Paris Notre Dame pipe organ

            Main points

Romantic organ
by Cavaille Coll

now fully controlled
by computers and
3 local area networks (LAN)

7800 pipes
(900 classified as historic)
109 stops

five 56-key manuals
and a 32-key pedalboard

overall area:
4 levels each of
100 square meters

         [Paris N D organ]

                  [Paris N D organ]                      History
an old organ is moved to the present location and inserted into a gothic organ-case

the organ'case is replaced by the present LOUIS XVI one
the organ is enhanced to 5 manuals and 46 stops
many pipes kept from earlier centuries of which 12 in use today have been salvaged from previous centuries

back to 4 manuals including an "expression" manual

1864 - 1867
enhanced and rebuilt by Cavaille-Coll
5 manuals and 86 stops
among other players: Saint-Saens and Cesar Franck
pneumatic assistance: 'Barker lever'

1900 - 1937
Louis Vierne was the organist
1932: partly electric/partly pneumatic action installed

fully electrified: manuals and relays
(excluding the Barker lever)
but this old architecture was consisted of ...
700 kilometers of cables (yes, you are reading correctly !)
problems of oxydation and ... unpredictable breakdowns

April 1990 - December 1992 (closeup)
computers and local area networks controlled (see below)

                   [Paris N D organ]
The new architecture
available since 1993
  • full restoration of the instrument (requiring 28,000 hours)
    pipes, pressures tuning, ...

  • an innovative computer and local area network (LAN) system: computers ... everywhere but hidden,
    you can just see 2 color displays inserted in the console

  • key commands by 300 magnetic switches contactless (Hall-effect).
    No more problem of dust, candle-smoke or oxydation caused by
    the breathing of 12 millions visitors a year

  • controls of manuals and stops are digitalized by a synchronous LAN in less than 1 ms

  • controls flow from the LAN console to LAN pipes by a twin 16 MBPS LAN optical fiber token ring,
    on 500 meters of cable (not kilometers this time !)

  • to ... 800 valves opening engines controlled by a synchronous LAN

  • the air is blown by bellows made of sheep leather, needing 1000 (!) new sheep skins

  • and ... besides all that a MIDI gateway !!!
    with a midi input plug (I give it a try) and a midi output plug.
    (The internal architecture is not midi)
    The ENCORE © score software could be used to have a copy of the improvisations

  • all this was designed and created by SYNAPTEL ®,
    a French engineering company controlled under the direction of the
    Ministere de l'Education Nationale et de la Culture

  • Each player of the Notre Dame de Paris organ has his own "credit card- size" player's card
    that when swiped through a reader restores his personal configuration of options and presets
    for the organ, saving many hours each year since there are multiple "titulaires."


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