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What is a Pipe Organ?

Cue the "The Phantom of the Opera" and along comes the organ melody of Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D minor. This invasion of silence by the grandiose presence of the pipe organ is the most well-known song of the organ. If Toccata in D Minor doesn't click for you, just think … dah-duh-dah … dah-dah-dah-duh … dah ...

The organ is much more than background music in a movie, or even in church worship. The organ is a stand-alone musical instrument that is versatile, yet classic in its performance. The pipe organ has been around for many centuries now. It has undergone massive renovations, as each century has taken its turn. From the organ's inception, it has always been a wind-based instrument, but as time progressed, the organ began to match and mimic the needs of the time. From church ceremonies to theater hall performances to even a show-stopper all by itself, the organ is the grandfather of all instruments.

So, what exactly is a pipe organ? A pipe organ is a keyboarded instrument that makes use of pressurized air to produce various pitches, timbres, and textures. This is achieved through the use of metal and wooden pipes to produce sound. In short, the pipe organ produces sound with the use of air, and in our modern age, digital pipes.

Over the next few Staff Trax that I will be writing, I will talk more about the parts of our very own organ, and all of the beautiful things the organ has to offer.

Be Blessed!
William Canady
Salem Organist

Salem’s organist has written a series of articles about the organ for Staff Trax this year. This is part 1 of 7.

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