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Thread: Playing contemporary music on an organ

  1. #1
    Recruit, Pianissimo
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    Playing contemporary music on an organ

    Hello fellow organists and musicians,

    Does anyone know of a hymnal, praise book, song book or what have you that contains the new contemporary songs, and is written in a way that is more playable on the organ?
    I am weary from the time it takes to adapt many of these songs ,that are clearly written for piano, and make them playable on the organ. I have been playing for church services for many years, but I play the organ, not the piano, so it is more difficult and time consuming for me to adapt the typical flowing left hand into chords. I have several new hymnals that contain contemporary songs written in SATB four part harmony, but there are a lot of popular contemporary songs that I can not find in that format.
    Any resources that you can share would be greatly appreciated. I am a busy grandma who doesn't have the extra time to sit in church on Saturday afternoon and make these songs playable on the organ. They are so much easier to play if the left hand is written in chords. Then I'm able to be finished with my practicing and on my way enjoying my grandkids.
    Thank you for your help.

  2. #2
    Administrator Krummhorn's Avatar
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    Hi Diapason ... and welcome to MIMF, btw

    Our church uses the hymnal With One Voice, published by Augsburg Fortress (The Lutheran Church publishing house). One would need to purchase the Accompaniment edition as the pew edition just has the single melody line. There are a number of contemporary hymns like, On Angels Wings, which has a flowing accompaniment.
    Sometimes though, these hymns are just best suited to be played on the piano ... on some organs, especially those in dry acoustics (as my church is) the accompaniment becomes rather choppy and clunky ... for those I use the piano.
    Kh ~~.
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  3. #3
    Commodore con Forza musicalis's Avatar
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    Dear Diapason

    May be can I help you ?

    I have stated a thread called "organ accompaniement" that has never got any answer. Is this thread, I planed to help organists who want to play songs for which they have not the accompaniement, (the left hand in your case).
    Send me by e-mail one or two of the musics you would like to play and I'll try to help you if possible. (Send a score please, not an audio file).
    Friendly yours. Jean-Paul

    Music is my placebo

    Please visit my channel and web site to hear the music I compose
    http://fr.youtube.com/organcomposer
    http://organ.monespace.net

  4. #4
    Captain of Water Music jvhldb's Avatar
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    The song book that Dutch Reformed Churches use in South Africa is written for piano. On the organ we play the bottom/bass line on the pedal, the tenor line with the left hand and the soprano & alt with the right hand. I don't know if it will work for you. I find it impossible to play chords on our church organ, the melody is simply overwhelmed.
    Johan van Heerden

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    Vice Admiral Virtuoso methodistgirl's Avatar
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    Welcome to the forum! I have played contemporary music on the pipe
    organ before. I had a ball playing songs like the contemporary praise
    and worship songs. Try Integrety Hosanna. They might help you.
    judy tooley

  6. #6
    Admiral of Fugues Contratrombone64's Avatar
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    Sorry, call me old fashioned by why are they using an organ for contemporary worship music? Wouldn't a guitar, drum kit, and vocalist be more suitable? *shudders deeply*

  7. #7
    Commander, Assistant Conductor
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    Ya, CT, that's true enough. But what organist would dare to say it to the church? Assuming that the aforesaid organist is not seeking immediate termination.

  8. #8
    Administrator Krummhorn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Contratrombone64 View Post
    Sorry, call me old fashioned by why are they using an organ for contemporary worship music? Wouldn't a guitar, drum kit, and vocalist be more suitable? *shudders deeply*
    Our 'contemporary' service is now what we call Convergent Worship ... starts out with an organ prelude and then uses both piano and organ in a variety of ways during the service for hymns and chanted liturgies ... The more 'cavorted' hymns are lead by the piano with the organ adding an ethereal touch mostly to add 'fill'. Seems to work out and people like what we are doing ... this service used to be one of those 'happy-clappy' ones ... we changed the format at the beginning of this year, and attendance is growing.
    Kh ~~.
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  9. #9
    Lieutenant Commander, Concertmaster Serassi1836's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jvhldb View Post
    On the organ we play the bottom/bass line on the pedal, the tenor line with the left hand and the soprano & alt with the right hand. I don't know if it will work for you. I find it impossible to play chords on our church organ, the melody is simply overwhelmed.
    I play chords on the organ. With the right hand I play the melody, with the left one the chords and with the pedal a member of the chord.

  10. #10
    Vice Admiral Virtuoso methodistgirl's Avatar
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    I just play it on the organ. I don't care how I do it! I have too much fun!
    judy tooley

  11. #11
    Captain of Water Music jvhldb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Serassi1836 View Post
    I play chords on the organ. With the right hand I play the melody, with the left one the chords and with the pedal a member of the chord.
    Ok. I had the wrong organ, I used to play that way until I started learning the pipe organ. On an electronic organ it woks fine, but on the pipe organ I can't get it to work properly. No matter what registration I use, the chord seems to drown out the melody. However I still use the method on my organ at home. When I get tired of practicing I usually play a couple of songs with just the melody and chords, after 20 years I it takes no brain power at all so it's very relaxing.
    Johan van Heerden

  12. #12
    Vice Admiral Virtuoso methodistgirl's Avatar
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    The main organist at my church plays contemperary during the morning
    service and it sounded great on the organ along with a small band.
    judy tooley

  13. #13
    Captain of Water Music JONESEY's Avatar
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    Hi Johan,

    Can you try playing chords on the swell manual, with a quiet registration, and then the melody on the great manual with a louder registration?, it might 'feel' a bit odd, but it might just work.

  14. #14
    Captain of Water Music jvhldb's Avatar
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    I tried that, but it didn't work very well, I simply can't get the volume balanced between the two manuals. The pedals also have only two volumes, to soft or to loud. Besides, with a full church belting out a hymn in different keys we need every rank on the organ just to make sure that the organ can be heard in the front pews and to drown out the echo in the church. It's only during holidays, weddings and funerals that we can use different registrations.
    Johan van Heerden

  15. #15
    Captain of Water Music JONESEY's Avatar
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    Sorry Johan, I misunderstood - I thought this was just something you were doing in your spare time, not for a congregation.
    The Church that I play at is pretty small, so most registrations can be used on the organ and still be heard.

    Sadly, the days where the Choir stalls are used is gone, otherwise I'd have to think more carefully about registrations, I'm sure.

    Happy Easter - hope the services go well.

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