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Thread: Questions from a new organist

  1. #16
    Midshipman, Forte
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    I have exactly the same fingering problem, jvhldb. I asked my teacher, "Why can't you teach all your fingers to totally dexterous and be able to play any key you want instead of laboriously memorizing fingering?!" I am really glad, though, that I'm getting down good habits while first starting out and not getting a teacher five years into it when I've learned wrong techniques. One thing that feels completely weird is crossing the third finger over the top of the forth. I still haven't figured out why that is necessary.

  2. #17
    Captain of Water Music jvhldb's Avatar
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    I think my teacher is drinking tranqualisers by the handful. She has the inenviable job of breaking 20 years of bad habbits.
    Johan van Heerden

  3. #18
    Commander, Assistant Conductor Ntalikeris666's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ghekorg7 View Post
    Nick I'll add something to this : Prima vistas of bux (and some others) works with three keys : Sol/Do/Fa......Luckilly Bux use the 3 of them mostly on Chorale works with slower tempo...imagine what happens if they appear in a fast Praelude (& Fugue)!!!!!
    Have a try

    Cheers
    Panos
    Hehe!
    Complete comfusion :S :S :S
    My brain would probably start burning fuses :P :P
    But, I will give it a shot just out of curiosity.

    Regards,
    Nick

  4. #19
    Rear Admiral Appassionata (Ret) Ghekorg7 (Ret)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ntalikeris666 View Post
    Hehe!
    Complete comfusion :S :S :S
    My brain would probably start burning fuses :P :P
    But, I will give it a shot just out of curiosity.

    Regards,
    Nick
    On the other hand it's a matter of "use to it"....and how often one involves with.
    The first time I encountered such a confusion I went in full...body through the first 5 bars until stoped my feet in F key to see what's goin' on on my left hand in C key....

    Cheers
    Panos
    *It's like a fight with women, which always ends in .... bed.*
    F.Kafka, Aphorisms.

  5. #20
    Lieutenant, Associate Concertmaster AllanP's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jvhldb View Post
    After playing chord organ for 20+ years (self taught) I decided to take lessons. 3 Years later I'm still in trouble at every lesson because of my fingering (why can't I use any finger to press a key, as long is it is the right key?) and my tempo is all over the place.
    I started playing the organ when in my 30's as well. A couple of comments
    1. Rhythm has been very hard for me - however getting rhythm and spacing between notes correct is the biggest help in making the music interesting
    2. Using the right fingers helps the musical flow from note to note.
    3. The pedal line tends to create the rhythm and flow of the music.

    The three issues have been the hardest for me. Getting it right really, really makes the music sound good and is its own reward.

    Allan

  6. #21
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    On the subject of legato and finger substitution, there is no better way than an hour or two on the piano for every hour on the organ with the right foot well away from the sustain pedal!!

    After a monastical session of practice in this manner, I used to satisfy my urge to hear a pedal reed by doing the same pieces with the pedal part played in octaves in the left hand... an double octave lower if I wanted a 32ft

  7. #22
    Admiral of Fugues Contratrombone64's Avatar
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    Buy yourselves a metronome and practice with it.

    If the piece your are learning is (for example) 80, start practising it at 60, and bring the tempo up notch by notch until you can play it comfortable at 84 or faster so that 80 is effortless.

    Using a metronome is tedious, agreed, but it will force you to play with an even pace. Any rubato needed should only be considered when you are fluent with the piece and can play it error free and with a findering/pedalling that works for you.
    I'm not an atheist and I don't think I can call myself a pantheist. We are in the position of a little child entering a huge library filled with books in many different languages. The child knows someone must have written those books. It does not know how. The child dimly suspects a mysterious order in the arrangement of the books but doesn't know what it is. That, it seems to me, is the attitude of even the most intelligent human being toward God.
    —Albert Einstein.

  8. #23
    Seaman, Mezzoforte
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    Me too, I'm struggling with pedalboard and coordination, as most of the beginners. I had a bad habit to look on my feet while playing. My teacher asked me several times stop doing it, but I simply could not hit the good note without looking. Until he found the words I needed ("stop doing it" did not work) - "You have to trust yourself!" And every time I tried to look at me feet, he reminded it to me. In few lessons it had made the miracles. I still make errors - everybody does - but it's getting much better now.

