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Is it possible to a Pipe Organ hold an arpeggio of a 4 note chord in bass pedal?

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    Is it possible to a Pipe Organ hold an arpeggio of a 4 note chord in bass pedal?

    Hi, I'm not an organist, actually I am a pianist and composer. I am composing a fugue for a Pipe Organ, and I have this question, can a Pipe Organ hold a 4 note chord arpeggio in bass pedals, similiar how the sustain pedal works in the piano? I mean there is somehow a way to still make the bass pedals sound even when the foot is off the keys? Because I'm pretty sure that it's impossible to maintain them only with foot in this particular case.( I will link a screenshot from that specific part and highlight it with yellow). Thanks!!!

    #2
    Jorge Luiz,

    Welcome to the Forum! I hope you enjoy your time here.

    Regarding your passage, I would highly recommend you don't put that part in the pedal unless it is for 4' stops (& above) only. It is physically possible for the organist to play all 4 notes you've written with the feet, but I wouldn't recommend it. Bass notes can sound quite muddy when played with intervals smaller than a 5th.

    Hope that answers your question.

    Michael
    Way too many organs to list, but I do have 5 Allens:
    • MOS-2 Model 505-B / ADC-4300-DK / ADC-5400 / ADC-6000 (Symphony) / ADC-8000DKC
    • Lowrey Heritage (DSO-1)
    • 9 Pump Organs, 1 Pipe Organ & 6 Pianos

    Comment


    • Jorge Luiz
      Jorge Luiz commented
      Editing a comment
      Thank you so much, yes I know about that lower pitch problem, it happens a lot on my instrument too haha good insight!!! Btw I misspelled the last chord in the not hightlighted area it was suppoded to be an A minor inversion hahaha and I couldn't update the screenshot either but it's a minor thing to worry thanks for the advice!!!!!

    • Jorge Luiz
      Jorge Luiz commented
      Editing a comment
      One way to sort this around would be if that bass line played in ppp and do a crescendo to the end, but I think I should change that passage a little bit.

    #3
    From the snippet of music you showed, you might want to play the melody of the top staff in the pedal on a 4' or 2' stop and play the arpeggtiated chords with your hands on two different manuals.
    Bill

    My home organ: Content M5800 as a midi controller for Hauptwerk

    Comment


    • Jorge Luiz
      Jorge Luiz commented
      Editing a comment
      The pedal does reach that hight pitch???

    • voet
      voet commented
      Editing a comment
      Remember a 4' stop is one octave higher than concert pitch and a 2' stop is 2 octaves higher. You might have to transpose the melody down an octave, but, depending on the range of the melody, it could work.

    • Jorge Luiz
      Jorge Luiz commented
      Editing a comment
      Thank you voet, I might do it , because the melody in that snippet is just a semitone cadence in octave 3, I will research how to notate that detail because I don't have a clue hahahah, but I got what you've meant.

    #4
    I've seen some "sustain" MIDI-effects options on pipe organs, but you are correct that normally to hear a pitch or pitches the pedal or pedals need to be pressed.

    However, you're in good, historical company with four voices in the pedals...quoting Marilou Kratzenstein's compilation of Diapason article's in "Survey of Organ Literature and Editions": "Notable is a 10-voice composition [by Arnold Schlick c. 1450-1460, died after 1520], 'Ascendo ad Patrem meum', ...that could be played with four voices in the pedal and six on the manuals."

    As Michael and Bill have noted, such multi-voiced pedal parts should be on stops on or above 4' unless you want rumbling muddiness as the main acoustic result (which is a valid choice in the 21st century, but your snippet doesn't look to aim for that).

    PS Do note that I didn't include in above quote ellipse "requiring a pedal technique which would be phenomenal even today"

    Comment


    • myorgan
      myorgan commented
      Editing a comment
      Jorge,

      Most of what you do is actually your choice. Because we do not know how the ending should sound in your ears (or the rest of the work), it makes it difficult to advise on how to revise the ending. If you're going for a more conventional approach, you can either have the pedal play the same note that resolves later in the measure with the chord, OR you can play an alternate note in the pedal for the first 1/2 of the measure, that resolves at the end underneath the manuals playing what you had originally written for the pedal.

