Great Stalacpipe Organ: Haunting Sounds From Middle Earth

The Great Stalacpipe Organ is located in Luray Caverns in Virginia, USA.  It’s operated by a custom console that produces electric impulses.  The impulses are sent to small rubber mallets that tap ancient stalactites of varying sizes.

The organ was designed and built in 1956 taking Leland W. Sprinkle a little over three years to complete.

Great Stalacpipe Organ

great stalacpipe organ
Photo by Jon Callas

From concept to construction

The original design of the organ/console had many features including a pedal which provided “Harmonics, Reverb and Solo.” But, these features were removed in favor of amplifying every note at a constant level instead. Furthur to the audio, it was simplified for aesthetics.

great stalcpipe organ
Photo by Jon Callas
RELATED: Build a guitar out of junk


The Great Stalacpipe Organ took over three years to complete.  Sprinkle would find and shave down appropriate stalactites to produce the notes.  37 stalactites spanning 3.5 acres were then wired to rubbers mallets and attached  to the appropriate keys of the organ.

The hounting sounds are heard throughout the 64 acre cave system.  However, when open to the public, the use of loud speakers is used to enhance the overall sound experience.


great stalacpipe organ
Photo by Jon Callas

Step inside these beautiful and historic cavern system with this amazing 4k video tour of the cave by TRIUMPHRAINBOW on Youtube.

The result is hauntingly beautiful and can be heard below.


Finally, lets briefly talk about legacy. In 1956, Leland W. Sprinkle took someting  creative and brought it to life.  Not only was it a musical masterpiece built for the world to experience and talk about, he left a sustaining intrument to inspire new ideas for generations.  If you enjoyed the post, please share it and subscribe for updates.  I really enjoyed writing this post. Creating music in unique ways is the ultimate creative experience.




The Forgotten Art Of Buying Albums

The Forgotten Art Of Buying Albums

Recently, I walked into a busy record store and was stunned at how many people were looking at vinyl. I had remembered the forgotten art of buying albums. Browsing through some of my favorite albums, found myself drawn to the artwork and design of the album. I was reminded of the ritual of buying an album. The design and art always set the tone and mood of the album. The album art is what sometimes exposed new artists to me and many other people. Sometimes it’s the cover art that makes someone pick up an album.

*And to be clear, when I reference “artist(s),” I’m implying the musicians and bands, not the actual author of the cover art/photography. That’s a whole blog post for another day.

“Album art adds a secondary visual element to the sound- giving it more dynamics and life. A complement to the music and more than a story- the album takes you on a journey.”

Remember the local record shop?

The Forgotten Art Of Buying Albums

I remember saving up once a month and heading to the local music shop to browse for a new album. I would take it home and play it endlessly front to back for months. Until I knew every word, every note, or off time thingy that sounded awesome. The artwork design would tell the initial story and give insight to expectations as to their motivation. I would read the track listings and who played on each song-who wrote it. Often surprised by who happened to be credited on a track. A rock legend played that solo on track 4. Who knew?

The song lyrics would read like poetry, as I would always read them before listening to the album. Sometimes reading the lyrics on paper and seeing them can add clarity to a story. I would wonder why the order of the songs were picked in that specific way. It has a ritualistic experience.

“Album art adds a secondary visual element to the sound- giving it more dynamics and life. A complement to the music and more than a story- the album takes you on a journey.”

Buying an album is tangible and plot building.

The Forgotten Art Of Buying Albums

It shows a glimpse of what the artist was trying to share and it acquaints us to the music. Giving the listener a more transparent look into the mind of the musician. It adds an emotional element to the music. A way to visually relate to what the musicians are saying.

People now stream music, myself included. A metaphor for the short consumeristic attention span. Never knowing the name of the artist who created it. Just letting the song be a temporary moment in your day or memory. Meanwhile, these artists work their asses off writing and playing, tirelessly crafting their songs to perfection. Often paying out of pocket to pay for studio time and an engineer or producer. Let’s give these artist more respect and learn who they are at least. If even by learning their name. And if you like it, spend a dollar to let them know their work hasn’t gone unnoticed.


RELATED:  Classical music brings out your creative monster.

“A metaphor for the short consumeristic attention span.”

Music is changing.

The art form of music and how we listen to it is changing, and not for the better-in my opinion. It’s becoming stripped down to a single track without the support of the finally crafted album behind it. Without the building blocks to set a visual tone, to lay the setting for the music. To learn about the music and the instruments that were played.

Music is not dead. It’s just different. If you choose to stream…that’s great because there is so much great music out there to be heard. But, remember to look up the artist. I’ve been reminded of how music should be experienced- as a journey, a ritual, and something that becomes part of your soul- a bookmark to a memory. Because I walked by a record store, I remembered the music. I had remembered the forgotten art of buying albums. Being in a record store reminded me of what music is supposed to be.

If you enjoyed this post please share and subscribe.  Many thanks!!





Classical Music Brings Out The Creative Monster

creative monster

Classical music brings out the creative monster.

By Anders Vanderkool

Classical music brings out the creative monster that’s inside you. It helps find that great idea that you came up with at 3 am. That idea you were too lazy to write down. Classical music can help you find that creativity. Certain classical pieces have been shown to increase the brain’s cognitive function and IQ.  This is known as the Mozart Effect. Children learning classical music at a developing age are said to have higher cognitive functions and advanced brain development.


“The Mozart effect can refer to: A set of research results indicating that listening to Mozart’s music may induce a short-term improvement on the performance of certain kinds of mental tasks known as “spatial-temporal reasoning;”

The melody draws out the creativity process

The melodies and rhythms of classical music operate independently from each other. Melody is directly related to boosting the creative imagination. Rhythm increases serotonin levels in the brain. Increased serotonin levels boost areas of the brain that are responsible for critical and logical thinking. The cadence of the body can be stimulated through the music’s rhythm. Those cadences can be a heartbeat, walking, or even dancing and they are used to alter the effects of clinical depression and anxiety disorders.


The creative monster is alive and well

The melody that engages your creative side of the brain can take you anywhere. It’s an opportunity to develop something new that can take your mind in an alternate direction. A direction, maybe you hadn’t thought of going in. The melody takes you on a journey of ideas. Then there’s the logical side of the brain that problem solves ideas with logic and fact based thinking. In fact, classical music is logical and mathematical in many ways. This is why rhythm synchronizes the patterns of sound that the body creates.

“The melody provides a story line and sound bed for the creative thought to ponder through. The music will dictate the mood”

Good ideas need help sometimes

Sometimes, good ideas are locked inside the subconscious. One way of unlocking those hard to find ideas is by listening to classical music. Good ideas can come from anywhere. Sometimes they just require a little help to bring them to the surface. creative monster
In contrast, music with vocal elements, generally will impact concentration levels and act as a distraction. That being said, the effects of music on the brain depend on the activities being performed. If a task requires a more cognitive function, sometimes music can interfere or distract from the task at hand.

RELATED: Free Creative Meditation Download

What does classical music do for you?

In closing, classical music can provide you with more focus, memory, and overall ability to concentrate.  It helps bring out the creative monster that sometimes hides inside your head. It can help spark new innovative ideas or bring clarity to an existing problem.

Related: The forgotten art of buying albums

I want to hear from you!

How has music helped your creative process? What is your favorite genre of music when you’re creating? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below. If this post has been helpful to you, please help me in sharing it and subscribing to the blog.