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#91 SingingPython

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Posted 29 July 2018 - 21:03

Action is the mechanism that enables a key to sound the pipes. Tracker action is where the link between the key and the pipes is entirely mechanical - basically, when you press a key a succession of rods and sticks pulls down the pallet under the pipe to let it speak. There's a diagram about halfway down this (rather technical) page that shows how tracker action works. http://www.pykett.or...gan_actions.htm

Ooh I've just started dipping into that page.  I think it might be of great interest to my son at some point.  We do run rather in the maths and physics direction in our house!


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#92 TweedleDee

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Posted 01 August 2018 - 16:28

I have had a look at some of the music for G1-3, and am quite surprised at the standard. They seem rather harder than the equivalent grades in piano, with pedals needed at G3, occasional changes of register, and using the Swell manual as well as the Great.

 

I have never taken any sort of music exam before as I'm in the states where such things here are rare, but I assume that the organ exams are harder than the equivalent piano exams because they expect at least some background in piano playing before moving to organ. 

 

I recently discovered they offer ABRSM exams in my area and I am strongly contemplating entering organ grade 3 exam this month.  I have to decide for sure in the next few days (Aug 15th deadline).  I have almost zero experience with scales which is where my biggest stumbling block will be likely.  No teacher at the moment.

 

Don't give up!  I am following this thread with great interest.  I have a similar background although a few years ahead of you in the journey.  It does get easier.


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#93 Misterioso

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Posted 24 March 2019 - 14:02

It's a long time and a lot of life has happened since I last posted on this thread. I am still working away quietly in the background, although organ lessons had to take a back seat for a time while I wrestled with some other problems. But today I am back to say that I played the Lord's Prayer in the service today. It's the second time (the first time was a car crash and I'm sure the organist thought I couldn't actually play) but today it went OK - I even dropped a pedal on the last chord. That was a proud moment! It's encouraged me to think I could maybe do a bit more (very gradually) while still having the "Real Organist" do most of it. 

 

woot.gif

 

But I still have such a problem with hymns..... I've decided to learn one hymn per month, and then in three years' time I will hopefully have 36 "pared down" but playable hymns.unsure.png

 

TweedleDee, did you enter for your G3 organ exam? I'm still hoping to do G2 in the summer, although have just changed one of my pieces as there was one that I thought I would never be able to play well - or even play at all on a bad day.


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#94 Ligneo Fistula

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Posted 24 March 2019 - 15:05

Well done, Misterioso! Great achievement.

 

BTW, is it true organists have to play slightly ahead of the choir so the pipes speak at the time as the voices?


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#95 maggiemay

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Posted 24 March 2019 - 19:34

Great news, Misterioso!

LF - sometimes, yes. But it depends on various factors - the building, distances, the time-lag varies. And if the organ console is ‘detached’ from the pipes, (or some of them) it adds yet another factor. Great fun.
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#96 mrbouffant

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Posted 25 March 2019 - 12:06

BTW, is it true organists have to play slightly ahead of the choir so the pipes speak at the time as the voices?

 

For hymns, no. 

The organ sets the pace and everybody sings with the organ. I often sing along myself as I am playing so I can be sure that the pace is reasonable and will not fluctuate unduly. 

If you try and follow the congregation and choir you will be in for a whole load of pain. Typically everybody will get slower and slower and slower.

 

For pure choir accompaniment, I agree with maggiemay's comments. Hopefully in such a scenario you will have sight of the choir conductor in order to be able to place the organ part properly depending on all the factors mentioned.


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#97 Vox Humana

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Posted 25 March 2019 - 13:22

BTW, is it true organists have to play slightly ahead of the choir so the pipes speak at the time as the voices?

 

That's only true in cathedrals and other very large churches where the organ is up on a screen - and even then loudspeakers to relay the choir's singing electronically directly to the console may minimise or eliminate the problem. In your average parish church you don't need to worry about it.


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#98 Ligneo Fistula

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Posted 25 March 2019 - 13:40

Thank you all for your replies.


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#99 LoneM

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Posted 26 March 2019 - 14:56

You may still find organs with a tubular pneumatic action which can have quite an appreciable delay. I once had to accompany a flautist at a wedding and it was most disconcerting - the organ part had lots of semiquavers and the pipes spoke 2-3 semiquavers late.  Fortunately we had time to rehearse beforehand - on my first attempt we ground to a halt completely as I was waiting for the notes my fingers were actually playing to sound. I had to play ahead of where we actually were - most disconcerting.


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#100 TweedleDee

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Posted 08 April 2019 - 19:15

TweedleDee, did you enter for your G3 organ exam? I'm still hoping to do G2 in the summer, although have just changed one of my pieces as there was one that I thought I would never be able to play well - or even play at all on a bad day.

 

No, but I keep thinking about it.  For this year, I decided to make it a goal to learn and record the rest of the repertoire from "The Organists' Manual" by Roger Davis.  It's a very popular organ method book here in the states and has 40 pieces that get progressively harder.  I'm on about #29.  It ends with the Little Fugue in G by Bach and I'm afraid it will take me all year just to learn that one, so this is an ambitious goal for me.

