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Modern playing aids

Playing or learning the organ, hints, tips and tricks, registrations, techniques, fingerings, ...
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Modern playing aids

PostTue Jun 11, 2024 4:13 pm

A few years ago while visiting an organist friend, I noticed that he used an intramanual- coupler for playing octaves in the right hand. I cannot recall what piece he was playing, but I seem to remember that it was a big romantic work. This made his legato playing easy.

Lately I have been working on the Gigout Toccata from10 Pièces pour orgue . I am finding the section starting around measure 95 a bit tiring for me to play. (I am recovering from recent hand surgery.) It occurred to me that if I had the same registration on two different manuals, it would be easier to play the section where the hands overlap. Hauptwerk’s master couplers make this possible.

I am not sure if I want to use a coupler to facilitate playing the octaves in the right hand in measures 171-180, but this too could be easily done. Because there are so many pistons available in Hauptwerk, I could make this registration available only for those measures, and use the stepper to take the coupler off for the final chords.

For those who regard this as “cheating,” you have a point. However, I play for my own enjoyment at home. It occurs to me that others in the Hauptwerk community might find these methods helpful.
Last edited by voet on Tue Jun 11, 2024 4:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.



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Re: Modern playing aids

PostTue Jun 11, 2024 4:46 pm

I used to take the two manual approach to some awkward parts of Messiaen's "Transport de Joie". I don't think it's cheating if it works!



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Re: Modern playing aids

PostTue Jul 09, 2024 5:55 pm

It most definitely is not cheating. Or if is, I'm doing something similar myself.

I recently came across a prelude (and fugue) by Bohm. It begins with a virtuosic lengthy pedal solo. Even in my younger years I'd never have been able to play it (partly because of polio issues). But now with the bass couplers available on HW, I can do a decent performance of it with my left hand. Like you I play only for my own enjoyment. So if it works, do it.



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Re: Modern playing aids

PostTue Jul 09, 2024 10:36 pm

It's definitely not cheating. Remember there are many pianists and organists who can't play an octave with one hand! My piano teacher was one of them. She had many tricks for getting all the notes played (or as many as you can!). She said you just do your best to play as many notes as you can. When I first started learning the accompaniment for Ralph Vaughan William's song "Wither Must I Wander," I did my best to play the notes in the left hand I couldn't reach by playing them slightly arpegiated. Now I don't bother! I'm pretty sure 99% of pianists can't reach those, and so don't bother either. I don't remember hearing them on the recording I usually listen to, and I've never heard anyone complain when it's played at wothout them at recitals (the focus is usually on the singer!). It's the sort of thing a very small percentage of people listening to you can even hear, and even if they do, it's probably not going to bother them, since they would do the same thing. I'm pretty sure Vaughan Williams couldn't play them either! He was a very anxious keyboardist and always made too many mistakes to make a living out of it. His teachers convinced him not to become an organist because he couldn't play the simplest things without messing them up. But then the composer can do whatever he wants on the score! I seem to remember an organist who lost his leg, and he just relearned all his repertoire with one leg! Vierne had to relearn all his repertoire when he was involved in a trolley accident, and I'm pretty sure he didn't play it the same after! One of my favourite organists is Dorien Schouten, who plays for the "All of Bach" series. She cannot reach the pedals with her heels! So she just plays with toes, and does an amazing job. This is all to say, there is no shame at all playing it however you can!

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