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Difference Between Organ and Piano

Organ vs Piano

Apart from the fact that both an organ and a piano are keyboard instruments, there are more differences than similarities between the two. Despite popular misconception that if one knows how to play an organ, he can easily play piano, it is seen that a piano player may play organ, but an organ player may be clueless when asked to play a piano. To make it simple for the readers, here are a few points on which the two keyboard musical instruments differ from each other.

First and foremost, though to a casual observer, both a piano and an organ look similar as percussion of key is required, but the mechanics behind the working of these keys is very different in the two instruments. You would be surprised to know that, while a piano is classified as a percussion instrument, an organ is an instrument of the wind or a brass family. An organ makes use of air power, while a piano makes use of percussion. The keys of a piano are attached to a hammer and whenever a pianist strikes a key, the hammer strikes a string held in high tension to produce a different sound. All the strings inside the piano are tuned to specific frequencies so a pianist can create various notes and chords by hitting several keys at the same instant. The sound produced does not last for a long time, and to maintain the effect, a pianist needs to re-strike the keys to keep on going.

In sharp contrast, when a player hits a key in an organ, he does not strike anything but an electronic circuit gets completed upon depression of a key that produces a sound. No doubt the keys are tuned to different frequencies, there is no need to re strike the keys to keep the sound produced going, and one needs to just keep the keys pressed to have a longer sound. So this constitutes a major difference in the sense that while a pianist needs to re strike to sustain the sound, the sound remains for much longer with the keys of an organ.

While a piano is a lead instrument in a choir or church congregation (it can actually perform introduction before lyrics are produced), the sound produced by organ is more of a follower than a leader, and as such, it follows after a vocal singer. While not much can be done to change the sound of a piano, it is possible to play an organ like a brass, reed, or a woodwind instrument. Pipes can be used to make an organ sound differently depending upon the requirements.

In the end, it boils down to the taste and preference of a musician to go for a piano or an organ in his composition. On a more individual level, different sets of skills and dexterity levels are required from the player when he is playing either of the two instruments.

In brief:

Difference Between Organ and Piano

• Though both a piano and an organ are keyboard musical instruments, a piano is considered a percussion instrument, whereas an organ is classified as a woodwind or even as a brass family member.

• Piano keys, when struck, hit a hammer that hits a wire in a state of high tension set at a pre set frequency. On the other hand, there is no such hammer in case or organ.

• Piano keys need to be re struck to keep the sound effect, whereas organ keys keep the effect beautifully for a long time period.

• Piano acts as a introducer and a leader in a composition, whereas an organ works more as a follower than a leader.


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