Luray Caverns, in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley, are the largest caverns ever discovered in the eastern United States. They're also home to the world’s largest musical instrument: The Great Stalacpipe Organ.

Luray Caverns have been amazing visitors with their stunning size and beauty since being discovered in 1878. It is tempting to wonder what it must have been like to stumble across those vast, cathedral-sized rooms and pillars of flowing stone.


What at first appears to be a long lost but otherwise ordinary organ in the caverns is, in fact, part of a gigantic lithophone. Instead of blowing through pipes to generate tones, lithophones tap on stone, in this case stalactites.

The Great Stalacpipe Organ is the world’s largest musical instrument, its hammers spread throughout the cavern. When this keyboard is played, the entire subterranean landscape is a musical instrument.

Leland Sprinkle, a mathematician and scientist, conceived of and built the instrument in 1954.

It took him over three years and some 3.5 acres to locate and prepare all the formations necessary for a precise musical scale. Due to the resonant nature of the chambers, however, every note can be clearly heard anywhere in the cavern.

The Stalacpipe Organ is played live during each tour by an automated system. Manual concert performances on the organ only occur on special occasions. 

According to