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  • Narrow or wide heels?

    Hi everybody, I've been playing the organ for a while now, both classical and theatre repertoire, and I have a question: I basically understand that organists like thin, leather soles for their organ-playing shoes because of their ability to smoothly glide along, and the ability to kind of feel what you're doing. Most everyone I've talked to seems to get theirs from a company called Organmasters. The only problem is... they don't carry my size! I'm a Cinderella foot, a size 2, and they carry 4 and up. So, I got the next best thing; character shoes from a near-by dance shop. They seem to be working out fine, except for the really narrow heels. Whenever I have to do any kind of heel-toe work, I have to practice it quite a lot beforemy heel isless likely to just slip off of the pedal at hand. My teacher says that he thinks the narrow heel will be an asset because a thin object is better suited to hit thin targets. He thinks wider heels will cause me to sometimesplay two pedals at once. What do you all think? Thanks in advance.

  • #2
    Re: Narrow or wide heels?



    I switched from Organmasters to "character shoes from a near-by dance shop" Capezio 445's to be exact. The narrow heels are a definite plus for pedal playing. Your organ teacher is pretty much right on about what he said. If you look at Cameron Carpenter's organ shoes, you'll see that his shoes have long, thin, almost feminine heels on them.</p>

    If your character shoes have polished leather soles, and they feel too slippery to you, get some really fine sand paper and gently sand the leather for a couple of minutes on each shoe. I prefer the polished leather over organmaster soles (much easier to do black-to-black and glissandos), but the out-of-the-box soles are a bit too slippery.
    </p>

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    • #3
      Re: Narrow or wide heels?



      [quote user="Stefanussen"]If you look at Cameron Carpenter's organ shoes, you'll see that his shoes have long, thin, almost feminine heels on them.[/quote]Oh, so that is a 'technique' thing. []</P>


      I would think that hitting a narrow object with another narrow object would be rather difficult. If I want to hit alamp post with a ball I'd rather it bea beachball than a golfball. []</P>


      I can see the teacher's pointabout hitting two notes with a wide heel; the thing is that if your feet are that small,any shoe that fits would likely not have a large enough heel to be a problem.</P>


      Since you are actually experiencing some problems I'd recommendhaving ashoemaker to fabricatea slightly wider heelfor you.</P>

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      • #4
        Re: Narrow or wide heels?

        I agree that I'd rather try to hit a lamp post with a baseball than a golf ball, but I'd really rather one of those giant exercise balls[].

        Rob, I also play in a pair of 445's, but I did not find the out of the box sole too slippery, but I suppose to each his own.

        Of course, depending on your financial situation, you might just want to have a pair of shoes custom made for your feet, and you could get some 3 in. Cuban heels while you're at it, just for good measure.[]

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        • #5
          Re: Narrow or wide heels?

          Thanks everyone. I'm getting used to the character shoes (I've had them for a few months now, and it generally sounds like they'll be fine for me. I just wanted to make sure that I was headed in the right direction, which it sounds like I am.

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          • #6
            No shoes for me.... Re: Narrow or wide heels?



            I gave up using shoes a long time ago.</P>


            I have size 15 feet and I struggled all through lessons and college trying to play the pedals using organmaster shoes.</P>


            I was told the reason that I had to wear shoes by my teacher was that God doesn't want anyone walking around barefoot in church. Actually I played in socks and not barefoot.</P>


            That seemed like a dumb answer. For me wearing shoes while playing pedals is like someone wearing gloves to play the manuals.</P>


            Another thing I was told was that you need a big heal to do heal to toe pedaling. Well with size 15 feet, I already have a big heal. That has never been a problem and I can do that technique easily.</P>


            99% of the time when I played at churches, no one in the congregation could see my feet any way, so it wasn't a big deal. If anyone did ask, which I don't think they ever did, I would have said that I forgot my organ shoes at home. I didn't walk around the church barefoot though. I would wear slip on shoes and quickly slip them on and off while sitting at the organ bench.</P>


            I can use the pedals so much easier now without playing in organ shoes! I'm glad to be rid of them.</P>


            So for me, not wearing is no longer a problem. I no longer play the organ in public. I'm happy doing my own thing at home. </P>
            <P mce_keep="true"></P>

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            • #7
              Re: No shoes for me.... Re: Narrow or wide heels?



