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  • Rock Musicians and Real Organs

    The posts in this thread were split from the Crescendo Pedal thread http://www.organforum.com/forums/sho...escendo-Pedals
    -Admin



    I have never liked the idea of the crescendo pedal. An exception maybe for improvisation under SOME circumstances (that might still be questionable). All one needs is some well programmed pistons and some skill with a swell box. The crescendo pedal seems only to support a single monophonous sound of varying intensity. I am open to change my opinions if good reason and logic is provided, but as it stands I dislike the things.

    It might be useful for a rock organist if they were ever allowed to get close enough to a real organ (which I would hope not).
    Last edited by Admin; 05-19-2014, 04:45 PM.

  • #2
    In regard to Shawns comments I make two points. Firstly, if your instrument doesn't have pistons, it is almost certain you will not have a crescendo pedal. Secondly, and I risk sounding three times my age here, I wouldn't let a rock musician near a real organ because they would desecrate it with a poor excuse of a sound misnamed music. A rock song with the same repeating bassline, same repeating four bar harmonies and a voiceline often closer to screaming than a real melody does not, as far as I am concerned, class as anything cultured, let alone music. Why then is such music common? Simple. It requires very little intellectual ability to create it. At least this post is in the soapbox section.

    Dou├žaine: very interesting post, especially regarding the amount of soft stops on German instruments. I hadn't thought of that.

    Also, as an overall comment, I didn't think in many cases crescendo pedals were manually programmable. Still I must agree with David, it is a choice to use the thing or not. As I don't have one anyway, it is more an argument of principle than practice.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Sathrandur View Post
      I wouldn't let a rock musician near a real organ because they would desecrate it with a poor excuse of a sound misnamed music. A rock song with the same repeating bassline, same repeating four bar harmonies and a voiceline often closer to screaming than a real melody does not, as far as I am concerned, class as anything cultured, let alone music. Why then is such music common? Simple. It requires very little intellectual ability to create it. At least this post is in the soapbox section.
      I'm pretty certain I may be interpreting what you said more harshly than you intended, but realizing that in ANY style of music there are both examples of schlock and artistry, that's an awfully broad brush you're painting with. Were I to paint classical organ music with a similarly broad brush, I'd end up covering E. Power Biggs and the 92-year-old lady down the street who can barely get through the hymns in the same stroke.

      The first time ANY of us sat down at a proper organ console, none of us were virtuosi. I was 10. The fact that someone gave me a chance without being dismissive of either my age or apparent lack of skill was the catalyst. The rest is history, and you couldn't pry me off the bench after that.

      I fear that the high-minded dismissiveness of the "unwashed" is precisely what will lead to the slow demise of this amazing instrument and tradition. Because of that, I always made a practice of letting nearly anyone have seat time on the organs I oversaw in church positions, because it's that first time that sets the hook. As an aside, I also have yet to see ANYONE break one of our precious consoles if they show even a moderate amount of care. Usually, "the people" are the ones who paid for the instrument. So the people should get to touch it.
      Last edited by michaelhoddy; 05-10-2014, 02:29 PM.

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      • #4
        My comments are not in regards to individual musicians of various skill levels so much as the music in question. The fact of the matter is that if modern rock/pop music became all that was permormed on organs then I probably wouldn't want to listen to organs being played and the survival of the instrument would be pointless to me. On the other hand I would still be more interested in listening to a less experienced organist playing good quality music.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Sathrandur View Post
          In regard to Shawns comments I make two points. Firstly, if your instrument doesn't have pistons, it is almost certain you will not have a crescendo pedal.
          Without meaning to sound contradictory (well, okay, maybe I do), I have serviced many hundreds of electric-action and electro-pneumatic instruments (probably approaching 1,000) over the past 30+ years, and have encountered only one instrument I can remember that didn't have a crescendo pedal. However I can't even begin to count the numbers that have no combination action. As a percentage I would estimate as high as 10%. A crescendo pedal is an extremely simple (and relatively inexpensive) item to include in an instrument, whereas a combination action (excepting solid-state) is neither simple nor inexpensive.

          Originally posted by Sathrandur View Post
          Secondly, and I risk sounding three times my age here, I wouldn't let a rock musician near a real organ because they would desecrate it with a poor excuse of a sound misnamed music. A rock song with the same repeating bassline, same repeating four bar harmonies and a voiceline often closer to screaming than a real melody does not, as far as I am concerned, class as anything cultured, let alone music. Why then is such music common? Simple. It requires very little intellectual ability to create it. At least this post is in the soapbox section.
          At the risk of sounding my age, the levels of arrogance you have achieved are nothing short of astronomical. Hopefully as you increase in age you will also increase in wisdom, temperance, and understanding. In my humble opinion, there is *nobody* who has a desire to be near a "real" organ (excepting someone who is bent on damage or destruction) who should be prevented from playing, no matter the kind of music they play. There is nothing they are going to do to hurt it as long as they understand how to properly use it (and I hope if they're not familiar with it someone can guide them through the process).

          Whether or not any of us "like" the music they play has no bearing whatsoever on whether or not it is genuinely music or art. If that were the standard to which we were to attain, then there would not be a single piece of music anywhere, from any time period, that could be considered music. Have you ever heard a piece that *everyone* likes? Painting with a broad brush, the music that does more than scratching a momentary itch, that reaches into the soul and touches something deeper, will stand the test of time and will last. It is, however, all music, like it or not.

          And if not, don't listen. Nobody is holding a gun to your head (at least I don't think so). But if you don't want to listen, don't work to prevent anyone else from listening, or denigrate those who do and happen to like it.

