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Looking for an 'easy' theater organ song book

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1961TC4ME

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Looking for an 'easy' theater organ song book

PostFri Mar 19, 2021 3:50 pm

Hello all,

Theater organ is pretty much new to me as far as any kind of experience goes, I know just enough to be dangerous at best! :mrgreen: I am able to work out basic tunes by ear and come up with my own versions of a given song, I read notes reasonably well, chords for me is another thing as they're not present in traditional organ music, so I haven't spent any time on that, but I can learn. I do watch the many videos posted online by Tom Horton and they've been quite helpful, but I need more help for sure! :lol: I'm wondering if anyone might be able to recommend more of a beginner level book or series of books where I can learn some recognizable songs or songs I can listen to online as an example and get them in my head, then learn the song from the book. A book that includes both notes and / or chords, tips and practice studies to improve my skills for left / right hand and pedal would also be helpful. So..... I guess I'm kind of looking for an instructional book or series of books for beginners that teaches technique and good practices for theater organ along with songs I can learn.

Thanks in advance.

Marc
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magnaton

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Re: Looking for an 'easy' theater organ song book

PostFri Mar 19, 2021 5:20 pm

Hi Mark:

Jelani Eddington has a few books of what you are looking for; TO concepts and some arrangements.
http://www.theatreorganarrangements.com/volone.html

Danny B.
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Re: Looking for an 'easy' theater organ song book

PostFri Mar 19, 2021 7:06 pm

I have all three of Jelani's books, and the arrangements are excellent. But I would rate them as intermediate to advanced in complexity. A good series of simpler books is Vintage Theatre Styles for the Modern Organist.(3 volumes) by William McMains. Unfortunately they are long out of print, but available used on Amazon and Ebay at rather outrageous prices.

The link below provides a good listing, but at the time (1998) most were also out of print.
http://www.theatreorgans.com/theatrestyle.htm

Ray
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1961TC4ME

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Re: Looking for an 'easy' theater organ song book

PostFri Mar 19, 2021 8:08 pm

Thanks Danny and Ray,

Yes, I've looked into the Jelani books you both mention and my take was they're probably over my head unfortunately. I've dug around on the internet and it's been a tough find so far, most not giving much for information on content or visual examples of what's covered. Some do say up front for advanced players, etc. There seems to be plenty of basic song books out there but I'm hoping for something that's instructional as well, geared more for the beginner. I did come across the link to the other books recently that Ray also suggests and some do look of interest and I'll look into them further, but keep the suggestions coming!

Marc
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Re: Looking for an 'easy' theater organ song book

PostSat Mar 20, 2021 5:19 am

[Topic moved here.]
Best regards, Martin.
Hauptwerk software designer/developer, Milan Digital Audio.
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Andrew Grahame

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Re: Looking for an 'easy' theater organ song book

PostMon Mar 22, 2021 3:31 am

Have a look at Tom Horton's recently published book of original compositions in theatre organ style.

https://tomhorton.co.uk/music-books/the ... vol-1.html

Andrew
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johnstump_organist

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Re: Looking for an 'easy' theater organ song book

PostMon Mar 22, 2021 6:05 pm

Bill Irwin had some good method books for "popular organ"/theater organ techniques.
Here is a current link to some that are for sale.
https://www.etsy.com/es/listing/9481161 ... bill-irwin
I imagine they are out of print but they were being published by Hal Leonard at one point.

John
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1961TC4ME

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Re: Looking for an 'easy' theater organ song book

PostWed Mar 24, 2021 11:09 am

Thanks, Andrew and John for the tips.

I have looked a few times at the Tom Horton books and they do look interesting and do show some examples of what's inside, I also know he has a lot of videos online, so perhaps there's a few that go into some detail on his books. The drawback I've seen so far with most found online be they new or used is they have a title that says this or that, but lack visual examples of what's actually covered in the book, or they often don't mention anything as far as what level of skill a person should have and I hate to order something only to find out it's way over my head.

