When a pianist plays an organ, often the touch or articulation has one of two problems:
1. The rhythmic values arte too short (staccato).
2. The rhythmic values are too long (legato).
Today I'll talk about the staccato touch.
When you play staccato on the piano, sometimes the touch is very short - shorter than half the value of the note. Because the sound fades quickly on this instrument, such short touch sounds fine.
But when you see the staccato on the organ score, it means that we cannot make the notes shorter than half of the value. In fact, to play the exact staccato in the organ piece composed after about 1800s, you need to shorten the note by the unit value (this is the shortest most commonly found rhythmic value of the piece). Often it means that you need to make the note shorter by a half exactly (e.g. instead of a quarter note, play an eighth note and an eighth note rest).
Pianists who try to play organ often simply transfer their pianistic touch to the organ which makes the staccato sound too short, even comical because the pipes get not enough time to speak.
I know it's difficult to remember this when you first start playing the organ - the old habits are slow to disappear.
Here are 3 things that can really help control the staccato on the organ:
1. Listen not only to the beginnings of the sound but also to the endings (releases).
2. Do not lift the fingers and feet off the keyboard and pedalboard.
3. Use less force - play mezzo piano.
Remember this regularly for a few months and you will begin to notice how you start turning from a pianist into an organist.
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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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