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"Patchy" playing?

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  • "Patchy" playing?

    What do you picture when someone says that an organist's playing is "patchy"?

    For example, "the piano sounded great but I thought the organ was a bit patchy".

    Maybe the organist is hitting a lot of wrong notes or not playing consistent bass lines?

  • #2
    Sounds like someone who forgot what his mama taught him -- "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all!"

    Seriously, it sounds like the person was being a bit critical of the organist, but I always put a filter on criticism of organists. Far too many people really have no idea about what an organ is supposed to do or supposed to sound like, so they may say something critical purely out of ignorance.

    For example, some people know nothing of the organ except what they heard in the skating rink or ball park or at a rock concert years ago. When they attend a church service and the organ is a good pipe organ being competently played, they may think it's dull or boring because it doesn't sound like the old Hammond or Farfisa they associate with "organ" sound. And other people, who have only heard the organ played in church as if it were something to keep in the background, never as loud as the piano (which is the "real" instrument of course), upon hearing a magnificent pipe organ magnificently played may say "that thing was too loud." Or "I couldn't even hear the piano."

    Bottom line ... consider the source and take it with a grain of salt.
    *** Please post your questions about technical service or repair matters ON THE FORUM. Do not send your questions to me or another member by private message. Information shared is for the benefit of the entire organ community, but other folks will not be helped by information we exchange in private messages!



    • #3
      To me, "patchy" = inconsistent. Some of it is good, some is less so; perhaps the not-good part is bad, maybe it's simply mediocre or dull.

      A piece of fabric that is made of or repaired with patches implies that it is not one complete material made of one type of stuff. Some is better/worse quality or different texture or something.

      In this context, maybe the organist's hymnplaying was stunning, but solo rep would leave you cold, or the other way around. Or their playing was terrific but their registrations were dull and unimaginative. Lots of options for "patchy."


      • #4
        In my understanding, patchy= a lot of missed notes or mistakes?? When something is "patchy" it usually means that it is not complete or that it is random. I'd go back and ask that person what they meant by their comment.

        Hammond L143 with Leslie 760


        • #5
          This makes me realize that word usage is influenced by so many different things - the age of the speaker, and where they grew up - both their part of the world and their cultural environment. One of today's newer words is "sketchy" which seems to have various meanings of something negative.

          That being said, there are also "malapropisms", when people want to say one word, but can't think of it, so they say a word that sounds similar to them. "Thank you, Professor. It's not often that I have the honor of being in the presence of someone so extinguished!"


          • #6
            I'm going to venture and say that "patchy" probably could also mean "choppy". It means the "organist" is probably a pianist with limited organ skills and not using the proper finger substitution techniques that aren't always required on piano due to the sostenuto pedal.
            Home: '57 Hammond B3; '60 Hammond A-100; '64 Leslie 251; '77 Leslie 330; '80 Leslie 770; '64 Hammond PR-40
            Church: '81 Zimmer 26-rank mechanical pipe organ


            • #7
              I'm with Regeron on this one. Here in creaky old Dixie, that would suggest that the sound is coming in and out. Patchy idiomatic = not continuous. I've also heard it in reference to coverage, like a patchy cloud cover or a lawn with dead spots.
              -- I'm Lamar -- 1967 Allen TC-4 Classic, 1899 Kimball mirrored high top
              -- Rodgers W5000, Roland RD300nx, Juno DS-61/88 - 1975 Conn 643 Theater - 1959 Hammond M3
              -- Public domain hymn search: https://songselect.ccli.com/search/r...t=publicdomain