New training for basic level organists who need help with hymn playing: 10 Day Hymn Playing Challenge.
Would you like to spend the next 10 days learning the skill of hymn playing? If so, this challenge is for you.
You will receive a PDF score with 10 hymns for the liturgical period of Lent with complete fingering and pedaling written in. 5 hymns will be in the early articulate legato style (composed until 1800's) and 5 - in the Romantic legato style (composed after 1800's).
Master 1 hymn per day for the next 10 days. Feel free to spend more days with each hymn if you want, you don't have to rush it.
Soprano and alto parts will have to be played with the right hand, tenor part - with the left hand and bass - with the pedals. NOTE: just like in any hymnal, the bass part is not written on the separate stave but notated together with the tenor.
Basic level. PDF score - 10 pages. 50% discount is valid until January 24. This score is free for Total Organist students.
Click here: 10 Day Hymn Playing Challenge
And now let's go to the podcast for today:
Vidas: Let’s start Episode 139 of #AskVidasAndAusra podcast. Listen to the audio version here. This question was sent by Fr. Michael he writes:
I am writing today to inquire if you by any chance know of any resource that may contain church hymns (a hymnal, etc.) that contains fingering and pedaling written in? No problems at all if there isn't, I am managing fine, but just thought I would pick your brain on this and see if such a resource exists.”
Excellent idea, Ausra, right?
Vidas: We haven’t created any course which would include fingering and pedaling for hymns.
Ausra: Yes, and I don’t know if such a hymnal exists. You could find, maybe, some separate hymns in some of the organ practice books, but it’s not a common thing to do...
Vidas: Especially if you think about early types of hymns, and Romantic types of hymns…
Vidas: You’d need two different kinds of fingering and pedaling for that. Could we, let’s say, create a 10-day challenge for people like Michael?
Ausra: Yes, I think that would be a great idea.
Vidas: And this 10-day hymn playing challenge would include 10 hymns--let’s say 5 early type of hymns, and 5 more Romantic type of hymns, like legato.
Ausra: Yes, that would be nice, yes.
Vidas: And people could use our fingering and pedaling, and this pedaling and fingering would dictate the desired articulation, automatically.
Vidas: Would that be helpful, do you think?
Ausra: I think so, yes. I think while playing these 10 hymns--5 earlier and 5 later--people could get a notion of how to finger them and to pedal them.
Vidas: Because the underlying principle behind hymn playing--the foundational basis--is that you take 2 upper voices and play them with the RH (soprano and alto, that is); and then the tenor would be played by the LH.
Vidas: Right? And the pedals would be played by the feet.
Ausra: Yes; and if the organ doesn’t have pedal, then you would play 2 voices with your LH.
Vidas: Mhm. But let’s hope that people can use 10-day hymn playing challenge as a preparation for real organ literature; and then you would need pedals, I think.
Ausra: Yes, sure.
Vidas: Because pedal parts will not be very difficult, and beginner organists could easily master them. Not necessarily in 10 days, but the principle is the same.
Ausra: Yes. But sometimes you have to do hymns on the piano, too, for church services.
Vidas: Oh, and then you would play without pedals.
Ausra: Yes, yes. I remember when we worked at Grace Lutheran Church in Lincoln. We would sometimes play on the piano, too--not very often, but yes.
Vidas: How different is fingering, for that occasion?
Ausra: Well, usually you try to pick up later hymns, to play more Romantic hymns more legato. Great hymns to play with piano!
Vidas: Do you use sostenuto pedal?
Ausra: Yes, yes, you can do that then. Because it’s appropriate on piano, to have and to use sostenuto pedal.
Vidas: Sure. Do we need an extra course for that? For piano playing? Or not...Maybe for starters, let’s focus on the pedals.
Ausra: Sure, yes, I think that’s a good idea. Because if you can play with pedal, then definitely you will be able to play without the pedals.
Vidas: Well, for people who are playing organ without the pedals, or just keyboard, they would only need to adjust the LH.
Vidas: And play the 2 lower parts with their LH.
Ausra: That’s right.
