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Thread: New Organist - Coordinating Right and Pedal Easier Than Left and Pedal

  1. #11
    pp Pianissimo Steve Freides's Avatar
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    I can already do some things on the pedals without looking - this just isn't going to be at the top of my priorities list for a while.

    @andijah, yes, that's true of many things, musical and otherwise - don't run away, take your time, and it'll all sort itself out. That's what I'm doing with my pedaling - I stuck with that little exercise yesterday until I could play it 3 times in a row without mistakes at the indicated tempo. It just took me a while but I got there, and I'll be doing it again today.

    -S-

  2. #12
    mp Mezzo-Piano rjsilva's Avatar
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    Since learning organ was something I did later in life (I'm firstly a pianist), I can relate to the mental strain it was to play notes with hands and feet, and moreso with the left hand.

    This puzzled me a bit because I would say my pedalling at the piano is more sophisticated in terms of limb/digit independence than playing notes on the organ with the feet. But nonetheless, when I first started reading hymns and simple exercises it was like trudging through thick mud. It was mentally painful.

    As others have said, keep practising. But do it with specific intent, addressing specific difficulties you have. I found 'Master Studies for the Organ' by William Cary to be very helpful (where it begins the hands and feet together studies), as it starts out very basic and increases in difficulty with deliberate intent with a specific goal in mind.

    Eventually you'll get to the point where you don't even really think about your feet, but that requires laying some foundation of habit. For instance, immediately knowing what feet you'd use in a particular passage without consciously thinking about it. That takes time and practise. If you keep at it, in no time you'll be playing the Bach Trio Sonatas

    I personally don't think it matters too much if you look down at the pedals sometimes. Some people say the same thing about hands on the piano and I think it's silly. There's no gain to never looking, although there is gain in not 'having' to look, so you should aim for that.

  3. #13
    pp Pianissimo Steve Freides's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rjsilva View Post
    Since learning organ was something I did later in life (I'm firstly a pianist), I can relate to the mental strain it was to play notes with hands and feet, and moreso with the left hand.
    I can certainly relate. I learned the piano only beginning in college, having grown up playing the guitar. Piano is still not 100% natural to me although that aspect improves with each passing year. (If I live to be 300 years old, I'll be great.)

    Quote Originally Posted by rjsilva View Post
    I found 'Master Studies for the Organ' by William Cary to be very helpful (where it begins the hands and feet together studies), as it starts out very basic and increases in difficulty with deliberate intent with a specific goal in mind.
    I find a book of this title authored by William Carl - is that the one you mean? I also find it again co-edited by William Carl and Willard Nevins - same book in a different edition, perhaps? (I'm looking on amazon by searching "master studies for the organ".)

    Quote Originally Posted by rjsilva View Post
    I personally don't think it matters too much if you look down at the pedals sometimes. Some people say the same thing about hands on the piano and I think it's silly. There's no gain to never looking, although there is gain in not 'having' to look, so you should aim for that.
    Well said and I agree completely. At both instruments, I sometimes find myself looking when I don't really need to, and a few minutes of being mindful of that fact means I'm looking hardly at all.

    -S-

    - - - Updated - - -

    Upon further investigation, these seem to be the same thing, a 1938 edition written by Carl and edited by the other person. I just ordered a new-old-stock copy from amazon - thanks for the suggestion.

    -S-

  4. #14
    mp Mezzo-Piano rjsilva's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Freides View Post
    I I find a book of this title authored by William Carl - is that the one you mean?

    ..

    Upon further investigation, these seem to be the same thing, a 1938 edition written by Carl and edited by the other person. I just ordered a new-old-stock copy from amazon - thanks for the suggestion.

    -S-
    Yes, it's Carl. Sorry about that Hope you find it as useful as I did.

