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Rock Musicians and Real Organs

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  • #46
    I am so happy to have found and read the thread that started the evolution debate (one I just can't resist when I see it, many apologies on my predilection for Soap-boxing). I promise, no discussion of evolution here.

    Sathrander-

    I find that you actually make some decent points. I don't totally agree with you, but I have on many occasions made similar arguments. My wife absolutely loves Pop music. I, for the most part, do not. However, if we are taking a trip, we are listening to Pop. I will sometimes tweak out and turn the radio off, because I just can't stand it anymore. Through this exposure I have, however, found that there are some well constructed compositions coming from Pop musicians. They may not be good in the same way as music of a classical nature, but they are nonetheless well composed and appropriate for our current culture. In this context, by well composed I mean:

    a. The chord progression uses more than 3 chords (although 3 chords can also be good).
    b. There are unexpected and well resolved musical phrases, which are linked to 'movements' within the song.
    c. Key signature and meter may be varied, and it makes musical sense when this happens.
    d. The lyrical content and musical phrasing are well linked, and the emotional response I get to the resolution of harmonies supports the emotional response associated with the lyrics.

    Of course, there is a lot of 'rubbish' too. I really like your term "musical junk food". I think a good point to make here is that the classical music that we love, has the benefit of survival due to its Popularity. It was the Pop music 300 years ago. The bad music was probably mostly weeded out. We don't have to hear it, and we never will. I bet there was a fair bit of crap sung in taverns and meeting houses back in the old days.

    And once you stray out of Pop music, there is a whole lot of awesome out there. My music collection is probably only about 20% classical, and I happen to love music of all kinds.

    And as far as we are going with this one, I would just like to point out, that one thing I have come to appreciate is the sheer number of people that are motivated by this "junk food" music. I realize that this does not mean that it is "good" in the way you are judging, but at the same time, it has tremendous cultural impact. I don't know where this is headed, but I am increasingly trying to keep my mind and ears open, as I have come to believe that the larger machinations of popular culture are important to follow, for any artist. I happen to be an Architect whose focus is on the correlation between Music and Architecture, so it is in my best interest professionally to keep abreast of the trends in popular music, as well as art and popular culture, whether or not I particularly like them.

    FWIW, I am not a great lover of much of modern Art either, but I suspect I just don't have the education or patience for it. It appears to be here to stay, and Jackson Pollock paintings are worth far more on the open market than anything I have ever done. He must be doing something right. . .

    Clear as mud?

    Oh, and BTW, I thought your comment about the diapason chorus being the distinctive sound was well made. I agree with your hypothesis regarding the naming of other pipe designs, this seems the most logical explanation. See, we share some common ground. :-)
    “There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.”
    “What I have achieved by industry and practice, anyone else with tolerable natural gift and ability can also achieve.”
    Johann Sebastian Bach

    (at Home) Conn 645 Theater Deluxe
    (at Church) 1836 E. & G.G. Hook Bros, Opus 26

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    • #47
      Thankyou Arthur. I think you are understanding me very well. Furthermore, we do have some common ground even if we don't see eye-to-eye on absolutely everything. I don't mind people having differing opinions, so long as that person's opinion is educated and well-informed. What I don't respect is when people believesomething but have no idea why. While I might do it in a provocative way at times, I am really just encouraging conversation and for people to reassess what they think; and yes, that can upset some at times.

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      • #48
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-mc0sX3cPfg link is to entire album but only first track has pipe organ... oh just listen to the whole thing, it won't kill you, full disclosure is all...

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=98-iBpbEbNk the yummy pipe organ goodness doesn't enter until 5:00min in. Don't miss the cadenza at ~12:00min...
        Last edited by Leisesturm; 01-14-2015, 11:40 AM.

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        • #49
          If you can play good rock music on a pipe organ you need great skills to pull it off. Ripping leads with fast, challenging basslines, more independence than most classical organ requires. Rock organists are actually more skilled than classical, now that I think about it. I'm not talking about guys that just play with one hand, I mean those who could play solo if they needed to. If you say organist, regardless of context, you mean someone who has mastered the instrument. Keyboard players may not play pedals but organists do, see? The only people who think you can't play rock on any kind of organ are those who don't understand rock music. Making good rock done right is an exacting, difficult process.

