Join Ausra as she cracks the harmony of the beloved Doxology (Old Hundredth) hymn "Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow" and Lobe den Herren (Praise to the Lord, the Almighty) for Victoria during one of her lessons together. MP3 trainings. The sheet with the hymn harmonization in 4 parts is also provided. 50% discount until September 6. Free for TOTAL ORGANIST students.
By Vidas Pinkevicius (get free updates of new posts here)
Basically, you have to study music theory and apply it in your practice.
So not just learn some basic chords but actually try to find them in the pieces that you play.
Always start interpreting the chord from the bass up and make sure you understand if there are any doublings in a three-note chord.
Don't forget to find all modulations and temporary tonicizations.
Then you also have to study musical forms.
Think in periods.
Find the end of the first musical idea (generally 2 or 3 cadences). That's your period A.
Find where the next idea ends. That's period B.
See if period A repeats. That would be recapitulation.
If after periods A and B comes something entirely different and contrasting, then AB is a binary form. ABA - ternary.
That's a start. From here you can go to more advanced forms, such as compound binary or ternary, variations, rondo, sonata or their combinations.
Hope this helps.
How did composers create smooth modulations in a piece? By smooth I mean that when you play it, it sounds very natural, without any sudden and unexpected key changes to remote keys?
The best way to do it is by choosing keys which have the same number of accidentals (parallel major and parallel minor keys) or they have plus or minus one accidental.
For example, if you are in the key of D minor, going back and forth from D minor to F major is very natural. Also modulating from D minor or F major to G minor works fine, too.
Today I would like to share with you my chordal analysis of the Prelude in D minor by Anton Bruckner (1824-1896), late Romantic Austrian composer known for his symphonies, masses and motets who also worked as an organist in his late twenties.
As you sight-read this piece today, pay attention to how the modulations are constructed. In my analysis, you will see chords in Roman numerals (without the notation of suspensions). Before the modulation happens, there is a common chord, for example, I=III which means that in the old key this chord is build on the 1st scale degree (tonic), and in the new key, it's the chord of the 3rd scale degree (mediant).
Notice how after the common chord the modulating chord has to be dissonant - a seventh chord of some sort or its inversion - most commonly ii7 (or inversion) or V7 (or inversion).
If you want, you can use this chordal analysis to transpose this Prelude into C minor or E minor. Even better, you can create your own prelude based on these chord progressions. In this piece, Bruckner only uses D minor, F major, and G minor keys but you can easily expand it by experimenting with C major, A minor, and Bb major for even more colors.
Imagine that you decided to do a detailed chordal analysis of your organ piece but don't know where to start?
Here is what I recommend - start small. If you haven't done any analysis before, don't attempt to analyse a chorale fantasy by Reger, choral by Franck or some other piece from late Romantic period with highly chromatic harmony. Even large-scale Bach pieces usually have lots of modulations and advanced chords.
Instead try your hand with a simple menuet or two. It doesn't matter that usually menuets have only two parts (one for each hand) - the chords and the harmonies can always be implied from other notes in these parts within the measure.
Just like you would not start playing an organ with an advanced composition, in analysis, too, moving in baby steps is the right strategy. Often menuets have simple three-note chords, modulations are predictable and easy to spot, and chords change very regularly. Therefore, the menuets are perfect for this matter.
Take a pencil and notate the key after the key signatures and the last note in the left hand part, chordal function (tonic, dominant, subdominant etc.) and inversion. Notate the shortenings of each chord that you know under the notes (T5, S6, D46 etc.). You can also use Roman numerals (I5, IV6, V46 etc). Remember first to look at the bass note of the chord to decide on the inversion.
A few people have asked me to create a video course which would teach chordal analysis. I'm thinking it would be most helpful if people would send me their pieces their are currently practicing or thinking of learning and I could analyze the chords and modulations for them with additional explanations. This way you could learn exactly what you want and need.
If you would be interested in such a course, please let me know. If enough people raise their hands, we can start pretty soon, I think.
DON'T MISS A THING! FREE UPDATES BY EMAIL.
You have successfully joined our subscriber list.
Drs. Vidas Pinkevicius and Ausra Motuzaite-Pinkeviciene
Organists of Vilnius University , creators of Secrets of Organ Playing.
Our Hauptwerk Setup: