Why is an organ used in churches?
Why do we use a pipe organ or digital organ in churches? That’s a good question.
The pipe organ is older than Christianity. Did you know the Greek engineer Ctesibius invented the hydraulis (an early type organ) in the year 246 BC?
In the early Christian churches no organs were used. Christians considered all instruments to be of a secular nature. The only instrument that was used was the human voice.
The first pipe organs in churches appeared somewhere between the years 800 and 900. It probably started with Monasteries, but exacly why and how remains an enigma. Monks were highly educated and could play and build complicated instruments, such as organs. The Monastery of Winchester England (980) built an organ with 400 pipes. Two monks could play at the same time.
Around the 15th century organs were used in many monastic churches and cathedrals in Europe. Those organs didn’t have stops and could only make one sound. The first ‘modern’ organ appeared somewhere between 1510 and 1520 in the upper Rhineland and had stops and effects.
Is the organ a sacred instrument? An interesting article appeared on the website of the Catholic World Rapport. “Is the meaning of the cross, the most common Christian symbol, subjective? Well, yes, but that does not prevent it from having a communitarian meaning for all Christians as well, so that we might all find it truly awesome. The pipe organ, more than any other instrument, lays claim to that same kind of universality.”
– What are the biggest organs in the world?
– Why is an organ used in churches?
– Who invented the pipe organ?
– What is the organ with the most pipes?
– What’s the longest organ pipe in the world?
– Where can I play a pipe organ?
– Is a pipe organ a wind instrument?