      You're the composer. It's up to you. I can only advise whether what you have written is physically or artistically possible.

      Michael

    • myorgan
      myorgan commented
      Editing a comment
      Another thought–in other pieces, I have seen the left foot play the bass note, while the right foot plays one or more notes on the upper part of the pedal board. Most organ pedal boards have 32 notes.

      Michael

    • Jorge Luiz
      Jorge Luiz commented
      Editing a comment
      Well thank you Myorgan, my concerns here were 2 in this case. 1- If it's playable because I'm not acquainted with the instrument, 2- If it would sound too crunchy because I dont have acess to a real organ where I live and in both , the music notation software and in a organ feature in my digital piano was sounding fine, but those aren't a reliable source for that so, I wasn't worried in the compositional sense more in the practical one, if it fits those criteria with no doubt I would'nt change this passage, if not I will need to alter it somehow. If it is unplayable well that's bad composing practice, if it is sounding bad or not that's subjective in some cases.

    #5
    You might want to listen to the pedal piece by Wilhelm Middelschulte, it will give you an Idea as to what a virtuoso can do. Probably the version by Fox is the fastest ever recorded.
    Regards
    Pat
     

    Comment


    • Jorge Luiz
      Jorge Luiz commented
      Editing a comment
      Wow!!!! What a incredible performance, those thirds seems to be very difficult to play, not only that but that whole piece is. I am now relieved in the sense of its practicallity,not sure about the muddy effect that happens in the bass in those intervals, however thank you for your answer!!!

    #6
    Looking at your score (no key signature shown), playing with shoes f natural and G# are not easy, but do-able probably at a medium tempo. B natural ad D natural are ok, but not all shoes allow for a curved instep. Remember you have the organist tuning to the right to get the feet up that far. Best played without organ shoes. this part is in the same range as the middle staff, perhaps you could move it down an octave and request unison pitches there since you don't need 16 ' stops. I'm just guessing though..

    Comment


    • Jorge Luiz
      Jorge Luiz commented
      Editing a comment
      The key signature is D minor, however this example it is in a modulation passage to A minor, it is the anticipation of an A minor theme. The tempo is moderate fast, and the clef for the pedals is 1 octave lower than the middle one, idk if that's the standard but in Musescore and Sibelius it is.Forgot to mention it is a cut time time signature.
      Last edited by Jorge Luiz; 03-15-2020, 10:07 PM.

    #7
    You might have the wrong idea of how the organ pedal is designed and how it is used. In the first years organs were all mechanical instruments using small valves (pallets) and linkages to admit air to pipes. the air was "hand" or "foot" made. not a lot of air could be made or stored. large pipes take a lot of air, large pipes require large pallets, large pipes require the player to exert great force to over come the pressure on them when opening. (old old old players were called thumpers) large pipes were not used until we could get enough air. keyboards were originally shorter compass and did not extend into the bass as far as we go now. When the pedal division was added it was directly connected to the manual keys and was used to play the lowest notes of the manual keyboard. helping out the left hand.probably immediately it started to play drone bass and point parts, always at the pitch of the keyboards. think of this as "unison" even though there can be multiple octaves stops on a single note.next we get to a point where air is being made by large foot or crank type of treadles which can supply continuous air that can feed many large pipes. for the most part the pedal remains attached to the manual keyboard and simply and extension of the lower voices but at unison pitch.
    Now pipes could be added to the pedal that gave the sound an harmonic presence one octave lower than unison, They added color and gravity but the pitch was still in the unison.
    Now we get to a point in organ history when the organist desired solo voices in the pedal department, mostly melody voices pitched so that the feet could play a soprano or tenor melody, and of course we added a few large pipes for those nice deep pedal lines. We now had large compass keyboards of varying size still using the unison idea of filling in at the bottom of the manual keyboard, so the lower pitch stops were adding color not just pitch, the lower pipes were not the melody component but the harmonic part of the sound.
    With the addition of barker levers and electric activated keyboards every thing that an organist could ask for became a reality. probably the first thing was to give sub unison stops first place in the organ pedal.It now became a department that played one octave lower than the keyboard.Modern organs are based upon a sub unison pedal line that now has a unison component, Therefor the one octave below the keyboard thought is correct. however, a large organ may be able to play a unison line but the stops will be voiced to help the sub unison pipes.

