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Thread: organ v piano

  1. #1
    Recruit, Pianissimo
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    organ v piano

    Hi I am new to this forum. I play the piano (badly but getting better). A friend of mine can play an electronic organ (she had organ lessons for two years as a child). I have recently purchased a piano on which to practice on and assumed my friend could play it, since she plays organ. When she had a go, she had great difficulty reading and understanding the music. She was asking questions about what the different symbols meant in the music. She said organ music is different and thats why she had difficulty reading piano music. Is this so? I naturally thought, if you are a confident organist, you can adapt and play a piano. Perhaps she is not as good as she is leading me to believe.

  2. #2
    Administrator Krummhorn's Avatar
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    Hello music lover - Welcome to MIMF

    I've seen this scenario a few times myself - witnessed some very talented organists who totally freaked out when placed in front of the piano keyboard. They had never played, much less sat in front of a piano in their life, and they were totally stupified as to what the 3 foot pedals were for and how to coordinate their use while playing music. One remarked "sustain notes without holding them down? ... impossible!" It's true. I've seen this with my own eyes!

    There are many who believe that taking piano lessons should be a prerequisite to organ. My piano teacher forbade me to even consider taking organ lessons until I had studied with her privately for six years!! I am glad I took her advise (well, I was only six years old at the time) as I am a better musician today. After the piano studies I went on to study organ privately for six years, then two years of organ & harpsichord in college later on. It was during my first year of organ study that I secured my first church organist position (age 12) and have been playing in church now for over 47 years. No regrets whatsoever - I wish I could travel back in time and personally thank my piano teacher for the experience.
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  3. #3
    Vice Admiral Virtuoso methodistgirl's Avatar
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    organ verses piano

    Don't feel left out! When I first layed my eyes on the pipe organ at church
    and saw how differently it was built from the smaller organs, I drove one of
    the two musicians there nuts asking questions. Even now I find new things
    about the organ that I never though of using. The bass pedals and the
    crecendo pedals can be intimidating. The church organ only has two of the
    big crecendo pedals and I kinda back off from them. The button pedals
    are like the little push buttons in front or underneath the keyboards.
    I thought I would try them out with negitive results for me. I wound up
    pushing back stops that I didn't want afterwords. I could feel the organ
    laugh back at me. I laughed at myself for a while as I played another
    song. I'm also a piano player who enjoys a good melody when I sit down
    at one. I can play by note or by ear. Both instruments are user friendly
    for that. There is also a stop on the organ that when I pull it bells go off!
    It also has chimes which sound good at Christmas. So don't feel left out.
    I'm still learning the instrument.
    judy tooley

  4. #4
    Rear Admiral Appassionata
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    I think one shouldn't confuse the big full scale pipe organs etc (and their digital subtitues) and the recreational organs that there are around, designed for playing nice tunes with rhythm accompanyments and 'genie' chords or whatever other wonderful electrionic goodies they have.

    Much of the music for these instruments is of a single line tune with chord symbols (i.e. top line and changes and those are often at a very rudimentary level). You play the chord in the left hand, play the tune in the right, maybe play a bass note (according to the chord name) with the left foot from the dozen or so little pedals, et Voila! a band in a box and a great deal of fun playing nice tunes nicely and in a pretty entertaining way!

    (I'm in no way putting these instruments down) These organs are also called organs, but are a world away from the instruments we play in the church or theatre, and they don't even make good Jazz organs because of the way the electronics are put together.

    I can't begin to play one of those instruments. A friend has one and I'm useless with it. I can not get my head around what I'm supposed to do. I want to play every note I hear and have trouble letting the instrument do what it was designed to (which is not what I trained to do). So the same problem can happen in reverse...

  5. #5
    Midshipman, Forte
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    Welcome to the forum.

    It sounds like she is not a well rounded musician. I personally am of the opinion the an organist should be able to play the piano at least to a reasonable level of competance. But that doesn't neccessarily mean she was overstating her skills or decieving you. Some musicians are very good in their niche but a fish out of water once they leave it.

    BTW A lot of music for organ is on three staves instead of the two staves most often found in piano music. But other than that notes are notes.

  6. #6
    Vice Admiral Virtuoso methodistgirl's Avatar
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    organs anyone?

    I know that I said that I had an opinion about hammond organs but there
    is one type that I like hearing and playing. Remember the ones with the
    moog synthisizers? They did sound great unlike the little one that I played
    when I was little. They are just as big as the console of a pipe organ
    without the pipes instead they have amps built in so that the music can
    be right up in your face. These hammonds are a lot more fun! I have
    played all types of pianos and my favorite is the antique upright and the
    concert sized grand. They have the richest sound of all of the others.
    Some pipe organs make the one I practice on at church sound like a
    hammond. The last one I heard on this internet had a very rich sound
    to it because it probably had thousands of pipes. Like I said the one
    I play is small in spite of it having 24 ranks on it. It would be nice if
    wicks came and added another keyboard or two on to the concole and
    added some more pipes to the organ. Then it would match up with it's
    24 ranks. Well that's my two cents worth!
    judy tooley

  7. #7
    Admiral Honkenwheezenpooferspieler Corno Dolce's Avatar
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    I started my musical life on the organ when I was seven - started taking piano lessons when I was eleven - the organ helped me to even look upon the piano in *symphonic* terms ergo, grand sweeps of phrasing - sorta like Liszt in his transcendental etude entitled *Chasse-Neige*.
    Last edited by Corno Dolce; Sep-30-2007 at 09:48.
    *If a man wants God to hear his prayer quickly, then before he prays for anything else, even his own soul, when he stands and stretches out his hands towards God, he must pray with all his heart for his enemies. Through this action God will hear everything that he asks* -Abba Zeno-

    *Protagoras: "Truth is subjective. What is true for you, and what is true for me, is true for me. Your opinion is true by virtue of its being your opinion."

    *Socrates: "My opinion is: Truth is absolute, not opinion, and that you are in absolute error. Since this is my opinion, then according to your philosophy you must grant that it is true."

    "Improvisational Art": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qSxVO3EoCRM

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