PipeChat Digest #921 - Tuesday, June 15, 1999
 
Improvisation - - - How to's  (long)
  by "Mark Huth" <mhuth@rodgers.rain.com>
radio program and THANKS!
  by "John Vanderlee" <jovanderlee@vassar.edu>
Re: church musician as servant
  by <dougcampbell@juno.com>
pictures of the 1910 Casavant
  by "Carlo Pietroniro" <concert_organist@hotmail.com>
Re: church musician as servant
  by <Icorgan@aol.com>
Re: church musician as servant
  by "bruce cornely" <rohrschok8@webtv.net>
Re: church musician as servant
  by "bruce cornely" <rohrschok8@webtv.net>
Re: Curious about improvisation...
  by "John  M. Doney" <jdoney@email.msn.com>
CONSOLE AVAILABLE -- ACT FAST!!
  by "Tim Bovard" <tmbovard@arkansas.net>
Re: learning improvisation...
  by "N Brown" <Innkawgneeto@webtv.net>
Re: "Frozen Chosen" vs. "Happy Clappy"
  by "N Brown" <Innkawgneeto@webtv.net>
Re: Curious about improvisation...
  by "N Brown" <Innkawgneeto@webtv.net>
Re: Few!
  by "N Brown" <Innkawgneeto@webtv.net>
Re: church musician as servant
  by "N Brown" <Innkawgneeto@webtv.net>
Re: musician as servent
  by "N Brown" <Innkawgneeto@webtv.net>
Re: Few!
  by "John  M. Doney" <jdoney@email.msn.com>
Re: church musician as servant
  by "N Brown" <Innkawgneeto@webtv.net>
Re: Few!
  by "N Brown" <Innkawgneeto@webtv.net>
Re: Re: Hauptwerk, Floetenwerk
  by <flcg1018@mails.fju.edu.tw>
Re: church musician as servant
  by "Rod Murrow" <murrows@pldi.net>
Re: church musician as servant
  by "N Brown" <Innkawgneeto@webtv.net>
Re: church musician as servant
  by "ray ahrens" <ray_ahrens@hotmail.com>
Re: church musician as servant
  by "ray ahrens" <ray_ahrens@hotmail.com>
Re: church musician as servant
  by "N Brown" <Innkawgneeto@webtv.net>
 


(back) Subject: Improvisation - - - How to's (long) From: "Mark Huth" <mhuth@rodgers.rain.com> Date: Mon, 14 Jun 1999 15:57:58 PST       I've read the recent postings regarding improvisation with interest, as this is a subject near and dear to my heart. It was not that many years ago that I considered myself to be unable to improvise whatsoever; while I =   could read music quite easily, I felt completely handcuffed when I tried to improvise anything.   When I'd talk to people who had a gift for improvisation (and/or had developed it over time) they would often try to start me out at a very high level, causing me to be more and more frustrated by my lack of skill. =   Many times, I'd feel that their advice and instruction was intended to display their talent, NOT give me some pointers. I'd typically walk away from those "lessons" thinking I'd never be able to improvise.   However, while I'm a long ways away from requesting a motif from an audience for a concert improvisation, I've been able to develop a very solid foundation for service improvisation through a long, slow progression. Others have posted some great ideas for starting down this path; I'd like to offer my suggestions as well.   The first thing I'd suggest (as has already been offered by Bruce and others) is that you simply must DO it! Learning to improvise is frustrating at first, however, you have to keep working through it and learn from the process in order to make steps forward.   I found that a strong knowledge of chordal harmonies is invaluable. Most of us remember what a C major, F major and G major chord are, however, fewer people know the relationship between them. For example, in the key of C major, a C major chord is called the I ("one") chord, F major is called the IV ("four") chord and G major is called the V ("five") chord. This relationship can be see this way:     G A B C D E F G E F G A B C D E <---triad chords C D E F G A B C   I ii iii IV V vi vii(o) I C Dm Em F G Am B(o) C <---common chord names   (capital roman numerals designates a major triad, lower case a minor triad. the "(o)" designation is for a diminshed chord. BTW, a triad chord is simply a three-note chord).   If this isn't quite clear to you reading the email, sit down at a keyboard =   and play these chords - - - you will see that a I triad as spelled above will start with the lowest note on the first note of the scale; likewise, the ii chord will have the second note of the scale as the root; the iii the third and so on.   Notice, now, what happens in the key of F major . . .     C D E F G A Bb C A Bb C D E F G A F G A Bb C D E F   I ii iii IV V vi vii(o) I F Gm Am Bb C Dm E(o) F   Notice that, in the key of F major, the F major chord is the I, the Bb major is the IV and C major is the V.   So, why is this important? This is important because the relationship of chords within a key center is critically important to improvisation. And, =   there are standard progressions which occur in music which can be the basis for your improvisation.   For example, play the following progression in C major:   I IV V I   or,   C major, F major, G major, C major   You should hear a harmonic progression which, frankly, is the backbone of nearly half the popular songs in the past 100 years (or more). And, you can use this progression in your improvisation.   I loved Bruce's exercise of learning "Happy Birthday!" in all keys, major and minor. Once you have this in hand, try putting chords with the = melody.   