PipeChat Digest #1623 - Wednesday, October 18, 2000
 
RE: Hymn Playing
  by "Randy Terry" <randyterry@laumc.org>
Tannhauser Chorus
  by "M. Hackett" <mikehack@u.washington.edu>
Lohengrin {was Tannhauser was Wagner in church]
  by "Noel Stoutenburg" <mjolnir@ticnet.com>
Re: Lohengrin {was Tannhauser was Wagner in church]
  by "Bob Scarborough" <desertbob@rglobal.net>
Re: Lohengrin {was Tannhauser was Wagner in church]
  by "Carlo Pietroniro" <concert_organist@hotmail.com>
Re: PipeChat Digest #1621 - 10/17/00
  by <LLWheels@aol.com>
Re: Hymn Playing
  by <LLWheels@aol.com>
Re: Hymn Playing
  by "j nathan" <jnatpat@sunsix.infi.net>
Re: Hymn Playing
  by "Bob Elms" <elmsr@albanyis.com.au>
Re: Service Playing
  by "Jim" <bald1@prodigy.net>
Lohengrin #2
  by "M. Hackett" <mikehack@u.washington.edu>
Re: Hymn Playing
  by "Jim" <bald1@prodigy.net>
Re: Hymn Playing
  by "Bob Scarborough" <desertbob@rglobal.net>
 


(back) Subject: RE: Hymn Playing From: "Randy Terry" <randyterry@laumc.org> Date: Tue, 17 Oct 2000 12:17:08 -0700   It cannot be stated enough that proper hymn playing, as we are all taught = as beginners, is very important! One can use this foundation and "text = paint" with registration very effectively. Don't be afraid to make VERY EVIDENT changes in registration between verses. It is quite effective to go from = a full registration to say all 8's (including the 8' Principal, of course!) I've heard too many times when organists use say 8, 4, 2 for every verse = and ALWAYS add the Mixture for the last verse, or maybe go from plenum to = adding an 8' reed w/ maybe 16 reed in the pedal. This sort of predictability is deadly!   I have grown over the years. I started with adding a dominant pedal = point, which ANYONE can do! Then you can revoice the chords (playing the tenor = in the soprano, for example.) Also if you have a good Trumpet you can play = the "beginner style" with soprano and alto on the Great, tenor as written on = the solo reed (automatic descant with a big 4' chamade or tuba!) and of course bass in the pedal.   Later I started adding interludes. Now although I do change chords every now and then, I use the interludes and intros to do the most changes - so while singing there isn't any truly WILD stuff to draw attention from the texts.   I do think improvisation takes innate talent, but I also think if you have musical talent to begin with and can play, then you can improvise. At 38 = I am just now learning to incorporate my training in theory and form and analysis into my improvising.   I had a teacher who could improvise a fugue, but she thought it was = totally inappropriate to do other than fill in the harmony as written during a = hymn, and I always felt like we were missing out! There are so many truly accessible ways to expand beyond the written notes, and when you master = even the simplest you are feeding yourself in addition to your singers! GO FOR IT!!   Randy Terry    
(back) Subject: Tannhauser Chorus From: "M. Hackett" <mikehack@u.washington.edu> Date: Tue, 17 Oct 2000 12:37:42 -0700 (PDT)     --> What? Not playing Wagner straight? I assume the UK composer did a translation of the words to English.   I forgot to mention the 'Wedding March' from L(?, spell).   This seems to be all that is performed in churches.   Much like Wagner's redo of 'Rule Britannia' and the 'American Centennial March' -- based on existing work of the time.   Dare I forget -- the choral music at the end of 'Tannhauser, or the Song Contest in the Wertberg', and the choral music from the intro to 'The Flying Dutchman' (suitable for church it seems to me) ... this stuff deserves to be done too.   -- I believe both may have some organ transcription of some kind.   > > Richard Wagner, although famous for writing 'the music of the future' = [snip] > wrote a huge amount of religious music. > > > > Considering that (like classical music) 90% of church music is bad = enough > > to drive people away -- the lack of Wagner being performed in churches = is > > a puzzle -- as his 'religious music' superceeds in quality so much of = his > > contemporaries ... and most 20th century compositions. > > > Look at _The New English Hymnal_, 1986, No. 290: "Holy God, We Show > Forth Her" with the tune name "Meistersinger." The music is the = chorale at > the opening of _Der Meistersinger von Nurnberg_, choral parts only, and = the > text is the work of England's Peacy Dearmer. > > I have taken a vocal score of _Meistersinger_, blanked out the = words, > photocopies the pages and typed in Dearmer's words instead, and sung the = two > stanzas as a choir anthem at communion, #1 simply as a chorale, #2 with > Wagner's orchestral interludes in the manner of a Bach "extended = chorale" of > the type we know so well in "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring." Just enough > folks in my congregation know enough about music to perhaps sense the > music's provenance, so I explained it in the bulletin.        
