What can you do with a descending C major scale in the pedals?
You can harmonize it in many interesting ways, using a tonal harmony and adding various non-chordal notes, such as passing tones and neighbor tones. Always be conscious of creating a good melody in the soprano because it has to bear all musical interest when the bass is being constantly repeated.
Sight-reading for today:
The Bell Symphony by Henry Purcell (1659-1695), the great English Baroque master, arranged from the anthem "Rejoice in the Lord" arranged for the organ by William Crane Carl (1865-1936). The anthem originally is intended for ATB soloists, SATB choir, strings, and organ. According to the notes of this piece, Purcell, when Master of Choristers of Westminster Abbey wrote this Symphony using the descending scale in the pedal part to imitate the Abbey Chimes.
In order to better understand how the piece is put together, when you play this Symphony, perhaps first try to play the soprano and the bass parts together (if you can do it. If not, separate parts will do). Looking at the bass you will discover that this composition is divided into fragments of about 2.5 measures (with a couple extensions for cadences in 2-2-2 and at the end).
In a sense it's a piece based on the ground bass, a classical English tradition to create variations on the same theme which is being played constantly in the bass (sometimes in other voices, too). The scale lends perfectly to the canon between the bass and soprano, as seen in 2-1-3. Although there are not strict repeat signs here, the music seems to be a repeat from 2-3-2.
This Symphony is indeed a very beautiful piece. I hope you will enjoy playing it today.
Submit a Photo:
Although our summer experiment with submitting a photo is over, people keep sending me great pictures of pictures related to their organ practice, so if you have an interesting photo to share with our community, you can do it here.
Re: Marches for wedding service
Karl: "Thanx very much Vidas. Very valuable collection." That's great! Go and prepare a couple of marches so that you will be ready when you get a call.
Re: Marches for wedding service
'Seun: "Dear Vidas, thanks for all the tips. After your post on funeral marches I was just about to ask about weddings when u posted this. A friend asked me to play at his wedding in November and he requested specifically for the Mendelssohn's March. For preludes, would it be ok to play some of Bach's preludes like the prelude and fugue in C major. What others would u advise? Thanks in advance." Good for you, 'Seun. Now you will know what to practice for weddings. In general, for weddings, it's best to choose two types of compositions - a solemn march-like or fanfare-like pieces for Processional and Recessional, and sweet-sounding, gentle, and meditative music for other parts of the service. Major keys work best here but for Marches there are some great choices in minor mode as well.
RE: Mistakes we make
Sonja: "Wow, great mental attitude you have! Indeed every heart which we can reach by our play makes it worthy, even when this is one! We will do our very best for this. An encouraging to prepare my following concert soon. Thank you." Exactly. I'm sure you had such an experience before where your art resonated with at least one person in the room. You looked at her eyes and at that very moment you knew, you've achieved something remarkable to change this person's life.
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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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