A common progression for the well known "major" melody is:   Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you, I V V I     Happy Birthday dear ****, Happy Birthday to you. I IV I V I     Before you attempt to play this in a new key, you'll need to figure out what the I, IV and V chords are. It may take awhile, but you can become very well acquainted with all keys in a matter of time.   Once you do, you can use progression like I, IV, V, I or the one listed for Happy Birthday! as the backbone for improvisation. Of course, there are countless variations to choose from.   Perhaps you want to add a minor chord to the first progression:   I, IV, ii, V, I   (You'll hear that the ii chord sets up the V chord really nicely).   Again, it's a good idea to familiarize yourself with these chords in all keys.   Once you're tired of "Happy Birthday!", try using Amazing Grace. Start in =   the key of F major, without a hymnal. First, work out the melody in single notes. Then, reacquaint yourself with the I, IV and V chords for the key of F major, and then use them in your left hand to harmonize the melody. You can even use pedals, if you like, to play the root of the chord.   Once you're pretty comfortable with that, do the same thing, step by step, =   in the key of G major. It should take you some time, but not as much as the key of F major, since you've been through it before. Continue on learning it in the more common keys - - - D major, A major, Bb major, E major, etc.   You'll find it gets easier and easier to remember the I, IV, V relationship in each new key as time goes on. Also, you'll start to notice these relationships in other pieces of music. For example, you may =   play "Praise to the Lord, the Almighty!" one Sunday and notice the chords (I, IV, V, ii, etc.) popping out at you - - - suddenly, you see and hear the relationship of these chords to other hymns.   This WILL happen if you stay at it. And, when it does - - - your whole world starts to open up. You'll be able to see how composers use these basic chords, and you'll start thinking about things harmonically, hearing =   and seeing the chords at work.   Once this happens, playing something in a remote key becomes much easier. =   If you can hear when a composer uses a I, ii, V and vi chord in a hymn, for example, you can transpose that hymn to any key for which you know those chords (and, after time, they become second nature).   But, what about improvising your own music rather than just transposing music to other keys using chords? That can happen along the way, as well. =   In working with hymns and "Happy Birthday!", you'll get a sense of how solid progressions work (which chords follow other chords - - - what options are open to you). You can also work out your own progressions.   Start by playing chords slowly, and find a progression which works well for you. It may be a very simple repetitive pattern, like alternating I and IV chords forever while holding a single pedal note (the fifth scale degree). Or, it may be something more involved.   Or, finally, you can analyze a simple hymn and see what chords are used and how often they change. Then, play through the hymn, playing only the chords, nothing else. Write the chords in the hymnal if you need to. Once you're comfortable with this, play the chords with your left hand and =   the pedals and improvise a melody with your right hand.   This part may take a lot of patience, so go slowly and don't get discouraged. You'll see progress if you stick with it. Try all kinds of things in your melody - - - use steps up and down the scale, jump up or down a third, fourth, sixth, whatever. Just experiment and know you're creating a new piece all on your own. Be creative and, as Bruce said, realize you're not hurting anything - -- you're learning.   Don't worry if something sounds strange or you miss the Bb in the key of F =   every once in awhile, just stay with it. And, you'll find it becoming easier and easier. And, someday, you'll find yourself improvising a few extra seconds while communion finishes up, because you know the chords used in the hymn and can make up a simple melody to go along with it.   Next, in time, you may decide to improvise an interlude before the last verse of a hymn, using the harmony of the last two lines, but playing a completely different melody.   It's only the beginning and, once you start down this road, you'll find yourself doing things you never dreamed of, including little fugues, all manner of transpositions, special hymn introductions, interludes between two different hymns - - - the sky is the limit.   The key is to start learning the chordal relationships and stick with it. =   I'm a product of this and swear that it's possible for anyone to learn if they want to. Please feel free to contact me either on or off list if you =   have any questions or want other exercises or ideas to play with.   Mark       Mark Huth Rodgers Instruments, LLC mhuth@rodgers.rain.com http://www.rodgersinstruments.com   =3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D= =3D   Basic pilot training: Keep pointy end forward.    
(back) Subject: radio program and THANKS! From: John Vanderlee <jovanderlee@vassar.edu> Date: Mon, 14 Jun 1999 19:04:04 -0500   Dear Listers,   I want to express my appreciation for all the responses I have gotten regarding naming the radio program.   It seemed that the overwhelming number had "Pipes" worked into them, so I took that as a hint. At the same time I wanted some programming latitude that would allow me to include some significant electronic stuff from time to time, althought most programs would be 100% pipes.   So it became "Pipes 'n Pizazz!" I ran my first show on Friday and all = went well except for a few technical errors due to the ancient sound mixer they're still using! (and some of my inattentiveness) However I will be primed for the next one. My slot has been changed to 12 noon to 1 pm, Local people please note! I hope it stays there for awhile.   On the subject of thanks I also think it's time to thank everyone that responded to so many of the other question I have posted. This a great resource!!   And a great source of entertainment. :-)   Let's keep the world ORGAN-ized!! (Now I'll duck under my desk to avoid getting hit by flying objects)   John V   WVKR Independent Radio 91.3 FM in Poughkeepsie      
(back) Subject: Re: church musician as servant From: dougcampbell@juno.com Date: Mon, 14 Jun 1999 18:30:09 -0400       On Mon, 14 Jun 1999 22:50:48 +0100 "Mark Checkley" <xcs53@dial.pipex.com> writes: >Well it depends, doesn't it, on the terms of reference. > >If the Director(s) of Music, PhD, MMus or whatever, is/are employed >as a FUNCTIONARIES to DO AS THEY ARE TOLD and >PLAY WHAT THEY ARE TOLD TO PLAY then the position >of the Minister is entirely reasonable. > >If, on the other hand, they were employed with a clear mandate >as leaders of the musical life of the Church, then the Minister >is out of order in even getting involved in this matter before >the "final decision" stage. > >Mark Checkley. That, of course, is the $ 64,000 Question! It is a Presbyterian Church - the minister does NOT have dictatorial powers.     Douglas A. Campbell Skaneateles, NY     ___________________________________________________________________ Get the Internet just the way you want it. Free software, free e-mail, and free Internet access for a month! Try Juno Web: http://dl.www.juno.com/dynoget/tagj.  
