These instruments are called on for the widest array of musical needs: this can range from the foremost duty of leading congregational singing and choral accompaniment to the performance of literature for preludes, postludes, and concerts. Often the pipe organ is a key piece in the design of a worship space. The visual design of a pipe organ is sometimes an anchor for the visual perspective of the room. The location of the pipe organ in the building — whether it is located in the chancel or the gallery — will affect the prominence of the design. A chancel design is usually expected to enhance the cross or altar area without overpowering it. A gallery installation usually provides a visual anchor or enhances an existing stained glass window, as well as providing a backdrop for the choir.
Whether the pipe organ provides a tonal backdrop for a Eucharist service or the commanding presence for the presentation of elements or entry of a Bishop, the pipe organ has to provide an array of tonal colors ranging from soft to commanding. In our company, church organ designs are a tactful balance of European organbuilding designs combined with the feel for American worship services and rooms. A cross-section is essential, as most American congregations embrace many different aspects of music in a single worship service. A good design will have tremendous impact on the longevity of the instrument for the congregation. An pipe organ builder who embraces the organ design as a function of the worship space can usually offer more benefits than an organ builder who might build a pipe organ based on a specific stop list or historical basis.
Tools for the Church Organ Committee.
For a compilation of in-depth information ranging from industry standards and descriptions to the format of purchasing a pipe organ, please download our Tools for the Church Organ Committee.