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    Pedalboards

    Do you have any particular preferences when it comes to pedalboards?

    I think I like the concave type with 25 pedals (2 full octaves). I have also found that ones with 29 or 32 pedals are too difficult for me to play at the moment (I'm still a novice in this area) because they are closer together and it is difficult for me to play one pedal on its own. On a 25-note pedal board I find it much easier to play partly because I get use the heel-toe technique without great difficulty. I don't really like the straight pedalboards as I find them awkward.

    What are you preferences?
    Martin Hartley
    Choral Scholar at St Patrick's Cathedral, Parramatta, Australia
    Student at Campion College, Australia
    Assistant Organist at St Margaret Mary's Catholic Church, Merrylands, Australia

    The Novice Organist: http://noviceorganist.blogspot.com.au

    #2
    Standard 30 (or 32) note RCO is best. The straight boards take a bit of getting used to if you are playing different organs and go from one to the other. One of 'my' organs has only 20 pedals CC-G very narrow and offset to the right.

    Nigel

    Comment


      #3
      A straigth or very sligth concave one of 30-32 notes. And only concave with paralell pedals, not radial.

      Get used to it that organs are not as standard as pianos or any other instrument. The fact they are all different is part of playing this instrument and what makes it interesting.

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by Havoc View Post
        Get used to it that organs are not as standard as pianos or any other instrument. The fact they are all different is part of playing this instrument and what makes it interesting.
        Getting used to it, but find it strange. Went to an AGO concert with an out of town organist, preceded by a huge lightning storm, hail, limbs in the street, power outage. After an hour sitting there in the dark I suggested we go across town to another church for the concert. Everybody else was horrified at this idea: the VP explained nobody could play difficult music on a different organ without significant practice. Well, coming from piano, that is certainly a different idea. Maybe the many hours I've spent learning to play a piece on a 25 pedal hammond are not really wasted after all.
        city Hammond H-182 organ (2 ea),A100,10-82 TC, Wurlitzer 4500, Schober Recital Organ, Steinway 40" console , Sohmer 39" pianos, Ensoniq EPS, ; country Hammond H112

        Comment


          #5
          You'll find that over 90% of the repertoire requires a compass of 27 notes, not a whole lot requires 30 (and some of that has alternate notes for shorter compasses), and almost none requires 32. My personal preference is for 30 note AGO C&R, although I'm quite comfortable with 27 note parallel as well. I find 30 note parallel boards less than comfortable. Even those pedalboards that ostensibly follow AGO specs have distinctive differences. Having designed and built AGO boards, I found it quite surprising that there are quite a few details not covered by the specs, hence the differences. One quite accomplished organist after playing a recital on one of my organs said that he found that pedalboard the most comfortable that he'd ever played. We spent a few minutes trying to nail down what it was that seemed "just right" but were unable to pinpoint what it was.

          Comment


            #6
            I think I've gotten the terms "concave" and "radial" mixed up.
            Martin Hartley
            Choral Scholar at St Patrick's Cathedral, Parramatta, Australia
            Student at Campion College, Australia
            Assistant Organist at St Margaret Mary's Catholic Church, Merrylands, Australia

            The Novice Organist: http://noviceorganist.blogspot.com.au

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by Westminster View Post
              One quite accomplished organist after playing a recital on one of my organs said that he found that pedalboard the most comfortable that he'd ever played. We spent a few minutes trying to nail down what it was that seemed "just right" but were unable to pinpoint what it was.
              No doubt about this at all--it must have been the builder!
              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 & 4 Pianos

              Comment


                #8
                Yesterday I was advised that when learning pedalboard technique I should practice with the pedals and left hand only when starting out, due to the "identity crisis" that the left hand tends to have when pedalling is introduced. There is something in this, as I was playing pedals with right-hand only and it all seemed too easy, but I couldn't play with the left hand aswell!
                Martin Hartley
                Choral Scholar at St Patrick's Cathedral, Parramatta, Australia
                Student at Campion College, Australia
                Assistant Organist at St Margaret Mary's Catholic Church, Merrylands, Australia

                The Novice Organist: http://noviceorganist.blogspot.com.au

                Comment


                  #9
                  Either I'm too tall or my bench is too short...I did say bench..

                  My Thomas Palace III has a radiating pedal board, meaning it fans out wider from the back of the pedals to the front. It is also a concave pedal board, meaning the pedals also raise up higher as they fan out to each side, this follows the arc of the players leg as it swings outward it also travels upward.

                  The Thomas bench is the perfect height for my 6'1" height. There are no adjustments on any of my organ's benches and so with the Thomas Palace being the only bench that feels like it sits high enough from the floor it makes me wonder if the average player would have trouble reaching the pedals or not.

                  One thing is for sure. None of my organs besides the Thomas Palace III have benches that are high enough for me. It does seem backwards, this whole subject of pedals and benches. If one is too short they need to sit on phone books to reach the dinner table. So how does a short person play the organ? Apparently just fine. I'm baffled though. Sure I'm 6'1", but my legs are only 32". I know lots of guys 5'10" with 34" legs. So who in the world designed these benches anyway??

                  Is proper and comfortable the same thing in pedal playing? I like the idea of my leg dangling a bit and slightly reaching forward then directing my leg and then pressing slightly with the front of my foot. All without strain or having to lift the entire wight of my leg every time I reach for a pedal.

                  The Gulbransen Rialto II has a soft cushion built onto a rigid panel then this is placed on the bench, glued rather. Except today I pulled this top part containing the cushion and the rigid piece it's mounted to away from the actual bench. As I pulled one of the corners I saw a manufactures invoice slip glued to the bottom rigid side of the bench cushion. The bench was made for Gulbransen on the date 6/24/75. My plan is either to sit the bench on a 2x4 block that spans the left legs- front to back, and the right legs- front to back. Or I'm considering making the bench top higher below the rigid cushion by adding a piece of hardwood to match the bench

                  Maybe I could just put some wheels on the Thomas and use it for all of my organs...nope that wouldn't work (lol).
                  Wurlitzer '46' Model 31 Orgatron & 310 rotary cab, 56' 4410 , 65' 4300
                  Hammond '55' S6 Chord Organ,HR-40,ER-20, 1971 X66/& 12-77 tone cabinet w/ 122 kit & TREK Transposer- of which I've retrofitted a Wurlitzer/Lowrey 'PedAL gLIdE' awesome!
                  Gulbransen 61' 1132 '76' Rialto II & Leslie 705 + two 540
                  Conn '57' 406 Caprice '59' 815 Classic (the 29th 815)
                  PLEASE SAVE THE WURLITZER ELECTROSTATIC CONTINUOUS-FREE-REED ORGANS 1953'-1961' Hammond TW's ONLY TRUE COMPETITOR! (Ggl> NSHOS WURLI 4600)

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by indianajo View Post
                    the VP explained nobody could play difficult music on a different organ without significant practice.
                    I can't agree with that! If it takes more more than 5-10 minutes to acciimatise to a pedalboard, there's something wrong. I'd think that any experienced or professional player would be able to do the same. Some organs are definitely more comfy than others, and once you go outside of RCO or AGO specs, it seems anything goes. However, I always aim to just get on with it.

                    I do like to be a little higher up than some players, especially when playing a spinet or a multi-keyboard set-up. I hate it when I'm sitting too low.
                    It's not what you play. It's not how you play. It's the fact that you're playing that counts.

                    New website now live - www.andrew-gilbert.com

                    Current organ: Roland Atelier AT900 Platinum Edition
                    Retired Organs: Lots! Kawai SR6 x 2, Hammond L122, T402, T500 x 2, X5. Conn Martinique and 652. Gulbransen 2102 Pacemaker. Kimball Temptation.
                    Retired Leslies, 147, 145 x 2, 760 x 2, 710, 415 x 2.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      There's a significant difference in being able to 'play' a different organ at short notice and in giving a professional standard recital at short notice. Any professional recitalist will spend hours before a concert familiarising themselves with every nuance of the instrument and working out registrations. Not many professionals would be willing to put their reputation on the line by giving a public performance without proper preparation. Playing for a service is a different matter - wel all do that, virtually at the drop of a hat.

                      Nigel

                      Comment


                        #12
                        further to you comments, most church music tends to be at the less challenging end of the scale of musical skill at local Parish churches, where most hymns are simple enough. I think that pedalling 16' bass stops can be largely dispensed with as most hymns don't require a powerful bass. At Cathedrals on the other hand...
                        Martin Hartley
                        Choral Scholar at St Patrick's Cathedral, Parramatta, Australia
                        Student at Campion College, Australia
                        Assistant Organist at St Margaret Mary's Catholic Church, Merrylands, Australia

                        The Novice Organist: http://noviceorganist.blogspot.com.au

                        Comment


                          #13
                          I have to disagree with you there. Whilst you don't want 16' tone all of the time, the pedals add gravitas and weight to the accompaniment which is essential to lead the singing. It is unfortunate that the majority of English parish church organs only have one pedal stop - invariably a 16' Bourdon. A complete independent pedal division is vital for much of the repertoire.

                          Nigel

                          Comment


                            #14
                            @ cantoris, I take your point, though I have been 'dropped in it' on occasion and asked to do just that, with almost no time on the instrument - due often to the 'top of the bill' organist taking 90% of the rehearsal time and 100% of the combination pistons. This was actually on theatre organ, but the situation's the same, whether playing straight or 'crooked'.

                            I was meaning more that, given that I know the instruments in question, it takes me just a few minutes to acclimatise to the different dimensions of their pedalboards. After that, I feel quite capable playing anything that's in my repertoire (and playable on the instrument, of course!)
                            It's not what you play. It's not how you play. It's the fact that you're playing that counts.

                            New website now live - www.andrew-gilbert.com

                            Current organ: Roland Atelier AT900 Platinum Edition
                            Retired Organs: Lots! Kawai SR6 x 2, Hammond L122, T402, T500 x 2, X5. Conn Martinique and 652. Gulbransen 2102 Pacemaker. Kimball Temptation.
                            Retired Leslies, 147, 145 x 2, 760 x 2, 710, 415 x 2.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              That's different, and I agree. Once you are used to a organ and know how different registers sound etc. then it's pretty easy to just jump on the bench and play. Most Sundays I go straight from a straight concave board to an RCO, and sometimes then off in the evening to a one-manual-20-narrow-pedal-offset-to-the-right. On the otfer hand, my colleague, who is a professional recitalist, spends many hours before a concert on a new instrument, working out registrations and setting pistons.

                              Nigel

                              Comment

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