Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 26

Thread: Newbie with studying question

  1. #1

    Newbie with studying question

    I am fairly new at organ playing, I have played for not quite a year yet. I am wondering how much (if any) damage has been done to my skills or what have you. I have been playing the piano for many years, thought had a hiatus for a few years. I then started playing in church I have played mostly from lead sheets. I then moved to the organ because I wanted to learn and our director was fine with that as she plays the piano and directs the choir, etc during the service. When I started playing the organ I played from lead sheets (below is a link of two of my videos from when I first started playing, hence the mistakes) and I am wondering how much damage was done from me learning to play the organ from lead sheets? Any suggestions for re-teaching myself and starting to go to full fledged organ music? I will take any and all suggestions as this has been a dream of mine and the original reason I started taking piano lessons. Any suggestions on pieces I can start on to start training with true organ music? Thank you in advance!

    http://youtu.be/ebQAGcpw7e4

    http://youtu.be/9yeWIcYmgE0

  2. #2
    Member Charlie Metcalf's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Northern Calif.
    Posts
    217

    Sometimes I play from sheet music. Sometimes I play from lead sheets. Sometimes I play from memory. I don't think it makes much difference. Years ago a guitar teacher impressed upon me the distinction between "playing the notes" and "playing the music". Ultimately what I try to do is turn it all into enjoyable music.
    I know it's been a good practice session when I pause for a quick break, return and the room has a faint odor of Hammond oil in the air that only occurs when the console has been running for hours & hours.

    1940 Hammond model D organ with 1970 Leslie #122 speaker.
    1942 Hammond model BC organ with 1958 Leslie #45 speaker with 122 amplifier and two speed motors.
    1994 Allen MDS-3 theatre organ

  3. #3
    Senior Member Clarion's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Toronto
    Posts
    1,617

    Quote Originally Posted by matty View Post
    I am fairly new at organ playing, I have played for not quite a year yet. I am wondering how much (if any) damage has been done to my skills or what have you. I have been playing the piano for many years,
    Matty,

    Your most obvious defict as an organist, is that you are still trying to play the the organ as if it was a piano.

    Your first order of business is to learn legato playing, along with the associated art of finger substitution for the purpose of maintaining legato playing.

    The irony of the entire effort, is that once you have finally mastered the art of legato playing; the next step is to unlearn everything you have learned, and master the art of "non-legato" playing, such as is commonly implemented in SATB kind of stuff!

    Does anything I've attempted to say, make any sense?; or is there a better way to describe the same concept?

  4. #4

    Matty,

    As Clarion metioned do practice to play legato. Also use a solid Diapason chorus for the hymns with a good solid foundation pedal. You are on your way to great success with what you already know about the organ. Continue the good work, but seek to make the best better.

  5. #5

    Thank you for the advice! I am going to take it and run and see where I end up. I also have never been good at improvisation or such most of the time so I am trying that as well. The nice thing is that I have two (very different) organs to practice on. One is a small, electric tracker pipe organ in a chapel, don't remember the name, and the 2nd is a Fisk 38 rank tracker organ, with very bold reeds(that is the one the videos are on)

  6. #6

    Some tips:

    - Keep your shoulders relaxed - don't scrunch them up on certain chords.
    - Learn to let your feet do the bass line, without the LH duplicating it. It looks like you might be doing that.
    - Learn to play different numbers of voice parts: 2 part (melody + bass line), 3 part (melody and a harmony line in RH, bass line in LH or pedal), 4 part (RH sop and alto; LH tenor; ped bass OR RH sop and alto; LH tenor and bass)
    - If you look at some of the great organ music and treat the 'figures' in the music as decoration, reduce the music down until you have a basic melody, with or without counterpoint (accompanying melodies), and a bass line. Bingo - you are left with a lead sheet, which is probably more interesting than the lead sheets you normally use. Then work your way back up through the process the composer used to make their lead sheet more interesting, and apply it to your own lead-sheet-playing. This also happens to be one of the paths to improvisation.

    At some level, your playing is ok, but boring (sorry to have to say).
    - For pieces with verse/refrain, consider cutting the registration a bit for the verse, then bringing it back up for the refrain.
    - Don't always make pieces go straight from soft to loud in one steady crescendo. Many compositions will slip in a decrescendo (!) before the final run to the top. Consider, if these numbers are volume, going from soft to loud: 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9. The last crescendo takes you up one notch. If, after 8, I drop down to 6, before going up to 9... 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-6-9, the last crescendo actually takes you up 3 notches ! Much more exciting.
    - The others have mentioned legato playing. I agree entirely. Learn it, master it, then learn to play measured detachments: as an exercise, play a hymn with all quarter notes - perfectly legato, then play each quarter note as an eighth note followed by an eighth rest, then as a dotted eighth followed by a sixteenth rest, then a sixteenth note followed by a dotted eighth rest, then a triplet rhythm, 2 parts note and one part rest, or vice versa. The point of this is train both your ear and your fingers to control the length of the detachment. At some level, you will also be able to play a legato melody while playing the other parts detached. It's very effective and not as hard as you might think.
    - Learn to register by hand. As long as you rely on the crescendo pedal to add your stops, they will always be added in the same order, with the same sound resulting. Again, this gets boring. Start simple, learn to finish a verse, then reach over to add one stop. You can practice the changes, by adding or subtracting one stop after each line of a hymn. This would be a bit much to do in service, but it's fine for rehearsing on your own.

