View Full Version : dishamonic playing?!?

May-14-2004, 17:22
here's a question for all of you organists out there.
I noticed at the royal wedding here today that some of the psalms/chorals sung by the choir and accomp. by the organist, at times sounded quite strange - polytonal in a way... is it a normal thing for an organist to "go beserk" during a normal psalm/choral/hymn when it's sung in a church? - some of the "elaborations" didn't really sound all that good... not in the context of a wedding ceremony anyway... - maybe in a contest of improvisation... - but still... it happened more than once this afternoon...
so... any comments? https://www.magle.dk/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif

May-14-2004, 18:17
>polytonal in a way...

Like when you slap your hand down on the low end of a piano keyboard?

>is it a normal thing for an organist to "go beserk" during a normal psalm/choral/hymn when it's sung in a church? -

That can happen with any instrument. Playing a good supporting role takes some constraint.

>so... any comments?

(not an organist but):
Due to the complexity of possible tonal structure of an organ (range, sustain, possible stop combinations, etc) it's relatively easy to get a dissonant sound. The fact that the organist got such a prestigious gig to begin with gives him(her?) some credence. Perhaps the sound was differant at the console than in the pews? Perhaps just an 'off' day. Did anyone else share your impression?
........Also as a musician you may hear and evaluate things in a differant way that the mainstream public (who pays for the musicians)???????? Good Question ......... mike

May-14-2004, 19:49
it sounded deliberate.. https://www.magle.dk/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif

May-15-2004, 00:50
Hmmmm.....Maybe they were trying to make some kind of smart ass political statement or something ? "Look at me, I can play rubbish and the royalty don't even notice"
Or maybe they thought if they threw in every lick they knew they'd get appointed court organist ?
??????? Anyways I don't think it's a normal way of playing. You could try some more functions to see.....mike

May-15-2004, 06:33

Frederik Magle
May-15-2004, 10:33
Yes, I noticed it to (hard not to https://www.magle.dk/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif). It's quite common practice that a skilled organist adds some polyphonic lines and broadens some chords, maybe even rearrange some verses of the hymn at "special" occasions. But the intention is of course that - besides making the hymn sound greater (when well done it can be truly magnificent - the English are excellent at this) and adding some variation - it should aid the singing, not the oppoisite!

To me it seems that the organist may have gotten a little carried away while making his arrangement.

I don't think the intention was to make it sound disharmonic (and definitely not a "political statement") - I think it was to "spice" it up. He just put in too much of the wrong spices...

May-16-2004, 06:04
>" broadens some chords "

Would you elaborate on that a little ?
Do you mean like take a Amaj (triad)
and make it a A to the diminshed 13 ^7
or something like that ?
Captain Corno heard " dissonance "
Did you ?
I (for some reason) can't relate 'dissonance'
to 'polyphony' (maybe a language thing?)
..... mike

May-16-2004, 12:22
actually I wrote "disharmonic" - not dissonance... https://www.magle.dk/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif

May-16-2004, 21:37
Yes. I guess they are the sorta the same thing to me.
Could you elaborate a little on the differance between:

May-16-2004, 22:51
hmm... I wouldn't regard them as the same, but to make it clear what the difference is, is a little more tricky, ie. it's maybe a little difficult to explain.... but what the heck https://www.magle.dk/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif

dissonance is, for me, taken within any given "chord" or clashing of notes sounding together, at the same time - a dissonance is "tension" which in tonal music has to be "resolved" in to a consonance - ie. a D7->T - dominant seventh chord to the tonic chord of any given key...

disharmonic however, which goes a little along the the atonal-description - a phrase of a given piece which doesn't seem to have any coherent tonal/harmonic-texture - harmonic here is in the "classical/tonal" sence... - an "uneasy" passage which has "spiky chords" that doesn't get resolved naturally... - you can see it as the next level above the dissonance - disharmonic includes dissonances but explains the connection between parts of music rather than a single chord...

atonal or polytonal - is yet another elaboration on the previous two... here we're dealing with music of more than one "base tonality" or in case of serial/12-tone music no tonality as such (in principle)... - and hence passages which might not make sence tonal-wise to the starting key signature...

polyphonic in this context is just explaining that an organist might include more "individual" musical "lines" - counterpoints to the melody - which doesn't take the harmonic structure into consideration and then makes the whole thing sound, in Frederik's terms, a little "too spicy"...

I hope that shed some light on the expressions... if not, I'll try again later... https://www.magle.dk/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif

May-16-2004, 22:59
The Main thing,apart from what Frederik has said.....is: That Cathedral has a Time Delay of 5.7 Sceconds (When Full of People)...Quite Long....There were only 2 Major concerns for me....1. The Hymn...Where the Organist felt confident enough that the Choir & Congregation were holding the Melody....He kept the Melody going in the Pedal....and unfortunately,His "arppeggio" Type stuff was rebounding...The other 2. was the "Jazz Trumpet" solo Piece.The Harp & Choir went off into an "Atmospheric" Improvisation.....and again the Delay was throwing them off.
https://www.magle.dk/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gifThe Bridegroom/Best Man always pays the Organist,Hitsware....so I suppose it came out of "The Royal Purse"...hehehehehe. Cheers. https://www.magle.dk/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif Pamadu/Paul
P.S. BUT I do agree....The several occassions it "went off" was very Disturbing......Yes...."A Little too much Spice" was used as well. https://www.magle.dk/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif

May-17-2004, 03:51
>That Cathedral has a Time Delay of 5.7 Seconds

I had mentioned something like that. At the console, it must be hard to tell what's going on in the pews. You could be a chord or 2 (or even 3) (in the progression) .....
ahead of the main 'mix' ..... Maybe hard to tell the 'spice' from the 'rice' ....
AND ........ Captain Corno GOOD explaination https://www.magle.dk/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smash.gif

May-17-2004, 06:12

May-17-2004, 08:49
https://www.magle.dk/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gifThe Wedding is OVER....Let's just wish the Happy Couple "All the Best"....If this thread turns into a Technical Question about Time Delays etc. (Quite a Harrowing experience in All Large Churches)....May I suggest we move it or at LEAST "Leave the Poor Organist" out of it.
Corno and Frederik have explained a Lot....I have acknowledged that....But it Happens to ALL ORGANISTS....Believe Me...NOT JUST at Royal Weddings....
"All in ALL" The wedding was a Fine Danish Lutheran Service with ALL the POMP & Ceremony"....... https://www.magle.dk/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/angel.gif
Cheers https://www.magle.dk/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/cheers444.gif Pamadu/Paul.

Frederik Magle
May-17-2004, 09:00
I agree with "Pamadu" on this, and let me just get one thing straight, so there is no misunderstandings: Although I may not agree with, or applaud, the way the organist arranged the hymns, he is still a most excellent and virtous organist - one of the best in Denmark! Which you could clearly hear during his performance of - amongst other pieces - the Toccata from Widor's fifth organ symphony (at the end). All in all it was a GREAT ceremony!