Three unusual organs

1. The Zadar Sea Organ, Croatia

A set of thirty-five pipes run through two-hundred and thirty feet of white marble steps.  Underneath, the pipes open to receive the oscillating energy of the sea waves, and the resulting compression and decompression of air powers the sound the organ’s harmonic pipes to create a song which is, quote, “unpredictable but tuned.” (There are other sea organs, including one at Blackpool, but the Zadar one was first).

2. The Bubble Organ

A student called Aaron Wendel created this instrument out of old rain drain pipes, PVC, pieces of old furniture and other junk. Using two balloons as the source of air, the depressed keys create resonating tones in the PVC pipes that combine with the sound of bubbling water to create a sound like, well, like a hippo using a Japanese toilet, perhaps.

3. The Great Stalacpipe Organ, Virginia

Created by Pentagon scientist Leland W. Sprinkle in 1954, this is the world’s largest musical instrument, at 3 ½ acres in size. Sprinkle carefully selected stalactites throughout the Luray caverns which resonated at specific pitches and tones, and attached rubber mallets which would play these stalactites when keys were pressed at the central organ mechanism.

More unusual musical instruments here.

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8 thoughts on “Three unusual organs

    September 20, 2010 at 15:21

    Way out man, way, way out, can I have one of those Croation jobbies as a door chime? As for the subterranean Virginian, Leyland Sprinkle, you couldn’t make it up and what happens when the vibes loosen off the stala, stalat, oh, the ones that hang down, the sound would then become piercing.

    September 21, 2010 at 09:48

    Quite shocked when I came back from a couple of computer-free days (liberating), and saw the title of your latest post Brit – thinking that the world’s greatest culture blog had decided to abandon the esoteric in an effort to crank-up the hit-rate.

    Joey Joe Joe Jr.
    September 21, 2010 at 17:47

    Malty, I recall at school they taught us a handy way to remember, in terms of hosiery, which way the stala-things point. It went something along the lines of ‘Stalac-tights hang down, whereas a stalag-might not’.

    Banished To A Pompous Land
    September 22, 2010 at 20:07

    Alas a visit to Luray Caverns doesnt feature much in the way of demonstration.

    All you get on the tour can best be described as a couple of distant sonorous BONGs from the depths.

    There is a CD of popular classics and american standards “Midnight in the Caverns” by Monte Maxwell but I can’t seem to find it on sale anywhere on-line. You’ll just have to visit the gift shop as I did.

    The organ is one of those things, like the films of Jess Franco, that read like a dream but disappoint a little in reality.

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