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Learning to play the pipe organ

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  • lcid
    replied
    Trio hymn settings

    Originally posted by Eddy67716 View Post
    Should I learn to play the Tenor and alto voices with the left hand so I can use the right hand to play a solo on the soprano line on a different manual?
    Eddy, that would be a worthwhile future goal. However at this point, Samibe's suggestion is excellent working on three parts using a metronome until parts fit together perfectly. Try practicing hymns STB and you can also find beautifully written three-part (Trio) hymn settings in music books that are easier to read. This will develop your RH, LH and pedal independence quicker than working on four-part pieces right now.

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  • andijah
    replied
    Of course you can also learn that, but I would try to take one step at a time.
    There has been good advice in this thread already so I won't repeat that. And if you look at older threads, you will find that many people shared these difficulties when they started. Skills don't improve by sitting and waiting, but by sitting on the organ bench and playing. Have fun!

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  • Eddy67716
    replied
    Should I learn to play the Tenor and alto voices with the left hand so I can use the right hand to play a solo on the soprano line on a different manual?

    Leave a comment:


  • samibe
    replied
    When I was first learning, not playing the bass with my hands was so difficult. It's not an issue now but it took a while before it became normal. I found it helpful to find some three-part organ music (RH on melody, LH on countermelody, Ft on bass). That helped me uncouple my LH and feet. It also helped my LH get used to playing one note. After I was more comfortable reading and playing separate staffs for RH, LH, and feet, switching back to SATB hymn music was a little easier to read and play.

    lcid and voet's advice on practicing parts is very good. I'd add to practice slowly enough that you play cleanly and then build speed.
    My teacher recently assigned a couple of songs that aren't particularly difficult but there is just enough going on that I can't sight read them at full speed. I can play the individual parts just fine and even do two parts at a time almost up to speed, but if I try all three parts, it's a disaster. I have had to practice with a metronome super slow (30bpm for eighth notes which is about 25% of full speed) so that I can play all three parts correctly and learn how all of the parts are moving relative to each other. Now that the the songs are making more sense, I can start to move the metronome up.

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  • voet
    replied
    Eddy, I think playing the tenor line is the most difficult part of playing a 4 part hymn on the organ.

    A great technique for learning 4 part hymns is:

    1. play the right hand alone.
    2. play the left hand (tenor) and pedal (bass).
    3. play the hands alone--right hand soprano and alto, left hand tenor.
    4. play the right hand and pedal.
    5. Finally, play all parts together.

    You can also change the order, but be sure to do steps 1-4 before doing step 5. It will not take you long to start feeling comfortable with this. As you become more proficient, you can probably do steps 2, 4 and 5. I suggest you begin with hymns that you often play in church, since you don't have advanced notice of which hymns will be used each Sunday.

    Best wishes to you.

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  • lcid
    replied
    Tenor voice

    Originally posted by Eddy67716 View Post
    My first problem with that is I'm finding it hard to read the tenor line in the left hand (Even harder than playing the bass line in the pedals for some reason).
    Also, the church I go to (doesn't have an organ; this is just for example) doesn't give notice on what hymns each service has (The hymns are picked just before the service and the pianist and trumpeters need to be able to play them with only 10 seconds notice.
    - - - Updated - - -

    Eddy, the tenor voice was the hardest for me to play also and the pedal the easier of the two. Please stay encouraged; it does get easier and better with time and practice. Others may want to comment on this difficulty and their personal experience. In my case, I always felt it was because I had played mostly chords for so many years with my left hand and improvised. I suggest you begin a new hymn practicing just two voices: tenor and bass then try different combinations: S and T, A and T and etc. Learn each voice by itself fist then practice in groups of two voices, three voices and finally four voices. All the churches that I played SATB for honored my request by giving the hymn numbers by Tuesday at the latest. Should there be a last minute change, the new hymn can be played with only two parts: soprano and bass. This is usually acceptable and understandable. A last minuet change can always be refused, "I'm not prepared to play that piece." Please keep us informed on how you are doing. Thank you.
    Last edited by myorgan; 10-24-2018, 06:31 PM. Reason: Fix quote

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  • Eddy67716
    replied
    My first problem with that is I'm finding it hard to read the tenor line in the left hand (Even harder than playing the bass line in the pedals for some reason).
    Also, the church I go to (doesn't have an organ; this is just for example) doesn't give notice on what hymns each service has (The hymns are picked just before the service and the pianist and trumpeters need to be able to play them with only 10 seconds notice.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Originally posted by Leisesturm View Post
    I surely hope it isn't the lovely organ in the YouTube video being abused like that!
    Yeah, it was.

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  • Leisesturm
    replied
    Originally posted by Eddy67716 View Post
    Ummm..... The lady that plays the organ uses block chords in the right hand and doubles the bass line in the left hand and pedals for hymns. (I'm trying to learn how to play SATB or play the SA voices in the right hand with chords or fifth octaves in the left hand while playing the tonic of the chord on the pedals the latter is how I play the spinet organ).
    I surely hope it isn't the lovely organ in the YouTube video being abused like that! Even though your organist chords the right hand doesn't mean it is a good model to follow. No chords or fifths unless they are written. If you get in the habit now of playing no more (or less) than what is written you will be saving yourself lots of hard work unlearning bad habits later on.