 

I consider it a big milestone victory that I played "The Glory of These Forty Days" (ERHALT UNS, HERR harmonized by Bach) yesterday for church nearly flawlessly after only working on it for a week.  Often progress feels so slow I can't see it until something like that happens.

 

 

 

BTW, is it true organists have to play slightly ahead of the choir so the pipes speak at the time as the voices?

 

For hymns, no. 

The organ sets the pace and everybody sings with the organ. I often sing along myself as I am playing so I can be sure that the pace is reasonable and will not fluctuate unduly. 

If you try and follow the congregation and choir you will be in for a whole load of pain. Typically everybody will get slower and slower and slower.

 

 

This is SO true.  Our organ is in the loft at the rear and the congregation will drag you down if you're not careful.  The other organist I share the bench with at church still hasn't learned this after 40 years.  Nearly every hymn gradually grinds to a near halt by the end.


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#101 Misterioso

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Posted 09 April 2019 - 10:11

For this year, I decided to make it a goal to learn and record the rest of the repertoire from "The Organists' Manual" by Roger Davis.  It's a very popular organ method book here in the states and has 40 pieces that get progressively harder.  I'm on about #29.  It ends with the Little Fugue in G by Bach and I'm afraid it will take me all year just to learn that one, so this is an ambitious goal for me.

 

I consider it a big milestone victory that I played "The Glory of These Forty Days" (ERHALT UNS, HERR harmonized by Bach) yesterday for church nearly flawlessly after only working on it for a week.  Often progress feels so slow I can't see it until something like that happens.

 

 

Well done on The Glory of These Forty Days, especially after only a week!

 

I'm wondering if you could give an approximate standard for The Organists' Manual? It sounds good, but it's quite a lot to fork out, so I'd want to be sure it was playable (for me, that is!)


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#102 TweedleDee

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Posted 09 April 2019 - 16:49

In my opinion, the Organists' manual is fantastic for its repertoire but a little weak on actual method information.  If memory serves, it has 25 manual only pieces and 40 manual and pedal pieces, many of them useful for playing in church.  I would say if you can play some of Bach's 2 or 3 part inventions, you'll have no problem making swift progress in this book.  It goes from quite easy up to Bach's fugue in G minor and Bach's Wachet Auf at the tail end.  You can tell how much I use it by the fact that it is literally falling apart sad.png .

 

That said, I ordered the materials for organ level 3 some time ago and I'm really enjoying those as well, such as The Church Year and The Oxford service manuals (I hope I got the names correct).  I've been using these often in selecting preludes and postludes. 

 

So, if you're in the market for a wide range of repertoire (that gets progressively more difficult) in a single book, the Davis book is an excellent choice but there are many others that would work as well.


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#103 Misterioso

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Posted 09 April 2019 - 17:24

Thanks, Tweedledee. I do have a couple of Oxford Service Music books, one for manuals, one including pedals, and also A Graded Anthology for Organ, Bk 2 and Manual Miscellany for Organ, Bk 1. They will keep me going for now, but I'm still tempted by the Organists' Manual, so I will put it on my birthday list for later in the year. At least that will stop me feeling guilty about buying it!

 

It now looks as though my G2 will have to be November instead of June - a combination of me and my organ teacher being away at different times, but it's still definitely on the agenda. I'm finding one of the pieces quite tricky as it switches manual in both hands several times, and my tiny mind can't cope with playing one line on the upper keyboard from the lower line of music, while the other hand plays the lower manual from the upper line of music. All part of parcel of organ playing, though, and it's exciting.

 

One thing that always surprises me about playing in Church (the very little I have done!) is how quiet the organ sounds compared with when I am in the building on my own, and also how quiet the congregation sounds as (like you) our organ loft is at the back of the Church. Another thing I have noticed is that on the few occasions I am brave enough to drop a pedal, it seems to barely sound in the organ loft, but is much louder in the body of the Church. Is that normal?


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#104 SingingPython

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Posted 09 April 2019 - 17:58

My son's first organ teacher used The Organists Manual with him.  I've just checked how far he thinks he got through it; in about 2.5 years he did all the manual section and at least half or more of the pedal pieces.  That from a grade 5/6 piano level as his starting point (grade 8 piano by the end of that 2.5 years), age 10-12.  I think they used it almost exclusively.

 

He's made a lot more progress on pedals in the last 6 months due to ease of access to an organ to practice on.  He hasn't yet done any organ exams so I can't suggest his current standard.

 

When a friend's son (a little older) was starting organ lessons, I showed her the book, it was shown to his teacher and they promptly started using it too.  To my eye it has some nice exercises and explanations of touch and registration in it also - speaking from the perspective of someone who has had occasional goes on organ but not properly, but is now a necessarily interested parent and paying attention to information I come across!

 

I agree that it has some useful short pieces for church use.

 

I hope my perspective is of some help!


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#105 SingingPython

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Posted 09 April 2019 - 18:03

Oh, about the loudness of the organ / different stops - I think you need to have someone give you feedback about how different stops actually sound in the body of the church; and/or get someone to demonstrate them while you listen down in the church, to really know what you are dealing with.  I agree that with a congregation present the acoustics change a bit.  My son's playing a service this weekend and I must remind him to feel confident to go up a stop in the hymns as I think the space can take it (he only plays there occasionally so far).


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