(back) Subject: pictures of the 1910 Casavant From: Carlo Pietroniro <concert_organist@hotmail.com> Date: Mon, 14 Jun 1999 19:48:27 EDT   Howdy,   I have the pics of the 1910 Casavant at Notre Dame de Bonsecours. Some of the console without the pedals, some with the new pedalboard, some of the pipes (taken from the loft), some of the pipes (taken from the floor of the chapel), and even some of me playing it. = Anyone wanting to see them is asked to e-mail (directly) me and put my first name =   in the header, that way I'll know to reply with the attachments. Thanks.   Carlo     ______________________________________________________ Get Your Private, Free Email at http://www.hotmail.com  
(back) Subject: Re: church musician as servant From: Icorgan@aol.com Date: Mon, 14 Jun 1999 21:19:30 EDT   In a message dated 6/14/99 12:56:04 AM Central Daylight Time, budchris@earthlink.net writes:   << At Holy Trinity in Ocean Beach, the Senior Warden used to threaten to beat me up if I didn't resign. >> I feel your pain, although yours may be worse than mine. Once again, I = feel validated (you should pardon the expression) when I say the only thing you =   can say for sure about christians is they won't act like it. Maynard A cynical church organist  
(back) Subject: Re: church musician as servant From: rohrschok8@webtv.net (bruce cornely) Date: Mon, 14 Jun 1999 21:34:54 -0400 (EDT)   Sounds like a nice situation. Can you share some more info about the village church: buildings, organ, etc? Wish I could afford to be a volunteer. The ones I've worked with for the past couple of years have gotten away with bloody hell, simply because they are volunteers and have an "I'm a volunteer, so stuff it" attitude. Fortunately not all share it!   Bruce & the Baskerbeagles ~~+~~+~~ rohrschok8@webtv.net ~~+~~+~~   Barking dogs don't bite, but they themselves don't know it. -- Shalom Aleichem    
(back) Subject: Re: church musician as servant From: rohrschok8@webtv.net (bruce cornely) Date: Mon, 14 Jun 1999 21:36:57 -0400 (EDT)     >Gemma is not spayed, but she's very obedient > and FAR more intelligent than most Clergy. Oh, the poor thing! Is she able to walk, feed herself, control bodily functions, etc???? ;-)   Bruce & the Baskerbeagles ~~+~~+~~ rohrschok8@webtv.net ~~+~~+~~   Barking dogs don't bite, but they themselves don't know it. -- Shalom Aleichem    
(back) Subject: Re: Curious about improvisation... From: "John M. Doney" <jdoney@email.msn.com> Date: Mon, 14 Jun 1999 22:04:25 -0000   I recommended to a student to play through all the hymns in the book. Get = a feel for harmonic progressions. Play the first half of the first line and then make up a second half using the note values of the real second half. Use a melody hymnal and try playing chords to accompany the melody notes. Learn cadences - endings. Maybe harmonize the first note in each measure, maybe then the first and 3rd beats (of a 4/4). Do it regularly at each practice session. Start learning to memorize - try playing the doxology, melody only from memory. Try adding the chords that you remember - forget the rest. On some organ piece, memorize one measure, then try two = measures.   Then come back for some more (grin).   JOHN          
(back) Subject: CONSOLE AVAILABLE -- ACT FAST!! From: Tim Bovard <tmbovard@arkansas.net> Date: Mon, 14 Jun 1999 21:06:31 -0500   Greetings, Listers!   As of this morning, the old organ is being dismantled to make way for the new one. If anyone is interested in this console, please email privately >>ASAP<< with an offer -- before the church throws it away. (literally!) Time IS of the essence -- they won't keep it around long.   2m Moller pneumatic console. (1968) Off white/golden oak finish in excellent shape. AGO pedalbd and bench w/backrest. Tilting tab stop controls: 5 ped, 13 Sw, 13 Gt. Pistons: 4 each division, 4 Generals. SW and CRESC pedals. Lucite music rack. Controlled 10 rks of pipes. Located in Batesville, Arkansas.   No storage or shipping available, (from me, anyway...) as the console remains the property of the church. It is my hope that SOMEBODY might be able to use the thing, and if so, I will be happy to help make the proper 'connections'.   A few other odd pieces might also be available:   -- Pneu. swell motors (indiv. bag type -- about 2 dozen) -- 21 note EP chime action (no tubes) -- 61 note EP offset reed chest (NOT Moller; builder unknown)   Everything else is either being reused, or not worth reusing.   Cheers!   Tim (the packrat that's running out of space to keep things)        