              Is that barefoot or in socks? </p>

              I've tried playing without shoes but I find socks far too slippery on the pedal board keys and I find playing shoeless hurts my heels and arches after a while.</p>

              I'm happy with my Organmaster shoes its a pity though the leather trim on the heels keeps peeling off.
              </p>
              1971 Allen Organ TC-3S (#42904) w/sequential capture system.
              Speakers: x1 Model 100 Gyro, x1 Model 105 & x3 Model 108.

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              • #8
                Re: Narrow or wide heels?



                After trying several different types of shoes, I purchased the Capezio 445's (aka Oxford, "Capezio" brand), and am very happy with them. For me, they are more comfortable than Organmaster's shoes. Like Steffanusen, I found that the soles were too slippery when they arrived, so I sanded them a bit. Unfortunately, it seems to be a some times expensive trial and error process for many of us to find appropriate footwear.</p>

                I have no problem with organists who play with their stocking feet. Everyone is unique (as is every pedalboard, for that matter), and humans are a very adaptable species.
                </p>

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                • #9
                  Re: No shoes for me.... Re: Narrow or wide heels?



                  Socks work fine for me although they are more slippery than shoes. For me however, it is easier for me just to play one note wearing socks. With shoes and my big and wide feet, it was more difficult.</P>
                  <P mce_keep="true"></P>

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                  • #10
                    Re: No shoes for me.... Re: Narrow or wide heels?

                    At long last I am now ready to order my Organmasters. How far could one walk without doing any harm to the shoes? I was hoping to get from the organ to Sunday School and back again without changing shoes. I'm really hoping they will make a difference because I'm tired of playing in my street shoes. I can't wait to try JesuJoy of Man's Desiring after they arrive. Anybody ever try walking in those old bicycle shoes with the stiff soles and the cleats? It was always a great way to end up on your rear end.

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                    • #11
                      Re: No shoes for me.... Re: Narrow or wide heels?

                      <FONT face="Times New Roman" size=3>I can't pedal in my stocking feet because I also get aching feet but before I found organmaster shoes my first organ teacher told me to get tap-dancing shoes (without the taps of course) They work pretty well as the heels are a good width and the soles are slippery. They come in all sizes. My last teacher ( some years ago) told me that in France the ladies wear spike high heels. I cannot imaginehow theycan play pedals likethat.</FONT>

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                      • #12
                        Re: No shoes for me.... Re: Narrow or wide heels?



                        [quote user="Kathan"] <font face="Times New Roman" size="3">...I cannot imaginehow theycan play pedals likethat.</font>[/quote]</p>

                        Poorly. []</p>

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: No shoes for me.... Re: Narrow or wide heels?



                          "How far could one walk without doing any harm to the shoes?"</p>

                          Walk as little as possible in Organmasters and avoid any amount of water on the sole. In college I walked from one studio to another and stepped on a small drop of water. The result was a very sticky feel on the pedalboard.
                          </p>

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                          • #14
                            Re: No shoes for me.... Re: Narrow or wide heels?



                            Poorly?</p>

                            Not all of them. Demessieux supposedly wore high heels and she was an organist of near-legendary technical ability.</p>

                            </p>

                            </p>

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                            • #15
                              Re: No shoes for me.... Re: Narrow or wide heels?



                              [quote user="Philip the organist"][quote user="Kathan"]My last teacher ( some years ago) told me that in France the ladies wear spike high heels....I cannot imaginehow theycan play pedals likethat.[/quote]Poorly. [][/quote][quote user="circa1949"]Poorly? Not all of them. Demessieux supposedly wore high heels and she was an organist of near-legendary technical ability.[/quote]I think we can safely say that Demessieux was

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