The digital organs are smaller in size compared to pipe organs which can be as big as a room. The pipe organs need to be controlled mechanically while the digital organ works on electricity. It is much easier to play a digital organ as a pipe organ requires coordination between the keyboard, foot pedals, and wind system. Digital organs are made to look and emulate the pipe organs but many musicians believe that even the finest electronic organs fail to create the music that a pipe organ creates.

The maintenance of pipe organs is another factor which makes them different from the regular organs. They can go out of tune quite easily so it becomes necessary to maintain them periodically and tune them. The digital organs do not require that much care as they do not go out of tune. Digital organs are also easier to move and carry as they are lightweight and do not require much space. It has been tried to recreate the sound of traditional pipe organs through digital organs but many organists prefer the pipe organ over the normal organ. They say that the sound which is created by classic pipe organs is very different from the digital organs.

Another factor which differentiates the two types of organs is the price. Digital organs are much cheaper compared to the big pipe organs. It is because of this price difference that a lot of homes are preferring to buy smaller electronic organs which are cheaper and small in size. A classic pipe organ is only used in churches and town halls these days which can afford to spend a huge amount of money on these organs as they have become a rarity.
In the end, both the organs have their own set of pros and cons and you should invest in the organs only after proper research. The sound quality of pipe organ is much better compared to the digital organs which cost less and save space. A true organist will come to know the difference between these two instruments by just listening to the sound that they create.

The First Note

While you are waiting for us, take a look at this amazing video of the pipe organist from Mormon Tabernacle Choir.  Simply awesome!