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The Mormon Tabernacle Organ

This great organ was built by a little known organ


builder Joseph Ridges. He had built the organ with help of
other wood workers (who had little to no prior experience
building an organ). He built the organ as the tabernacle
walls went up around him. It is said that his idea of the case
came from visiting the Boston Music Hall and seeing the
organ. The original case is still in place along with the
original façade pipes. Through out its 135 year history the
organ has been enlarged several times, with the last major
renovation led by famed organ builder G. Donald Harrison,
with the help of former organist Alexander Shreiner. The
organ now has 11,623 speaking pipes, 206 ranks (rows of
pipes), and 147 voices (tonal colors).

The present instrument was built in 1948 by the Aeolian-Skinner Company of


Boston, Massachusetts, under the direction of G. Donald Harrison, president and
tonal director of the firm.
The pipes are made of wood, zinc, and various alloys of tin and lead.
The pipes are controlled from a console with five 61-note manuals (keyboards)
and a 32-note pedal board.
Some of the famous gilded cylindrical pipes in the organ's facade are made of
wood staves fashioned of native Utah pine, retained from the original pioneer
organ built in the 1860s.
The longest pipe has a speaking length of 32 feet.
The shortest pipe has a speaking length of three-quarters of an inch.
Two technicians are employed full time to maintain this and other musical
instruments on Temple Square.