(back) Subject: Lohengrin {was Tannhauser was Wagner in church] From: "Noel Stoutenburg" <mjolnir@ticnet.com> Date: Tue, 17 Oct 2000 17:38:10 -0500       "M. Hackett" wrote:   > --> What? Not playing Wagner straight? I assume the UK composer did a > translation of the words to English. > > I forgot to mention the 'Wedding March' from L(?, spell). > > This seems to be all that is performed in churches.   Just my opinion, I will NEVER play this piece in a church wedding. = Remember the story? The bride and groom are Brother and Sister. If they insist on = this, they get another organist. For the record, no church I ever served would allow it = either. Besides, I don't care for any of the arrangements of this work for the = organ. For the record, with regards to "the Mendelssohn", same story, except that the = groom was an as... er donkey.   ns    
(back) Subject: Re: Lohengrin {was Tannhauser was Wagner in church] From: "Bob Scarborough" <desertbob@rglobal.net> Date: Tue, 17 Oct 2000 16:09:44   At 05:38 PM 10/17/2000 -0500, you wrote: >Remember the >story? The bride and groom are Brother and Sister.<snip>   Aha! I KNEW there was a reason it was so popular in certain southern = parts of the country!!   <snarf snarf>   DeserTBoB  
(back) Subject: Re: Lohengrin {was Tannhauser was Wagner in church] From: "Carlo Pietroniro" <concert_organist@hotmail.com> Date: Tue, 17 Oct 2000 19:17:26 -0400   I've never had any problems playing "The Bridal Music" by Wagner. I have = the full score, which is 13 pages. It starts with "The Grand March", which is the introduction to the 3rd act of "Lohnengrin", then it leads into "The Bridal Music". Oddly enough, most people have never heard it in it's entirety; all but 3 pages is unrecognizable.   Carlo    
(back) Subject: Re: PipeChat Digest #1621 - 10/17/00 From: <LLWheels@aol.com> Date: Tue, 17 Oct 2000 19:52:17 EDT   In a message dated 10/17/2000 4:00:47 AM Central Daylight Time, pipechat@pipechat.org <Scott>writes:   << One person's "proper" unadorned service playing is another's "boring" service playing. But then, "service playing" has everything to do with the congregation one is "service playing" for. Forgive my redundancy... but that is what "new organists" will encounter, aside from acquiring the necessary skills of organ playing, clergy maintenance, and... ;-) >>   Thank you for this reply, Scott. I wanted to make a reply along these = lines myself, but somehow just lacked the energy it takes to disagree in such a gentlemanly fashion; and flame-ing is not useful in such situations. At 25 = I knew all there was to know about service playing; at 50 I now know how little I know and am delighted to learn something new each day. This list =   helps -- even if it sometimes makes me realize how much I disagree with = some viewpoints. The chance to hear about and judge a wide variety of ideas is = the most efficient way to gain a broad view which permits one to learn and = grow without prejudice, but with a body of knowledge which permits judgement appropriate to ones own congregation. I DO believe that <New occasions = teach new meanings, Time makes ancient good uncouth> as the hymn says. Keeo = those ideas blooming folks!   Larry Kenwood United Methodist Church Milwaukee, WI Austin Organ Co. Op 1628 (1928) III/55      
(back) Subject: Re: Hymn Playing From: <LLWheels@aol.com> Date: Tue, 17 Oct 2000 20:08:06 EDT   In a message dated 10/17/2000 2:24:27 PM Central Daylight Time, pipechat@pipechat.org writes:   << I play hymns exactly as they are written. I never vary the harmony, I never add progressions, I never add flourishes, and I don't modulate. I play them exactly as written, although I might transpose an especially = high hymn. (Here, to the Evangelical organists, I would add that if your >>   I truly appticiate the time and effort to publish your well-thought-out instructions on the list. You represent a school of thought on = hymn-playing which has many proponents. I happen to disagree - but I thank you = nonetheless.   