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The American Pipe Organ. Definitions. Manual A keyboard played by the hands.  All instruments also have a pedalboard, which is the keyboard played by the feet. Rank A set of pipes of a particular tone color (timbre), one for each note of the keyboard.  Stop

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    • A keyboard played by the hands.  All instruments also have a pedalboard, which is the keyboard played by the feet.
  • Rank
    • A set of pipes of a particular tone color (timbre), one for each note of the keyboard. 
  • Stop
    • A knob or tab on the organ console that turns on a set of pipes.
  • Register (Independent Stop)
    • An independent speaking stop that has its own pipes that are not "borrowed" from any other stops.
  • Borrowed Stop
    • A stop that does not have its own pipes, but rather reuses pipes from an independent stop (register).
  • Total Stops
    • The total number of speaking stops on the organ, whether independent or borrowed.
the centennial exposition in philadelphia spring 1876
The Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia, Spring, 1876
  • In 1876 Philadelphia held the national Centennial Exposition.
  • Patrick Gilmore's Band was hired for sixty performances.
  • Jacques Offenbach, the celebrated composer of comic operas, was also hired for a series of performances.
  • One of the musicians hired by Offenbach to play first violin was John Philip Sousa.
  • Music was heard in the exhibition halls, along the garden walkways, in restaurants - there were concerts, choirs, organ recitals, chimes, minstrel shows, and musical instrument demonstrations
opening day ceremonies
Opening Day Ceremonies
  • After Hail to the Chief upon the entrance of President and Mrs. Grant, the orchestra under the direction of Theodore Thomas, began the inaugural performance of the Centennial March by Richard Wagner, a piece commissioned by the Women's Centennial Committee.
  • Although Wagner had stated that he was moved by "the inspiration of the beautiful ladies of America," even he admitted in private that the best thing about the piece was his $5,000 commission.
  • Prayers and benedictions followed, then a cantata by Sidney Lanier, Centennial Meditation of Columbia and a hymn by John Greenleaf Whittier.
  • Speeches by President Grant and other dignitaries followed, and then a rendition of Handel's Hallelujah Chorus accompanied by the Centennial Chimes, church bells, factory whistles, and a 100-gun salvo
the music
The Music
  • The main source of music during the Centennial was the Music Pavilion
  • There were two immense organs, the Centennial Organ by Hook and Hastings of Boston, and the Roosevelt Organ by Hilborne L. Roosevelt of New York, which had a special "electric echo" effect.
  • A second Music Pavilion was located outdoors in Lansdowne Valley between Memorial Hall and Horticultural Hall.
machinery hall
Machinery Hall

Home to the Centennial Chimes, 13 chimes representing the 13 original colonies

These were played three times daily by a professor Widdows of Washington, D.C.

There were daily concerts arranged by manufacturers of musical instruments.

Visitors flocked to hear the Steinway Centennial Concert Grand Piano.

A series of concerts was arranged by the Women's Committee at the Edwin Forrest estate.

The Great American Restaurant offered a beer garden with concert music, and the Restaurant of the South featured an "Old Time Darky Band."

Additionally, every state day and every special event was the occasion for more concerts, marching bands, and choruses.

the centennial organ
The Centennial Organ
  • Built in 1876 by Hook and Hastings, Boston, for the great Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia. This was one of two large instruments in the hall
  • Used for 1000 recitals by leading organists of the day
  • After the Exposition the instrument was sold to and installed in St. Joseph’s Old Cathedral in Buffalo, New York
hook and hastings
Hook and Hastings
  • The Exposition closed in November, 1876 and St. Joseph’s Cathedral bought the instrument and installed it in 1877
  • The original playing action was replaced in 1925 but the remainder was left intact
  • The instrument was restored in 1975-76
  • A second restoration took place in 1999-2001 by the Andover Organ Company of Lawrence, Massachusetts
list of stops

16' Open Diapason Old 61 Pipes

8' Open Diapason Old 61 Pipes

8' 2nd Open Diapason from 16' O.D. 12 Pipes

8' Doppel Flöte Old 61 Pipes

8' Gamba Old 61 Pipes

6' Quinte Old 61 Pipes

4' Octave Old 61 Pipes

4' Flute Harmonique Old 61 Pipes

3' Twelfth Old 61 Pipes

2' Fifteenth Old 61 Pipes

III-IV Cornet Old 232 Pipes

IV Mixture Old 244 Pipes

V Cymbale New 305 Pipes

16' Trumpet Old 61 Pipes

8' Trumpet Old 61 Pipes

4' Clarion Old 61 Pipes

Blank Knob

Great to Great 16'

