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First-time Hymn Players Survival Guide.


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#76 kate bush fan

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Posted 14 November 2007 - 18:21

QUOTE(Susie @ Nov 12 2007, 09:53 PM) View Post

QUOTE(stopperman @ Nov 12 2007, 07:04 PM) View Post

What we have touched on here is the tip of an absolutely huge topic. And there are people here who know a great deal more than I do. I hope we hear from them. anyone.gif


There may be people out there who know more .etc.etc but you do have a knack of making the subject readable and useable by pianists who, out of the goodness of their hearts, have been cornered near the organ and given a hymn book and "see you next Sunday then". mellow.gif

Nothing can beat the opportunity to sit quietly in an empty church and fiddle with stops etc using just such information as you have provided above. On the whole, pianists who have been coerced into the job just want to do the best they can with a minimal amount of time on the organ itself. (Or at least this one does - if I had had the grand passion for the organ I would have become an organist 30+ years ago!!! laugh.gif rolleyes.gif )


Yes agree! I am planning to print out all this advice and take it to a hopefully very empty church. thanks again stopperman

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#77 vectistim

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Posted 17 November 2007 - 10:11

I thought I would like to add to this entertaining/informative thread. If you are temping somewhere that doesn't have a regular organist and choir that may mean the congregation consists of a couple of dozen pensioners who sit at the back and hide behind the pillars. If this is the case, and if it is combined with the organ being behind another pillar it can be very difficult to hear their singing.

When I started I found that if I couldn't here the words I would sometimes forget what verse we were on and therefore I might play too many or not enough verses. To deal with this I now always sing along (rather loudly!), which means a) I know how far we have got through the hymn b) if people moan about tempo/being able to breathe I can point out that I managed whilst playing at the same time.

If it is a fairly normal and well know hymn I will often swap to singing the bass for some of the verses, I will occasionally chuck in a tenor bit but the playing is rather more likely to go wrong then.

My playover method tends to be first line then last line. I find this a good compromise between playing the first two lines or last two lines, as it reminds them how it starts and then gives them the introduction that every other verse will have (ie: preceded by the end of the previous verse).

Tempo is determined by two things a) the length of the sermon and b) the coldness of the church.


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#78 Hedgehog

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Posted 17 November 2007 - 10:50

Interesting that you should have this problem at times too, vectistim (love the name by the way smile.gif ). My husband occasionally plays for matins at our local church and the congregation sometimes consists of 6 elderlies, and the choir of 1 or 2 elderlies (on a really bad day there was no choir), so imagine what the psalm is like - I hear him practising it singing along at home, and he almost does a solo in church too! laugh.gif
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#79 mcm

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Posted 17 November 2007 - 11:53

I sometimes try singing along but it is fraught with danger if it is not a well-known hymn and the words are printed on the opposite page.... How do you manage to keep your place in the music? My memory is not good enough to play without the dots.
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#80 vectistim

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Posted 17 November 2007 - 12:06

If its not a well known hymn its even more important that I sing along.

Some hymn books mark the end of each line of words in the music to help you work out where you are.

If its a struggle to play and sing at the same time, I just dump the tenor line, as my singing tends to be more useful than ensuring that there is 'truth in the inward parts'

Sometimes I have lost my place in the music but just mask the fact by engaging my can belto voice until I get back in sync with myself.
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#81 mcm

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Posted 17 November 2007 - 14:05

QUOTE(vectistim @ Nov 17 2007, 12:06 PM) View Post

If its not a well known hymn its even more important that I sing along.

I quite agree! I sometimes have to resort to 'la la la' though because I can't always read/remember the words.
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#82 jod

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Posted 17 November 2007 - 16:06

I have used the 16' on manuals normally for the last foot and on the swell with the 2' drawn out on the great coupled. I can then use the swell pedal to get the right balance and play the Bass notes with my left hand drop the tenor line and play the soprano and alto with my right. The tenors hate it but it does give the impression you can play with your feet when you can't!
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#83 vectistim

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Posted 19 November 2007 - 08:51

Yesterday's services were hilarious:

At the first church there was a dunking, so the congregation had more than doubled, therefore you would expect to give it more welly (technical term that), except the hymn singing was no louder than normal.

