Are you struggling with playing different melodies in different hands and feet? Do you know what is the exercise which will boost your musical thinking and hand and feet coordination? I'm talking about playing a hymn from the hymnal in the following 8 ways:
1. The melody is in the soprano played by the right hand. This is a usual four-part arrangement. The alto is in the right hand, the tenor - in the left hand and the bass - in the pedals.
2. The melody is in the soprano played by the right hand. The alto is in the right hand, the tenor is in the pedals, the bass - in the left hand.
3. The melody is in the soprano played by the right hand. The alto is in the pedals (with the 4' registration), the tenor and the bass - in the left hand.
4. The melody is in the soprano played by the pedals with a 4' registration or a 2' stop one octave lower. The alto is played in the right hand, the tenor and the bass - with the left hand.
5. The melody is in the tenor played by the left hand, the right hand takes the alto and the soprano and the feet play the bass.
6. The melody is in the tenor played by the pedals, the soprano and the alto - by the right hand, the bass - by the left hand.
7. The melody is in the bass played by the pedals, the soprano and the alto - by the right hand, the tenor - by the left hand.
8. The melody is in the bass played by the pedals, the soprano - by the right hand, the alto and the tenor - by the left hand.
Try these exercises with your favorite hymn today. You'll be surprised at how difficult that is. This is also an exercise for your brain - for an organists it's even better than a sudoku puzzle.
Have you ever tried to play the hymn tune in the pedals at the 2' pitch level? This is an interesting technique which was very common for playing chorales in the Baroque period. Today I would like to share with you this arrangement of the tune Herzliebster Jesu ("O Dearest Jesu, What Law Has Thou Broken") which is very suitable for Lent.
This exercise in reality lets the hymn tune be heard in the soprano voice played by the pedals two octaves lower. The bass part can be played on a different manual than the alto and the soprano using 16' and 8' stops.
Practice this hymn setting of "I Come, O Savior, to Thy Table" on the organ with pedals. The feet will play the tenor part on a 8' stop. The left hand takes the bass with the 16' stop as the basis. The right hand will play the soprano and the alto with the stops at the 8' level.
Intermediate students: transpose this exercise to F major.
Advanced students: transpose it to E major.
Feel free to add more stops to your registration but keep in mind the pitch level for each part.
Here is the PDF file for printing and the MIDI file for listening.
Try to insist on achieving a fluency 3 times in a row with this hymn setting.
After you are done practicing, post your time to comments.
Practice this 4 part hymn setting on the organ with pedals. Note that the alto part is assigned to the feet and should be played on the 4' stop. Left hand plays the bass and the tenor; the soprano is played by the right hand on a different manual.
If you find it hard to sight-read it without mistakes, practice each part separately first, then combinations of two parts and three parts before putting everything together.
It is best to play every step and combination 3 times in a row correctly and fluently without hitting the wrong notes or making rhythmical hesitations.
Since this is the hymn from the 19th century, try to play everything legato except the repeated notes and notes leading to unisons (in the left hand) which should be shortened exactly by an eighth-note value.
Here is the file for listening and for printing.
After you complete the exercise, post your time to comments.
Today we will practice a hymn in four parts "Open Now Thy Gates of Beauty". But this will not be a simple setting because the soprano is placed in the pedal part and should be played with a 4' stop.
The alto and the tenor voices will be played by the right hand with 8' registration and the bass - with the 16' and 8' stops in the left hand.
Note that you can play the pedals one octave lower than it's written with the 2' stop.
If your organ doesn't have these higher-pitched stops, what you can do is to simply play the both hands on one manual and use the manual to pedal coupler for the pedals and use 4' or 2' stop from the manual.
Of course, you can use heavier registration and add more stops to the sound but be always aware of the lowest pitch level that each part should be sounding in.
Practice this hymn setting in a slow tempo until you can play it 3 times correctly in a row. Of course, take advantage of playing solo parts and combinations of 2 and 3 parts a few times before putting everything together.
Here is the PDF file for printing. After you complete this exercise, post your time to comments.
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: