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Thread: Beginner Organ Pieces...

  1. #1
    Recruit, Pianissimo
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    Beginner Organ Pieces...

    Hey everyone! :-)

    I've only just started playing the organ. However, I've been playing the guitar since I was 10 & the piano since I was about 16. (therefore I have used Hanon exercises, etc) I'm an enormous fan of Rachmaninoff, & love Bach, Liszt, Shostakovich, Chopin & Ravel as well. I am also a massive fan of Messiean, along with Schoenberg, Stravinsky & Bartok.

    I tend to like my classical music to be either sad, beautiful, dramatic, bizarre or "disturbing" (best word I could think of to describe it! lol) rather than happy & cheery.

    My new teacher has asked me to decide on a few beginners pieces to learn & I was therefore wondering if you could please think of any, taking into account my current playing ability & my tastes in music.

    Any the suggestion would be greatly appreciated,

    Many thanks. :-) x

  2. #2
    Ensign, Principal
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    Hi TTB3,

    it's been a while since having lessons, so others may have a more up to date view. I started with the 'Introduction to Bach' which does a good job of preparing you for the 'Eight Short preludes and Fugues' and for that staple of the organist - hymn tune accompaniment. In addition I worked my way through the first few 'Progressive Organist' books.

    While you don't really say what level you are at on the piano, I would say that as a rule, you need to be at a good grade 5 standard. It really would take a massive commitment to start from scratch on the organ, and a really excellent teacher.

    speaking of exceptions, I failed my Grade one piano. Gave up lessons and then taught myself (i.e messed around on the piano or organ!) The was recommended to have a trial lesson with the local cathedral organist. the rest as they say, is history!

    having a considerate and competent teacher is very important, but as I became more confident, I learnt a considerable amount turning pages and such for other organists of all flavours of ability. Had I not done this, I would never have had the courage to learn to improvise.

    if you are looking for some interesting repertoire with simple or no pedal line, i would suggest some Clerambau (I think that's how you spell it!!)

    i hope these thoughts help

    QFE

  3. #3
    Administrator Krummhorn's Avatar
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    Hi TTB3

    Welcome to the forum - glad you stopped by to check us out.

    You might want to get one of these two books:

    • John Stainer - Complete Organ Method
    • Harold Gleason - [url=http://www.amazon.com/Method-Organ-Playing-Harold-Gleason/dp/0132075318]Method of Organ Playing.

    The Gleason book is rather pricey in its 8th edition, but cheaper older version are sometimes available on other sites. I learned from the Gleason book - albeit the 4th edition which was dirt cheap in those days.

    You should also, as QFE recommends, obtaining the services of a tutor or teacher is an absolute necessity if you plan on making a musical career playing the organ (church jobs, concertizing, etc). Even if you don't plan on playing in churches, at least take a couple years of lessons, or an organ class at a local university for a couple semesters, at the very least.

    I've never regretted my formal keyboard instruction (14 years worth) and still enjoy playing in church today as much as I did when I started, 49 years ago.
    Kh ~~.
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    Amateur musicians practice until they get it right ...
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  4. #4
    Commodore con Forza
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    As you say you are new to organ playing, surely it is your teacher who should be suggesting suitable pieces for you to learn? Maybe you should change your teacher! Anyway, good luck with your studies.

  5. #5
    Commander, Assistant Conductor
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    Hi TTB3,

    If your teacher is a good professional he/she should provide all the guidance you need and suggest what you should learn together with a practice pattern. Without knowing (1) your present level of attainment on the piano (2) your keyboard technique and (3) what accessibility you have to an organ, it is impossible to give you any positive help.
    However, I do wish you well in your studies when you get started; and I do hope you will be in the care of a good teacher.

    rk

  6. #6
    Recruit, Pianissimo
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    Thank you very much for your comments everyone. :-)

    I think my teacher just wants me to have a listen to a few the things to decide the kind of thing I would like to play in the future - guess he want's to get a flavour for what I like - afterall in order to learn to play a piece well you must like it! :-) I'm sure my teacher will guide me more strongly as regards exercises, etc - I was just wondering if anyone could name any pieces in the styles I mentioned that I could have a listen to, & talk to my teacher about. I guess I'm asking you more for suggested listening list (but stuff that might excite me enough to want to learn it!), rather than suggested playing list. :-)

    In answer to your 3 questions rk:

    1) Although I haven't done any grades, examples of pieces I can play well at the moment on piano are Moonlight Sonata (1st Movement), some of the Bach Preludes (eg - C minor) & some of the Chopin Preludes. (eg - C sharp minor, E minor)

    2) My piano technique is quite good - been working on Hanon for since I started playing 5 years ago. Despite being left handed my right had is considerably better than my right.

