Yokota Centennial Organ of Chico State University




Yokota Centennial Organ of Chico State University (1984-1990)

The two-manual tracker organ owned by the Chico State University (California) was built by Munetaka Yokota according to the aesthetic and artistic principles of Gottfried Silbermann. The special and unique feature of the instrument is the way it was built.

David Rothe, professor and university organist from 1968 to 2008, first met Munetaka Yokota when Yokotawas an apprentice of the great American organ builder John Brombaugh. Together, Yokota and Rotheconceived of the idea of building the new organ "on site" in the same way that organs were built several centuries ago. Subsequently, thanks to the efforts of Rothe, Munetaka Yokota was hired by the university as an "artist in residence" for several years to focus on the building of the organ.

Thus, one day in 1984, Munetaka Yokota showed up in the small college town, without a team of trained craftsmen and without materials. He recruited volunteers from the student body and community as his assistants and trained them in the handcraft techniques of the early 18th century as a part of their college curriculum. The city of Chico donated enough wood from the fallen Hooker Oak to construct the pedal board and bench, while local lumber companies contributed wood for the organ's body. The university's farm donated shin bones from cows in order to fashion the keyboards, and the art department's sculpture lab created the organs pipes out of melted tin and lead. The metal for the pipes of Yokota's Silbermann-style organ was cast from lead reclaimed from spent bullets from the Los Angeles Police Department gun range!

In 1990, the organ had been meticulously completed, and it since gained an international reputation. The organ's disposition is influenced largely by the style of Gottfried Silbermann, but given its installation and use in a modern American university, there are additional features as well that come from later organ building. These include the undulating "Unda maris" celeste stop on the Oberwerk, the fact that Oberwerk is enclosed in a Swell box, and a normal set of unison couplers (beyond what Silbermann usually built). The organ's two trumpet stops are also in different national styles: German (Hauptwerk) and French (Oberwerk). Two different Zimbelsterns, a Vogelsang, and a mechanical Glockenspiel provide a full bevy of "toy stops," even on this medium-small size organ.

Extra informatie

The Specification

1. Manual (HW) C–a3
Principal (in facade) 16'
Octav Principal (facade) 8'
Viol di Gamba 8'
Hohlfloete 8'
Octava 4'
Spitzfloete 4'
Quinta 3'
Octava 2'
Tertia 1 3/5'
Mixtur IV 2'
Cymbel III 1 1/3'
Cornet IV (c-) 4'
Fagott 16'
Trompete (German) 8'
Glockenspiel (c-f2) 4'
2. Manual (OW, enclosed) C–a3
Quintadena 16'
Principal 8'
Unda maris (a-) 8'
Quintadena 8'
Gedackt 8'
Octava 4'
Rohrfloete 4'
Nasat 3'
Octava 2'
Tertia 1 3/5'
Quinta 1 1/3'
Sifflet 1'
Mixtur (Scharf) IV 1 1/3'
Trompette (French) 8'
Vox humana 8'
Pedal C–f1
Gross Untersatz 32'
Principal Bass 16'
Octav Bass 8'
Octav Bass 4'
Posaunen Bass 16'
Trompeten Bass 8'
Cornet Bass 4'


  • HW/Ped 8', OW/Ped 8', OW/HW 8';


  • Zimbelstern (2x);
  • Vogelgesang;
  • Tremulant works for the entire organ with the exception of Untersatz, Principal Bass 16 and Posaunen Bass 16. The Tremulant stop still engages the tremmed samples for the entire organ, including the pedal stops. In addition, split tremulants were prepared for HW and OW, accessible from the simple tab.
  • Device to mute/unmute the middle C of the Cornet, thus allowing for French or Spanish compass.


Resolution and Encryption

The samples are offered in 48kHz/24bit resolution. The multiple releases have three levels: short, mid and long. Hauptwerk v4.2 and higher supported. The sample set is offered in plain wave format. No encryption.

Reverb time

The reverb time is ca. 2 seconds.

Keyboards, pedalboard

The original compass of the keyboards is 57 keys (highest g# missing, but added in the sample set). The original compass of the pedal division is 30 keys.


All ranks were recorded with and without tremulants for the most convincing tremulant behavior. Three lowest pedal stops have no tremulant. Loading the authentic tremmed ranks consumes large amount of RAM. It is possible to select to use the artificial tremulant instead to save RAM (the switch is located on the mixer tab).

Requirements RAM consumption: 6-channel surround

  • 16-bit, other settings default: 16.8 GB
  • 20-bit, other settings default: 27.6 GB (recommended)
  • 24-bit, other settings default: 31.7 GB

RAM consumption: 2-channel (front-direct solo for a semi-dry experience)

  • 16-bit, other settings default: 6.6 GB
  • 20-bit, other settings default: 9.8 GB
  • 24-bit, other settings default: 11.9 GB

Screen resolution 1280x1024 px or more. Polyphony of 4000 voices recommended for the full suround (2000 pipes minimum). Polyphony of 2000 simultaneous pipes recommended for use of the wet sample set.

Surround format

The sample set is offered in the Surround variant (6 channels). In addition to the usual 4-channel surround, there are two more alternative front channels. In total, there are 4 front audio channels and 2 rear channels. The two pairs of the front ranks feature two different recording positions: direct (near to the pipes) and diffuse (distant from the instrument). These two pairs of the front ranks can either be mixed together freely to achieve any listening position between the two extremes, or used separately - depending on the prefererences of the user. A dedicated "mixing desk" is available in Hauptwerk to mix the sound to the desired level (see screenshots).

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Yokota Centennial Organ of Chico State University