(back) Subject: Re: learning improvisation... From: Innkawgneeto@webtv.net (N Brown) Date: Mon, 14 Jun 1999 22:39:25 -0400 (EDT)   A new t-shirt would be nice, too, Tom. Haven't been there, haven't done that yet. --Neil    
(back) Subject: Re: "Frozen Chosen" vs. "Happy Clappy" From: Innkawgneeto@webtv.net (N Brown) Date: Mon, 14 Jun 1999 22:44:04 -0400 (EDT)   Please remember, dear friends: "Happy Clappy" is real church to the happy clappy crowd. --Neil    
(back) Subject: Re: Curious about improvisation... From: Innkawgneeto@webtv.net (N Brown) Date: Mon, 14 Jun 1999 22:50:14 -0400 (EDT)   John, sir, as my dad is fond of saying, "Can't never could!" --Neil    
(back) Subject: Re: Few! From: Innkawgneeto@webtv.net (N Brown) Date: Mon, 14 Jun 1999 23:02:29 -0400 (EDT)   Richard, Rule #876: Always eat normal food before a performance (you may have). Keep your meal light, so your body doesn't have to work at 2 things at once: digestion AND performance. Don't forget to drink LOTS of water before, during, and after a service or performance (I keep a mug full of water at every service--it doesn't stay full thru the service mind you). Sounds like you did swell. --Uncle Neil    
(back) Subject: Re: church musician as servant From: Innkawgneeto@webtv.net (N Brown) Date: Mon, 14 Jun 1999 23:06:24 -0400 (EDT)   >>You play hymns don't you? Then you are leading the congregation (& choir), let them try doing it without you leading them, or even worse let them lead you and you will probably grind to a halt half way through the 2nd verse!!<<   Good point, Richard!! Glad someone said it instead of me. If you're paid, you're a leader, period. --Neil    
(back) Subject: Re: musician as servent From: Innkawgneeto@webtv.net (N Brown) Date: Mon, 14 Jun 1999 23:16:41 -0400 (EDT)   Rick, your point would be valid in any other "profession." But church music is a chosen profession (meaning we are chosen), a calling, regardless of whether it's full time, part time, voluntary, liddy leftfoot, ricky rightfoot. The delightful Chorister's Prayer says it all. We should be striving to become what we sing about. In the contemporary field (please read on, don't flame me yet), several of the BIGNAME artists have lost their credibility because of their "private" lives. Church music--Christian music--demands of the performer/organist/singer/whatever a certain level of integrity about it and them. Or it should. This does not mean we always hit the mark. Heavens no! I miss it constantly. But that is what God's forgiveness takes care of. If music weren't so blasted spiritual, so intensely personal, so intertwined with our very existence (I believe man/woman must sing something), it wouldn't matter. I shall now descend from my soapbox. Having said ALL that, I do think that more people should keep more of their private lives "private." But that is another thread. --Neil      
(back) Subject: Re: Few! From: "John M. Doney" <jdoney@email.msn.com> Date: Mon, 14 Jun 1999 23:21:40 -0000   <<. Don't forget to drink LOTS of water before, during, and after a service or performance (I keep a mug full of water at every service--it doesn't stay full thru the service mind you). Sounds like you did swell. --Uncle Neil>>   And don't forget to locate the quickest route to the nearest bathroom.   JOHN          
(back) Subject: Re: church musician as servant From: Innkawgneeto@webtv.net (N Brown) Date: Mon, 14 Jun 1999 23:33:56 -0400 (EDT)   If, in a new position, I am following a person that has been there a while (this post and the one before last, the person was there 18 years each), I can feel fairly certain I'll have a good relationship with all involved. They are not a throw-away church. Revolving musicians spells danger (why are the SAME positions recurring in TAO every 18 months or so for the last 5 years? I'd stay away if I were you.) If the pastor has been there under 5 years, regardless of denom, I can expect to have some difficulties as the pastor is still establishing his leadership. Not necessarily job threatening difficulties, mind you, but some rough spots nonetheless. Thought I'd share from real-life experience. --Neil    
(back) Subject: Re: Few! From: Innkawgneeto@webtv.net (N Brown) Date: Mon, 14 Jun 1999 23:40:12 -0400 (EDT)   Mr. Doney, I was going to say, Relieve oneself immediately before entering the organ loft, but I didn't think it would be proper. But it is an important rule nonetheless. Ooops, I said it, didn't I?    
