The Dance organ is a small pipe organ that is made to be played entirely with the feet, rather than with the hands and feet as with a standard pipe organ. It is not just a regular pipe organ with the manual keyboards removed.
The foot organ's keyboard is a large-scale replica of a piano or organ keyboard with giant white and black keys. The instrument can be played by a single person picking out a tune with one or two feet, but the keyboard is large enough to accommodate up to 3 or 4 people playing a multipart composition.
The keyboard is 3.3 meters long and has a span of 3 octaves, comprising 22 white keys and 15 black keys. The lowest note is 2 octaves below middle C.
There are two sets of pipes - a wooden rank of stopped pipes sounding at 8ft pitch, and a metal principal rank at 4ft pitch. Played separately these two ranks have quite distinct tonal qualities. Played together they give a very full, bright organ tone.
The foot organ was used during the Organ Festival Open Day in the Auckland Town Hall in June 2011. This was a fun occasion where members of the public had a hands - or rather feet - on experience. Other outings to Whakatane and Auckland venues have been very successful fun events.
The novelty of this instrument played with the feet attracts the interest of children and teenagers as well as adults nimble of foot eager to give it a go. Music for this organ has been written suitable for playing by up to 3 people at once.
Built of permanent materials, this instrument is available on loan for use in future events. It will therefore enhance the educational opportunities in leaning about the pipe organ. The organ is stored in several cartons held Auckland.