Method for Matching the Pipe Organ to the Acoustic of the Room

European CRAFT-Projekt (Co-operative Research Action For Technology)

Stiftskirche Stuttgart, (Deutschland), Mühleisen-Orgel, 2004 gebaut (Foto: Theo Holder)
© Theo Holder / Mühleisen

Church of the Epiphany (Erscheinungskirche), Miami, Florida, U.S.A., die Drei-Manual-Orgel von Fratelli Ruffatti, 2002 gebaut.
© Fratelli Ruffatti

Orgel in der Budahegyvideki-Kirche, gebaut vonPecser Orelbaumanufaktur (Ungarn). Die Orgel hat 17 Register
© Pécsi Orgonaépitö Manufaktúra

The manufacturing of pipe organs is a traditional European industrial sector. The main factor influencing the competitiveness of the organ builder SMEs (Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises) is the quality of their pipe organs. Perhaps the most important quality aspect is the matching of the pipe organ to the acoustic properties of the church or concert hall. The quality of the instrument cannot be judged independently from the room. The sound perceived by the listener is a common product of the pipe organ and the room acoustics. The sound quality is an essential factor because it is the signature of the organ builder and makes his reputation. Organ building is a traditional craftsmanship, which is part of the European cultural heritage and it should be preserved. Nevertheless, innovative design methods and technologies could be applied in the daily practice, without endangering the valuable traditions. This project supports this societal and policy objective of the European Commission.

The state-of-art methods of room acoustics are not used by organ builder SMEs. One reason is the completely different way of thinking and terminology of acousticians and organ builders. Therefore, the organ builder cannot formulate his requirements for the acoustic properties of the room in a way, which is understandable for the acoustician. On the other hand, the results of a room acoustical investigation cannot be directly used by the organ builder for designing the scaling of his pipes. One aim of the project is to establish a comprehension between room acoustics and organ building.

Besides the above mentioned, more or less subjective problems of mutual understanding there are objective difficulties, too, by the application of room acoustical methods for the design of pipe organs. These problems can be divided in three groups:

  • Inadequacy of the standard methods of room acoustics for the pipe organ
  • Missing information about the emitted sound power of organ pipes
  • Specific requirements of organ builders concerning the acoustics of the room

The research project will be carried out by trying to find solutions to the above three points.
The proposed research will establish a scientific foundation of the design and matching of pipe organs to the acoustic properties of the church or concert hall for the first time in the long history of organ building. For this purpose the knowledge of room acoustics, the acoustics of organ pipes and the tradition of organ building will be combined to a new, innovative design method.

Contract No: COOP-CT-2005-017712



  • Werkstätte für Orgelbau Mühleisen GmbH, Leonberg, Germany
  • Manufacture d'Orgues Muhleisen, Strasbourg, France 
  • Flentrop Orgelbouw B.V., Zaandam, The Netherlands
  • Orgelbau Schumacher, Baelen, Belgium
  • Blancafort, orgueners de Montserrat S. L., Collbato, Spain
  • Oficina e Escola de Organasia Ltd., Esmoriz (Porto), Portugal
  • Fratelli Ruffatti Pipe organ builders, Padova, Italy
  • Johannes Klais Orgelbau, Bonn, Germany
  • Pécsi Orgonaépitö Manufaktúra KFT, Pécs, Hungary
  • Orgelmakerij Boogaard, Niederlande

Partners for research and technological improvements

  • Steinbeis GmbH & Co. für Technologietransfer / Steinbeis-Transferzentrum Angewandte Akustik, Stuttgart, Germany
  • AFT Acoustics Ltd., Budapest, Ungarn
    heute: Arató Akusztika Kft