    Whatever you do, enjoy it all. And let us know how you're doing.
    Last edited by regeron; 12-27-2011 at 12:51 PM. Reason: typo

  7. #7

    Playing from Lead sheets isn't bad for your technique. As you've seen over and over, learn the play legato. A lot of people who play piano are used to using the sustain pedal to cover up a lot of sloppy playing, which you just can't do on the organ.

    Lead sheets are also a good way to help develop improvisation technique. (By the way where I'm from it is often called "fake music") My advice for people playing from lead sheets is to avoid playing triads in the left hand. Playing 1st, 5th in the left and with the 3rd plus melody note in the right hand covers most situations. Depending on the melody line you can sometimes muck around with the bass, using the 3rd or a 7th, as long as you've got the 1st, 3rd and 5th in the whole chord somewhere.

    Get yourself a good hymn book with hymns in 4 parts. Also, spend time looking at baroque and classical music for postludes and such.

    On registration - now it largely depends on the individual instrument you are playing. Don't fall into the trap of sticking with 8" + 4' + 2' diapason or flute chorus. Contrast with Reed or String stops. Another technique in hymn playing is to play the melody line doubled with the left hand an octave lower on say the 3rd of 4th time around (this method doesn't work so well with verse+chorus type hymns) before breaking into full harmony.

  8. #8

    While this is aimed at LDS hymns, it's a good tutorial series for pianists on playing hymns the organ: http://organlessons.blogspot.com/p/list-of-lessons.html

    "Welcome to The LDS Organist Blog"

    "The purpose of this blog is to help pianists learn to become true organists. Many individuals believe that if you play the piano you can play the organ, but the instruments differ greatly. While this blog is specifically geared towards members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, much of the information shared can be utilized by all. I hope that the information I share here will help you become an effective organist in your ward, stake, or other congregation."

    (I stumbled upon it one day while searching for something I don't remember)
    John
    Allen MDS-317 at home / Allen AP-16 at Church / Allen ADC-3100 at the stake center

  9. #9
    Senior Member Clarion's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Toronto
    Posts
    1,617

    Quote Originally Posted by regeron View Post
    . . . legato playing . . . . Learn it, master it, then learn to play measured detachments: as an exercise, play a hymn with all quarter notes - perfectly legato, then play each quarter note as an eighth note followed by an eighth rest, then as a dotted eighth followed by a sixteenth rest, then a sixteenth note followed by a dotted eighth rest, then a triplet rhythm, 2 parts note and one part rest, or vice versa. The point of this is train both your ear and your fingers to control the length of the detachment. At some level, you will also be able to play a legato melody while playing the other parts detached. It's very effective and not as hard as you might think.
    This is what I was so inadequately attempting to describe in my previous post: having stated the importance of learning legato playing; then having to turn around and learn "detached" "non-legato" playing".

    Regeron has provided an excellent tutorial on how to accomplish this method of playing.

    Additionally, I thought it might also be helpful to actually hear what "non-legato" playing sounds like. Here is an excellent example provided by veteran church organist Don Anderson. Note how each of the chords stands out clearly and distinctly on it's own, while at the same time providing a "marching beat" for the congregation/choir to follow/keep-up-with. Listen for those characteristics while listening to this performance:

    http://phoenixorgans.com/audio/praiseMySoul.mp3
    Last edited by Clarion; 12-29-2011 at 02:50 AM.

  10. #10

    Quote Originally Posted by Clarion View Post
    Additionally, I thought it might also be helpful to actually hear what "non-legato" playing sounds like. Here is an excellent example provided by veteran church organist Don Anderson. Note how each of the chords stands out clearly and distinctly on it's own, while at the same time providing a "marching beat" for the congregation/choir to follow/keep-up-with. Listen for those characteristics while listening to this performance:

    http://phoenixorgans.com/audio/praiseMySoul.mp3
    Though some may feel that this is not a particularly good example. Only my opinion, of course, but I don't detect much in the way of consistent use of articulation: the repeated notes are detached, certainly. To my taste, it's too fast and feels hurried. (In the original English Hymnal it was marked as minim [half note] = 80, where there melody was written in minims [half notes] rather than the more usual crotchets [quarter notes] in modern hymn books.) Actually, I think it's normally the gaps between lines that help an organist to keep control, rather than playing that's detached all the way through, although in a very large building that may be necessary for a line or two if there's a large, wayward congregation.

    Personally, and others may disagree, I think it was unwise to add a varied accompaniment for the penultimate verse, when the original composer has written such a good one for the last verse - likely to show up any lack of coherent harmonic shape. Also, are those odd, sudden pauses before the last line in the last two verses helpful to congregational singing, I wonder. (Mind you, I would, in any case, suggest a more accurate performance if we're using it as an exemplar.)

    In answer to the original poster: the most important thing when playing the organ is to listen to what you are playing - it's very easy to play the organ unmusically and phrasing doesn't come naturally in the way it does if you sing or play a melody instrument. Bear in mind that the difference between playing the organ and the piano is that on the piano it's how you play a note that matters, on the organ it's how you lift it.

Similar Threads

  1. Newbie question about M3
    By LeslieLover93 in forum Hammond Organs
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 06-11-2011, 06:00 AM
  2. New M-111 owner, newbie question
    By billgrahammusic in forum Hammond Organs
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 08-09-2008, 04:37 AM
  3. Newbie with question/request
    By Wendol Ross in forum Buy & Sell Hammond and Other Organs Archive
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 02-01-2008, 09:34 PM
  4. Newbie question about Hammonds
    By mwigfall in forum Hammond Organs
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 11-10-2007, 07:49 AM
  5. A Newbie Question
    By Chris B in forum General Chat
    Replies: 14
    Last Post: 10-16-2007, 08:45 AM

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •