Organs are large keyboard instruments usually seen in churches. Their sounds are produced by playing the keyboard, leading to a gust of pressurised air (wind) being blown through their pipe rows. 

In recent times, they are no longer supplied air from bellows, as they are now usually powered by electricity.

Types of Organ

  • Pipe Organs – the most common type of organ. Each pipe sits atop a hollow container that is filled with wind whenever its player works the organ’s bellows. These are the organs you commonly see in churches
  • Electronic Organs – These organs are fairly self-explanatory, being equipped with an electronic keyboard and designed to imitate the sound of pipe or theatre organs. They have since branched off into several other types of organs
  • Theatre Organs – unique in that they are a type of pipe organ developed to create music for silent films. They are shaped like a horseshoe and their consoles are usually coloured in bright, extravagant shades

Which organ should I buy?

Each organ sounds different, despite them being known for their distinctive sound. 

The way an organ sounds is the most important aspect of buying one, as the brand and age of the organ can affect the sound.

  • Pipe organs - tend to boast a richer, fuller sound and are also made from high-quality materials, ensuring their longevity. Pipe organs, however, must be regularly maintained
  • Electronic organs  - easier to use and the fact that they are powered by electricity and thus do not need you to work the bellows is an added advantage. You can attach many accessories to electronic organs, such as MIDI controllers
  • Theatre organs - essentially similar to pipe organs, though there are some differences. Church organs generally have a straight row of stop tabs and rockers, while the theatre style console is shaped in the form of a horseshoe. The sounds they produce are also quite different, as the foundation tone of the pipe organ is the diapason, while the theatre organ uses the tibia