FAQs — Frequently Asked Questions

Here are a few answers to some of the most common questions.

Why don't you just install an electronic organ?

First off, digital organs have made huge progress in recent years, but that in a sense is part of the problem. Development is rapid and it is often impossible to obtain replacement parts when something goes wrong (we've already had this problem in Horsley Church where we had a turnover of three electronic organs in as many years). Our traditional pipe-organ uses "old" technology, which can easily be maintained and repaired, so we expect this instrument to last for a hundred years or more before it needs a major overhaul again.

The sound of an electronic organ is convincing in isolation, but when put beside a traditional pipe organ its shortcomings are revealed. Relatively small loudspeakers cannot hope to compare with ranks of organ pipes in full voice.

Why do so many of the stops have German names?

Essentially, this is because Germany has a special place in the history of organ building. Many of the innovations we now take for granted (e.g. more than one manual) were pioneered in Germany, and the two most important influences on English organ building in the early modern period were Germans: Father Smith (Bernard Schmidt) and John Snetzler. So it is natural that German terminology was borrowed with the items they denoted: gedackt "covered" for the stops with one closed end, for example.