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

Monday, March 6, 2017

Organ Practice: Problems of ELECTRONIC ORGANS With Short Pedal Compass

Some organists have electronic organs with one octave pedal board at home which they use for practice. While this idea is very practical, such organists have to face several difficulties with this kind of instrument. In this article, I will discuss what problems arise when an organist has an electronic organ for practice purposes and how these difficulties might be overcome.

エレクトーンSTAGEA ELS-01
STAGEA ELS-01 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
One octave pedal board may be the cause of the back pain, if used incorrectly. It might arise from playing with the right foot in the bottom of the pedal board of such organ. This kind of instrument is mean to be played with the left foot most of the time. And of course not that kind of music with the independent pedal part like most of classical polyphonic organ music. Incidentally, the right foot usually is busy operating the swell pedal and pressing the toe studs where available.

Originally, the electronic organs with the short pedal board were intended either for playing classical transcriptions from popular works or the arrangements of tunes from pop music. In both cases, the texture is rather homophonic with the melody in one hand (usually in the right) and chordal accompaniment in another.

The pedal part in such music is mostly the bass voice which only supports the chords and serves as harmonic foundation. Very seldom it is required to play an independent melodic line in the pedal part of such arrangements. Therefore, one can easily use only the pitches of the available one octave to play the harmonic foundation with or without some rhythmical syncopation.

Contrary to such arrangements, in classical organ music the pedal part is very often independent. The organist is required to use the entire compass of the two-octave pedal board, often playing the higher notes up to treble F. Naturally, performance of most of organ music on electronic organs with one octave pedal board is quite challenging.

The solution for this problem is rather simple. The organist could try to extend the short pedal board by attaching a wooden board with similar dimensions as the pedal board. One can go even further and draw the rest of the notes on this wooden board. This way it is possible to pretend and imagine the full pedal board very easily (and avoid dangerous tension in the back).

Some organists try to compensate the short compass of the pedal board by lowering the pedal part in various places of the music score. This is a possible solution to the problem but is rather inconvenient and might cause some frustration. Instead, it is probably better to extend the pedals with a wooden board.

If you will continue playing pedals on your electronic organ, it is best if you avoid playing with the right foot on the extreme left side of the pedal board while practicing. This may mean adjusting the pedaling when necessary. In addition, use the idea of extending your pedals. Otherwise, you could try to get some practice time in churches that have organs with pedals of at least two octaves in compass in your area.

    By Vidas Pinkevicius
    By the way, do you want to learn to play the King of Instruments - the pipe organ? If so, download my FREE video guide "How to Master Any Organ Composition" in which I will show you my EXACT steps, techniques, and methods that I use to practice, learn and master any piece of organ music.
    Article Source: EzineArticles

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

ORGAN MUSIC: About Piece Heroique by CESAR FRANCK

Français : « Monument à César Franck » 1891, s...
« Monument à César Franck » 1891
(Photo credit: 
Cesar Franck (1822 - 1890) was the composer, organist, and pedagogue of Belgian and German descent who lived in France. He is considered as one of the most influential figures of the late Romantic period in the second half of the 19th century. In 1858, he became the organist of the famous Basilica of Saint Clotilde where he worked until his death.

The first compositions of this composer were published only in 1868 when he was 46 years old. From 1872 until his death Franck was professor of organ at the Paris Conservatoire. Among the most famous of his students are Vincent d'Indy, Ernest Chausson, Louis Vierne and Henri Duparc.
As an organist, Franck was mostly appreciated because of his notorious improvisational talent. Although he wrote only 12 major organ works, Franck is considered by many as the most important organ composer after J.S.Bach. His compositions layed the foundation of the French symphonic organ style. Among his organ compositions perhaps the most influential was Grande Piece Symphonique, which paved the way to the organ symphonies of Charles-Marie Widor, Louis Vierne, and Marcel Dupré.

Piece heroique, M. 37 was composed for the organ of the concert hall of Trocadero. For this reason it is not a religious composition. It continues the tradition of Beethoven, Berlioz, and other Romantic composers. Two major thematically contrasting ideas dominate the piece: the first is written in minor (the heroic theme) and the other is in major (lyrical theme).

At the beginning of the work, these two themes are presented one after the other. In the middle of the piece, these two different ideas have a musical fight. Franck develops the themes and reveals their true melodic, rhythmic, and harmonic potential. At the last major episode, or Recapitulation, both themes are brought back, only this time the second theme becomes a triumphant and is performed with a Tutti registration.

