Built of Living Stones 226-227: The Placement of the Organ and Other Musical Instruments

Some parishes are still commissioning pipe organs, and pipe chests need to be accommodated:

§ 226 § Musical instruments, especially the pipe organ, have long added to the beauty and prayerfulness of Catholic worship.(SC 120) Planning sufficient space for the organ and other instruments that may be used to accompany the assembly’s prayer is an important part of the building process. This includes the design of the organ casework, if such is used, or the placement of the pipes of large instruments. An acoustical specialist and musicians working together can arrive at a placement that allows the pipes to be seen and heard well without becoming a distraction or competing with the other artwork and iconography. The placement of the organ also must ensure that the instrumentalists have a clear visual connection with the director of music and, if necessary, with the cantor or leader of song.

§ 227 § Some instruments are used only occasionally for more solemn and festive occasions. For this reason there is need for flexibility in the arrangement of the space allotted for music so that there will be adequate room to accommodate them when they are included in the worship services.

It is a reality that many parishioners play many different instruments, and that nearly all of these can be fruitfully employed in worship. It makes sense for a community to retain flexibility for what God may provide.

All texts from Built of Living Stones are copyright © 2000, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

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About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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