Our Mighty Organ of Unseen University, Ankh-Morpork

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Our Mighty Organ of Unseen University, Ankh-Morpork

Out 16, 2022, 10:40 pm

Our Mighty Organ of Unseen University,
aka the Johnson Organ
by K W Austin
Below is a technical description and stop list of the famous organ. Organists and organ technicians will get a laugh as they recognise the nomenclature involved, as will those familiar with the Discworld novels.

The Johnson Organ of Unseen University was designed and built for the University by the great incompetent Bergholt Stuttley Johnson, famous for his Collapsed Tower of Quirm and the humorous Custard Pie Machine.
The organ originally had three keyboards, but over time Johnson and others added to the original design, causing considerable problems when it was realised that the original console would not accommodate any more manuals. Johnson’s ingenious solution was to build two more consoles for the additional keyboards and stop panels. Unfortunately, because he underestimated the size of the organ itself, the third console had to be built down the other end of the University hall. This means, like a TARDIS, the instrument really needs several people to operate it simultanously. A speaking tube system allows the various organists to talk to each other whilst performing, as long as it's not infested with rats.

At first, the organ was blown by swarthy sweaty men (traditionally the various sons of the Ogg family) pumping huge levers up and down, but University graduate Ponder Stibbons suggested the other wizards cast enough magic spells to allow the organ to blow itself. This is the first known instance of a self-blowing organ in the history of Discworld.

A major innovation was the connection of the organ to Hex, the University’s famed Thinking Machine. This has not only allowed Hex to “speak” using the many organ pipes as a primitive Fourier waveform decoder, but also lets the wizards dance their traditional Excuse Me without having to persuade the Librarian, the only competent keyboardist in Ankh-Morepork, to play the instrument.

The organ has maintained its original tracker mechanism, mechanically connecting the keys to the pallet valves via rods, cables, bowstrings, and occasionally magic spells. While this retains much of the organ’s appeal as a historic instrument, it does mean that, when all the stops and couplers are drawn, only the Librarian can play it as it requires the physical strength of an orangutan.

The organ has possibly 300,000 pipes, but sometimes this total comes out at about 3,000 – 12,000. This is because many of the wood flues are made of sapient pearwood, which occasionally wander off to be alone somewhere with a standing stone or two. The great forests of metal pipes are also difficult to count, let alone tune and voice, because the enormous pipe chambers are in fact connected to the same L-space as the University Library and so exist in alternative realities. One particularly brave organ technician disappeared inside one of the chambers to tune a reed pipe; when he reappeared four years later, it is thought he claimed to have found the Lost Chord, but it was hard to understand what he was actually saying because of the beard.

The biggest pipe in the organ is the low C of the 128’ Terrae Motus rank. Being nearly a hundred and thirty feet high presents no problem to a University full of skilled wizards – during the initial build, they just magically projected the top part into L-space. Unfortunately, the entire Terrae Motus rank cannot be used by decree of the Patrician himself – the one time it was played, the Tower of Art collapsed, the University moved nine inches on its foundations, fourteen cows exploded on a farm near Lancre, twenty-three women gave premature birth, roughly a quarter of Ankh-Morepork’s citizenry had to hurriedly visit the privy, and the Ice Giants sent a note to the Archchancellor complaining that the vibrations had removed most of the Hublands ice into the surrounding sea and, also they, the Ice Giants, couldn’t sleep.

The organ can be heard once a week where the Librarian, upon payment of one bunch of ripe bananas, performs popular songs such as “The Pink Hedgehog Cakewalk”, “The Wizard’s Staff Has A Knob On The End”, and “Your Wife Is A Big Hippo”, and for the more classically minded, the famous Erotica Variations, J S Growler’s “Hair in the G String”, and Wolfgang von Uberwald’s Eine Klein Bottle in der Nacht.

