For beginner

The organ – Queen of instruments

How long have they been, what are the façade, an echo or a stop?
Where does the air supply come from? Why did the Christians initially walk away from the organ? All this you could experience in just three minutes with our animation film by the draftsman maniac. Have fun!


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The organ is called the Queen of instruments

Organs are found in concert halls, in schools, in old cinemas, and even in prisons! But most of all in churches

People think first about church when they hear organ

But the church and organ were not beloved at the first sight

For a long time, the instrument was even forbidden

The organ was already found in ancient Egypt

In Rome, the organ was played in arena during the gladiator battles

Due to their loudness organ was considered an instrument of power

It was the instrument at the court of the roman emperor, and therefore the Christians did not want to have any contact with this instrument

Later it became part of the papal court and became very popular abroad

Every small church in every small village had a beautiful organ

In the Reformation, however, was the organ initially in danger

Martin Luther said the pipes were blaring and screaming but his friend Johannes Bugenhagen gave his okay for the organ in the church service and thus founded the organ tradition of the Christian church that continues to this day

The Calvinists were more skeptical they scolded about the devil´s bagpipes

The large city churches in Netherland had huge organs but they were not played for services but only for organ concerts during the week

An organ consists of hundreds sometimes thousands of pipes

What we can see are only the tips of an iceberg 

The face of an organ with pipes, where in old churches even the faces are drawn, are called façade (prospect)

The bigger the pipe, the lower the tone 

Depending on how the organ pipe is built and shaped it sounds like a flute, an oboe, a trumpet, or a bassoon. 

A complete orchestra in one instrument

The organist sits at the console and presses the key, the air flows through the pipes

In the past people had to manually supply the air

Nowadays it is done electrically with blower

Depending on which register, that is, which instrument or tone color are turned on, different sound is produced

The pedal, which are played with the feet, produces sound from the largest pipes

Some organs have Cymbal Star, which sounds like bright chimes

Large churches with very large organs such as in Hamburg St. Michaelis have a so-called echo

A small organ is hidden on the attic but is played from below

The sound comes via diversion into the church room and rings mystically from far away

Such an echo is also in the new organ of the Elbphilharmonie

Some pipes are hidden in the reflector over the concert hall

The Elfi organ is one of the youngest organs in Hamburg 

But also, in the main church of St. Nikolai, a completely new instrument is being created, a fascinating gigantic project

Again and again arise new organs

Organs are not from Yesterday, but rather are still current and modern

Header Photo: Claudia Höhne