PipeChat Digest #4135 - Monday, December 1, 2003
 
Re: Economy of motion
  by "Steve Chandler" <stevec@open-tech.com>
Re: Economy of motion
  by <Gfc234@aol.com>
Box of whistles
  by "Alan Freed" <acfreed0904@earthlink.net>
Re: Box of whistles
  by "Richard Schneider" <arpschneider@starband.net>
Re: Box of whistles
  by "Bob Conway" <conwayb@sympatico.ca>
Re: Box of whistles
  by <Keys4bach@aol.com>
RE: Box of whistles
  by "Emmons, Paul" <PEMMONS@wcupa.edu>
keyboards for sale
  by "Gary Black" <gblack@ocslink.com>
RE: Economy of motion
  by "Emmons, Paul" <PEMMONS@wcupa.edu>
Re: Box of whistles
  by "Alan Freed" <acfreed0904@earthlink.net>
Ethics Advise...
  by <HndsmredLB@aol.com>
Re: Box of whistles
  by "John L. Speller" <jlspeller@mindspring.com>
RE: Ethics Advise...
  by "Emmons, Paul" <PEMMONS@wcupa.edu>
Re: Organ Shoes
  by <FastToccata@aol.com>
 

(back) Subject: Re: Economy of motion From: "Steve Chandler" <stevec@open-tech.com> Date: Mon, 01 Dec 2003 11:17:12 -0600   There's been some commentary regarding motion while playing that impresses me as less than thoughtful. If any of you wonder why thye organ is declining in popularity go no further than some of this discussion. The criticism of rock music has been especially parochial and frankly uninformed.   >Christopher J. Howerter, SPC wrote: > >I would like to make a few points in this letter. First I would like to = say >that Eric Clapton (whoever that is) is indeed one of those fools that = just >jumps around and plays three chords, > Can I presume that by writing "(whoever that is)" you indicate you don't know who Eric Clapton is? Please note Gregory's initial post on Clapton indicated he stood stock still (quote below). Since you don't know who Mr. Clapton is perhaps you would be well advised to reserve judgement since your opinion belies your ingnorance of the subject.   Gregory wrote: "And outside the organ world, has anyone ever seen Eric Clapton play = guitar? One of the most interesting aspects of a Cream or Blind Faith = concert was that those thousands of wailing, shrieking, thundering guitar = notes were coming from this guy standing stock-still on stage moving just = about nothing except his fingers."     >Christopher continued: To hear someone mention >people like Todd Wilson, Gillian Wier, Fred Swann, Jane Parker-Smith, and = John >Weaver, and say that they would throw away a ticket just because they = didn't >move around, its just, well...horrible! > It seems to me you have a hard time with reading comprehension. You're now referring to Mike Gettleman's post and he never mentioned throwing tickets away. He suggested that he gave tickets away when faced with a choice between going to a recital by Felix Hell (120 miles away) and going to an organ concert that was part of the series at Severance Hall. The series featured concerts by the performers you listed, but I don't believe Mike specified the performer that he opted not to see.   >If people would only take the time to >sit back, close their eyes (if necessary) and listen, and I mean LISTEN, = to the >music, then whether or not the performer moves around like they are going = to >take off like an airplane, will not matter. I must say that indeed the = economy >of motion is very important, as previously mentioned by many list = members. I >myself make as little movement as possible when playing. > Here I agree with you for the most part, it should be about the music. However, that would imply that motion is irrelevant unless it impacts the performence. Therefore why is it necessary to care about performance motions if the music is performed confidently, securely, and expressively? If the motions distract you from the music, just close your eyes.   > >So, I hope this enlightens a few people, as music has nothing to do with >motion of the body. Alas, I am probably just wasting time and breath = because >unfortunately to most in America, the organ is an entertainment = instrument. > From a purely practical perspective the organ is simply a musical instrument. The fact that it was developed to support worship and most pipe organs are found in churches does not preclude it as a source of entertainment. I believe it was Stravinsky who said of the organ that it's, "Just a box of whistles."   >Douglas A. Campbell wrote: > >You read my mind-sort of. If you really want to take it further-look at >all those idiotic pop guitar players who play the guitar (and other >instruments) really hard, arms flying around to pluck the strings, >jumping etc...to make people think its really something, when it reality, >they are playing 3 chords over and over, and a pentatonic scale (they >only know one or two of these at most), and have NO command over the >guitar at all. > The vast majority of rock musicians that I've seen know far more than three chords and 2 pentatonic scales. For those of us whose taste in music is more eclectic than organ music or even the entire spectrum of classical music it would be helpful if members confined their comments to areas where they actually have some knowledge.   