Vidas: But the principle would be the same as for the RH. So we would probably use more or less interval fingering. What do I mean by that? If it’s an early type of hymn, intervals of equal length would be played by the same fingers. Right?
Ausra: Yes. And in later hymns, you would probably have to use finger substitution.
Vidas: To play it legato?
Vidas: So for example, how would you play intervals of the third?
Ausra: In early hymns?
Vidas: In early hymns.
Ausra: Probably just 1-3.
Ausra: Or 2-4.
Vidas: Sometimes in alternation.
Vidas: Because it helps to create strong and weak beats, right?
Ausra: So that’s a part of articulation.
Vidas: Mhm. Excellent. Interval of the fourth: how would you play it?
Ausra: Probably 1-4 and 1-5.
Vidas: Mhm. Interval of the fifth?
Ausra: Hahahaha! Do you think you would have to play intervals of fifths?
Vidas: Parallel intervals? No! But just one, once in a while.
Ausra: Oh, well, if it would be one interval of the fifth, then 1 and 5 would be appropriate. Or sometimes maybe 2 and 5 too.
Vidas: Especially if you are playing an old 17th-century organ.
Ausra: Sure. Then it’s not so nice and not so comfortable to use the thumb.
Vidas: And the keys are much narrower.
Vidas: Interval of the sixth? Sweet interval.
Ausra: Well, 1 and 5.
Vidas: I almost said 1 and 6!
Ausra: Yes, 1 and 6...Yes, if you have 6 fingers on one of your hands, you could do that!
Vidas: Like, Hannibal Lecter would play with 6 fingers easily! So, 1-5 for sixth, for early hymns, that is; and if you need to use finger substitution to create legato for later hymns, you would use what? 1-4, substitute to 2-5--
Vidas: And then again, 1-4, 2-5, like this. And wider intervals, like a seventh or octave, obviously…?
Ausra: 1 and 5, of course.
Vidas: Good. So that’s it for both hands, the same thing. For the pedaling, do you have special rules for that?
Ausra: Well, if you play early hymns, then you use only your toes; but if you play later hymns, then you have to use your heels too, because you need to play legato.
Vidas: And what’s the rule for playing pedals with the same foot? R-R or L-L? In which occasion would you use the same foot? Because most of the time you use alternate pedals…
Ausra: Well, when it’s very far away, when you are either very far on the left side or you are very far on the right side--
Ausra: Then you would just use one leg.
Vidas: And there is the second instance, when the melody changes direction.
Vidas: It goes up, up, up, up, up, then left right left right left right...
Ausra: And then goes back...
Vidas: Goes downwards. So the last note would be R-R.
Ausra: That’s right, yes.
Vidas: So guys, that is how we will actually be creating this 10-day challenge. If you want to pedal or finger your own hymns, go ahead and join us in your favorite hymns and hymnals; but we’ll be happy to provide for you 10 fully fingered and pedaled hymns for you to practice. Ausra, how many days do you think that would take for people to master?
Ausra: It depends on the level. It would be nice to master one hymn a day; but maybe you would need more time to do it.
Vidas: Some people could; therefore we would name this course as a 10-day challenge.
Vidas: But it easily can be extended into 10 weeks, right?
Vidas: Because there are people who can only manage just one hymn per week.
Vidas: And remember, if you practice just fifteen minutes a day, you will see the progress over time, over these 10 days or more. Right? It might not seem like a lot, but like people have noticed before, it really adds up.
Ausra: Sure. Yeah, so...I hope you’re looking forward to our hymn playing course!
Vidas: So, we’re going to start creating fingering and pedaling after we’re finished with this recording. But by the time you will be listening to this podcast conversation, and maybe reading the transcribed version, maybe this course will already be available!
Ausra: I hope so!
Vidas: So check it out and see if you like it.
Click here: 10 Day Hymn Playing Challenge
And let us know, if you practice from this resource, how it’s helpful or not. We love helping you grow. This was Vidas!
Ausra: And Ausra.
Vidas: And remember, when you practice…
Ausra: Miracles happen.
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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.