Second church:
Turn on the organ: B above middle C on the 4' flute on the Great starts blaring out, before I've even unlocked the manuals. Fiddle with it see if it will stop - no. Then turn it off wait whilst we get strange harmonics as the wind chest empties though the pipe. try turning it back on again - still there.
Move to the early (old) digital in the Lady chapel - I manage to play half a page and then pfffft.

That then left the 15/20 year old Yamaha keyboard from the vestry, which I balanced on a choir pew and made the congregation come up into the choir otherwise the noise from the keyboard with its 9v transformer would have got lost before reaching them at the back of the church.
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#84 stopperman

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Posted 19 November 2007 - 09:36

QUOTE(vectistim @ Nov 19 2007, 08:51 AM) View Post

Yesterday's services were hilarious:

At the first church there was a dunking, so the congregation had more than doubled, therefore you would expect to give it more welly (technical term that), except the hymn singing was no louder than normal.

Second church:
Turn on the organ: B above middle C on the 4' flute on the Great starts blaring out, before I've even unlocked the manuals. Fiddle with it see if it will stop - no. Then turn it off wait whilst we get strange harmonics as the wind chest empties though the pipe. try turning it back on again - still there.
Move to the early (old) digital in the Lady chapel - I manage to play half a page and then pfffft.

That then left the 15/20 year old Yamaha keyboard from the vestry, which I balanced on a choir pew and made the congregation come up into the choir otherwise the noise from the keyboard with its 9v transformer would have got lost before reaching them at the back of the church.


tongue.gif

Apart from that though, how was your day ?

Onward and ... whatever

Chris B
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#85 jod

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Posted 19 November 2007 - 10:06

QUOTE(stopperman @ Nov 19 2007, 09:36 AM) View Post

QUOTE(vectistim @ Nov 19 2007, 08:51 AM) View Post

Yesterday's services were hilarious:

At the first church there was a dunking, so the congregation had more than doubled, therefore you would expect to give it more welly (technical term that), except the hymn singing was no louder than normal.

Second church:
Turn on the organ: B above middle C on the 4' flute on the Great starts blaring out, before I've even unlocked the manuals. Fiddle with it see if it will stop - no. Then turn it off wait whilst we get strange harmonics as the wind chest empties though the pipe. try turning it back on again - still there.
Move to the early (old) digital in the Lady chapel - I manage to play half a page and then pfffft.

That then left the 15/20 year old Yamaha keyboard from the vestry, which I balanced on a choir pew and made the congregation come up into the choir otherwise the noise from the keyboard with its 9v transformer would have got lost before reaching them at the back of the church.


tongue.gif

Apart from that though, how was your day ?

Onward and ... whatever

Chris B

Rewire the Church!
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#86 vectistim

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Posted 19 November 2007 - 11:05

I gather that co-incidentally the tuner turned up this morning for a routine tune, and I am told that we now have a temporary 'repair' in the form of the offending pipe having been removed.

I can therefore expect on Sunday for the normal force 3 breeze to be a force 4 - or if I pull out the mixture on the swell a force 5.
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#87 Gran'piano

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Posted 28 January 2019 - 21:58

Found this brilliant thread by Stopperman in the depths of Viva Organ. It reminded me of another site with helpful information on registration for pianists without knowledge of organs, who are asked to play the organ in a church.
https://pianonoise.b...-tips-part.html
I hope someone finds it interesting and/or helpful.
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#88 mel2

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Posted 28 January 2019 - 22:50

Good grief! From which cobwebby old cellar did you dredge this thread? There are names on there that I haven't seen in years.
Hope they are all still organing.
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#89 Gran'piano

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Posted 29 January 2019 - 19:06

And while I am still digging in the cellar, I might as well add the link to the Thread by Teigr about how organs work. It isn't really the same subject matter but it helps if one knows a bit about both areas. Beginners' Guide to The Organ.


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