Along the edge of the Adriatic Sea in Zadar, Croatia, simple and elegant steps, carved in white stone, lead into the waters. Hidden below these enormous steps is the Sea Organ or “Morske Orgulje” as it’s known in Croatian. Conceived in 2005 by the architect Nikola Baši?, this masterpiece of acoustics and architecture is the world’s first musical pipe organ played by the sea itself.
The 230-foot-long Sea Organ is the largest aerophone in the world with 35 organ pipes built under the concrete. Each set of steps contains five organ pipes and is tuned to a different musical chord. The pipes which are connected by a series of narrow channels react accordingly to the waves and wind.
The music is created when water and wind enter through holes at the bottom of the steps, where they are channeled into resonating chambers. The sounds from these chambers exit through the whistle openings on the steps above. As sea forces are unpredictable in terms of tides and winds, this organ offers a never-ending concert of numerous musical variations in which the performer is nature itself.
Director Alfred Hitchcock, on his visit to Zadar, said that the most beautiful sunset in the world can be seen exactly from the spot where the organ is today. Listen to the Sea Organ playing music in the video below.
The 230-Foot Sea Organ
Music Made by Wind and Waves
The Performer is Nature Itself