Because of the clash of the two themes, this composition has many similarities with the Sonata form. However, in a classical sonata concept, at the exposition the second theme is presented in a secondary key, usually in the Dominant (or in the relative major). It is important to point out that both themes here first appear in the Tonic key of B minor.

Nevertheless, Piece heroique fascinates listeners and organists because of its chromatic harmonic language, sudden modulations which explore the range of major-minor scale, and very balanced form.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

KEYBOARD INSTRUMENTS - Organs, Harpsichords, Pianos, Keyboards & Synthesizers

Even non-musicians are familiar with keyboard instruments. Few people reach adulthood without having had at least one opportunity to bang on a keyboard of some type. However, many people (including musicians) aren't aware of the history behind keyboard instruments. Their evolution is both fascinating and surprising.

Keyboard instrument in the Musical Instrument ...
Giovanni Battista Boni, Cortona, 1619 - clavecin. 

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Many people mistakenly believe that the harpsichord was the earliest keyboard instrument. Harpsichords were undoubtedly a precursor to the piano. However, the pipe organ actually predates the harpsichord by some 1100 years. In fact, the pipe organ was the only keyboard instrument until the invention of the clavichord and the harpsichord.

The earliest pipe organs were massive structures. Upon their emergence, few companies actually made pipe organs. Even fewer people were trained to install and repair them. Their size and complexity made them difficult to work with, although the sound they produced was magnificent. Pipe organs often contained multiple keyboards to operate the many pipes and produce the rich sounds that the instrument is associated with. Naturally, this was not the type of instrument that the average person played at home. Most pipe organs were located in churches and concert halls.

Eventually, more compact versions were invented. Pipe organs evolved into regular organs, which most people of today are familiar with. They were more easily afforded by smaller parishes and even private owners. They were also much more compact and easier to repair.

Keyboard instrument in the Musical Instrument ...
Various keyboard instruments (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The clavichord entered the scene in the early 15th century. It first emerged as a "practice instrument." Since not all musicians could afford or had easy access to an organ, the clavichord became a convenient alternative. It provided organists a means for practicing at home without having to go to a church or other location to find an organ. Clavichords were smaller than today's piano and may be compared to today's smaller keyboard synthesizers, minus the need for electricity.

It was likely very shortly after that the harpsichord was invented. The harpsichord more closely resembled today's piano. This may be part of the reason that people believe the harpsichord was the first keyboard instrument. Modern pianos are based on a very similar design to its predecessors. Harpsichords, however, were much smaller (though larger than the clavichord). The harpsichord had many variations that operated on the same basic musical principles. Some of these include the virginal, the spinet and the clavicytherium.

Keyboard instrument in the Musical Instrument ...
Hieronymus Albrecht Hass, Hamburg, 1734 - clavecin.
 (Photo credit: 
Like music trends always do, the harpsichord fell out of fashion upon the advent of the piano. The piano, though usually a bit larger, produced a cleaner sound. Harpsichords became all but obsolete within just a few decades. Ironically, harpsichords have come back into fashion in recent years because of their unique and distinctive sound. They are often heard as part of the backup for many contemporary songs, though relatively few people actually own a genuine harpsichord.

The piano is by far the most common keyboard instrument today. They are found in nearly every school and church in North America, as well as in millions of private homes. Most every music student has at least some piano training. They are one of the easiest instruments to learn to play and provide a good musical basis for learning other instruments.

Of course, with an electronics-loving society came the natural evolution of the piano to a plug-in version. These are commonly referred to as synthesizers. Aside from the obvious difference from the piano in the requirement of electricity, synthesizers are capable of mimicking many different instruments. Even the most rudimentary of synthesizers usually have several different instrument modes. The more complex the machine, the more sounds it is able to reproduce. More expensive models are extremely complex and technical. Their technology is of such quality that it can be difficult to distinguish their sound from the actual instrument they are mimicking.

New advances in technology, especially in computers, are being made every year. How this will affect the further evolution of keyboard instruments remains to be seen. It appears, though, that the good old fashioned piano is here to stay for awhile.

    Duane Shinn is the author of the popular online newsletter on piano chords, available free at Exciting Piano Chords & Chord Progressions! []
    Article Source: EzineArticles