Organ builder

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Draft of a brochure by Johann Georg Dirr

The organ builder deals with the design, construction, manufacture and sound design of organs . In addition, his task is to maintain, repair, renovate, restore and reconstruct existing organs. In addition to the actual organ building, organ maintenance, tuning and intonation are the main fields of activity of the organ builder.

Organ building, together with organ music , was included in 2014 as one of 27 cultural forms and handicraft techniques in the nationwide directory of intangible cultural heritage in Germany and in December 2017 in the representative list of the intangible cultural heritage of humanity .

Work image

Organ builder pre-intoning (1966)

For the construction of an organ, the organ builder often receives specifications from the client (mostly parishes, organists and organ experts) or develops their own solutions and suggestions. These mainly contain the disposition . For spatial, technical and acoustic conditions, the organ builder has to find solutions that meet the financial and musical requirements. Then he has to design the organ down to the last detail. To do this, some theoretical prerequisites are necessary that have to be acquired specifically for organ building, including the scaling of organ pipes. In addition to knowledge of the various materials (wood, metals, felt, leather, etc.), knowledge of statics, aerodynamics, mechanics and electronics must also be available.

The practical skills that the organ builder now needs include the construction of the pipework , all components of the technical system and the case of an organ. Not every organ builder has to be a specialist in every area of ​​work. In an organ building workshop, different organ builders usually work for each area. External companies or organ builders are also regularly commissioned with some work, for example metal casting, pipe construction or custom-made parts that are rarely required.

After all the components of the organ assemblies have been produced and the pipework has been pre-intoned, the organ is usually partially or fully assembled in the workshop. The instrument is then dismantled again and the components are transported to their destination. There the organ is finally set up. Finally the pipes are voiced and tuned.

Regular on-site maintenance includes tuning the pipework and adjusting the action. The organ builder also has to carry out smaller and larger repairs that are necessary due to wear and tear, unforeseen effects or improper handling (here, above all, the wrong room climate is to be mentioned).

When an organ is overhauled , the pipework is dismantled, all components of an organ are thoroughly cleaned and, if necessary, repaired. In the course of an overhaul, minor modifications, changes or extensions to individual assemblies may also be carried out.

When an organ is restored , an organ is returned to its previous or original condition. The material and design of the individual parts of the instrument must be restored as carefully as possible or reconstructed true to the original.

Gaming table construction . Photo from 1966

Education and situation of the profession

The term organ builder or master organ builder is used to describe a trade in the manufacture of musical instruments . In Germany he bears the full name of organ and harmonium builder, in Switzerland he is an EFZ musical instrument builder specializing in organ building. The training of an organ builder takes place in Germany on the one hand in an organ building workshop and on the other hand at the Federal College for Instrument Making in Ludwigsburg . There are also regular courses for prospective masters who take their exams at the Stuttgart Chamber of Crafts.

In 1990 there were around 300 organ-building workshops with around 2500 employees in the entire German organ building sector. In 2018 there are around 400 organ builders due to many one-man businesses, but only 1,800 employees. There are around 50 companies with 10–60 employees and around 60 companies with 5–9 employees, all others have only 1–4 employees. It is to be expected that the number of employees in organ building will decrease considerably due to the deteriorating financial situation of the Catholic and Protestant churches.

See also


Web links

Commons : Organ Builders  - Collection of images, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: Organ builder  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. 27 forms of culture included in the German directory of intangible cultural heritage. Press release. Kultusministerkonferenz, December 12, 2014, archived from the original on July 7, 2015 ; Retrieved December 12, 2014 .
  2. German organ building is a Unesco cultural heritage. Spiegel Online, December 7, 2017, accessed on the same day.
  3. ^ Organ craftsmanship and music. Information on this on the UNESCO website, accessed on December 7, 2017. (English)
  4. Martin Kares: The situation of organ building in Germany at the beginning of the 21st century. (PDF; 1.5 MB) In: The organ between yesterday and tomorrow. Walcker Foundation for Organ Science Research, 2011, pp. 14–15 , accessed on October 1, 2012 (report on the tenth Colloquium of the Walcker Foundation for Organ Science Research September 23–25, 2003 in Siegen).
  5. Roland Eberlein : New organs have become rare. (PDF) In: Blog Orgelwelt aktuell. Walcker Foundation for Organ Research, January 16, 2014, accessed December 25, 2014 .