    Comment


      #8
      I have a couple questions:

      --- For whom is this piece intended? Do you have a particular organist in mind? Or perhaps a caliber of organist? Is this for a beginner, an intermediate player, or an expert?
      - If it's for a beginner, a 4-note pedal chord would be very daunting.
      - If it's for an intermediate player, it might sail.
      - If it's for an expert, you may be on thin ice - Musicians who are experts on their instruments normally demand that anyone composing for their instrument know it well enough to write idiomatically.

      --- To me, this looks like a 4-note chord for the left hand. I don't understand why all 4 notes have to played on the pedal. Perhaps you can clarify. I know that I'm not fond of playing music that is unnecessarily difficult. Yes, it might look exciting on paper, but if it sounds the same as playing a left-hand chord, why not just do that?

      --- How much organ music have you examined, so that you could see how it is written?

      --- In what general style is this to be written? Baroque? Romantic? Contemporary? Other? Is it to have a national flavor? If so, which nationality?

      --- It is nice of you to want to write for the organ, but if your writing is not idiomatic enough, people will take a quick look at your piece, then use if for wrapping paper or fire starter if it doesn't work well on the instrument. I grant that you have at least asked about this, which is very nice of you. However, if your knowledge of the organ is limited enough that you have to ask, I worry that you will be spending a lot of time working on something that will not really be enjoyed.

      Is it possible to start with something more straightforward? I ask this because, in the past, others have appeared on this forum with compositions that really don't take the organ's (and organist's) strengths and weakness into account.

      Comment


      • Jorge Luiz
        Jorge Luiz commented
        Editing a comment
        Thank you for your comment, and good question!!! According to I have wrote so far, the piece is in an more Intermediate-Advanced level of playing, not for an virtuoso expert.Yes I've deeply analysed it and there is how the left hand play 1 note from the pedal so I'm shifting it for the manuals.Now it's a 3 voice pedal haha. I have been in contact pretty much with Bach's Organ Works, principally Fugues.The style of what I'm writing is Baroque-ish, and it's a Fugue, not too much scrict btw I want to have some counterpoint lesson to improve that, but well it is more an composition exercise to me to a piece that I would publish in the future soo I'm sure it will have some mistakes, btw I am not a very experieced composer yet. About that last concern I wouldnt blame someone for doing that, in the first place it is more a compositional study for me, but I'm willing to learn more things about the instrument to improve my level of composition and write in a more idiomatic way.

      #9
      There is a a four note chord in the pedal cadenza of "Variations de Concert" by Joseph Bonnet

      Comment


      • regeron
        regeron commented
        Editing a comment
        I'll see your 4 pedal notes and raise you 1 ...

        At the end of Karg-Elert's Symphonic Chorale on "Jesu, meine Freude", Op 87, No. 2, there is a 5-note chord in the pedal !!! That, in addition to the 4-note chord in each hand, leaves us with a 13-note final chord !!! The dynamic marking is "ffff" and high-pressure reeds are to be drawn for the last line.

        Although the piece is in c minor, the final chord is C Major, reading from the bottom up --- Pedal: C-C-G-C-E; Left Hand: G-middle C-E-G; Right Hand: G-C-E-top G. [If the organ keyboards are 56-notes, this literally takes you from the bottom to the top of the organ's resources.]

        (There is a note at the bottom of the page - "The Registrant holds both low C's. [The organist plays the G with the left foot] The right foot takes the top third - C-E.)

        Here's a recording that shows the score: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v7mW8pL_JqE

      #10
      The notes are playable, just about, but I don't know why would you write this, to be honest. Unless the pedal is only at 16ft pitch, the left hand chord won't add anything significant. If the pedals are coupled to the manuals, as is fairly normal, the left hand notes will already be sounding anyway. I would say that, unless you're an organist, writing more than one note in the pedals is likely not to be successful, unless it's just an octave doubling.

