Practice and Studio Organs

in the Music Building of Brigham Young University

The BYU organ area has five practice pipe organs and one traveling digital organ available for practice.  Five of these are located in the Organ Suite, one on the fourth floor, and the other in the Choral Hall.  In addition, two larger pipe organs are housed in the two faculty offices, 1231A and 1231D.  These practice and teaching studio organs represent a wide array of pipe organ types: from those reminiscent the organs of the seventeenth century through those that use modern digital technology.

Room 1231B (built by Casavant in 2006)

This is a two-manual organ of 6 ranks, electric key action, with all pipework located behind swell shutters. It features standard AGO specifications in the key dimensions and in the configuration of the pedal. A MIDI interface is included.

Room 1231C (Austin, rebuilt by Schoenstein in 1988) 

This is a three-manual organ of 10 ranks with electro-pneumatic key action. Through generous in unification and duplexing, these relatively few ranks are spread across three manuals. Students practicing organ works that require three manuals, a complete combination action, and AGO standard console specifications find this instrument particularly useful. This organ has two expressive divisions–the Swell and Choir. The console came from the Assembly Hall on Temple Square. The console was upgraded with a modern combination action in 2022.

Room 1231C (built by Kenneth Coulter in 1988)

This is a two-manual tracker organ of 9 ranks. Its key action is highly sensitive, making it an excellent practice instrument for precise finger action. The hook-down pedal near the pedal keys to the right is the Great-to-pedal coupler. This instrument is tuned in Werckmeister III, an unequal temperament that sounds more in tune in certain keys. The pedalboard is flat and non-radiating, with 58-key manual keyboards.

Room 1231E (P&S Tracker organ, 2002)

 This 2-manual tracker organ of 6-ranks was built by the P & S Company (England). The organ was designed with AGO keyboard and pedal specifications.

Room 1231E – Traveling (Model T967-MV built by Rodgers Instruments LLC) 

This is a three-manual organ with electric key action and wood keyboards. Its manual and pedal keyboards are AGO standard. The organ plays through two or four large portable cabinets, each containing three mid-range speakers and a sub-woofer. A headphone jack is also useful for practice. It is designed to be transported by a trailer for solo performances, demonstrations, and choir accompaniment, but is regularly available for practice. Contact to inquire about scheduling.

Room 1231A – Don Cook Teaching Studio (built by Rodgers Instruments LLC in 2008)

This is a four-manual custom organ of 8 ranks and many digital voices with electric key action and P&S keyboards. It is located in the teaching studio of Don Cook. Its manual and pedal keyboards are AGO standard. The pipework and speakers are located in a single case with swell shades on two sides that operate in sequence.

Room 1231D – Neil Harmon Teaching Studio (built by M.L. Bigelow and Company in 1996)

 This is a two-manual tracker organ of seven ranks. In a “tracker” key action such as this, there is a direct mechanical connection between the key and the valve underneath the pipe. It allows the organist greater control over the manner in which the pipe speaks than in an electric or electro-pneumatic key action. Its key and pedal configurations are AGO standard (except for the 58-key range of the manual keyboards), as found in most church organs in the United States. All ranks but the 8′ Praestant are located within the swell box. The organ focuses on stops of 8′ pitch, offering the student who spends several hours in daily practice a wide choice of stops that are easy on the ears. Some stops (such as the Gemshorn 4′) are playable on either the Great or the Swell, but not both at the same time.

Room 2217 – BYU Organ Lab (Allen organs)

The heart of non-major organ study at the Brigham Young University School of Music is the Organ lab. Located in room 2217 of the new Music Building, this lab is the largest one of its kind. The lab is designed for class and semi-private instruction for up to twelve students. Each student sits at a late-model two-manual Allen LD34B organ, seven of which are equipped with an iPad designed to deliver organ study materials. Students have access to the lab for practice and study seventeen hours per day.

The group organ students are the most active patrons of the organ lab. During a typical week they will visit there five times: twice for class instruction, and three more times for individual practice and study. Instructors spend the majority of class time listening to individual students play their assignments while other class members use headphones to practice and study individually. Advanced organ students also enjoy the practice and study aids available in the lab.

Most students use the iPads to study lessons on the OrganTutor Online Tutorial, an interactive multimedia organ tutorial. In addition, because the iPads are part of the campus network, they provide access to the growing pool of organ study-related resources on the Internet.

Room 4110 (built by Karl Wilhelm in 1987)

This is a two-manual tracker organ of six ranks. It features a flat pedalboard, similar to those commonly found in Europe. The pipework is enclosed behind cabinet-style shutters that can be set in position by the organist. The manuals are coupled by means of a shove-coupler: grasping the small knobs on either side of Manual II allows you to push it in or out. It is coupled to Manual I when it is pushed in, meaning that playing a key on Manual II will also engage the corresponding key on Manual I. The hook-down pedals near the pedal keys are pedal stops and manual/pedal couplers.

Choral Hall – Room 3225 (built by Kenneth Jones in 1988)

This is a three-manual organ of 23 ranks with tracker key action. Its manual and pedal keyboards are AGO standard. The organ features an expressive Swell division and multi-level combination action. It is located in the Choral Hall (room 2231), but accessed only through room 3225. It is available only to organ majors for practice and lessons.