Rock music has a long history of extreme motion and I won't try to justify the music itself. My point is that when rock bands play in arenas that hold tens of thousands of people the vast majority of the audience is far away and the band is tiny in perspective. Exaggrated motion is crucial to even being seen.   It seems to me that the real issue is expression. I believe it was Fritz Kreisler who was criticized for his stoicism in performence. I'm told the man barely moved and had an expressionless look on his face. Other string players move and sway considerably Itzak (sp?) Perlman and Yoyo Ma come to mind. Why should it be any different for organists? Why criticize performers for being who they are and reacting to the music they play. Any performer who has risen to a point where they can make a career as a concert artist is probably very good at what they do. Sophisticated listeners may disagree with their interpretation of the music, but unless their motions actually detract from their performance criticizing it strikes me as sour grapes.   Cheers,   Steve Chandler      
(back) Subject: Re: Economy of motion From: <Gfc234@aol.com> Date: Mon, 1 Dec 2003 12:58:14 EST   In a message dated 12/1/2003 11:20:05 AM Central Standard Time, stevec@open-tech.com writes: Gregory wrote: "And outside the organ world, has anyone ever seen Eric Clapton play = guitar? One of the most interesting aspects of a Cream or Blind Faith concert was = that those thousands of wailing, shrieking, thundering guitar notes were coming =   from this guy standing stock-still on stage moving just about nothing = except his fingers." I did not write that! However, I did write this: You read my mind-sort of. If you really want to take it further-look at >all those idiotic pop guitar players who play the guitar (and other >instruments) really hard, arms flying around to pluck the strings, >jumping etc...to make people think its really something, when it reality, >they are playing 3 chords over and over, and a pentatonic scale (they >only know one or two of these at most), and have NO command over the >guitar at all.   You wrote: The vast majority of rock musicians that I've seen know far more than three chords and 2 pentatonic scales. For those of us whose taste in music is more eclectic than organ music or even the entire spectrum of classical music it would be helpful if members confined their comments to areas where they actually have some knowledge.       And considering that I am a jazz musician too (who plays with jobbing = bands every weekend) I play and enjoy much more than organ music! I still fully =   believe that the above players hardly have any control over their = instruments. I will even augment my statement to include major and minor scales, = arpeggios, and all chords (major, minor, dominant, altered dominant, 7th chords of = all types, and how they work) key signatures and time signatures, advanced = harmony, sight reading, rhythmic and harmonic dictation, and other skills that are required of musicians that don't make 150 million dollars per year. I = dare say that less than 3% of rock musicians could go to a standard jobbing gig in Chicago or New York and cut it-but then again, why would they-with those = multi million dollar record contracts from Sony???   Sorry, but I've got to stick to my guns on this-   Cheers, gfc       Gregory Ceurvorst M.M. Organ Performance Student Northwestern University Director of Music and Organist St. Peter's U.C.C. Frankfort, IL 847.332.2788 home 708.243.2549 mobile gfc234@aol.com    
(back) Subject: Box of whistles From: "Alan Freed" <acfreed0904@earthlink.net> Date: Mon, 01 Dec 2003 16:05:37 -0500   On 12/1/03 12:17 PM, "Steve Chandler" <stevec@open-tech.com> wrote:   > I believe it was Stravinsky who said of the organ that it's, "Just a box = of > whistles."   Maybe; I don't recall. The way I recall the quote is "A box of whistles with the devil inside." But that sounds more Cromwellian that = Stravinskian.   Alan    
(back) Subject: Re: Box of whistles From: "Richard Schneider" <arpschneider@starband.net> Date: Mon, 01 Dec 2003 15:22:24 -0600   > On 12/1/03 12:17 PM, "Steve Chandler" <stevec@open-tech.com> wrote: > I believe it was Stravinsky who said of the organ that it's, "Just a box = of > whistles."   Then Alan Freed wrote: > Maybe; I don't recall. The way I recall the quote is "A box of whistles > with the devil inside." But that sounds more Cromwellian that = Stravinskian.   Arp writes:   Actually: it was Sir Christopher Wren, designer of the world-famous St. Paul's Cathedral in London who opined that pipe organs were a "Damned box of Whistles"!   Faithfully,   G.A.   -- Richard Schneider, PRES/CEO <>< Schneider Pipe Organs, Inc. 41-43 Johnston St./P.O. Box 137 Kenney, IL 61749-0137 (217) 944-2454 VOX (877) 944-2454 TOLL-FREE (217) 944-2527 FAX arpschneider@starband.net Home Office EMAIL arp@schneiderpipeorgans.com SHOP EMAIL http://www.schneiderpipeorgans.com URL ADDRESS    