      The progression to the following bar, where the pedal drops out, looks odd - perhaps it's going to be a new section or something?

      Comment


      • Jorge Luiz
        Jorge Luiz commented
        Editing a comment
        In that screenshot It wasnt fully written the resolution,the pedals don't drop off, my question was about that 4 voice part, not the rest, so in that time it wasnt written it was unfinished. Here's the resolution of that first subject that will lead to the second subject.(Edit: In the original post I misspelled a chord and couldn't update it to the post, and I recently have shifted one note, now the pedals just play 3 notes instead of 4.
        Last edited by Jorge Luiz; 03-20-2020, 06:56 PM.

      #11

      Comment


        #12
        Thanks, Jorge, for clarifying some of that.

        In your score, you show clearly that the pedal is to be sounding an octave lower than written - the tiny '8' below the bass clef sign. That will require using a 16' stop and playing the notes as written. The pedalboard doesn't go down far enough to do otherwise.

        Your writing of the final chords is not idiomatic and should be changed. At the start of the rolled chord, the first note should be played with the pedal. All the rest of the notes should be distributed between the hands. Our limbs have varying degrees of facility. For many people, the right hand is most facile, followed by the left hand. Our feet have the least facility. Looking at your writing, you've given a single note to the right hand, the body part that is most capable, then piled up all the rest of the notes on the left hand and feet, for no good reason.

        Please be serious about taking counterpoint lessons. If you become like others who try to write counterpoint without studying it, you will eventually find that your requests for advice will be ignored. I'm not trying to be mean, just giving you advice in advance. There is lots of information out there, in a variety of formats. Please take advantage of that first and be able to show what you've learned in your work.

        Otherwise, enjoy composing.
        Last edited by myorgan; 03-21-2020, 08:53 AM. Reason: Fix spelling error.

        Comment


        • regeron
          regeron commented
          Editing a comment
          Here is one starting point:

          Find or create a subject. Then write a series of fughettas in your main key and in related keys. These could form a series of expositions in a larger, more complete fugue.
          - Write with a varying number of voices - start by writing in 3 or 4 voices.
          - Let the voices enter in different orders. S A T B ... S T A B ... T B A S ... etc.
          - If the subject allows, write both tonal and real answers.

          Using material from the middle and end of the subject and avoiding the head of the subject (the opening notes) write a variety of episodes. Again, do this in various related keys and in 2 or 3 voices. It is not uncommon for the episodes to be one voice 'smaller' than the expositions, That will allow the 2 or 3 episode voices to continue when the 3rd or 4th voice re-enters with the subject.

          Look at how Bach varies the number of voices throughout a fugue - where he drops a voice and where he adds a voice.

          The head of the fugue needs to be easily identified, melodically and rhythmically so that when it re-enters after an episode, it will be easily recognized.

          Hope this makes sense and that my word choices make sense when you translate them from English into Portuguese.

        • Jorge Luiz
          Jorge Luiz commented
          Editing a comment
          Thank you, I will look foward to do those!!!

        • regeron
          regeron commented
          Editing a comment
          I look forward to your results.

          The point of this approach is that you isolate each component and refine it. In the end, this will help you advance more easily and once they are combined, the final composition should be better. It will also help you assess your final product - if one area appears weaker than the others, you will have a better idea where the weakness lies and how to fix it.

          Good luck!

        #13
        ADMIN or MODERATOR --- Could we get this thread moved to one of the composition pages? I think it would fit better there.

        Thanks.

        So moved. Initially, the post was left in the Pipe Organ Forum because the question was related to the pipe organ.

        Michael–Moderator
        Last edited by myorgan; 03-21-2020, 08:56 AM. Reason: Add note.

        Comment


        • regeron
          regeron commented
          Editing a comment
          Thanks Michael,
          Yes, it's true, the post began as one related to what was technically possible on the organ. It's direction became clearer with time.
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