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  • Danger Man

    Following the comments in Grease Pit about sightreading and requests. Is there anyone madder than me, because this is what I used to do.

    I used to play electronic organ concerts with fixed programs, but that got boring, so...
    With around 1500 tunes ready to play from memory, I started asking for requests..live!
    But then that got boring, so.....
    I started to 'rearange' the requests off the cuff, so I never played the same thing twice.
    But then that got boring, so.....
    I got the audiences to write down their requests on paper, fold them up and put them in a hat. I made up some cards with various musical styles and genres, plus the names of composers, bands, orchestras and artistes names on and shuffled them up. Then I got a member of the audience to pick a request from the hat and a style from the cards.
    I can tell you, this got some great combinations. Sweet Georgia Brown in the style of a Bach Toccata and Fugue, Clarke's Trumpet Voluntary in the style of Mantovani for starters. Things never got boring again......more like 'hairy'!

    Anyone else done anything like this?
    Andy G
    It's not what you play. It's not how you play. It's the fact that you're playing that counts.

    New website now live - www.andrew-gilbert.com

    Current instruments: Roland Atelier AT900 Platinum Edition, Yamaha PSR-S970, Kawai K1m
    Retired Organs: Lots! Kawai SR6 x 2, Hammond L122, T402, T500 x 2, X5. Conn Martinique and 652. Gulbransen 2102 Pacemaker. Kimball Temptation.
    Retired Leslies, 147, 145 x 2, 760 x 2, 710, 415 x 2.
    Retired synths: Korg 700, Roland SH1000, Jen Superstringer, Kawai S100F, Kawai S100P, Kawai K1

  • #2
    Re: Danger Man

    Andy, my hat's off to you. I'll bet you had a captive audience. After checking out your pictures on your website, it's obvious you are a pro.

    Terry

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    • #3
      Re: Danger Man

      I realize this is going to step on some toes and hurt some feelings, but what the HELL that is what this place is for.

      There is a HELL of A LOT of difference in improvising on "Rain Drops Keep Falling on My Head" and playing accompaniment to the Mendelsohn fugal Kyrie or the Bengt Hambraeus "Motettum Archangeli Michealus." Those simply can't be sight read and these are REAL artistic works of art. This is the sort of thing that drives real organists insane. Even changing hymns around is annyoing. I spend a great deal of time reflecting and analyzing the text of the hymn and how it is best reflected in organ registrations and phrase structure.

      Improvising on "Edelwise" is simply NOT comparable.

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      • #4
        Re: Danger Man

        How about the soloist that comes in with a rather difficult piece of music and then wants it transposed three steps, and ............... the organ doesn't have a transposer? Ouch! Dale in Tucson.

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        • #5
          Re: Danger Man

          Damn, what's Buzzy Reed's problem? I bet he thinks he's better than Keith Jarret just because KJ makes up his concerts as he goes. . .
          Finally self-published some of my compositions! https://www.createspace.com/3734555
          Piano and organ videos: http://www.youtube.com/user/CurtisBooksMusic

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Danger Man


            Um, any real organist has to improvise things. It is just that things are a bit more complicated and artful on the 'real' side of the fence.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Danger Man

              Some of us are entertainers, some musicians, some organists, some keyboard players and most of us are combination of some or all of these things and more. It's all "REAL" when you are in front of an audience and to me it doesn't matter who that audience is.

              Best,

              Rich

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Danger Man

                There are those who feel the need to promote themselves and their musical or other skill. I feel that the music produced is the true measure. Where are the CD's? There are a few quiet good musicians and a lot of noisy poor ones.

                Those who find music boring either have an unnatural attention span or should find something more challenging. Maybe rock climbing or teaching high school music.

                A true gauge is to ask what people will say when your'e gone. Will they say he/she was a benefit to mankind. Will you be missed? A true musician will be missed; the others will be ignored.

                Me? I'll tell you right now I'm a lousy musician but I enjoy every moment of it.

                How about you? You too Buzzy. Now take your medicine and write nicely!

                Regards,

                Al

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                • #9
                  Re: Danger Man

                  "Um, any real organist has to improvise things. It is just that things are a bit more complicated and artful on the 'real' side of the fence."