Great to Great 4'

Great Unison


16' Bourdon Old 61 Pipes

8' Open Diapason Old 61 Pipes

8' Viola Old 61 Pipes

8' Voix Céleste Old Pipes Tellers 49 Pipes

8' Stopped Diapason Old 61 Pipes

8' Quintadena Old 61 Pipes

4' Octave "Old E&GG H&H, Op.869" 61 Pipes

4' Violina Old 61 Pipes

4' Flauto Traverso Old 61 Pipes

2 2/3' Cornet Nazard Old from Cornet 61 Pipes

2' Flautino Old from Cornet 61 Pipes

1 3/5' Cornet Tierce "Old Pipes Hook, Op. 869 " 61 Pipes

IV Mixture New 244 Pipes

16' Contra Fagotto "From Oboe, New Bass " 12 Pipes

8' Cornopean Old 61 Pipes

8' Oboe Old 61 Pipes

8' Vox Humana Old 61 Pipes



Swell to Swell 16'

Swell to Swell 4'

Swell Unison Off

List of Stops
list of stops11

16' Lieblich Gedeckt Old Pipes Estey Op. 3079 61 Pipes

8' Geigen Principal Old 61 Pipes

8' Dulciana Old 61 Pipes

8' Melodia Old 61 Pipes

8' Rohr Flöte Old 61 Pipes

4' Octave Op 501 Hook Geig. Prin. 61 Pipes

4' Fugara Old 61 Pipes

4' Flute d'Amour Old 61 Pipes

2 2/3' Quint Flöte New 61 Pipes

2' Piccolo Old 61 Pipes

1 3/5' Tierce New 61 Pipes

1 1/3' Octave Quint New 61 Pipes

III Mixture New 183 Pipes

8' Trumpet "Old Pipes, Estey Op.3079 " 61 Pipes

8' Clarinet Old 61 Pipes

8' Vox Angelica Old 61 Pipes

8' Cromorne New 61 Pipes

4' Clarion from 8' Trumpet 12 Pipes


Choir to Choir 16'

Choir Unison Off


8' Stentorphon "Old, New or old trebles " 61 Pipes

8' Tuba Mirabilis Old 61 Pipes

V Grand Cornet T.C. "8' fr. Opus 501, 4' fr. Sw. "

"Cornet, 2 2/3',2',1 3/5' New" 245 Pipes

Blank Knob

Solo to Solo 16'

Solo to Solo 4'

Solo Unison Off


16' Gemshorn "Old , treb fr.Estey 4079" 61 Pipes

8' Philomela New 61 Pipes

8' Gemshorn from 16' Gemshorn 12 Pipes

8' Dolcan Gamba Old Pipes Hutchings 61 Pipes

8' Gamba Céleste Old Pipes Hutchings 49 Pipes

8' Spitzflöte New 61 Pipes

8' Spitzflöte Céleste New 49 Pipes

4' Hohlpfeife "Old Pipes Hook, Opus 355" 61 Pipes

2' Harmonic Piccolo Hutchings. Votey fr. Chicago 61 Pipes

8' French Horn Old Pipes Gottfreid 61 Pipes

8' Cor Anglais "Old Pipes Estey, Opus 3079" 61 Pipes


List of Stops
list of stops12
Celestial Bells


Celestial to Celestial 16'

Celestial to Celestial 4'