Stop List


2” Vampyre Bat
1’ Mauspfeipfe
1’ Death of Rats
1’ Slide Whistle
1’ Stepped On Cicada
1’ Fahrt der Spatz (use for morning recitals only)
1 1/3’ Mr Squeaky
1 1/3’ Boiling Kettle
2’ Gargoyle
2’ Gargoyle Royale II
2’ Kazoo
2’ ?
2’ Enfant Terrible
2’ Gnoll’s Finger
2’ Piccollo
2 2/3’ Peigne et Papier
4 7/10’, 4 1/8’, 4 2/9’, 5 1/3’ Migraine IV
4’ ?
4’ ?
4’ Sub Kazoo
4’ Hedgehog
Jason’s Bagpipes IV
4’ Bourgeon du Houx
4’ Munted Xylophone
4’ Wild Flute
4 12/13’ A Mutant
Hot Water Bottles V
5 2/3’ Surprised Cat
8’ Compulsory Stop
8’ Trompette Great T’Phon
8’ Trompette d’Audition
8’ Stopped Diapason
8’ Stuffed Diapason
16’ Window Breaker
16’ Widow Maker
16’ Old Tom
16’ Poison Gas

Couplers – Gt to Sw 1, Gt to Sw Oct, Gt to Sw Sub, Gt to Bathroom Sub, Casanunda (the Great Coupler)

Thumb Pistons – pp, p, mp, mf, f, ff, fff, ffff, be (bleeding ears)


1’ Sibilus Canis II
1’ Garklein
1 1/3’ Another Mutant
2’ Parallel Organum
2’ Free Organum
2’ Simultaneous Organum
2’ Figgin
2 2/3’ Nasal Spray
3 13/17’ Glottal Stop
4’ Squashed Toad
4’ Incessantly Barking Dog
4’ Feedback Whine
Glod Horn IV
4’ Creaky Gibbet
4’ Pericolo - Non Toccata In Nessun Dorma Caso!
4 4/5’ Cows
4 7/8’ Sheep
5 2/3’ Wizard’s Staff
5 2/3’ We don’t know what this one does either
8’ Humorous Chicken Squawk
Procul’s Harem III
8’ Diapason
Diabolicus XIII
8’ ?
8’ Cipher Key
8 1/16’ Your Ad Here
16’ Whoopee Cushion
16’ Cosi Fan Hita (winter recitals only)
16’ Opera Ghost II
16’ Bombarde
16’ Bomb
24 3/5’ Scone of Stone
32’ Cornu Caligo
32’ Death’s Motorcycle

Couplers – Sw to Solo, Sw to Solo Oct, Sw to Bathroom, Sw to Main Kitchens

Thumb Pistons – pp, p, mf, f, ff, Thumbscrews I, Thumbscrews II


2’ O Solo Mio
3 1/5’ A Third Mutant
4’ Bingley Bingely Beep!
4’ Popcorn
4’, 3’, 2 2/3’, 1’ Squashed Rabbits IV
4’ Dwarf Bagel
4 2/17’ Crummy Horn
5 2/3’ Nickel Harp
5 2/3’ Crazy Frog
8’ Ecksian Digeridoo
8’ Tromboon
Lancre Bagpipes IV
8’ Wizards’ Excuse-Me
8’ ?
8’ Tenniss Rackett
8’ Buffalo Mating Call
8’ Klatchianised Honey Bees XVIII
12 3/5’ Ram Bleat
16’ BhangBhangDuc
21 1/3’ Piecemaker
32’ J’Elle Stainer

Tremulant – Vibreur de Luxe

Thumb Pistons – 1st Level, 2nd Level, 3rd Level, Penthouse


Wee Mad Arthur’s Traps
Nut Crackers
Granny’s Broomstick
Death’s Ribcage
Hammers and Bedpans
O God Of Hangovers
Harp Unstrung
Broken Drum
Mended Drum
Stick And Bucket Dance
Crypt Doors
Ice Giant

Tremulant – Annoying Bass Drum In Back Of Lowered Chariot

Coupler – Hex (automatic percussion)

Thumb Pistons – Single Shot, Automatic

ECHO I – University Bathroom (Musical Pipes Enhancement)

