The Great Stalacpipe Organ – Moonlight Sonata on rocks instrument

The Great Stalacpipe Organ

The Great Stalacpipe Organ is a unique instrument that uses cave formations to make music, It is located deep in an underground cave in Virginia.

Stalacpipe Organ was completed in 1956 after three years of work by a mathematician and electronic scientist Leland W. Sprinkle. It took Sprinkle three years and 2500 tries to find the right 37 formations to serve as natural chimes, ranging over five octaves. However, It is the world’s largest natural instrument, covering 1.4 hectares and using over 8 kilometres of wiring.

How does The Great Stalacpipe Organ works?

It works by tapping on ancient stalactites with rubber mallets, all connected to a console that looks like a traditional organ. The sound seem to come from all around, as if the cavern itself were singing.  

One of the popular stories surrounding the invention of the organ says that Sprinkle got the idea when his son hit his head on one of the stalactites, producing a low, vibrating hum from the cave.

Also watch: 5 most unusual musical instruments


Moonlight Sonata by Beethoven played on Stalacpipe Organ

It is very unusual experience to hear this strange rocks-made instrument making a music that we are familiar with. Listen to Ludwig van Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata, Arranged/played by Monte Maxwell.


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