If you happen to wonder what the largest musical instrument in the world is, one might say a piano or a harp, but the real answer is not what it seems. In Luray Caverns, in Virginia, lies the Stalacpipe Organ, the largest musical instrument that looks like your typical piano organ.
So, what makes it the biggest in the world? The instrument is smaller than any organ, but that does not cover the whole mechanism, because the entire instrument is the cave itself.
The organ's mechanism uses the elements around the instrument to influence the sound coming from the 37 stalactites integrated with the Stalacpipe Organ. Therefore, the ones making the music is the cave itself.
The Stalacpipe Organ does not even have pipes but uses a couple of rubber mallets to strike the stalactites to produce the sound. A mathematician named Leland Sprinkle invented the organ in 1954, and the idea of having stalactites play music with it started there too.
Sprinkle observed his surroundings at the caverns to find stalactites suitable in length and thickness, before wiring them to the 'pipes' connecting to the organ keyboard. It was a success, and the music can be heard throughout the Luray Caverns in 1956.
What made Sprinkle wanted to try out inventing an organ like this? The man opted for a tour in Luray Caverns during his son's birthday in 1954. According to some theories, his son Robert hit a stalactite that produced a sound, thus inspiring Sprinkle to make an instrument out of it.
But this is not initially where the discovery of stalactites performing musical sonatinas. Andrew Campbell discovered Luray Caverns in 1878 and surprised a group of people by playing a tune on stalactites by 1880.
If you want to head there and see for yourself, it's better to stay at Luray Caverns Motel and have a whole day to yourself at Luray Caverns. Who knows, you might be able to make some great music!
This article is copyrighted by Travelers Today, the travel news leader