IMHO this approach to hymn accompaniment makes the organist redundant. The =   congregation can sing the hymn perfectly well without you, and you are not =   really needed to fill-out the harmony. They will sing it or not, as they choose. If, as I believe they should, the choir serves as the <best voice = of the congregation,> - and believe me - voices can lead voices far, far = better than pipes - the organ is simply unnecessary. The only possible reason I =   can think of for the use of the organ in worship is to lift, illucidate, comment and embellish the music - which is quite different from merely reading the notes on the page. Yes, I know this idea will be foreign to = some - and strange to some congregations, but there are congregations our there =   the <get it> and their worship experience is better because of it.   Larry Kenwood United Methodist Church Milwaukee, WI Aistin Organ Co. Op. 1628 (1928) III/55  
(back) Subject: Re: Hymn Playing From: "j nathan" <jnatpat@sunsix.infi.net> Date: Tue, 17 Oct 2000 19:20:59 -0500   LLWheels@aol.com wrote:   > << I play hymns exactly as they are written. I never vary the harmony, = I > never add progressions, I never add flourishes, and I don't modulate. = I > play them exactly as written   Thank you for your thoughts...and please do not take offense at my remark, but if I played that way week after week, I would be fired immediatly from BOTH churches.   Cheers....   J Nathan  
(back) Subject: Re: Hymn Playing From: "Bob Elms" <elmsr@albanyis.com.au> Date: Wed, 18 Oct 2000 08:58:57 +0800   Interesting discussion on hymn playing. I don't follow much of what toelz outlined., but there is much with which I would agree. I have been playing for services for over 60 years, since I was 10 years = old, and modelled my hymn playing on a fine organist who was my teacher for a short time. My father was a minister who was chronically short of organists, = hence the early start. "Detached legato" is what Toelz said and I agree. If the congregation is lagging, make it well detached.   I do play varied harmonies to some hymns, usually last verse only. It = lifts the singing tremendously, but it is best if you have a choir that knows what = you are doing. We practice the hymns at Choir rehearsal so the choir is well acquainted with what is going on.   I do vary registrations from verse to verse and sometimes mid-verse - it = all depends on the hymn and the words.. To play a hymn right through with one registration does not offer much inspiration, to my mind, and I have heard = very few good organists in this country who would do that. The organist must = follow the words, so that the accompaniment suits the words being sung. We should = not overdo this though. Too many changes would not be good at all. To get a bit of fire into the singing in appropriate verses, a verse can = be accompanied by full swell if there are reeds with some fire in them. I = have an English sounding full swell with upper work and a good chorus reed. On occasions I play the accompaniment with left hand and feet and play = solo up an octave on the 8 and 4' Great (no reeds). This can be very effective. Some hymns lend themselves to a grand finish with most of what you have if = the congregation is singing well.I was sitting with the teacher I mentioned = above during one service in the main church in our capital city one night. The = hymn was "This, this is the God we adore" to tune "Celeste". There are only two verses. He started playing the hymn with a fairly full flue chorus, but in = the last verse he gradually added the reeds finishing up with the tuba. Most inspiring and the large congregation responded. Bob E.   Jtoelz@cetlink.net wrote:   > (snip) > Once again, these are just my opinions, written mainly for beginning > organists, and I'm sure others have different ones. > > (snip)   > I play hymns exactly as they are written. I never vary the harmony, I > never add progressions, I never add flourishes, and I don't modulate. I > play them exactly as written, although I might transpose an especially = high > hymn.   (snip)   > Play with force and confidence. Your music should exude force, not = energy. > And there is a difference--force is strength; energy is not necessarily > strength. A gnat has a lot of energy, but not much strength. You don't > want to tip-   (snip)   > t I would lean toward sacrificing volume > for clarity.    
