Penance for his Pentagon work…

“Located in the Cathedral, the Great Stalacpipe Organ is the world’s largest musical instrument.
Stalactites covering 3 1/2 acres of the surrounding caverns produce tones of symphonic quality when electronically tapped by rubber-tipped mallets. This most unique, one-of-a-kind instrument was invented in 1954 by Mr. Leland W. Sprinkle of Springfield, Virginia, a mathematician and electronic scientist at the Pentagon. He began his monumental 3 year project by searching the vast chambers of the caverns selecting stalactites to precisely match a musical scale. Electronic mallets were wired throughout the caverns and connected to a large four-manual console. When a key is depressed, a tone occurs as the rubber-tipped plunger strikes the stalactite tuned to concert pitch.
“Today, the organ is played by activating an automated system which works in a manner similar to a child’s music box. The organ is also fully capable of being played manually from the console, as Leland Sprinkle did for many years.”

COURTESY PETER R.!

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About Jay Babcock

I am an independent writer and editor based in Tucson, Arizona. In 2022: I publish a weeklyish email newsletter called LANDLINE = https://jaybabcock.substack.com Previously: I co-founded and edited Arthur Magazine (2002-2008, 2012-13) and curated the three Arthur music festival events (Arthurfest, ArthurBall, and Arthur Nights) (2005-6). Prior to that I was a district office staffer for Congressman Henry A. Waxman, a DJ at Silver Lake pirate radio station KBLT, a copy editor at Larry Flynt Publications, an editor at Mean magazine, and a freelance journalist contributing work to LAWeekly, Mojo, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Vibe, Rap Pages, Grand Royal and many other print and online outlets. An extended piece I wrote on Fela Kuti was selected for the Da Capo Best Music Writing 2000 anthology. In 2006, I was somehow listed in the Music section of Los Angeles Magazine's annual "Power" issue. In 2007-8, I produced a blog called "Nature Trumps," about the L.A. River. From 2010 to 2021, I lived in rural wilderness in Joshua Tree, Ca., where I practiced with Buddhist teacher Ruth Denison and was involved in various pro-ecology and social justice activist activities.