Pipe organ  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

The pipe organ is a musical instrument that produces sound when pressurized air (referred to as wind) is driven through a series of pipes. The admission of wind into the pipes is controlled by a keyboard. A pipe sounds when a key is depressed on the keyboard, allowing wind to pass through the pipe. Modern organs usually include one or more keyboards playable by the hands and one keyboard playable by the feet. Each keyboard controls a certain number of pipes. The smallest portable organs may have only a few dozen pipes and only one keyboard, while the largest organs may feature over 20,000 pipes and seven keyboards. The organ's continuous supply of wind allows it to sustain sound for as long as a key is depressed. This is unlike other keyboard instruments such as the piano and harpsichord, whose sound begins to decay immediately after the key is struck.

In popular music

Church-style pipe organs are very rarely used in popular music. In some cases, groups have sought out the sound of the pipe organ, such as Tangerine Dream,and Arrogant Worms which used combined the distinctive sounds of electronic synthesizers and pipe organs when it recorded both music albums and videos in several cathedrals in Europe. Rick Wakeman of British progressive rock group Yes also used pipe organ to excellent effect in a number of the group's albums (including "Close to the Edge" and "Going for the One"). Wakeman has also used pipe organ in his solo pieces such as "Jane Seymour" from The Six Wives Of Henry VIII and "Judas Iscariot" from Criminal Record. Even more recently, he has recorded an entire album of organ pieces – "Rick Wakeman at Lincoln Cathedral". George Duke employed the pipe organ in a flamboyant manner in the piece "50/50" on the Frank Zappa album Over-Nite Sensation. Dennis DeYoung of American rock group Styx used the pipe organ at Chicago's St. James Cathedral on the song "I'm O.K." on the group's 1978 album Pieces of Eight. In 2000 Radiohead Frontman Thom Yorke played the organ on the Kid A album to great effect, most notably in "Motion Picture Soundtrack". More recently, Arcade Fire have used a church organ on the songs "Intervention" and "My Body Is a Cage" on their newest album Neon Bible. Muse have also used a church organ on their album 'Origin of Symmetry' in the form of 'Megalomania', played by their frontman Matt Bellamy. It has been performed live only once on a pipe organ, at the Royal Albert Hall.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Pipe organ" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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