                  Then I suggest you work on your improvisation--or not even call it improvisation. Maybe what you do is more like "noodling." Because true masters of improvisation are able to spontaneously compose works equal to traditionally composed works.
                  Finally self-published some of my compositions! https://www.createspace.com/3734555
                  Piano and organ videos: http://www.youtube.com/user/CurtisBooksMusic

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Danger Man

                    Well said Al. I will say that over the years I have found that all music that is good enough to be recorded isn't. Recorded that is. At least commercially.

                    The sad fact is that the market of listeners, mostly non-musicians, CD buyers or live audiences for the most part doesn't know what they like. They like what they know.

                    Me? I enjoy playing with my toys as much as I enjoy performing. That in its self keeps the bordom away. I make no claims of virtuosity and most likely will make no long lasting musical contributions to the world. Enjoing it and the challenge of self improvement is the key. If it brings a few smiles to the faces of those who happen to be listening all the better.

                    Best,

                    Rich


                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Danger Man

                      'Noodling' - I like that, but I always called it 'doodling'!

                      What is the 'real' side of things, by the way. All performance should be real, in that it's done with real skill, real effort and above all, a real love or passion for what you're doing. It makes no difference to me whether I'm playing 'straight', theatre, electronic, jazz, or playing piano or keyboards. I treat them all with the same respect and have the same 'fun' with them. OK, I won't improvise on JSB in straight playing, but I will use his ideas in other pieces, for example, or swing him a bit like Loussier in other circumstances.

                      Keep the views coming, and like I said, has anyone done anything similar. Who was it asked for a random selection of notes and then composed something based on the sequence and played it live as he did it? Or was that just a myth?

                      Andy G
                      It's not what you play. It's not how you play. It's the fact that you're playing that counts.

                      New website now live - www.andrew-gilbert.com

                      Current instruments: Roland Atelier AT900 Platinum Edition, Yamaha PSR-S970, Kawai K1m
                      Retired Organs: Lots! Kawai SR6 x 2, Hammond L122, T402, T500 x 2, X5. Conn Martinique and 652. Gulbransen 2102 Pacemaker. Kimball Temptation.
                      Retired Leslies, 147, 145 x 2, 760 x 2, 710, 415 x 2.
                      Retired synths: Korg 700, Roland SH1000, Jen Superstringer, Kawai S100F, Kawai S100P, Kawai K1

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Danger Man

                        I saw concert organist Richard Ellsasser do that nearly 40 years ago from the stage of Avery Fisher Hall in NYC.

                        If I remember correctly, he did it as one of his encores. He stood on stage and asked individual members of the audience for notes. When he had his quota, he played them back and then proceeded to improvise at length on that theme. I don't remember any more than that except coming away completely awed by the experience.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Danger Man

                          Hello all!

                          Interesting thread. I'm awed by anyone who can improvise. If you can print it then I can play it but I've just never been worth a hoot at improv. One of the things I want to learn to do is transpose on the fly. My theory stinks so I know I've got a lot of work to do. But I play for a Methodist church and frankly some of the hymns need knocked down a step or two. Since our organ doesn't have a transposer I get to do it the old fashioned way. And I'd like to learn to do it on the fly. Are there any good resources on this?

                          - Jim

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                          • #14
                            Re: Danger Man

                            Couldn't improvise my way out of a paper sack.

                            Went to a concert once where a pianist played tune in the way of known composers. Impressing at times, rather flat at other times depending on the combinations. But then he just asked from the public some notes. Got about 6 random notes and used that as a theme to improvise.

                            Hat off to those that can do it...

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Danger Man

                              Improv and transposing have always been my strong points, and reading music has always been hard for me.

                              A few years back, I went to go here Dr. Gere Hancock play a dedication recital, with a recient rebuild and addition to a Reuter organ. The organist there put together three tunes and sealed them in an envelope and gave them to Dr. Hancock during the recital. Dr. Hancock took those tunes and turned them into an entire piece right on the fly! It was wonderful.

                              Just reciently, I was playing a piano piece during a concert we had at church. At a page turn, I lost my place in the music, but just kept going, making up something as I went! And another time, I was playing a piano concert, but started an octave higher. Well, I kept going a bit, and just went right back into the usual octave. Not one person noticed.

                              (It would always drive my organ teacher nuts when I'd play a hymn from my head and not from what was on the page!)

                              Now, as far as just taking to tunes and putting together in the middle of a concert, or playing something in the style of another composer, you have all my respect!

                              (is it just me, or has buzzy gotten even more sarcastic and harsh? LOL!

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