(back) Subject: Re: Box of whistles From: "Bob Conway" <conwayb@sympatico.ca> Date: Mon, 01 Dec 2003 16:34:58 -0500   I think that it was George Bernard Shaw who said that the organ was a = "Damn box of whistles".   But it also might have been Sir Thomas Beecham, - it certainly sounds like = him!   At 04:05 PM 12/1/03, Alan wrote: >On 12/1/03 12:17 PM, "Steve Chandler" <stevec@open-tech.com> wrote: > > > I believe it was Stravinsky who said of the organ that it's, "Just a = box of > > whistles." > >Maybe; I don't recall. The way I recall the quote is "A box of whistles >with the devil inside." But that sounds more Cromwellian that = Stravinskian. > >Alan > >"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: Box of whistles From: <Keys4bach@aol.com> Date: Mon, 1 Dec 2003 16:55:52 EST   It was written by any current pastor wanting to go to Hooky Pooky happy = Jesus music......   dale in Florida    
(back) Subject: RE: Box of whistles From: "Emmons, Paul" <PEMMONS@wcupa.edu> Date: Mon, 1 Dec 2003 18:08:20 -0500   >Maybe; I don't recall. The way I recall the quote is "A box of = whistles with the devil inside." But that sounds more Cromwellian that = Stravinskian.   Stravinsky also had, I understand, a more specific complaint about the = organ that is a point well taken, which it behooves us to remember:   He said that the problem with the organ is that it does not need to = breathe. It can produce uninterrupted sound _ad infinitum_, which is = not a trait of music. Unfortunately, in the hands of insensitive = players, it too often does exactly that. =20   I'd say that once in awhile, extended total legato is a marvelous = effect-- but if so, it is precisely because of its rarity. It should = not become such a habit as to form an auditor's stereotype about the = organ.    
(back) Subject: keyboards for sale From: "Gary Black" <gblack@ocslink.com> Date: Mon, 1 Dec 2003 17:37:44 -0600   List, If anyone is interested in buying a set ( 2 manuals) of Moller keyboards (cheap) with ivory slips,ebony sharps, and Mahogany cheeks = please respond back. They have been newly wired with Peterson wiring boards and ready to play. Thanks, Gary      
(back) Subject: RE: Economy of motion From: "Emmons, Paul" <PEMMONS@wcupa.edu> Date: Mon, 1 Dec 2003 18:45:12 -0500   > I must say that indeed the economy of motion is very important, as = previously mentioned by many list members. =20   "Technique is the elimination of wasted effort."=20   I can still hear my teacher LaVahn Maesch saying this, which his teacher = Marcel Dupre had probably impressed upon him in turn. While I must = confess that I haven't checked myself much recently as to whether my = technique still conforms to that ideal, when some ten years ago a priest = mentioned, after some blazing postlude, that I had hardly been moving at = the console, I took it as a great compliment, and reassuring.   This simple statement is a very instructive epitome of all acquired = ability, not just playing a musical instrument. Gilbreth, the pioneer = in time and motion study and famous father in "Cheaper by the Dozen," = wrote that the difference in productivity between a worker who had made = an effort towards efficient movement in whatever task he was performing, = versus one who had not mad this effort, could be astonishing. Someone = else once said that the level of a civilization can be measured by how = much people can do without thinking about it. But please do think about = that for a moment. Although I'd never encourage people to stop = thinking, this has struck me as not only a similar insight, but a rather = profound one. We live on the shoulders of giants-- including, to some = extent, what we have learned as a child who is father to the man.   >Felix's stage presence and personality always guarantee I will come = away far richer.   But I can't imagine that Felix would gainsay the importance of being = *able* to play with minimal motion. From the first time I saw him at = age 13, I noticed the suppleness and ease of his technique. =20   Recital playing in view of an audience is partly a matter of = showmanship, and I wouldn't fault Felix or anyone else who moves = appropriately with the music to move an audience as well. But when one = is playing in church, or out of sight, I think that one should be = cautious as to whether movement is making one play better or not.   