          Just by example, I was listening to Pipedreams last night, and while the piece I was hearing at the moment was technically complicated, very musical, well performed, and highly regarded, it was a drain on both my ears and sensibilities. I turned it off, but I know there were others who would have been quite enthralled by it. Because I didn't like it, should I demand it not be played again, or rant to others that it is not musical? Each to his own, I say.

          Originally posted by Sathrandur View Post
          I didn't think in many cases crescendo pedals were manually programmable.
          While it is not common, there are programmable crescendo pedals going back many decades, though generally the programming is left to the builder or service technician. I am personally familiar with programmable pedals going back at least to 1948, and I believe some are older. With today's technologies it is becoming very common to have programmable crescendo pedals, with multiple pedals available on each level of memory in some of the more sophisticated systems.

          Kind regards,
          Shawn

          - - - Updated - - -

          Originally posted by Sathrandur View Post
          ... if modern rock/pop music became all that was permormed on organs then I probably wouldn't want to listen to organs being played and the survival of the instrument would be pointless to me. On the other hand I would still be more interested in listening to a less experienced organist playing good quality music.
          Do you think that by letting a few rock/pop musicians near the organ we are going to be in danger of having the only music played on the organ being rock/pop? History would prove you wrong on that. Rock/pop musicians have been using "real" organs for as long as I have been aware, but they have neither taken over the organ world nor endangered the instrument in any way.

          Personally, I believe it is our own collective arrogance in the organ world (not wanting to associate or share our art with the likes of *THEM*!!, or working hard to convince others what sort of music they *should* like if they are going to be *real* musicians) that has done the greatest damage to our chosen art form and instruments. And it would seem we haven't learned from the past, as another generation appears to be repeating it.

          Sigh. Back to completing the contracts for two instruments we'll be building later this year that will (*GASP*) be equipped in a way that the rock musicians in the "alternative" worship service can use - and enjoy - our art in a way that is, in its own way, an art form, whether or not it is my cup of tea.

          Kind regards,
          Shawn

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          • #6
            Well considering your experience with organs Shawn, I will humbly defer to your observations on crescendo pedals and pistons. In Australia things must be different because I have seen only a handful of crescendo pedals and they are only on large instruments that have STACKS of pistons. In fact only small organs don't have pistons over here, and most of those are mechanical instruments, if not all.

            I suppose in regards to my opinions on music and art in general, I am of the opinion that just because the masses like something, doesn't necessarily make it of a high quality that is expected of real art. These days just about anything can be deemed art by the world. I believe that for painting, drawing, sculpture, architecture or music to be considered to be in the higher category of art that it must be of the highest level of quality in every way. I get annoyed when these painters just throw paint at a canvas like any any three-year-old could and then get paid thousands of dollars because it's considered art. To engage in some reductio ad absurdum, John Cage's 4' 33" I don't consider to be art as an artist is not even required for a performance, and in essence wasn't required for its composition. As I said, this is just my opinion.

            While we may disagree, I return the kind regards,
            Sathrandur

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            • #7
              Years ago I used to play in a Pizza shop and played a condensed version of the John Cage 4minutes 33seconds, My version lasted about 30 seconds.
              Cheers
              Jerry F Bacon-Dallas,Tx
              Jerry F Bacon-Dallas,Tx

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              • #8
                Originally posted by pictureroll View Post
                Years ago I used to play in a Pizza shop and played a condensed version of the John Cage 4minutes 33seconds, My version lasted about 30 seconds.
                Cheers
                Jerry F Bacon-Dallas,Tx
                Did anyone think it strange having a piano in a pizza shop? B-)

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Sathrandur View Post
                  Did anyone think it strange having a piano in a pizza shop? B-)
                  Yeah! With just a piano, it must be a real lo end pizza joint. Higher end pizza joints tend to gravitate more toward pipe organs. ;-)

                  http://www.organstoppizza.com/
                  2008: Phoenix III/44

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                  • #10
                    It was adapted to the 3/10 Barton we had.
                    Cheers,
                    Jerry F Bacon
                    Jerry F Bacon-Dallas,Tx

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                    • #11
                      Nice link Clarion! I never thought I would see something like that.

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                      • #12
                        Yeah. I occasionally went to an Organ Pipe Pizza place in Illinois (but I didn't eat pizza--I hate cheese).

                        flashguy

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Sathrandur View Post
                          My comments are not in regards to individual musicians of various skill levels so much as the music in question. The fact of the matter is that if modern rock/pop music became all that was permormed on organs then I probably wouldn't want to listen to organs being played and the survival of the instrument would be pointless to me. On the other hand I would still be more interested in listening to a less experienced organist playing good quality music.
                          Do you realize that there is good quality music in most genres of music? There's also plenty of poor quality music all over the place. I grew up listening to poor quality music performed in church. It may have been the organ, but most likely the organists who were responsible for this. It had little to do with the style of music. It took me many years to learn that an organ can actually sound good. It wasn't pop music that was responsible for me starting out not liking organ music.
                          When I become dictator, those who preach intolerance will not be tolerated.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by davidecasteel View Post
                            Yeah. I occasionally went to an Organ Pipe Pizza place in Illinois (but I didn't eat pizza--I hate cheese).

                            flashguy
                            You must not like the hymns "Cheeses, the very thought of thee" or "What a friend we have in Cheeses".
                            I think people who dislike cheese are untrustworthy, an should under no circumstances be allowed around the organ. I am lactose-intolerant-intolerant. There, I 've had my say, and feel better. Now, on to my luncheon of gruyere! ;-)
                            ps, my sig pic organ does not even have a grand jeu pedal!
                            Casey

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by SubBase View Post
                              You must not like the hymns "Cheeses, the very thought of thee" or "What a friend we have in Cheeses".
                              "Ah, holy Cheeses, how hast thou offended?"

                              Rick Dostie
                              Last edited by Admin; 05-17-2014, 03:38 PM. Reason: fixed quote tags

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