When you have a three-voice composition for manuals only, such as a chorale prelude or a fugue, the middle part sometimes is written closer to the soprano and sometimes - closer to the bass. Therefore, this voice migrates from one hand to another and sometimes it needs to be played either by the left hand or the right hand.
In the legato style piece, this is not easy to do - you have to apply smooth fingering and see that the middle part remains fluent and melodically as well as rhythmically intact.
Such a piece is for today's sight-reading: the famous Schmucke dich, o liebe Seele, Op. 122, No. 5 (1896) by Johannes Brahms (1833-1897), a 19th century late Romantic master German composer. Interestingly, such a sweet piece (p. 18), along with other 10 beautiful chorale preludes have been composed just one year before composer's death.
The unit value (the most frequently seen rhythmical value) in this piece is a sixteenth note. Therefore, shorten the repeated notes in the upper voice with the chorale tune by the sixteenth note making them dotted eighth notes and sixteenth note rests.
If three highly independent lines are too complex for you to play them together right away, play separate voices only in a slow tempo (especially this middle part). Watch out that all the parts would be played in a smooth legato. For this to happen, apply finger substitution.
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Drs. Vidas Pinkevicius and Ausra Motuzaite-Pinkeviciene
Organists of Vilnius University , creators of Secrets of Organ Playing.
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.