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          • #50
            Originally posted by Mburke View Post
            If you can play good rock music on a pipe organ you need great skills to pull it off. Ripping leads with fast, challenging basslines, more independence than most classical organ requires. Rock organists are actually more skilled than classical, now that I think about it.
            ^ I call BS on this one. Having played jazz, rock, and classical, as well as a steady diet of liturgical music on multiple instruments, I think I can say that this is unequivocally and patently false. The issue of [voice] independence is perhaps the most troubling part of this statement. I think that voice independence is much more prominent in classical organ music, and this is proven by the innumerable conversations on this very forum in which rock organists discuss songs and instruct each other by noting the chord progressions. I think you would be hard pressed to play even the most recognizable Bach fugue in any reasonable way after just having someone tell you the chord progression. I have actually seen a Bach fake book, but I think it would be quite a laughable recital if one were to play anything out of it.
            “There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.”
            “What I have achieved by industry and practice, anyone else with tolerable natural gift and ability can also achieve.”
            Johann Sebastian Bach

            (at Home) Conn 645 Theater Deluxe
            (at Church) 1836 E. & G.G. Hook Bros, Opus 26

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            • #51
              I find it hilarious that Mburke has defined rock organist in a way that excludes Jon Lord, Gregg Rollie, Gordy McJohn, Keith Emerson, Ray Manzarek, Danny Federici, Matthew Fisher, and Steve Walsh!

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              • #52
                Just read through this thread. Depressing...

                Just some silly remarks:

                - you could condense most romantic blockbusters to a few lines and a load of repeat indications (Vierne, Widor, etc)
                - a chord sequence of Bach isn't Bach... and what is a basso continuo then? This chord progression stuff and knowing what to do with it goes a long way back
                - a lot of pop music and certainly rock is often more complicated than a lot of the classical repertoire. There are computer alogoritms that can churn out Mozart as good as the original
                - churches were used as secular meeting places, not just places of worship. Those secular works were intended to be played in church.
                - partimentos anyone?
                - a very big part of the "classic" works is nothing more than standard figures and movements used on a particular progression. Almost any fugue I would say.
                - fill in yourself

                I know this is the soapbox part of the forum but at least keep it minimally informed.

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                • #53
                  I enjoy hearing progressive rock songs recorded in churches on fine church organs. The massive instruments produce superior sound, and there are the natural effects such as echo. The group Yes has some organ recordings. The group Renaissance does too.

                  Progressive rock can be complicated, refuting claims limiting the potential of rock songs.

                  I believe a superior sounding instrument can make an OK song superb. In addition to church organs, the following get my attention: a good Hammond sound, a good theater organ sound, a Moog sound, and mellotron loops. This is true for both classical music and more recent genres such as rock. Quite a few of Bach's choral pieces would be dull if the recording weren't on an organ with a fascinating voice (typically long lasting notes, sometimes held down for multiple measures). The late 1960s to early 1980s seem to have the most interesting sounds.

                  Quite a few rock musicians are classically trained. One reason I began noticing contemporary music at age 13 was some of the top 40 melodies had good music theory principles. In addition, songs at that time often used a variety of instruments and the keyboards had good sound.

                  In terms of organ music with multiple stops, I like many rock songs where multiple instruments play the same melody, for example the Allman Brothers are a large group where the keyboards and guitar (and sometimes the bass too) play the same melody at once. Led Zeppelin has some good riffs where the guitar and bass play the same notes together. An individual can imitate these rock songs on an organ by selecting multiple voices.

                  Also like classical music with elements associated with modern music. For example, Bach's Brandenburg #5 has a long keyboard solo. Solos are a structure implemented by many rock and jazz and R&B artists.

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                  • #54
                    Many rock musicians do appreciate classical music, look at Jon Lord of Deep Purple fame, started training in classical music ,became famous as the keyboard player of Deep Purple, then eventually returned to classical music.
                    Where possible people should be encouraged to try out and play pipe organs, not excluded,good organ players are becoming rare now

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                    • #55
                      How did the connection between pipe organs and pizza come about? I think it's awesome, but odd.

                      - - - Updated - - -

                      No it doesn't. All those guys you listed are great examples and do posses most of the skills I listed.

                      - - - Updated - - -

                      What I am referring to is if one were to transcribe a rock song on the organ and play it just like the instruments on the original recording did, it would be really hard. Playing the role of a guitarist, bassist, and keyboardist would take a lot of independence. Imagine an accurate transcription of something like "Frankenstein" on an organ. Of course, the arrangement can be as easy or hard as you make it. Of course classical is harder than rock organ parts. And even a difficult progressive rock arrangement wouldn't be harder than some classical pieces, which get really insane. It could be more technical than an average classical organ work.

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                      • #56
                        I don''t see why a rock musician couldn't do a decent job of playing a pipe organ, after mastering the controls of the instrument
                        However rock music from the 70's onward has become all about noise, as the musicians in a rock band, compete against each other to be the loudest, often destroying the music they are trying to create.

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                        • #57
                          Originally posted by geoffbrown View Post
                          I don''t see why a rock musician couldn't do a decent job of playing a pipe organ, after mastering the controls of the instrument
                          However rock music from the 70's onward has become all about noise, as the musicians in a rock band, compete against each other to be the loudest, often destroying the music they are trying to create.
                          Yep. In the "Hard Core" band my oldest nephew played drums in, even his drums were miked and amplified! (It was awful, but as a devoted Uncle, I did go hear them when they came to town--and wore earmuffs.)

                          David

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