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In the beginning....


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#46 maggiemay

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Posted 07 January 2018 - 15:10

I now have a pair of snuggly soft handwarmers in a cosy red with sparkly bits - perfect! :D

Well done! Hope they work for you.

If you find they get in the way ever so slightly, you can un-hook your thumbs and push the mitts back a couple of inches. They will still keep your wrists cosy (and your pulse-point, which I think is one of the main advantages).
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#47 Keyhorn

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Posted 09 January 2018 - 14:42

Ref. cool churches.    I used, as a young organist, to carry out my practice in a variety of unheated churches - one, in particular, I was able on many occasions to stay there for up to seven hours.

 

I've found, over the years, that one simply gets used to it.   (This has later financial benefits, in, for example, not needing heating in the house to be 'on' very often.)

 

Also, finding one's way around SATB hymns is, as many have said, not a skill which necessarily comes easily.   As a result, it's as well to approach it systematically, i.e. initially for manuals only, S, SB, SAB, TB, AT, SAT, STB, ATB, SATB, and so on.   For pedals, separate the bass out, and do not duplicate it in the LH.  

 

Training in this manner, though at first seemingly laborious, will repay itself by preventing too much unlearning of suboptimal habits later.

 

Finally, a rant: please don't be beguiled into the foot-pedal tautology!!!

 

Best of luck,

D.


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#48 Latin pianist

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Posted 09 January 2018 - 14:47

Is there a good reason for not doubling the bass with the pedals? Apart from having your hands free to reach SAT more easily. I'm afraid that as a pianist who plays the organ a lot for services, I do double the bass in hymns. In music written with a pedal part, I try to play that as a separate part from the hands.
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#49 Dafydd_y_Garreg_Wen

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Posted 09 January 2018 - 17:14

Is there a good reason for not doubling the bass with the pedals? Apart from having your hands free to reach SAT more easily. I'm afraid that as a pianist who plays the organ a lot for services, I do double the bass in hymns. In music written with a pedal part, I try to play that as a separate part from the hands.


It's generally not recommended, though a pedagogue as eminent as Roger Fisher approves, on the grounds that one can then play a manuals only verse without having to adjust anything (incidentally, it's a good idea to play at least one verse of a hymn without pedals, as constantl 16' tone gets wearing for the congregation).

I tend to agree with the general opinion, however. SATB hymns are optimised for singers, and can be tricky to play without the benefit of pedals: with the pedals taking the bass, having the two hands free to share SAT between them really makes life much easier. Indeed I often play my "manuals only" verses by losing the 16' pedal stop(s) and continuing to play the bass on the pedals (coupled through to the manuals).
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#50 Keyhorn

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Posted 09 January 2018 - 17:41

 


It's generally not recommended, though a pedagogue as eminent as Roger Fisher approves, on the grounds that one can then play a manuals only verse without having to adjust anything (incidentally, it's a good idea to play at least one verse of a hymn without pedals, as constantl 16' tone gets wearing for the congregation).

 

It's certainlhy a good idea to be able to play full SATB on manuals only, for the enabling of lighter tone for some verses, as suggested.    Doubling B(manual) and B(pedal), though, until sufficiently proficient with the pedals (and in that case it's not necessary) could well be problematic in providing 'double strikes' on some bass notes.    

 

Also, it's not necessary to use the pedals with 16' tone drawn all the time on most instruments.


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#51 elemimele

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Posted 09 January 2018 - 21:58

Probably depends a bit on the instrument. On typical English village church organs such as I've played, the pedal division is usually limited to a general purpose Bourdon, and if you're really lucky some fudge such as an arrangement making the same pipes available an octave higher, so it's rarely adequate as a bass alone. It lacks definition when played with quiet, responsive stops (like the inevitable Lieblich Gedackt or equivalent), and it lacks oomph when played with louder combinations. As such, the pedal is almost always going to be played with a manual to pedal coupler. It's practically a souped-up pull-down pedal.

