Yesterday I shared my advice for organists with small hands. Not always it is necessary to play legato but when it is, besides carefully selected finger substitutions and glissandos you can do one more trick which makes life easier for people with small hands.
I'm talking about leaving out some notes in a musical composition. The question is which notes can be ommited? Keep in mind that out of all the voices in a piece, the top note and the bottom note are the crucial ones, because the top note (soprano voice) often is the bearer of the most developed melody and the bass - foundation of harmony.
Therefore occasionally we can leave out some of the middle notes. Of course, in organ music, there are many places where the melody is in the middle voice or where there is more than one melody present at the same time. In such case, you can ommit only the voice which doesn't have melodic interest.
Therefore, this trick only works for thick chordal texture. If you see polyphony on the page, every single voice is very important. Each voice is like a character, a person. If you forcefully silence one person in a discussion between the 4 people, he or she will be quite disappointed.
But if you take a large-scale piece by Max Reger, for example, a lot of times in fortissimo places you will find chords of 4-5 notes in each hand (and even the double pedal). This is a very difficult music to play for anybody, not only for a person with small hands. So you can easily reduce the texture somewhat by leaving out one note which is least important in each hand.
This trick sometimes works for hymn playing as well. But you have to be careful by using it. Avoid the temptation to apply it in any situation where you seemingly have trouble reaching for wider intervals. Instead think hard about the possibilities of the most efficient fingering has to offer.
By the way, do you want to learn my special powerful techniques which help me to master any piece of organ music up to 10 times faster? If so, download my video Organ Practice Guide.
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Drs. Vidas Pinkevicius and Ausra Motuzaite-Pinkeviciene
Organists of Vilnius University , creators of Secrets of Organ Playing.
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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.