  5. #15
    Moderator myorgan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Piperdane View Post
    Another technique he used was to affix a large towel to the choir manual and attach that to me waist. This prevented me from looking down for the right notes, and I learned by feel and to this day (without looking) while situated at the console I can play any note on the pedalboard that is called out to me.
    Piperdane,

    This is a great idea, however there are drawbacks. If you then go to a non-standard pedalboard, or an historic organ (i.e. straight, flat pedalboard, etc.), are you able to move freely between organs, or does the urge to go where the standard pedalboard directs you?

    I still haven't gotten over playing a local organ for a hymn festival, and the pedalboard was straight, flat, and off to one side by one note. That experience caused me to want to play on as many non-standard organs as possible, so I can expand my skills.

    Michael
    Way too many organs to list, but I do have 4 Allens:
    • MOS-2 Model 505-B / ADC-4300-DK / ADC-5400 / ADC-6000 (Symphony)
    • Lowrey Heritage (DSO-1)
    • 9 Pump Organs, 1 Pipe Organ & 4 Pianos

  6. #16

    Quote Originally Posted by myorgan View Post
    Piperdane,

    This is a great idea, however there are drawbacks. If you then go to a non-standard pedalboard, or an historic organ (i.e. straight, flat pedalboard, etc.), are you able to move freely between organs, or does the urge to go where the standard pedalboard directs you?

    I still haven't gotten over playing a local organ for a hymn festival, and the pedalboard was straight, flat, and off to one side by one note. That experience caused me to want to play on as many non-standard organs as possible, so I can expand my skills.

    Michael
    It's really important to learn to play the pedals without looking at your feet. Later on you may look occasionally - I usually do in a pedal solo.
    It's being able to feel the black notes with the side of the foot that gives confidence on a non-standard pedal board.

    I can usually manage, but I must admit to being stumped recently when playing for a wedding in a local church: the bottom note on the pedals was low GG not C and I couldn't cope with it - I couldn't orientate myself and there was no pedal light. Had to play with manuals only.

  7. #17
    Moderator myorgan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peterboroughdiapason View Post
    I can usually manage, but I must admit to being stumped recently when playing for a wedding in a local church: the bottom note on the pedals was low GG not C and I couldn't cope with it - I couldn't orientate myself and there was no pedal light.
    Now, that would be a feat (no pun intended)! I just played a piano tonight that has moved 3 times in the last 3 days, and that was disconcerting enough. Imagine if they lengthened the keyboard! Kudos.

    Michael
    Way too many organs to list, but I do have 4 Allens:
    • MOS-2 Model 505-B / ADC-4300-DK / ADC-5400 / ADC-6000 (Symphony)
    • Lowrey Heritage (DSO-1)
    • 9 Pump Organs, 1 Pipe Organ & 4 Pianos

  8. #18
    ppp Pianississmo Piperdane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by myorgan View Post
    Piperdane,

    This is a great idea, however there are drawbacks. If you then go to a non-standard pedalboard, or an historic organ (i.e. straight, flat pedalboard, etc.), are you able to move freely between organs, or does the urge to go where the standard pedalboard directs you?
    For the most part I play on AGO standard consoles here in the US. When I have traveled to Europe it was a steep learning curve especially on the flat pedalboard. One instance was for a concert I played on a Frobenius organ in Denmark with the flat pedalboard and only 30 notes. The sharps at the extremities of the pedalboard were longer than those in the middle. On US AGO standard consoles all sharps are the same length.

    When I returned to the US I had to re-learn the intervals between the pedals all over again.

  9. #19
    p Piano andijah's Avatar
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    "only" 30 notes? In smaller churches (and sometimes even in larger ones), 27-note-pedalboards are still very common. And most organs have flat pedalboards.
    When I started playing the organ again after many years of concentrating on other instruments, getting used to different pedalboards was the hardest thing. But the better I got on my "standard" organ, the easier I found adjusting to other organs and their pedalboards.
    Although I must admit I haven't played on an AGO standard console. Yet.

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