    Other good tip for the pedalboard is to keep the knees together while playing. It seems strange at first, needs some practice, but it is really useful. It gives a good support and helps to calculate the distance between pedals. I sometimes forget it playing easier pieces, but I always use this method to play Bach's complicated and rapid bass-lines. For me, it is the only way to hit good notes. One of my frieds practiced this technique with a sheet of paper between her knees.

  9. #24
    Rear Admiral Appassionata (Ret) Ghekorg7 (Ret)'s Avatar
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    Good tip that (with the knees), Stella !
    *It's like a fight with women, which always ends in .... bed.*
    F.Kafka, Aphorisms.

  10. #25
    Captain of Water Music jvhldb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stella Maris View Post
    .....

    Other good tip for the pedalboard is to keep the knees together while playing. It seems strange at first, needs some practice, but it is really useful. It gives a good support and helps to calculate the distance between pedals. I sometimes forget it playing easier pieces, but I always use this method to play Bach's complicated and rapid bass-lines. For me, it is the only way to hit good notes. One of my frieds practiced this technique with a sheet of paper between her knees.
    I could never get the "knees together" to work for me, I guess I spent to many hours on the chord organ with the right foot permanantly on th expression pedal and the left foot jumping around on the pedals. Fortuantely I don't have a problem getting the right pedal and my teacher tought me to feel for the space between the notes. PS: In Bach's Wachet Auf you jump from the low A to the high A in the pedals, how do you do that with your knees together?
    Johan van Heerden

  11. #26
    Seaman, Mezzoforte
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    To Johan: "PS: In Bach's Wachet Auf you jump from the low A to the high A in the pedals, how do you do that with your knees together? "

    I have x-feet, Johan!
    (no, its a joke, but maybe after long years of organ-practice I will finish like this
    in fact, it is possible to jump octaves knees together quite well, another question is which method fits to one person and what not. For octaves, I do not use it neither, but if you take for exemple Bach's BWV 541 Prelude in G, the quickly played bass like in the mesures number 16-17 (si-la-si-sol-la-fa-sol-mi-fa-re-mi-do), I find this type of passages easiers to play knees together.

  12. #27
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    My teacher will always tell me that if something is difficult for me, then I should go back to the point where it is easy. If you're having a hard time keeping your knees together, you may just want to try some simple pedal exersizes that focus on "knees together". Granted, your knees won't be together at all times. I think the point of keeping them together as a general rule is so that you can quickly find your place when playing multiple notes. As always, it takes practice and dedication!

  13. #28
    Administrator Krummhorn's Avatar
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    When I began organ lessons, my teacher also wanted me to do the knees together thing, too ... this was the Harold Gleason method as well, a book that I had then (1960) and still have today.

    I was always taught to "feel" my way in pedaling, and at one point my teacher draped a towel over my lap and attached it to the Choir manual during lessons ... talk about building confidence in a hurry ... but it worked.

    As for playing today with my knees together today, I quite honestly don't know as I never look down at my legs or feet ... never!! I only turn on the pedal light for the amusement of the choir as they seem to be very amused or amazed watching my pedaling technique during church services.
    Kh ~~.
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    Amateur musicians practice until they get it right ...
    Pro
    fessional musicians practice until they can't get it wrong ...


  14. #29
    Commodore con Forza Soubasse's Avatar
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    At two of my early lessons, I had my knees strapped together when doing pedal exercises! He was a bit of joker my first teacher but was very good and made a point. I will confess that it's been a while since I've looked at my feet whilst playing.
    Music is made to transform the states of the soul, for an hour or an instant (J. Alain)

  15. #30
    Administrator Krummhorn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Krummhorn View Post
    . . . As for playing today with my knees together today, I quite honestly don't know as I never look down . . .
    Ok, for the benefit of those wondering, while playing this morning in church, I forced myself to look down ... the knees are not together when pedaling ... shoot, my knees are not together when I walk down the street either .

    The way I was taught to achieve proper position at the console, was to place the left foot between A# and C#, and the right foot between D# and F# ... I noticed that this gap is the same distance my knees are apart while playing today.

    So, is it then considered it proper pedalediquette () for the knees to be together these days? Would a judge during an organ playing competition knock off points for not having the knees together?
    Kh ~~.
    Administrator


    Amateur musicians practice until they get it right ...
    Pro
    fessional musicians practice until they can't get it wrong ...


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