"Behold the marvelous art of Archimedes, I allude to
the Hydraulic Organ; so many members, so many parts, so many joints, so
many sound conduits, so much tonal effect, so many combinations, so many
pipes, and all at one touch." -Tertullian 
Welcome! You have reached the Pipe Organ Education Project. This
project is the first step in a larger program designed to revive interest
in the pipe organ. The organ is an incredible instrument but needs more
organists and audiences if it is to be appreciated in the future. My hope
is that as the public learns more about the pipe organ, public support
for it will increase. This site will explain how the organ works.
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Controlling the Sound
How the Organ is Organized
A Brief History
The quote above by Tertullian refers to a predecessor of today's organ:
The Hydraulis Organ. It was invented around the 3rd century before Christ.The
earliest known organist was Ctesibius of Alexandria, who lived around 200
B.C. Pipe organs existed throughout the ancient world although they were
quite different from the organs of the 16th century and later, which are
the organs familiar to us today. The Hydraulis organ used the weight of
water to keep the wind under pressure so that the wind blowing through
the pipes would be steady. These early organs did not have manuals
but used levers. The levers were further apart than today's keys on a manual.These
organs did not have pedals because the pedalboard
was not invented until the late 15th century. The largest organs had 22
pipes and four different kinds of pipes per note. Today's organs have 61
notes and can have over 100 different kinds of sounds per note, although
the average large organ will have about 50 to 60 different sounds to use.
When Tertullian wrote about the organ, he was speaking of the small organs
of ancient times. Imagine how he would feel if he heard today's organs!
(Audsley, George A., The Art of Organ Building.)
Last updated December 1, 2012.
This site is part of the Pipe Organ Education Project.
© Copyright 1996-2012 by Marya
J. Fancey _