Do you have modest organ skills and only the basics of pedal playing? Would you like to know what pieces are most suitable for your level? It is important to choose compositions that are neither too hard nor too easy for best results. The problem is that many works that are easy to play, artistically and musically are uninteresting to perform and boring to listen to. In this article, I will give you the list of 5 collections of easy and quality Baroque organ music which you can use for your organ practice today.
1) 8 Short Preludes and Fugues, BWV 553-560. These little gems are long time favorites for many organists. They were formerly attributed to Johann Sebastian Bach but currently it is believed they might have been written by one of the best students of Bach, Johann Ludwig Krebs. Each of these pieces display a variety of compositional techniques and meters. In this collection, the composer used the most common keys of the time: C major, d minor, e minor, F major, G major, g minor, a minor, and B flat major. They are perfect as a preparation for longer preludes and fugues.
2) The Neumeister Chorales by J.S.Bach. This collection was only recently discovered and it represents some of Bach's earliest musical achievements. Bach the teenager wrote them after the models of other important German composers of the time, such as Johann Pachelbel, among several others. Each manualiter chorale is unique and features different writing style. These pieces are perfect examples of how Bach developed his skills in composition.
3) 12 Easy Chorale Preludes by Georg Philipp Telemann. These are 3 voice manualiter works by a famous German Baroque composer. As the title suggest they require only the basic technical skills from an organist and do not require pedal part. Most of the time the chorale melody is placed in the soprano voice while to lower parts imitate each other creating dialogues and duets in various melodic and rhythmic figurations.
4) Chorale preludes by Friedrich Wilhelm Zachow. An excellent collection by the German composer who is best remembered as the first music teacher of George Friedrich Handel. Some pieces resemble imitative Pachelbel's technique in 4 voices while others are similar to Telemann's patterns in 3 voices.
5) Chorale partitas by Georg Bohm. Bohm was a champion of chorale variations which were also called partitas. These compositions are a little more advanced than more popular partitas by Johann Pachelbel because of a wealth of ornaments used and less uniform in terms of rhythmic and melodic figuration. Most of them could be played on manuals only. Perfect for showing many different stops of the organ.
Use the above collections to create your own organ practice routine. Note that although these pieces are basic enough to be accessible to organists with only modest technical skills, in order to master them, regular and wise practice is a must. They can also be used as perfect exercises to improve your sight-reading.
By the way, do you want to learn to play the King of Instruments - the pipe organ? If so, download my FREE video guide: "How to Master Any Organ Composition" in which I will show you my EXACT steps, techniques, and methods that I use to practice, learn and master any piece of organ music.
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Drs. Vidas Pinkevicius and Ausra Motuzaite-Pinkeviciene
Organists of Vilnius University , creators of Secrets of Organ Playing.
Don't have an organ at home?
Download paper manuals and pedals, print them out, cut the white spaces, tape the sheets together and you'll be ready to practice anywhere where is a desk and floor. Make sure you have a higher chair.