Showing posts with label Organ Pedal. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Organ Pedal. Show all posts

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

What Is the Secret to a Good ORGAN PEDAL Technique?

English: A 30-note pedalboard of a Rieger organ.
A 30-note pedalboard of a Rieger organ. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Playing organ pedals can be a challenging task. All these fast-moving passages with our feet can give the organist much trouble and it can be frustrating to learn difficult pedal lines. However, there is one secret to overcome challenging pedal parts and develop a superb pedal technique.

Perhaps the most famous organist of the 20th century, the Frenchman Marcel Dupre once wrote that the secret to the perfect pedal technique is the flexibility of an ankle. Here I would like to tell you a little story about Dupre when he was a teenager. This story is, of course, related to pedal technique, as you will see.

In his youth, Dupre used to practice a lot on the piano. In fact, the very first piano pieces that he learned was a collection called "Musical ABC". It consisted of as many little pieces as there are letters in the alphabet. So Dupre learned them all during one summer.

When he started to play the organ, one time he cut one of his wrists on the broken glass. The cut was quite dangerous - only millimeters away from the main nerves of the hand. So for some months, he could not play the organ with his hands. Did he give it up? No, he started practicing the pedal playing. In fact, he was so furious that he could not play with his hands and as he wrote later, he started playing the pedals with vengeance.

By the way, all these months he practiced pedal scales and arpeggios. He became so good at them that he could play any musical passage with his feet on the pedals. Later in his life, he even published a collection of all major and minor scales and arpeggios as a help for organists to perfect their pedal technique.

Of course, we all know about how good are scales and arpeggios for our finger technique. Some people practice them regularly. However, pedal scales are underused, and not too many organists know their real value: they help to achieve the flexibility of an ankle.

No wonder why organists of the French school develop an unbeatable pedal technique. We all have heard of French women organists playing with an incredibly high heels unbelievably hard pedal line with ease and elegance. This is how they achieve that level of mastery: they practice pedal scales.
So this is the secret how to achieve a perfect pedal technique: practice pedal scales and arpeggios regularly and you will have no difficulty with your challenging pedal parts.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

ORGAN PEDAL Playing: Is It Better To Play With Organist Shoes Or With Socks?

Church Organ Pedal - Photo: Pixabay
Have you experienced problems playing the organ with organist shoes? Is it easier for you to play with socks on? In this article, I will give you tips and advice on how to overcome this challenge.

It seems to me the following issue is making the difficulty in playing with the shoes the pedals for you.

You are used to playing without shoes. Socks are more sensitive and therefore you might think it is better without shoes but when it comes to playing with heels, you really need shoes.

Although the sole of the organist shoes is not thick but comparing to the socks, you still run into problems feeling the surface of the pedalboard. In other words, when you have to press the pedal, it is actually easier to feel it without the shoes on.

However, organ pedal technique consists of using both toes and heels (at least in modern legato organ school). Therefore, using heels is a lot easier by playing with organist shoes.

Technically speaking, the higher the heel of the shoe, the less motion you have to do from your ankles. I have seen great French ladies organists play impeccably on the pedals with high heels.

Of course, the accuracy comes from correct practice but for most people, the heels should be around 3 centimetres or 1.2 inches.

If you are experiencing problems playing with organist shoes, start practising with your organ shoes on any organ regularly (at home, on your teacher's organ or at church). Don't worry at all about the mistakes. They have to occur since you are not used to playing with shoes.

Be persistent and you will discover gradual improvement over time. When you make a mistake, go back a few measures, correct it and play fluently at least 3 times in a row very slowly. Also, make use of pedal preparation technique which will automate your pedal playing.

    By Vidas Pinkevicius

    By the way, do you want to learn my special powerful techniques which help me to master any piece of organ music up to 10 times faster? If so, download my free Organ Practice Guide.

    Or if you really want to learn to play any organ composition at sight fluently and without mistakes while working only 15 minutes a day, check out my systematic master course in Organ Sight-Reading.

    Article Source: EzineArticles