How long can you hold a pedal point?
Imagine, jų press some note in the pedals and while holding it, play some suitable music with your hands. That's called a pedal point - one of the ways to create tention in the piece (dominant pedal point, if there is the 5th scale degree in the pedals) or a sense of stability (tonic pedal point, if there is the 1st scale degree in the pedals).
Today's sight-reading piece is Toccata Sexta from Partitura in cymbalo et organo, Op.2 Book 2 (1664) by Sebastian Anton Scherer (1631-1712), a South German Baroque composer and organist.
In this toccata, Scherer makes heavy use of pedal point and includes much imitative counterpoint as well as free writing.
The pedal points dominate this piece. In fact, the longest is towards the end, on C - 27 measures long! There are only 7 pedal points in the entire toccata: on F, C, G, A, D, F, and C.
Here is the score for printing (p. 89). Choose a slow comfortable tempo and use articulate legato touch, when you sight-read this toccata today. Play separate hand parts, if both hands together are too complex.
Tip: How about applying the same pedal point technique in improvisation? Choose 7 pitches and play something interesting (it doesn't have to be polyphonic) based on the key of that pitch.
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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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