The Great Stalacpipe Organ is claimed the largest instrument in the world.
It is the first and only lithophone based on stalactites and is situated deep within the Luray caverns in Virginia.
Rocks that ring have been used as musical instruments for thousands of years. But this is the only lithophone I know of based on stalactites. The sound generated is ghostly and disorientating.
This postcard from 1906 illustrates the method of early lithophone performances in Luray Caverns, Virginia, United States:
The Great Stalacpipe Organ is located deep within Luray Caverns. It was dreamt up and constructed by a mathematician and electronic engineer named Leland Sprinkle. It was completed in 1956 after three years of work.
It is the largest instrument in the world
Each key of the organ is wired to a solenoid-actuated rubber mallet that is connected to one of 37 different stalactites scattered around the 3.5 acres of the caverns. When a key is pressed, the mallet strikes the stalactite. The result is a very clear, pure tone that bears a resemblance to a xylophone or a lithophone.
All of the stalactites, despite spreading over only 3.5 acres of the caverns, can be heard over all 64 acres of the caverns’ interior. Woah!