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  • Eddy67716
    replied
    Originally posted by Leisesturm View Post
    You can learn left hand and pedal independence by scrupulously avoiding the duplication of the lowest notes of the harmony by the left hand.
    Ummm..... The lady that plays the organ uses block chords in the right hand and doubles the bass line in the left hand and pedals for hymns. (I'm trying to learn how to play SATB or play the SA voices in the right hand with chords or fifth octaves in the left hand while playing the tonic of the chord on the pedals the latter is how I play the spinet organ).

    Leave a comment:


  • myorgan
    replied
    Originally posted by Eddy67716 View Post
    I also have heard that swell expression is also a difficult thing to learn.
    Eddy,

    Don't worry about learning Swell expression. Very little Classical music requires the use of any Swell pedal on an instrument during the performance of a piece. Notable exceptions to this are the Romantic (specifically French Romantic), and some 20thc. organ transcriptions, and maybe some original pieces.

    Michael

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  • Leisesturm
    replied
    Originally posted by Eddy67716 View Post
    The registration is:
    Great: Open Diapason 8, Viol 8, Stopped Diapason 8, Salicional 8, etc.
    That is not the registration, that is the stoplist. The precise terminology of any art should be important to its practitioners. You are innately musical. Good. You can go very far if you get into good practice habits. Who can argue with the advice to get a good teacher, but as one for whom that was simply impossible. Absolutely, utterly, impossible. I am satisfied that I did not simply give up because of that. I grew up in a Brooklyn ghetto long before there was anything called the Internet. A motivated individual in 2018 can learn tons from the video courses that are archived on sites like YouTube and the instructional material that has been compiled by entities like the Church of Latter Day Saints, and especially the American Guild of Organists. There are also subscription courses online that can work out to 1/4 to 1/8 of the price of lessons with a local instructor. I'm pretty sure that the Gleason book is a circulating item in my local library system. I've seen Flor Peeters' and David N. Johnson's beginning organ instruction manuals in library systems I have had membership in. I don't know what key your improvisation on "Amazing Grace" was in, but I don't think the drones were in the right key to support it. It kind of worked, but listen to some more YouTube's of real Highland Bagpipes and pay close attention to how real bagpipes work out the relationship between the melody and the drones. Why it matters: listening well, and being informed by said listening is at least 50% of success in music. Good luck.

    Edit: http://www.mediafire.com/file/5c8lno...gistration.pdf

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  • voet
    replied
    Originally posted by lcid View Post
    At your age of twenty, you can progress quickly and I also recommend finding a good teacher as soon as possible!
    This is good advice. A good teacher will be able to give you pieces to study that are appropriate for your level and give you the benefit of their acquired knowledge.

    I would also suggest that you get a good method book. Harold Gleason and Roger Davis both have excellent books. While the price for a new copy is quite high, you can probably find a used one for much less. These books contain some organ literature, but they also have graded lists of organ compositions as well as a host of other useful information (ornamentation, historic styles, etc.)

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  • lcid
    replied
    teacher

    At your age of twenty, you can progress quickly and I also recommend finding a good teacher as soon as possible! It's very encouraging to know you are wanting to study the pipe organ! I took lessons on the guitar at age 12 and at sixteen I began learning on a spinet organ on my own basically transferring guitar chords and melody to the organ. I added swing bass with my left foot and played a black gospel style of music on the organ until age 43. It was more like playing from a lead sheet. At that point, I was totally tired of my limited style of playing and began taking serious classical pipe organ studies with a professional teacher learning to play with both feet and play hymns in four-part harmony SATB.

    I only regret that I waited 27 years to begin formal organ lessons. At age 43 it was very difficult for me to begin making changes. However, between the ages of 20 and age 43, I did take classical piano for a total of about seven years which made me learn to read the bass clef and develop my left hand. If you are interested in service playing for your church, you will find it very rewarding, challenging and worth all the work, time and discipline of practicing.

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  • Eddy67716
    replied
    This is a small snippet of what I did on the Pipe organ Withe the Clarinet 8 and the mixture:

    https://www.facebook.com/edward.jenk...5975343094048/

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  • Eddy67716
    replied
    The registration is:
    Great: Open Diapason 8, Viol 8, Stopped Diapason 8, Salicional 8,
    Principal 4, Wald Flute 4, Fifteenth 2, Mixture III 19, 22, 26
    Clarinet 8, (Trumpet 16, Trumpet 8, Clarion 4) unified reed rank
    Swell to great at 16, 8 and 4;
    Swell: Bourdon 16, Open Diapason 8, Stopped Diapason 8,
    Viol De Orchestre 8, Celeste 8 (All 61 notes),
    Octave 4, Flute 4, Nazard 2 2/3 (Sounds more like a Diapason than a Flute)
    Harmonic Piccolo 2, Mixture III 26, 29, 33
    Horn 8, Oboe 8,
    Tremulant, Sub and Octave couplers, Unison Off;
    Pedal: Open Wood 16, Sub Bass 16, Bourdon 16 (from swell)
    Quint 10 2/3 (from swell Bourdon 16)
    Principal 8, Flute 8 (Extends Sub Bass 16),
    Fifteenth 4, Octave 2 (Both extend Principal 8)
    Orchestral Oboe 8, (Trombone 16, Trumpet 8, Clarion 4) From Great Ensemble Reeds,
    Swell to Pedal, Great to pedal.

    I'm 20 by the way. I've been trying to find and purchase an organ with a Proper pedalboard like a Baldwin Cinema 2 or even one with 25 pedals but I haven't had luck yet. I use a small spinet organ to practice at home.
    Not often do good organs become available in Australia that I know of.

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