The same ideal is, or often used to be, applied to choirs. Some = choirmasters insisted that, no matter how soaring or lilting the music, = audiences should find them remaining absolutely motionless, and these = choirs prided themselves on doing so. Personally I'm not so sure that = this should apply so much to singing (although to be sure, they didn't = seem to suffer from it). =20                     > -----Original Message----- > From: OrgelspielerKMD@aol.com [SMTP:OrgelspielerKMD@aol.com] > Sent: Friday, November 28, 2003 7:59 PM > To: pipechat@pipechat.org > Subject: Re: Economy of motion (was Re: Book of fiction about = organist)=20 >=20 > Dear List and to all whom this may concern: >=20 > I would like to make a few points in this letter. First I would like = to say that Eric Clapton (whoever that is) is indeed one of those fools = that just jumps around and plays three chords, like my good friend = gregory had mentioned. Indeed, this has nothing to do with organ music, = though whether or not one can see a persons face has NOTHING to do with = music. To hear someone mention people like Todd Wilson, Gillian Wier, = Fred Swann, Jane Parker-Smith, and John Weaver, and say that they would = throw away a ticket just because they didn't move around, its just, = well...horrible! If people would only take the time to sit back, close = their eyes (if necessary) and listen, and I mean LISTEN, to the music, = then whether or not the performer moves around like they are going to = take off like an airplane, will not matter. I must say that indeed the = economy of motion is very important, as previously mentioned by many = list members. I myself make as little movement as possible when = playing. I also remember hearing Fred Swann. This indeed was truly a = concert to remember. He did not move an inch at the console and sat = perfectly still.> I even watched him most of the time just to observe, = and though he did not move an inch, by God as my witness, it was one of = the finest musical performances I have ever heard, AMEN! So, I hope = this enlightens a few people, as music has nothing to do with motion of = the body. Alas, I am probably just wasting time and breath because = unfortunately to most in America, the organ is an entertainment = instrument. It's a shame that more people couldn't be more musically = mature, though that is just the way it is, I presume. I did not mean to = offend anyone, or attack anyone personally in this message, as this is = not directed to one specfic person or a group or people. I am just = saying this, as I know people can misconstrue things, etc. However, I = felt very compelled to write it, as stuff like this just gets on my = nerves. I ask that all of you have a blessed Holiday Season and a Happy = New Year as well...and as always, keep practicing!!! > =20 > Sincerely, > Christopher J. Howerter, SPC > Director of Music and Organist > St. Paul's Lutheran Church > Bethlehem, PA > Cell: (610) 462-8017 > =20 > In a message dated 11/28/03 5:02:17 AM Eastern Standard Time, = pipechat@pipechat.org writes: >=20 > Subject: Re: Economy of motion (was Re: Book of fiction about = organist) > From: "Mike Gettelman" <mike3247@earthlink.net> > Date: Thu, 27 Nov 2003 14:28:10 -0500 >=20 > > > > And outside the organ world, has anyone > > ever seen Eric Clapton play guitar? One of > > the most interesting aspects of a Cream or > > Blind Faith concert was that those > > thousands of wailing, shrieking, thundering > > guitar notes were coming from this guy > > standing stock-still on stage moving just > > about nothing except his fingers. MAF > > > Hello Michael, > Your example ignores the fact that the audience can > see Clapton's face. The emotion of the music need not > be contrived or exaggerated. Most organ performance > denies the audience the performer's face, so we depend > upon body movement and posture for those signals, no > mater how subtle. > I can't argue with economy of movement because I'm > not an organist. As an audience member, I can tell you > I appreciate expressive performers provided it's done > with good taste. I have seen Felix perform many more > times than any other organist because he creates a far > more satisfying musical experience than any other > performer I've heard. My home turf is Severance Hall > where I've held season tickets to the organ series for > the past 3 years. Severance attracts world class > performers the likes of Tom Murray, Fred Swann, John > Weaver, Simon Preston, Gillian Weir, Jane Parker-Smith, > James O Donnell, and Curator, Todd Wilson. Yet I've > been known to give away my tickets to go hear Felix > play a small tracker 120 miles away. You can argue my > reasons all you want, but Felix's stage presence and > personality always guarantee I will come away far > richer. > So, keep your movement economical if you must, but > don't delude yourself that you are doing the audience > any favors. And be prepared to be pigeon holed on the > popular recitalist list, particularly if you can't seem > to keep your dance card filled. > When I pull the wishbone today, I will not be > wishing for more wooden, expressionless, passionless > recitalists. >=20 > Happy Thanksgiving > Mike Gettelman >=20  
