Living-room pipe organ

Nora sez, "My father, a retired software engineer, amateur musician, and OG-maker, is building a pipe organ in his and my mother's living room. The project (which has involved moving to a new house, selected in part due to its organ-friendly design) is being documented on his blog. My dad is awesome."

Yes, yes he is.

Although the organ is far from complete, I’ve been having fun playing it. Yesterday one of the Gemshorn pipes (F below middle C) kept sounding after I released the key — a cypher!

Quite apart from its other meanings, the term “cypher” is used to describe an organ pipe that keeps playing after the key is released (or in some cases, before any key at all has been pressed).

In most cases this is due to a mechanical problem with the valve which controls the pipe. Sometimes playing a series of staccato 64th notes on the key will clear it, but not this time.

Pipe Organ Blog (Thanks, Nora!)



  1. Some years back I lived near the former site of one of the nation’s last pipe organ factories. When they went out of business, a German pastor I know raided their supplies and built himself a pipe organ in his home. I didn’t see it being built, but I heard it being played!

    1. Also Dr. Robert Suding, one of the founders of “The Digital Group” , a company that produced an early CP/M box, has a living room pipe organ. There’s a relevant article in January 2013 QST and he has a flicker page with that and other interesting sights (here be Dragons! for instance).

  2. The Harpsichord Clearing House usually has a few for sale at any one time:

    I’d love a little eight foot chamber organ, but even the cheapest are pretty costly.

    1.  I meant OG in the colloquial sense, in that that my father’s maker skills are so above par that, as the nice man from Law and Order would say, ‘when it comes to game he is atomic.’

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