Celestial Unison Off


32' Bourdon Old 32 Pipes

16' Open Diapason Old 32 Pipes

16' Violone Old 32 Pipes

16' Dulciana Great 16' OD. 32 Notes

16' Gemshorn From Celestial 32 Notes

16' Bourdon From 32' Bdn. 12 Pipes

16' Lieblich Gedeckt From Choir 32 Notes

12' Quinte From 32' 7 Pipes

8' Octave From 16' OD. 12 Pipes

8' Bell Gamba Old 32 Pipes

8' Violoncello From Violone 12 Pipes

8' Gemshorn From Celestial 32 Notes

8' Gedeckt From Choir Lieblich 32 Notes

5 1/3' Octave Quinte Old Pipes 32 Pipes

4' Principal Old Pipes 32 Pipes

4' Super Octave From Bell Gamba 12 Pipes

IV Mixture 5 1/3' Quint & Old Pipes

fr.Estey 3079 68 Pipes

V Gross Harmonics Old Pipes 96 Pipes

32' Contra Bombarde "New, Ext. Trombone " 12 Pipes

16' Trombone Old 32 Pipes

16' Bassoon From Sw. Oboe 32 Notes

8' Trumpet From Trombone 12 Pipes

8' Posaune Old Pipes 32 Pipes

8' Oboe From Sw. 32 Notes

4' Clarion From Posaune 12 Pipes

List of Stops
w eugene thayer 1838 1889
W. Eugene Thayer (1838-1889)
  • Born in Mendon, Massachusetts, December 11, 1838
  • Began the study of the organ at the age of fourteen, and soon gained a reputation as an excellent organist
  • 1865-66 he studied in Europe under Carl Haupt
  • Opened a studio in Boston in 1875
  • Published a 5-volume course, “The Art of Organ Playing”
  • The Variations on the Russian National Hymn, Op. 12, opens the study
variations on the russian national hymn
Variations on the Russian National Hymn
  • Russian National Hymn, “God Preserve the Tsar” was composed by Alexis Lvov in 1833 and served, until the revolution, as the Russian national anthem (it was also used in Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture
  • Thayer composedfive variations on the theme
thayer variations on the russian national hymn op 12
Thayer: Variations on the Russian National Hymn, Op. 12
  • Theme
  • Variation 1 for “organ tone”
  • Variation 2 for strings and flutes
  • Variation 3 introduces the oboe solo stop
  • Variation 4 soft strings and flutes
  • Variation 5 for full organ featuring the pedals
hope jones unit orchestra
Hope-Jones Unit Orchestra
  • The theater organ was invented around 1900 by Robert Hope-Jones
  • The theater organ is a collection of colorful, distinctive, and powerful voices
  • It was developed to replace the symphony orchestra used to accompany silent films
  • The “Hope-Jones Unit Orchestra”
the wurlitzer theater organ
The Wurlitzer Theater Organ
  • Rudolph Wurlitzer bought the Hope-Jones patents in 1910
  • The era of theater organsbegan around 1910
  • By 1927 there were 63 firms building organs and produced about 2500 instruments
  • Sound movies were introduced in 1929 (The Jazz Singer) signaling the end of the theater organ era
phantom of the opera 1925
Phantom of the Opera (1925)
  • 1925 starring Lon Chaney and Mary Philbin
  • The re-release of the film in 1929 with talking sequences foretold the end of the theater organ as the voice of the silent films
  • In 1942 the War Production Board ordered the organ industry to convert to defense work and organ factories produced glider parts, various metal work, and coffins
  • Wurlitzer stopped making organs in 1943
four of the world s largest pipe organs are in the united states
Four of the World’s Largest Pipe Organs are in the United States
  • Wanamaker Organ in Philadelphia
    • Murry M. Harris, 1904, 28,482 pipes
  • Convention Hall, Atlantic City, New Jersey
    • Midmer-Losh Op. 5550, 1929, 33,114 pipesMuch of it does not work
  • First Congregational Church, Los Angeles, California
    • E. M. Skinner Opus 856, 1931, over 20,000 pipesThis is the largest church organ
  • USMA Cadet Chapel, West Point, New York
    • M. P. Mohler, 1911, 20,142 pipes
wanamaker organ
Wanamaker Organ
  • Located in Lord and Taylor Department Store, Philadelphia
  • 6 manuals, 461 ranks, 396 registers, 28,482 pipes
  • In 1911 the largest organ in the world (from the St. Louis World's Fair in 1904) was inaugurated in the Grand Court. The building was dedicated on December 30 by President William H. Taft
  • In 1980 The Wanamaker Organ becomes the first pipe organ to be designated a National Historic Landmark
  • Mussorgsky: Pictures at an Exhibition - The Great Gate of Kiev
convention hall
Convention Hall
  • 7 manuals; 449 ranks; 337 registers; 852 stops; 33,114 pipes
  • The Sounds
    • Toccata in d minor (Bach)
first congregational church
First Congregational Church
  • First Congregational Church
    • 5 manuals; 346 ranks; 233 registers; 265 stops; over 20,000 pipes
usma cadet chapel
USMA Cadet Chapel
  • 4 manuals; 325 ranks; 576 stops; 20,142 pipes
  • The Sounds: “Veni Creator”
virgil fox and the fratelli ruffatti pipe organ built in 1976
Virgil Fox and the Fratelli Ruffatti pipe organ (built in 1976)
  • In 1977 Virgil Fox began recording on digital tape
  • These recordings were the first digital recordings made in the United States
  • These recordings were made using the 1976 Fratelli Ruffatti instrument installed in the Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove, California
  • Virgil Fox died of cancer 3 years after these recording sessions
  • Fox appeared at VT in the 1970s performing on aRodgers Touring Organ called“The Black Beauty”
  • Widor: Toccata from the Sixth Symphony
    • Charles-Marie Widor (France, 1844-1937)