    3) I'm at uni & we have a chapel - it is LITERALLY 1 minute from my room! :-D I can play it any time between 9am & 9pm! :-)

    Thanks again guys for all your help & quick responses! x :-)

  7. #7
    Commodore con Forza
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    OK, TTB3, to finally answer your question, these are some pieces I absolutely adore, but which don't (thank God!) require a high degree of virtuosity

    Cesar Franck: "Prelude" from "Prelude, Fugue and Variation"
    Flor Peeters: "Aria"
    Flor Peeters: "Adagio" from "Suite Modale"
    Easthope Martin: "Evensong"
    Boellman: "Priere a Notre-Dame" from "Gothic Suite" (and one day the Toccata!)
    Frank Bridge: "Adagio in E"

    Have fun exploring this fabulous instrument!!
    Last edited by jhnbrbr; Feb-23-2009 at 10:26.

  8. #8
    Commander, Assistant Conductor
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    Hi TTB3,

    Competence in playing the piano pieces you have listed indicates that you are a pianist around ABRSM Grade 6/7+ and obviously ready for learning the organ. You will need to acquire a good pedalling technique and overcome any difficulties of co-ordination between hands and feet but enthusiasm and hard work soon achieve the required result.
    I suggest you buy a good organ tutor which will include pedal scales and exercises as well as some suitable beginners' pieces. Two such, available in the U.K.(but beyond, also) are : 'The First Year at the Organ' by Percy Buck and 'Play the Organ' by David Sanger. The latter is probably the most used one in Britain at the moment and is up to date. An excellent one for organ pedalling only is 'Modern Organ Pedalling' by C.Henry Phillips (sadly no longer in print but still available by special order as a reprint under licence by Allegro
    Music in the U.K. The original publisher was Oxford University Press.) Another is 'Organ Technique' by Jacques van Oortmerssen, Organ Professor at the Amsterdam Conservatoire (published by Goteborg Organ Art Center).
    A number of suggestions for suitable pieces have already been made. My own choice includes the following :

    J.S. Bach :' Orgelbuchlein' chorale preludes a good number of which suit a beginning organist but some are more difficult.
    Brahms : 'Eleven Chorale Preludes' of which about half are not too difficult.
    C.V. Stanford :'Short Preludes and Postludes' Set one and Set two (op.101 and op.105).
    There is not much French organ music by contemporary composers which is easy but there is one short collection (if you like such contemporary music) by Naji Hakim :'Mariales' which should not be too difficult for you.

    Anyway, have a good time playing and learning, and once again I wish you well.
    rk

  9. #9
    Admiral Honkenwheezenpooferspieler Corno Dolce's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TTB3 View Post
    Hey everyone! :-)

    I've only just started playing the organ. However, I've been playing the guitar since I was 10 & the piano since I was about 16. (therefore I have used Hanon exercises, etc) I'm an enormous fan of Rachmaninoff, & love Bach, Liszt, Shostakovich, Chopin & Ravel as well. I am also a massive fan of Messiean, along with Schoenberg, Stravinsky & Bartok.

    I tend to like my classical music to be either sad, beautiful, dramatic, bizarre or "disturbing" (best word I could think of to describe it! lol) rather than happy & cheery.

    My new teacher has asked me to decide on a few beginners pieces to learn & I was therefore wondering if you could please think of any, taking into account my current playing ability & my tastes in music.

    Any the suggestion would be greatly appreciated,

    Many thanks. :-) x

    Aloha TTB3,

    I recently sent you a Private Message - If you want some really great sheet music, here's what you do: If you look up to the upper right-hand corner of the Forum webpage you will see *Private Message* - Click on it and you can then retrieve my message.

    Humbly,

    Corno Dolce
    *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

  10. #10
    Recruit, Pianissimo
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    When i tried to play organ i could not learn it so i played on guitar and compose my own music.



    Last edited by Krummhorn; Jun-25-2010 at 15:22. Reason: Promo link removed (TOS)

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