Again, thanks for the help and if anyone here has direct experience with a given book on the subject, I'm all ears.

More research. :)

Marc
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johnstump_organist

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Re: Looking for an 'easy' theater organ song book

PostThu Mar 25, 2021 8:50 am

What is your skill level? Are you referring to technique or music theory? For music theory, do you know scales and how to spell and grab chords on the keyboard? If you see the symbol C, F7, Cmin7 Co7, etc can you figure out the notes of those chords and get a hold of them on the keyboard? If not, The book by Modern FIll Magic by BIll Irwin starts with scales and chord spelling. Some of the others might assume such knowledge, I don't know, not having seen them.
Let us know and maybe we can recommend some books on learning scales and spelling chords.
For Pop/Theater music you don't need full blown music theory (although it helps), but scales and chord spellings are needed, unless you play fully written out arrangements.
John
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1961TC4ME

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Re: Looking for an 'easy' theater organ song book

PostThu Mar 25, 2021 11:05 am

johnstump_organist wrote:What is your skill level? Are you referring to technique or music theory? For music theory, do you know scales and how to spell and grab chords on the keyboard? If you see the symbol C, F7, Cmin7 Co7, etc can you figure out the notes of those chords and get a hold of them on the keyboard? If not, The book by Modern FIll Magic by BIll Irwin starts with scales and chord spelling. Some of the others might assume such knowledge, I don't know, not having seen them.
Let us know and maybe we can recommend some books on learning scales and spelling chords.
For Pop/Theater music you don't need full blown music theory (although it helps), but scales and chord spellings are needed, unless you play fully written out arrangements.
John


Hi John, and thanks for your interest in trying to help me out here.

Other than some brief early on instruction for traditional organ I've been largely self taught. My first goal was to learn to read notes vs. learning chords as I found out that cords never come up in 3 stave traditional / church organ music, so I've paid little attention to calling out chords and playing them although I do know a few and where they are. My focus has been to pick out music that isn't overly complicated, is generally in the 2 to 5 minute in length range that I have heard and is in my head, that way when I practice and play it I know how it should sound. I've learned anything from hymns to trumpet tunes to French baroque to more modern organ music, etc., whatever catches my ear that I think I can learn. I've printed off a lot of music from IMSLP as an example and it has been a treasure trove for the French barque stuff. No, unfortunately chords and scales are not in my wheelhouse as I again took the approach to learn to read notes and then learn songs. As far as music theory goes I have pretty much none. Due to the fact I'm also a play by ear type and can hum a tune and work things out on the keyboard from there, although the outcome can often be somewhat limited, for theater organ so far this is what I've done. I see a lot of improvising going on in theater organ as everyone seems to have their way of doing things so I improvise as well and just come up with what I feel sounds good. This has worked to an extent, but it is the area where I don't have enough experience so some guidance with notes and timing of accompaniment with the left hand and pedal and perhaps some instruction as to the tricks of the trade might help. Overall I'd say I'm looking more for books with familiar songs I can learn that are written with notes. Instruction would be nice but is perhaps more secondary? I mention easy as I don't want to try start out with something on the level of Bach skill level. I've got a music book at home as an example that came with a Casio keyboard I purchased years ago, but it's laid out for piano and has notes and chords so I've found it largely of no use.

On the other hand, I did watch the video yesterday that Tom Horton did where he goes over his most recent song book he published and I like the way he has things laid out in a 4 stave arrangement. In his book he does include chords for the music, however he states that although you can go the chord route if that's what you're used to, he prefers or feels it's best that you read the notes (or learn to read the notes) instead and that's what I prefer to do as well. So, books like his or books that have the music laid out more like he has done would be what I would prefer if there is such a thing.

Perhaps my subject line should have read 'looking for an easy song book suitable for theater organ.' :?:

David who goes by 'damuehlbauer' here on the forum pointed me to this book and it looks of interest.

Update: I ordered the book below, looks like a good place to start.

https://www.amazon.com/Vintage-Theatre- ... B002UV5MAK

Marc

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