1’ Hot Fountain Pen
2’ Copper Tub
2 3/9’ Sponge
2’ Squeegee
2’ Scraper
2’ Steel Wool
2 2/3’ d’ Odourant
2 2/3’ Plunger
2 2/3’ Automatic Soapdish
4’ Hot
4’ Medium
4’ Mild
4’ Cold
4’ B*ll*ck Freezing
4’ Shower Scream
4’, 4’, 4’, 3 4/5’ Hydraulis IV
4’ Hohly Flöat
8’ Rinse and Repeat II
8’ Rincewind and Repeat II
10 2/3’ Sunken Cathedral
13 8/9’ Buried Organ
16’ Old Faithful

Tremulant – Water Hammer

Couplers – Copper Tub to Percussion, Echo I to Pedal Afterburner, Old Faithful to Archchancellor’s Privy superoctave

Thumb Pistons – Start, Delicates, Normal, Heavy Wash, Water Temp, Slow Spin, Fast Spin

ECHO II – Ankh-Morpork Cellars

1’ Pfeife Stannous
2’ Cor Celesti II
2’ Firelighter
4’ Reflected Sounds of Underground Spirits
5 2/3’ Scone of Stone
8’ Deadly Throwing Toast
8’ Klatchian Hots
Add Anchovies V
8’ Salacional (Willow pipe with a knob on the end)
8’ ?
16’ ?
16’ Don’t Bother With This One, It Doesn’t Work At All
16’ Sock Drawer

Couplers – Echo II to Opera House 1, Echo II to Clacks

CHOIR I – Levitating, First Level Hubwards

2’ Vox Dei
4’ Vox Angelica
4’ Vox Diabolica
4’ Vox Nanny Ogg
4’ Vox Vulpes
8’ Vox Humana
8’ Ook
8’ Eeek
8’ ?
8’ Wolf Howl
8’ This Stop Doesn’t Do Anything, It Just Has A Knob On It
8’ Your Wife Is A Big Hippo
16’ Other Sock Drawer
16’ Vox Mortem

Tremulant – Bedsprings from the Guild of Seamstresses

Couplers – Poison Gas to Archchancellor’s Privy

CHOIR II – Levitating, Second Level Rimwards

2’ City Watchman’s Whistle
4’ Wine Glasses
4’, 2’, 1 3/5, 1 3/8 Tomcats IV
8’ Wind Machine
8’ ?
16’ Draco Vulgaris
32’ Sewer

Boom Raise/Lower
Boom Extend
Hook Up/Down
Slew Left/Right

CHOIR III – Bursar’s Room

8’ Tea
8’ Coffee
8’ Milk
8’ Sugar
8’ Chicken Soup
8’ Duck Soup
16’ Dried Frog Pills
16’ ?
16’ Ogg Scumble – Do Not Use With 2’ Firelighter


4’ Tug Boat II
4’ Thing That Goes Parp
8’ Archchancellor’s Privy
8’ Calliope Crashing To The Ground
8’ Tuba Mirabilis
8’ Tuba Unfortunatus
16’ Löwe Brüllen
Tubaxes IV
16’ ?
16’ Bumbass
32’ Afterburner
32’ Oil Bond Store Explosion
32’ Guild of Alchemists
Thunderstorm IV
Saturn V
64’ Bowel Discomfort
64’ Collapsing Buildings
85 8/9’ One Big Mother
92 1/2’ Supernova Detonation
128’ Terrae Motus: Danger - Do Not Touch, Ever, In Any Circumstances!

Couplers – Ped to Gt 1, Ped to Gt superoctave, Ped to Sw 1, Ped to Everything At The Same Time

Toe Pistons – p, pp, incontinence (ppp), f, ff, f-ing loud, time machine (reversible), cancel, blow everything up


Swell, Solo, Echo I, Echo II, Crescendo (programmable through Hex), Clutch, Brake, Accelerator

Out 18, 2022, 12:40 pm

where did this come from? brillant

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