An artist has the power to hold an audience in his/her hand. This is largely achieved through skill in those ‘infinitesimal pauses’ (Landowska) and leading the ear in its expectation and their confirming or contradicting that expectation.

Phrasing and articulation has fascinated me, especially since I started to learn a little about performance of Baroque music on a mechanical action organ. I have envied those who have exceptional control in these thing and who can compel those strips of wood and metal and make those tubes called pipes ‘speak’.

All music derives from singing and it is essential to breathe like a singer. The organ is a wind instrument, after all, and when you have an organ with variable winding, the opportunity for imitating, say, a flute or an oboe is even greater. With the broader phrasing decided, you can think in terms of vowels and consonants.

You can take as a starting point Schlick’s remark (1511) that its not the start of a note that counts, but the end. In those days and for a long time after – even up to the time of Haydn – there were ’Good' notes and ‘Bad’ notes. Thus, in 4-4 time the first and third notes were Good, and the second and fourth beats Bad.

To create a Good note you released the preceding note fast, and the Good note itself would be released slowly. (You have to listen attentively to the way the wind is being controlled in the pipes.) The opening of the Buxtehude Passacaglia is an ideal example. In three-time, the first beat is Good and the second and third beats Bad. The first note of the Passacaglia, on the third beat of the bar, is therefore a Bad note which receives a quick release. The second note (a minim) falls on the first beat of the bar and is a Good note, and you release it slowly. This continues throughout the whole piece whenever the passacaglia theme appears. You have to use your musical judgement as to the length of each minim and crotchet, depending on the acoustic and the mood you are trying to create.