(back) Subject: Re: Service Playing From: "Jim" <bald1@prodigy.net> Date: Tue, 17 Oct 2000 21:20:53 -0500   Is this singer unda maris?   Jim H ----- Original Message ----- From: "Bob Scarborough" <desertbob@rglobal.net> To: "PipeChat" <pipechat@pipechat.org> Sent: Sunday, October 15, 2000 11:45 PM Subject: Re: Service Playing     > At 11:41 PM 10/15/2000 EDT, you wrote: > >I don't think the tremulant affects pitch perception .<snip> > <snip again> Bingo, the singer will be FLAT as a > pancake, EVERY time! Fortunately, Wurlitzers aren't used for > "". > > Following bouncing balls, > DeserTBoB > > "Pipe Up and Be Heard!" > PipeChat: A discussion List for pipe/digital organs & related topics > HOMEPAGE : http://www.pipechat.org > List: mailto:pipechat@pipechat.org > Administration: mailto:admin@pipechat.org > Subscribe/Unsubscribe: mailto:requests@pipechat.org >    
(back) Subject: Lohengrin #2 From: "M. Hackett" <mikehack@u.washington.edu> Date: Tue, 17 Oct 2000 19:28:51 -0700 (PDT)     Few people have heard the complete "Lohnengrin" -- this may be the cause.   > I've never had any problems playing "The Bridal Music" by Wagner. I have = the > full score, which is 13 pages. It starts with "The Grand March", which = is > the introduction to the 3rd act of "Lohnengrin", then it leads into "The > Bridal Music". Oddly enough, most people have never heard it in it's > entirety; all but 3 pages is unrecognizable.            
(back) Subject: Re: Hymn Playing From: "Jim" <bald1@prodigy.net> Date: Tue, 17 Oct 2000 21:39:18 -0500   This is the best advice that you have given in my opinion. This is especially true since the accoustics vary with the building and what works in my church won't necessarily work in yours. So how can I tell you what stops to use?   A few years ago I started getting complaints for no apparent reason. I = went back to the recorder and found that their was a nasty vibration when I played the pedals with a 32' contra-prinzipal or any of the 16' stops, = with the exception of the lieblich gedeckt. As it turned out, there was a = grill on an old air vent which had gotten loose and vibrated like crazy when the big boys were speaking. Unfortunately, I could not hear it from my = position at the manual, but where the mike's were situated it sounded as if grille celeste had been installed. It was musical enough that the congregation could not define it other than it sounded horrible and was very = irritating. (I have been known to experiment quite freely, and yes, I have used tremulant with a full plenum during congregational singing) But, a screwdriver, a few turns, and we can put the record up, open up the bass = and everyone is happy.   Yes, a tape recorder is your best friend.   Jim H.     ----- Original Message ----- From: <toelz@cetlink.net> To: <pipechat@pipechat.org> Sent: Tuesday, October 17, 2000 11:14 AM Subject: Hymn Playing     > Snip > > > . Take a tape recorder with you and record your practice, > then listen and learn.     > Snip     > "Pipe Up and Be Heard!" > PipeChat: A discussion List for pipe/digital organs & related topics > HOMEPAGE : http://www.pipechat.org > List: mailto:pipechat@pipechat.org > Administration: mailto:admin@pipechat.org > Subscribe/Unsubscribe: mailto:requests@pipechat.org >    
(back) Subject: Re: Hymn Playing From: "Bob Scarborough" <desertbob@rglobal.net> Date: Tue, 17 Oct 2000 22:40:51   At 07:20 PM 10/17/2000 -0500, you wrote: >> << I play hymns exactly as they are written. I never vary the harmony, = I >> never add progressions, I never add flourishes, and I don't modulate. = I >> play them exactly as written<snip>   Fine for the first "run-through" of an unfamiliar hymn (had to do that a LOT with RCs, as they're notorious "slow learners"), but after that, I opine for all of the above...modulation, free harmonization, = registrational changes that support the congregation but add proper emotional background for the verse at hand...descants, counter melodies...it can all work, depending on the organ, the people, the hymn.   Sorry to disagree, old chap, but playing "as written" all the time is a good way to get replaced by a MIDI sequencer or, worse, a tape, not to mention put the congregants to sleep! Of course, this is MY opinion...I COULD be wrong!   DeserTBoB