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The Great Organ of Washington National Cathedral was built by the Ernest M. Skinner & Son Organ Company and installed in 1938, at which time construction of the cathedral itself was approximately one-third complete.  The original instrument was designed to fill the relatively limited space of the choir with organ tone, as in the 1930s no one really knew if or when the entire building would be finished.

As construction of the cathedral continued through the 1940s and 50s and the room grew in size, it became necessary to consider changes to the 1938 instrument which would help its sound fill the growing building.  The first additions to the organ were made in 1963 when the Brustwerk and Positiv divisions were installed in the musicians’ galleries in the first bay of the Great Choir.  The Trompette-en-Chamade was installed above the High Altar in 1964.  These additions were built by the Aeolian-Skinner Organ Company.Major renovation and revision of the organ took place between 1973 and 1976.  More than half of the original Skinner pipework was removed, replaced by almost 7,000 new pipes.  This work drastically changed the character of the instrument that was once one of Mr. Skinner’s masterpieces. 

The present organ consists of 121 stops, 189 ranks, and 10,647 pipes.

First bay north triforium

16'  Diapason

16'  Violon (ext.)

16'  Bourdon

8'  Prinzipal

8'  Spitz Prinzipal

8'  Waldföte

8'  Holz Bordun

8'  Salicional

8'  Violon

8'  Erzähler

4' Oktav

4'  Spitzoktav

4'  Koppel Flöte

2-2/3'  Quinte

2'  Super Oktav

2'  Blockflöte

  Sesquialtera II

  Klein Mixtur IV

Mixtur IV-V 

   Scharf IV 

    Terzzymbel VI-X 

16'  Bombarde

8'  Posthorn

8'  Trompette

4'  Clairon

8'  Trompette en Chamade (So)

8'  Tuba Mirabilis (So)

Third bay north triforium

16'  Gemshorn

8'  Chimney Flute

8'  Viola Pomposa

8'  Viola Pomposa Celeste   

8'–4'  Chœur des Violes V (Sw)

8'  Viole Céleste II

8'  Kleiner Erzähler II

4'  Principal

4'  Harmonic Flute

4'  Fugara

2-2/3'  Rohrnasat

2'  Hellflöte

1-3/5'  Terz

   Mixture III-IV 

   Glockenspiel II 

16'  Orchestral Bassoon

8'  Trumpet

8'  Cromorne

4'  Regal

8'  Tuba Mirabilis (So)  

8'  Trompette en Chamade (So)   

8'  Posthorn (Gt)





First bay south triforium

16'  Violoncelle (ext.)

8' Montre

8'  Violoncelle Céleste II

4'  Prestant

   Plein Jeu V 

   Cymbale IV 

16'  Bombarde

8'  Trompette

4'  Clairon

Second bay north triforium

16'  Flûte Courte

8'  Bourdon

8'  Flûte à Fuseau

8'  Viole de Gambe

8'  Viole Céleste

8'  Voix Céleste II

8'  Flute Celeste II

4'  Octave

4'  Flûte Travesière

2-2/3'  Nasard

2'  Octavin

1-3/5'  Tierce

   Petit Jeu IV

16'  Posaune

8'  2ème Trompette

8'  Hautbois

8'  Cor d’Amour

4'  2ème Clairon 


Fifth bay south triforium

8' Flûte d’Argent II

8'–4' Chœur des Violes V

8'  Éoliènne Céleste II

8'  Voix Humaine


Fourth bay north triforium 

8'  Diapason

8'  Flauto Mirabilis II

8'  Gamba

8'  Gamba Celeste

4'  Orchestral Flute

   Full Mixture VII

16'  Corno di Bassetto (ext.)

8'  Trompette Harmonique

8'  French Horn

8'  Corno di Bassetto

8'  English Horn

8'  Flügel Horn

4'  Clairon Harmonique

8'  Trompette en Chamade

8'  Tuba Mirabilis

16'  Posthorn (Gt)

8'  Posthorn (Gt)


First through fourth bays, south triforium

32'  Subbass (ext.)

32'  Kontra Violon (ext.)

16'  Contre Basse

16'  Principal

16'  Diapason (Gt)

16'  Bourdon

16'  Violon (Gt)

16'  Violoncelle (Sw)

16'  Gemshorn (Ch)

16'  Flûte Courte (Sw)

10-2/3'  Quinte (Gr. Kornett)

8'  Octave

8'  Diapason (Gt)

8'  Spitzflöte

8'  Gedackt

8'  Violoncelle Céleste II (Sw)

8'  Flûte Courte (Sw)

5-1/3'  Quinte

4'  Choralbass

4'  Cor de Nuit

2'  Fife

   Rauschquint II 

   Fourniture IV 

   Acuta III

   Gross Kornett IV 

64'  Bombarde Basse (ext.)

32'  Contra Bombarde

32'  Contra Fagotto (ext.)

16'  Ophicléide

16'  Bombarde (Sw)

16'  Fagotto

8'  Trompette

8'  Bombarde (Sw)

8'  Posthorn (Gt)

8'  Tuba Mirabilis (So)

8'  Trompette en Chamade (So)

4'  Clairon

2'  Zink

First bay north gallery

8'  Spitz Prinzipal

4'  Praestant

2-2/3'   Koppel Nasat

2'  Lieblich Prinzipal

Mixtur IV-VI 

8'  Rankett

First bay south gallery

8'  Nason Gedackt

4'  Rohrflöte

2'  Nachthorn

1-3/5'  Terz

1-1/3'  Larigot

1'  Sifflöte

   Zymbel IV

4'  Rankett (Brustwerk)


First bays north, and south galleries

16'  Gedacktbass (ext.)

8'  Oktav

8'  Nason Gedackt (Positiv)

4'  Superoktav (ext.)

4'  Rohrflöte (Positiv)

16'  Rankett (Brustwerk)

4'  Rankett (Brustwerk)

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