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Singing While Playing Organ

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  • #16
    Not being a church musician, I have learned much from this topic--another thanks to you all for your experience and wisdom.

    While watching demo videos of the Viscount Cantorum Duo mentioned on another thread, I came across a young Czech organist "Pjoter the organist" who in the following video is leading/singing a hymn (I believe I hear congregants occasionally in the background) while playing the organ and making a number of fast registration changes: https://youtu.be/By3U_jJw_mI

    Knowing just a bit of the wide variety of approaches to organ music in my region's churches, the video reminds me I know very little about organ traditions beyond my locale let alone outside my state or country. Pjoter's skills and Youtube presence make me think that in the Czech Republic, at least, such facility juggling his song leader/organist duties isn't unusual--he's got 318 subscribers on Youtube. I believe that if such capabilities were rare, he'd have many more followers among church-goers and music groupies.

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    • myorgan
      myorgan commented
      Editing a comment
      He has a nice voice that carries well, too.

      Michael

    • Larrytow
      Larrytow commented
      Editing a comment
      No Phillip, Virgil certainly did not wear street shoes. As a younger organist, you would be well served by listening to his playing, and watching his videos. There is lots to learn by doing so. Opinions of Virgil run the gamut from horrible, to the best there ever was. I'd advise determining your own opinion of him; not letting others influence your thinking.

    • Philip Powell
      Philip Powell commented
      Editing a comment
      Oh, I only meant "aspiring Virgil Fox" because of the shoes. I have watched a couple of Pjoter's videos and I think he is a very relaxed and smooth organist with a nice voice. As of Fox, he is one of the best this century (top 30 ever I bet).

  • #17
    I just listened to that video ( watched it too, of course ), and I do not detect a congregation attempting to sing with him. Judging from his playing style / mannerisms, I would say that it was indeed a solo performance. I have no idea if the piece he was performing is a hymn tune in his country, but I will say that I would never expect a congregation here to be able to follow along with that tune.

    There is no way to really tell if he was intending to be leading the congregation, or doing it as a solo performance. If he was trying to lead the congregation, I guess it did not work out very well. Or, perhaps the mics were not located so as to pick up their singing ?

    The amount of subscribers one has on You Tube is not a particularly good indication of how good or bad any musician is. I have quite a few myself, with some videos with over 65,000 views even, and I'm by far not one of the best.
    Regards, Larry

    At Home : Yamaha Electones : EX-42 ( X 3 !!! ), E-5AR, FX-1 ( X 2 !! ), FX-20, EL-25 ( X 2, 1 chopped, 1 not ). Allen 601D, ADC 6000D. Baldwin 626. Lowrey CH32-1. At Churches I play for : Allen Q325 ( with Vista ), Allen L123 ( with Navigator ). Rodgers 755.

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    • #18
      Originally posted by Larrytow View Post
      I have no idea if the piece he was performing is a hymn tune in his country, but I will say that I would never expect a congregation here to be able to follow along with that tune.
      It is written for organ and a soloist (not a hymn). And, yes, there is no way a congregation could sing along with that.
      “I play the notes as they are written, but it is God who makes the music.” - Johann Sebastian Bach
      Organs I Play:
      - Allen 2100(T); 1951 M.P. Moller, 3 manual, 55 stop, 28 ranks, (Opus 8152); and 1965 Balcom and Vaughan 3 manual, 34 stops, 25 ranks (Opus 690)

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      • #19
        Off topic? I don't see how. IMHO a great topic!
        My last Catholic church lost its cantrix and, knowing I canted when she wasn't there, never replaced her. I found I enjoyed it -- it was great to be a 'performing' singer, something I'd never wanted nor thought of, but there it was. And it was great to get that aspect of the music -- shall we say -- done right each week At WCC we were all required to study voice for four years and rightly enough, so why not use it?
        Simultaneously I started playing in a small Anglican church. Believe it or not this congregation sings great on hymns except the communion one when half of them are in motion at any given time, leaving others feeling isolated. So I soon started singing the communion hymn. They started complimenting me on my 'solos' and I reminded them they should be trying to drown me out!
        Have done occasional solos too, with a huge accumulation of them waiting in line for 'someday'. When a couple renewed their wedding vows at the time of their 50th anniversary I sang the Gounod Entreat me not to leave thee. Some found the piece an enchanting surprise.
        In neither place have I been amplified and it hasn't been missed. I can sing quite loudly but that hasn't been needed either. (I once sang the Exultet a cappella in a huge Catholic church and still didn't open it up fully.)
        Coincidentally a colleague and dear friend now volunteered she'd started singing hymns as she played them and loving it -- asked if I was.
        The bottom line: We're born with many incredible gifts ready to use. One of them is an utterly fantastic musical instrument. It's a shame for anybody to neglect or waste it -- much less wreck it with substance abuse -- and if conditions require or allow singing from the instrument, then let 'er rip! Of course I think everybody old enough to hold a sheet of music should be in a choir or chorus.
        Does this stuff mesh with MIDI sequencing? And how. As preface to use of a chorale prelude I'll sometimes sequence the harmonized chorale, then croon the tune as it plays.
        Particularly on the organ, I find hymn singing enhances my hymn playing to no end -- believe this is a eurhythmics thing. Of course I've always sung a lot from the console while directing choirs but, while that can be satisfying too, I've enjoyed much more accompanying for other people. Have also sung in these situations where the tenors were a little weak, yeah
        Last edited by Victor Jules; 05-04-2020, 02:17 PM.

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        • #20
          Originally posted by Victor Jules View Post
          I once sang the Exultet a cappella in a huge Catholic church and still didn't open it up fully.
          One of my favorite things to hear is my pastor practicing that in the sacristy every day from Ash Wednesday to Holy Saturday.
          “I play the notes as they are written, but it is God who makes the music.” - Johann Sebastian Bach
          Organs I Play:
          - Allen 2100(T); 1951 M.P. Moller, 3 manual, 55 stop, 28 ranks, (Opus 8152); and 1965 Balcom and Vaughan 3 manual, 34 stops, 25 ranks (Opus 690)

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          • #21
            Wow, you're putting some serious time around there too.

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            • Philip Powell
              Philip Powell commented
              Editing a comment
              When I play an intonation for him, I play it a half step higher so that when he does sing, it'll be the right pitch!

          • #22
            We do have our little tricks What kind of intonations do you give him? Frescobaldi, improv, just a pitch?

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            • Philip Powell
              Philip Powell commented
              Editing a comment
              Like for the Gloria I play "Gloria in excelsis Deo". Same for the Creed and such. BTW, try to keep this on one post since we don't want to clog up the thread.
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