Can a string also be a pipe?

Dear Friends,

In this week’s Wednesday concert, I began the program by playing Bach’s famous Air from the Suite in D Major. Originally written for string orchestra, the piece was later transcribed for performance at the organ. The organ at Saint Mary’s has a beautiful set of string pipes, which I used to approximate the sounds originally intended by the composer - and if you’re wondering how a “string” can also be a “pipe,” I will tell you.

An organ has but four types of stops: principal, flute, reed and string. Each type is qualitatively different from the other, and none are quite what they seem to be. There are no reeds in a reed pipe, for example, nor are there any strings in a string pipe. Rather, the pipes are crafted in specific and sometimes peculiar ways, allowing them to approximate a variety of orchestral sounds.

The organ at Saint Mary’s is a remarkable instrument in many ways. I consider its strings among the best I have ever played. There are other treasures hidden in this instrument too, and I encourage you to explore them with me.

I will be recording a weekly concert at Saint Mary’s every Wednesday afternoon. These concerts will be available on Facebook, and on our church website as well. I hope you will join us for these events online, until the time comes when we can gather again to hear the music in person.

Enjoy the music - and until we meet again, take care and stay well!