In spite of extensive research this list does not claim to be exhaustive as organs are continually being rebuilt and newly built and up-to-date information is not always available.
If you do have additional information that you would wish to provide or if you would like to correct mistakes on this site please contact me at
Mail to Dröhnich
Now why is this organ database more accurate than others?
You may wonder why information on organ stoplists supplied by some of the websites listed under "links" differs from the information on the same organs contained in this site. The websites
listed under "links" often contain incomplete information or information that is outdated or simply wrong, so I check directly with many organbuilders and organists to make sure my data are
complete, correct and up to date.
Regarding the Sorting and Size:
The list is sorted by ranks, that is actually present rows of pipes (mixtures are counted by the higher number of ranks, e.g. V-VII = 7 ranks. Stops that are divided into Bass and Treble
(shortcut: B / D = Discant) the higher number of them is counted). A presumably better ranking by total number of pipes was impossible as information on this is often not available or varies
in different specifications. By "voices" I mean the pipe stops actually present, excluding extensions, transmissions, electronic / digital voices, percussions, etc. 64' and 32' are ranks
actually going down to CCCC, even if the last octave should only be an extension (so they actually produce a 16 / 8 Hz tone). Digital 32' stops are mentioned under "remarks". Only very few
organs have a real 64' stop – most "64'" use tricks that will be indicated as follows: r = resultant (acoustic = 32' + 21 1/3'), m = part of a mixture (only 64' overtones),
d = derived with 32' (identical with resultant), c = only CCCC, x = reaching only down to AAAA.
American specifications usually count by stops, including actual voices as well as transmissions and extensions, some also include digital (electronic) and / or percussion stops so their
figures are much higher than the number of actually present ranks of pipes. In order to make comparison easier I tried to sort my list according to the number of actually present ranks
of pipes. Percussion stops such as harp, celesta, chimes, cymbelstern, drums, etc. do not turn up on this list as well as digital stops which are mentioned in a special row.
Why is this list arranged according to "ranks" instead of "number of pipes"?
I do admit that an arrangement according to the total number of pipes might be fairer but it would be severely flawed by the following disadvantages:
For these reasons I picked the second best way, valuation according to ranks. Still, even if you would change the criteria you would still have the same organs on your list, only maybe in a
different order. Nonetheless it would be the "List of the Largest Organs in the World". Apart from that, using the sorting function you can always create your "personal" order.
- It is hard enough to reseach for actually present ranks (not including ext. / tr. / digital /percussion, etc.). But as to the number of pipes different sources may offer vastly differing
information for the same organ, with some organs the number is simply not known, and even the organbuilder is often unable to provide reliable figures.
- Counting pipes isn't really an objective criterion: a 32' is "worth" a lot more than a 1', reed pipes in general more than flue pipes and a prinicipal made of 90% tin more than one made
of zinc, lead or wood. How to include these aspects in your valuation?
With some organs only a picture of the organ console is provided – in general these organs are located invisibly behind sound panels so that there is no picture available of the organ as a
Some of the pictures (luckily this concerns only a very few) are not very good even when you enlarge them. I apologize for the poor quality, but they were the only ones I could get hold of
and I thought you would rather have a picture of poor quality than none at all. Regarding the sources and copyrights of pictures see imprint.
Abbreviations used in the stoplists:
"TC", "TF", "GG" in the stoplists indicate that ranks go "from tenor C", "from tenor F", "from great G", i.e. their pipes do not go down to C.
Another remark is "acoust." – this is not a proper stop but only an acoustic one (for instance a 32' pitch would consist of a 16' plus a 10 2/3' Quint). In other cases it will be produced by
at least one independent stop (e.g. an independent Quint stop) – in this case it would only be counted as 1 voice / rank. Some stops are divided into bass and treble. This is indicated by
"B / D" (D for "discant"). Some stops are working either in bass or in treble only – this would be marked by "B" or "D". The German remark "Schweller" means, "enclosed in a swell box",
"durchschl." means "free reeds" and "Hochdr." / "überblasen" means "high pressure".
With historical organs I maintained the original stop designation – as far as it was available – even if it looks "strange" today.
Spelling used in the stoplists:
In some cases the order of stops differs from the one on the console or in official stoplists as I tried to arrange all stoplists according to the same principle:
2. compound stops (mixtures)
Each group is arranged according to the foot number, starting with the lowest and going up,
Flues of the same foot number: principal ones first, then flutes and stopped, strings at the end,
Reeds of the same foot number: large resonator / sonorous ones first, then the softer ones with a shorter resonator.
Book sources (some of them are mentioned in the column "Source of information / Links") – these are also my book recommendations:
- Hans Uwe Hielscher: "Berühmte Orgeln der USA" - 1. Auflage 2002, Verlag Christoph Dohr (D, Köln-Rheinkassel)
- Karl-Heinz Göttert / Eckhard Isenberg: "Orgelführer Europa" - 1. Auflage 2000, Bärenreiter-Verlag (D, Kassel)
- Karl-Heinz Göttert / Eckhard Isenberg: "Orgelführer Deutschland" - 3. Auflage 2001, Bärenreiter-Verlag (D, Kassel)
- Karl-Heinz Göttert / Eckhard Isenberg: "Orgelführer Deutschland Band 2" - 1. Auflage 2008, Bärenreiter-Verlag (D, Kassel)
- Karl-Heinz Göttert / Eckhard Isenberg: "Orgeln! Orgeln!" - 1. Auflage 2002, Bärenreiter-Verlag (D, Kassel)
- Uwe Pape: "Orgeln in Berlin" - 1. Auflage 2003, Pape-Verlag (D, Berlin)
- Berthold Schwarz / Uwe Pape: "500 Jahre Orgeln in Berliner Evangelischen Kirchen, Band I und II" - 1. Auflage 1991, Pape-Verlag (D, Berlin)
- Alan Jackson / James Bailey: "Organs of Toronto" - 1. Auflage 2002, Royal Canadian College of Organists (CAN, Toronto)
- Karl Johannes Raudsepp: "Organs of Montréal" - 1. Auflage 1993, Orel Press (CAN, Pointe Claire)
- Ursula Rüge / Ulrich Rüge: "Berühmte Orgeln" - 1. Auflage 1994, Nikol-Verlagsgesellschaft (D, Hamburg) / Georg D. W. Callwey-Verlag (D, München)
- Friedrich Jacob: "Die Orgel" - 2. Auflage 1971, Hallwag-Verlag (CH, Bern) / Schott Mausim International-Verlag (D, Mainz)
- Wolfgang Adelung: "Einführung in den Orgelbau" - 2. Auflage 1991, Breitkopf & Härtel-Verlag (D, Wiesbaden)
- Wolfgang Lindner: "Neuzeitliche Orgeln in Russland und der GuS" - 1. Auflage 1996, Eres Edition (D, Lilienthal/Bremen) - unfortunately without pictures
- Orgelkalender 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 und 2008 - Neues Buch-Verlag (D, Nidderau)
- Fritz Schild: "Orgelatlas der ev.-luth. Kirche in Oldenburg" - 1. Auflage 2008, Noetzel-Verlag (D)
- Martin Balz: "Göttliche Musik - Orgeln in Deutschland" - 1. Auflage 2008, Konrad-Theiss-Verlag (D, Stuttgart)
- Philippe Cicchero: "Les Orgues des Cathédrales de France" - 1999, EMA-Verlag (F)
Back to the organ list