(back) Subject: Re: Re: Hauptwerk, Floetenwerk From: flcg1018@mails.fju.edu.tw Date: Tue, 15 Jun 1999 10:58:25 +0800 (CST)   May I ask for a further clarification?     In the "old" days an organist was expected to play some music during communion.... with the stoplist as it stands, what registrations (and pieces) would you suggest?     I too found the stoplist of interest.... if you had the money or space for three or four registers to add a bit of a "romantic" sound to the organ, what registers would you add?   For example on the Great, I would like a silvery soft diapason.... (but not a rank sounding like a "vile" Viole d'orchestre or a typical Moller "vile" strident Salicional that always had to be played with a = flute 8' or a Celeste rank, because it [the Salicional] was so harsh....) I do not, however, want a rank "nearly" as soft as a Dulciana.... in many churches the Dulciana cannot be heard.... What rank would be appropriate? An 8' Violina? I have heard a number of nice 4' VIolinas, but no 8' VIolina ---     Best wishes,       Morton Belcher fellow pipechat list member   On Mon, 14 Jun 1999, bruce cornely wrote:   > > >A truly delightful instrument IF, like myself, > > your interest is purely in the baroque. > > >Enthusiasts of the French Romantic school > > might find it rather unsuitable. > > Oh come on! NO organ is suitable for everything. I am also an > enthusiast of the French Romantic schook, the French Classic schook, the > Dutch school, the North German school, the South German school, the > Italian school...... but I can still appreciate an interesting > instrument on its own merit. > > Bruce & the Baskerbeagles > ~~+~~+~~ rohrschok8@webtv.net ~~+~~+~~ >  
(back) Subject: Re: church musician as servant From: Rod Murrow <murrows@pldi.net> Date: Mon, 14 Jun 1999 23:00:56 -0500   N Brown wrote:   > If the pastor has been there under 5 years, regardless of denom, I > can expect to have some difficulties as the pastor is still establishing > his leadership. Not necessarily job threatening difficulties, mind you, > but some rough spots nonetheless. > Thought I'd share from real-life experience. > --Neil   Neil - if you're dealing with United Methodists, often five years is about the limit of time for a pastor to stay in one place - and he (or she) is = not establishing leadership at that church, but at the new church of the most recent appointment - many conferences are trying to maintain a five-year itineracy (except those at the "big" churches, who often stay for years = and y ears and years and years and years and.......).   There are some pastors, I suppose in many denominations, that move nearly every year - those are the ones to avoid.   Rod Murrow      
(back) Subject: Re: church musician as servant From: Innkawgneeto@webtv.net (N Brown) Date: Tue, 15 Jun 1999 00:12:29 -0400 (EDT)   Rod, you are right. UM is quite different. I am working now where I am the senior staff member (in terms of longevity). In UM churches, pastor is it, but there are channels if needed. IT is still interesting, though, to watch our new pastor make his mark. --Neil    
(back) Subject: Re: church musician as servant From: ray ahrens <ray_ahrens@hotmail.com> Date: Mon, 14 Jun 1999 21:15:10 PDT   >Neil - if you're dealing with United Methodists, often five years is = about >the limit of time for a pastor to stay in one place - and he (or she) is >not >establishing leadership at that church, but at the new church of the most >recent appointment - many conferences are trying to maintain a five-year >itineracy (except those at the "big" churches, who often stay for years = and >y ears and years and years and years and.......).   If the above is true, then I have to tolerate 3 more years of = non-leadership from the current pastor. Just started at a church where the membership = was ca. 900 two years ago, now it's down to 250. Better start checking the = AGO ads, have a feeling the checks will be bouncing any minute now.     _______________________________________________________________ Get Free Email and Do More On The Web. Visit http://www.msn.com  
(back) Subject: Re: church musician as servant From: ray ahrens <ray_ahrens@hotmail.com> Date: Mon, 14 Jun 1999 21:15:01 PDT   >Neil - if you're dealing with United Methodists, often five years is = about >the limit of time for a pastor to stay in one place - and he (or she) is >not >establishing leadership at that church, but at the new church of the most >recent appointment - many conferences are trying to maintain a five-year >itineracy (except those at the "big" churches, who often stay for years = and >y ears and years and years and years and.......).   If the above is true, then I have to tolerate 3 more years of = non-leadership from the current pastor. Just started at a church where the membership = was ca. 900 two years ago, now it's down to 250. Better start checking the = AGO ads, have a feeling the checks will be bouncing any minute now.     _______________________________________________________________ Get Free Email and Do More On The Web. Visit http://www.msn.com  
(back) Subject: Re: church musician as servant From: Innkawgneeto@webtv.net (N Brown) Date: Tue, 15 Jun 1999 00:17:45 -0400 (EDT)   Ray, that's a major drop. You and your work may be the only glue that's keeping it going. Pray alot!! We'll (I'll ) pray for you. --Neil