by Steve Panizza


Kindly find here the design premise I call that of a 19th-century 43-note continuo organ.

I base the continuo organ on a 4' principal stop whose bass pipes, like the cabinet organ, trim the facade. The instrument has a keyboard of 43 notes from F06 to B48. The cabinet fits under a 9' ceiling. An atypical design, use it to accompany voices or instruments.


Hohlpfeife Baß 8' (notes 06 - 17) stopped wood

Flet Diskant 8' (notes 18 - 48)  triangular

Salicional Diskant 8' (notes 18 - 48) recycled

Prestant 4' (notes 06 - 48)

Mixtur II


My design inspiration came from the description of a new course at the University of Minnesota titled "Design for a Disrupted World." A colleague queried a group of church musician friends and came to a comparable conclusion.


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Think of the pipe organ in terms of tradition. Tradition, though, must evolve to remain relevant to society today. Please think of this offering in terms of what it can do, not what it cannot do. By now, you've guessed there can be no such thing as a 19th-century continuo organ. Chamber music went out of style in favor of symphonic music during the 19th century. With this design, I evolve tradition to produce an instrument with a sustainable cost of ownership and the innate ability to invite a diverse set of musicians to participate in its use.

In designing to employ pipe scales of wider width, I can offer timbres through the blended use of recycled pipework from eras past. This approach to organ design finds attributable reference to the first organ I built as an independent builder.

Using broader pipe scales comes at a cost to an instrument where resources for an organ are limited. So there are forty-three notes. You can do an awful lot with forty-three. I've tried. Try it for yourself, and you will see. You then begin to think of this instrument in terms of what it can do, not what it cannot do.

The keyboard stands at piano height. The cabinet fits under a nine-foot ceiling, and everything inside is comfortably accessible and maintainable.

The thought of a collaborative and cost-sustainable instrument that can honestly and fundamentally earn its keep on day one excites me.

Let me build one for you. I welcome inquiries.

As Antoine de Saint-Exupéry is said to have said, "Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away."

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