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Thread: Exercises to separate left hand from pedal

  1. #1
    Lieutenant Commander, Concertmaster
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    Exercises to separate left hand from pedal

    Hi all

    Could anyone suggest anything so that I learn to work the left hand entirely independently from the pedal? Also I need to improve my sight reading - does anyone have any tips?

    Thanks!
    Nicht Bach sondern Meer

  2. #2
    Lieutenant, Associate Concertmaster AllanP's Avatar
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    My first organ teacher had me play a new hymn every week. This is a good exercise to develop sight reading and to give independence between left hand and pedal. This practice helped me greatly in sight reading.

    The method he suggested is to play the top two parts with the right hand, the tenor with the left hand and the bass with the pedal. Any hymns are ok, but to avoid boredom, pick ones that you like.

    A variation is to play the upper part on a separate manual with a solo stop. Play the alto and tenor in the left hand on a different manual with the bass in the pedals as before.

  3. #3
    Apprentice, Piano
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    Allan P's advice is excellent. You could get a "method" ..say, Harold Gleason's book with exercises etc. There are many on the market. Call Jack Ay at Musical Source in DC. 1-800-2-SOURCE. He'll know what's out there these days in that area.

    When I was in boarding school a long time ago, I was picked to accompany ALL the musicales and sing-alongs every week because I could play the piano ( a little) The headmaster told me to "just play and don't make mistakes." Fear, I guess, did the trick. I learned to sightread almost anything.....and still can. I started out reading all the Rodgers/Hammerstein/Hart/Kern, Berlin, Gershwin and then all the other Broadway writers of the time. Good sheet music will put you through your paces.

  4. #4
    Admiral of Fugues Contratrombone64's Avatar
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    Bravo AllanP ... great stuff, it's what I do, too. Hymns are basically easy as they are never really diverse rhythmically. Tending to be very vertical in chordal structure.

    If you want more of a challenge ... look at Bach's Trio Sonatas. Now they are damned hard, but, if you just play the left hand part until it's perfect, then learn the Pedal part (alone), and then add the Pedal part slowly with the left hand (so as not to learn mistakes) two or four bars at a time, then you'll soon get through a whole movement. Start with the slow movements, is my recommendation. These trio sonatas were design to foster independance of feet and hands. Once you've mastered that you can bring the right hand in.

    Never get despondent (thank you to Corno Dolce for being so vigilant at spotting my every error, I hope to be as error free as your good self one day ... ), if you set your heart a goal, and jot down a practice timetable and adhere to it you'll have success. Slow and steady wins the race!! Best of luck.

    my two cents worth
    Last edited by Contratrombone64; Sep-25-2008 at 03:33.
    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.

  5. #5
    Admiral Honkenwheezenpooferspieler Corno Dolce's Avatar
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    Ahem - CT64, do you mean *despondent*?

    Anyway, AllanP gave an excellent suggestion....

    My $0.03 cents worth.......
    *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

  6. #6
    Administrator Krummhorn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AllanP View Post
    . . . play a new hymn every week. This is a good exercise to develop sight reading and to give independence between left hand and pedal. This practice helped me greatly in sight reading.

    The method he suggested is to play the top two parts with the right hand, the tenor with the left hand and the bass with the pedal. Any hymns are ok, but to avoid boredom, pick ones that you like.

    A variation is to play the upper part on a separate manual with a solo stop. Play the alto and tenor in the left hand on a different manual with the bass in the pedals as before.
    Excellent . This is the way I worked at it too.

    Quote Originally Posted by BrianLarkin View Post
    Allan P's advice is excellent. You could get a "method" ..say, Harold Gleason's book . . .
    The John Stainer organ playing book is well worth getting, too.

    Quote Originally Posted by Contratrombone64 View Post
    . . . If you want more of a challenge ... look at Bach's Trio Sonatas. Now they are damned hard, but, if you just play the left hand part until it's perfect, then learn the Pedal part (alone), and then add the Pedal part slowly with the left hand (so as not to learn mistakes) two or four bars at a time, then you'll soon get through a whole movement. Start with the slow movements, is my recommendation. These trio sonatas were design to foster independance of feet and hands. Once you've mastered that you can bring the right hand in.
    Jolly good suggestion, CT64 ... and yes, they are difficult - but it does get the hands and feet working independently. Working several bars at a time is the way I presently learn new pieces, too ... works well for me.
    Kh ~~.
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  7. #7
    Admiral of Fugues Contratrombone64's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Krummhorn View Post
    Excellent . Working several bars at a time is the way I presently learn new pieces, too ... works well for me.
    Krummiest - I also am rather partial to using a metronome at the learning stage as it forces me to be rythmically aware, I do abandon it eventually.
    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.

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