The Notre-Dame Cathedral Paris Pipe Organ

The world watched in frozen horror as news broadcasts showed a fire blazing through the Notre Dame Cathedral on April 15, 2019. The fate of the historic building and its contents hung in the balance. The damage was extensive, yet somehow, miraculously even, some things survived. Among the remaining treasures in the cathedral is the pipe organ, known as the Grand Organ.

There were actually two organs in the cathedral. The Choir (smaller) organ received significant water damage, but reports are water flowed down both sides of the Grand (main) Organ case rather than into it, sparing it from flooding. There appears to be water damage to the organ’s wind chest (where the air comes from that makes the pipes sound). There is also a concern for the electrical system that runs throughout the organ. It is impossible to determine how extensive the damage is without actually taking the organ apart. Yet, in spite of the smoke damage, dirt and soot, so far it seems that the facade and the organ pipes are intact.

What’s next? During the time the cathedral is undergoing repairs, the organ will be dismantled and moved to a safe place for cleaning and restoration. It is going to be a few years before we hear the Grand Organ again, but thankfully, we will hear it!

A printable and expanded version of this lesson, complete with projects for review, is available for free here.


2 thoughts on “The Notre-Dame Cathedral Paris Pipe Organ

  1. I was so glad to read your report about Notre-Dame, but what about the organ at Saint-Sulpice, which had a fire previously? I believe I’ve told you I attended a late Sunday morning organ recital there in March 2009. I was invited to climb up to watch the organist, but my friend wasn’t able to navigate the stairs.


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