The Pipe Organ Education Project is an educational site from 2001 created by organist Marya Fancey. It gives a history of the organ, an overview of its design, an in-depth look at organ mechanics, and a glossary of musical and structural terms. There are also additional resources for further learning.
Below is a bit of the information that can be found on each page of the site. Visit The Pipe Organ Education Project to learn more about each category!
The modern pipe organ has been around since the 16th century and has 61 notes. Organs are custom-made to fit each room they inhabit in order to produce the best sound, and can be either free-standing or built-in. In a free-standing instrument, the pipes sit inside a case; a built-in instrument is attached to the building.
The console of the organ is what is played by the organist to produce sound. It consists of pedals, keys, buttons, and knobs. Some organ consoles can be moved around a stage, while others are attached to the floor of the building.
For a more in-depth look at organ construction and placement, visit this page on the site. For more information about pipes, take a closer look here. You can find out about organ consoles using this link!
Wind is what causes organs to produce sound, which must be blown into the organ and stored in the reservoir. The air moves from the reservoir to the wind chest, and later to the pipes. Sound is created when air is allowed to flow into the pipes, so they are held shut by stop barriers. When an organist turns a stop “on”, the barrier to the pipe is removed. Once removed, the organist can control the wind flow to the pipe by depressing the keys. For a detailed explanation, you can explore the How Sound is Produced page of the website!
More organ resources
The Pipe Organ Education Project provides many other resources for those interested in learning more about organs and music.
Pipedreams is a recommended radio program dedicated to organ music. You can listen to every episode streamed since 1982 on their website, and find details about organ concerts near you.
The Organ Historical Society is a society for musicians and organ lovers. They host an archive of music and organ-related books and serials, and the society also holds yearly conventions for members and enthusiasts.