(back) Subject: Re: Box of whistles From: "Alan Freed" <acfreed0904@earthlink.net> Date: Mon, 01 Dec 2003 19:12:45 -0500   On 12/1/03 4:22 PM, "Richard Schneider" <arpschneider@starband.net> wrote:   > Actually: it was Sir Christopher Wren, designer of the world-famous St. > Paul's Cathedral in London who opined that pipe organs were a "Damned = box > of Whistles"! > Really! Well, all right. Could be. Mr. Wren also designed the = (Lutheran) Church of St. Anne and St. Agnes in Central London. Hmmm. Could BE!   Alan    
(back) Subject: Ethics Advise... From: <HndsmredLB@aol.com> Date: Mon, 01 Dec 2003 19:37:05 -0500   Hello All,   I have a question to ask the group...actually I need some advise. Here = goes:   I play the organ at a Seventh-day Adventist Church and there is a member = who was the minister of music. He was very much the diva organist/choir = director and if it wasn't done his way...it was the highway. They got a = new pastor and this guy was somewhat of a dictator himself and the two did = not get along. After a very nasty knock out drag out disagreement he quit = his post as organist. I took the position right after he left and have = had the position for almost 4 years. Recently we received a new pastor = and now the previous organist has started coming to church again.   Anyhow, he has let it be known, now that we have a new pastor, that he = would like to have his old position back. Actually, he asked me when I was = going to quit so he could get his old job back. When we lost our choir = director a couple of months ago the music committee wanted to hire him = back and I put my foot down and said absolutely not. Our new choir = director wants to invite him to play the piano during church. I said = absolutely not. This is what I feel to be a conflict of interest. I = would rather have no one play then let him play. I have read what the AGO = puts out in their Code of Ethics: Rule 2. I feel it is not ethical for = him to participate given his history as a church employee and how he ended = up leaving his position.   I know that Seventh-day Adventists are the last people on earth who abide = by what the AGO puts out. (No offence to Del Case). I grew up SDA. I = went to their schools. My parents worked for the church. But I never had = the desire to become one of God=E2=80=99s Frozen Chosen. When I first = started playing there they wanted me to play for free (insert laugh track = here). I could go on=E2=80=A6but alas, I won=E2=80=99t.   So, I guess my question is this...do you think I am handling this = situation correctly? I want to be able to tell my choir director/minister = of music that this is what the situation is and this is how to handle it. =     Thank you for reading this. I appreciate any and all responses.   Kelly B. Blair   -- "What you do speaks so loud that I cannot hear what you say." ---Ralph Waldo Emerson   "Work like you don't need the money. Love like you've never been hurt. Dance like nobody's watching..." * Richard Leigh    
(back) Subject: Re: Box of whistles From: "John L. Speller" <jlspeller@mindspring.com> Date: Mon, 01 Dec 2003 18:39:41 -0600   Sir Christopher Wren did indeed call the organ a Box of Whistles, but I am sure he was neither the first or last person to do so. I do not think he was wishing to condemn organs in general, but there was at the time a proposal to place an organ rather larger than he thought desirable on the Quire Screen at St. Paul's Cathedral (which is where the organ was placed until the nineteenth century), and he is said to have commented, "I am not having my cathedral ruined by a damned box of whistles!"   John Speller      
(back) Subject: RE: Ethics Advise... From: "Emmons, Paul" <PEMMONS@wcupa.edu> Date: Mon, 1 Dec 2003 20:31:38 -0500   > I have read what the AGO puts out in their Code of Ethics: Rule 2. =20   (That's the rule about not applying for a job not officially advertised = as vacant).=20   I think that you are doing the right thing, although you haven't been = clear as to who has the authority here. Can the pastor, the choir = director, or some committee or other declare that there is now a = position of pianist as well as one of organist? If so, then I don't = know whether you will carry the day in "putting your foot down;" but in = any case it doesn't seem to me that you are doing anything unethical by = pointing out *his* unethical ambitions, his history, and the fact that = you don't expect that you can work with him.      
(back) Subject: Re: Organ Shoes From: <FastToccata@aol.com> Date: Mon, 1 Dec 2003 21:13:42 EST   I found that whatever is used to cover the heel for Tic-Tac-Toe shoes, = rubs off if you play the organ a lot and makes the heels look bad (doing pedal = work of course). I switched over to Organmaster shoes and have never had a = problem with them.