Organ repertoire

The organ repertoire is among the largest for any solo musical instrument. Because of the organ's (or pipe organ's) prominence in worship in Western Europe from the Middle Ages on, a significant portion of organ repertoire is sacred in nature. The organ's suitability for improvisation by a single performer is well adapted to this liturgical role and has allowed many blind organists to achieve fame; it also accounts for the relatively late emergence of written compositions for the instrument in the Renaissance. Although instruments are still disallowed in most Eastern churches, organs have found their way into a few synagogues as well as secular venues where organ recitals take place.


The earliest surviving keyboard compositions (keyboard music was not instrument-specific until the sixteenth century) are from England (Robertsbridge Codex c. 1365) and Italy (Faenza Codex, 15th century). The organ is specified in Marco Antonio Cavazzoni's Recerchari, motetti, canzoni [...] libro primo, printed in Venice in 1523.

The English virginal style was a manner of composition and performance prevalent in the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries; some manuscripts are preserved in the Fitzwilliam Virginal Book. Sweelinck was strongly influenced by this style. Organ music was almost exclusively based on learned contrapuntal, exemplified by the Fantasia ("Fancy"), as well as works based on contrapuntal treatment of chant. Composers well known for their choral works wrote organ music, for example Tallis, Byrd and Gibbons.

Other Languages
dansk: Orgelmusik
Deutsch: Orgelmusik
Esperanto: Orgenmuziko
français: Musique d'orgue
svenska: Orgelmusik