 

If that's the sort of instrument you're playing, then from an audience perspective, there is no difference whatsoever in what they will hear, whether you play the bass line with finger as well as pedal, or just fingers; exactly the same pipes are sounding. Yes, you might suffer from timing differences between feet and hands (though really you shouldn't), but these are also insignificant. The typical village organ bourdon is so slow to speak and vague about when it starts that it's hardly a precision instrument for accurate timing and articulation - it may also be operated by some sort of tubular pneumatic arrangement using far too low a pressure (because the pipes are big and it's inconvenient to run trackers round corners to the cramped space in which they had to be placed, at 90 degrees to the rest of the organ; the tubular pneumatic being driven by the same wind as the pipes themselves and therefore on the low side for doing mechanical work) - and this will also mean that it never speaks at the same time as the manual pipes.

 

Oh, but yes, I agree completely about dispensing with 16' tone from time to time, especially when congregations are small. Some of the most musically-pleasing services I've attended as a congregation member have been those where the "organist" was a tasteful musician used to other keyboards, lacking confidence to add pedals and therefore concentrating on making manuals-only sound really nice.


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#52 Keyhorn

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Posted 11 January 2018 - 00:30

I quite agree that musicality is the PRIMARY requirement on any instrument.


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#53 Misterioso

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Posted 05 March 2018 - 18:00

First organ lesson booked for tomorrow!!!!!!

 

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#54 LoneM

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Posted 06 March 2018 - 14:05

Have fun!


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#55 Misterioso

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Posted 06 March 2018 - 14:46

Well, that was instructive, what with stops, couplers and various lengths of pipes! (It was also baltic in the organ loft.)winter_brr.gif

I had begun practising organ pieces on piano, learning to change fingers all the time, but doing this on the organ for the first time seemed quite different, and alerted me to the fact that it can sound quite disjointed when changing from one chord to another - especially when they are mostly octave stretches. Other things I hadn't expected were how clunky the keyboards feel, how high the music stand is, and how the four parts (especially in the liturgy) change all at the same time. This is going to be a steep learning curve. I don't know if I will ever manage the pedals, given the height of the stool, me being vertically challenged, and with a disc problem to boot.

 

But baltic or not, I WILL be going in to practise.piano.gif I will just wear more clothes next time!

 

Huge thanks for all the support I've been given in this thread. I'm sure I will be back with lots of questions, and to share the journey.


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#56 mel2

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Posted 06 March 2018 - 16:00

Well done Misterioso; have fun playing the organ.

I had similar good intentions about practising this afternoon, trouble is, the Mothers' Union got there first! I had forgotten they use the place on the first Tues of the month to do whatever they do.

The first thing you learn as an organist is that you are WAY down the list of those with any priority to use the building.

(Don't they realise the church is there to keep the organ dry??)


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#57 elemimele

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Posted 06 March 2018 - 17:47

I'm glad you had fun, albeit coldly. Yes, organ consoles are rarely particularly comfortable. One can't help but feel that organ builders tended to satisfy themselves with getting the action just about within reach of the organist, rather than bringing it to where the organist would ideally like it. Their job is hard, their resources limited, and the mechanics difficult. Having got the key action 8' from pipes to console, through a succession of 90-degree bends, including sorting out a symmetrical array of pipes into a successively-ordered keyboard, they probably felt they'd done their bit. It really does help if you're 6'3", built like a gorilla, and have pneumatically-extendible legs, together with an anatomy endowed with appropriately-positioned suction pads to avoid falling off the bench while trying to reach pedals that are slightly too far away.

In terms of clunkiness of manual action, it's also scary how much this varies from organ to organ. Traditional church tracker actions can be very clunky because you're pushing against quite a large palette with wind-pressure against it, probably through quite a lot of mechanics. As soon as the palette opens, the pressure on each side of it equalises, so you're now pushing only against the spring that is necessary to return it to closed when you let go of the key. If the organ builder tried to make the action lighter by moving the pivots, the key will have to move further, which means even more of a clunk feel when the initial palette pressure is gone. If he didn't want the key to move too far, then it will be hard to move. What I found most disconcerting on the very beautiful organ on which I had lessons as a teenager was that the two manuals had totally different feels. The great was quite nice, not too hard, very clear and precise in its action. The swell was sort-of squidgy. Couplers add a whole new nightmare to the feel, because then you're fighting two lots of keyboards, probably not perfectly synchronised, and with a bit of extra friction from the coupler mechanism itself. I never used the Sw-Gr coupler on our village organ because, frankly, my fingers weren't strong enough.

 

Mel2, absolutely. And the flowers are really there just to spare a bashful organist from too much attention.


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