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Holy Pipe Organ

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The pipe organ has long been associated with The Church. For this reason, music performed by pipe organ is closely intertwined with religion (or, at least, Christianity) in the public consciousness.

Therefore, when a composer is writing a soundtrack, primarily featuring a pipe organ in their music is a shorthand method of conveying to the audience that the work is depicting a subject regarded as holy, sacred, or religious. This can include churches, temples, gods, paladins, etc.

For works that heavily feature religious themes, expect to hear a lot of pipe organs throughout the music. Conversely, when it is used sparingly, the pipe organ can stand out from the rest of the soundtrack and emphasize one particular moment or scene as religious.

Compare Ominous Pipe Organ. The Holy Pipe Organ is generally used for the Saintly Church while the Ominous Pipe Organ is more closely associated with darkness and villainy. However, they are not mutually exclusive; there can certainly be overlap between the two tropes, especially when Holy Is Not Safe, the church is evil, or God Is Evil.

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Lohengrin and Mendelssohn tends to overlap with this, as the two famous wedding marches are often played on a pipe organ.


Examples:

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    Films - Animated 

    Films - Live Action 

    Music 
  • Fats Waller is known for playing jazzy music on the organ, and his work includes two different covers (one with his vocals and one all instrumental) of the spiritual folk tune "Go Down Moses".
  • The Horslips: This Irish band performed a Concept Album dramatising the earliest Irish mythology. The Power And The Glory concerns the coming of the Irish to Ireland to take the land as their own. The main theme sounds like a triumphant hymn on pipe organ.
  • Johann Sebastian Bach composed extensively for organ, and many of his pieces (i.e., the chorales) had Christian themes and were intended to be played during worship.
  • Gustav Mahler brought a pipe organ in during the finale of his Symphony No. 2 (Resurrection) to accompany the final recitation of the chorus (Rise again, yea, rise again, wilt thou, my heart, after a moment!). His Symphony No. 8 (Symphony of a Thousand) starts off with a pedal point, a blaring E♭ Major chord, and the chorus singing Veni, veni creator spiritus!
  • An official soundtrack album for The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask features synthesized "orchestrated" rearrangements of the game's soundtrack. The orchestration of "Oath to Order", the theme of the Four Giants, heavily features pipe organ.
  • Sabaton: The introduction to "The Carolean's Prayer", a Horrible History Metal song about the soldiers of Swedish king Charles XII who are united by their Protestant Christian faith features an organ before the guitar kicks in.
  • In Sparks' "When I Sit to Play the Organ at the Notre Dame Cathedral" (from Hello Young Lovers), the organ player resents that the congregation is too focused on worship to properly appreciate his performance, referring several times to how he's been "upstaged" by God.
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    Tabletop Games 
  • Warhammer 40,000 has an over-the-top example of this trope. The Sister of Battle has the Exorcist, an artillery that has an organ mounted on the vehicle which fires missiles when it is played.

    Theatre 
  • Goes both ways in Charles Gounod's opera Faust. The scene in the church, where Marguerite goes to pray for forgiveness, opens with Ominous Pipe Organ as Mephistopheles, in the guise of a Sinister Minister, tells her that her soul is condemned to Hell, triggering a musical duel between an unseen chorus of demons and a chorus praying for her. The final scene of the opera plays this trope straight, as a chorus proclaims the dead Marguerite's salvation and she ascends into Heaven.

    Video Games 

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • Pluto's Judgement Day: The title card's music features a pipe organ playing a reverent tune, although it is interspersed with quick jazz segments. Still, the pipe organ serves as the first indicator that this short deals with a more heavy subject than most Disney shorts at the time.
  • In The Simpsons, scenes at the church are sometimes opened with organ chords like in this clip at 00:00 and 05:00 and here.

    Real Life 
  • Truth in Television, since many Christian churches feature impressive pipe organs that are played during religious services.


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