How to play repeated notes in Romantic and modern organ music? Many people don't pay attention to that and simply play them as they want. It turns out that in organ playing, repeated notes require careful calculation because in larger acoustics and in music with many voices in general, the sound tend to loose clarity and mix with other voices very easily.
The standard system that is being used today was largely promoted by the Frenchman Marcel Dupre's organ playing method. It says you have to shorten the notes by the unit value. A unit value he called the most commonly seen rhythmical value in the piece.
Today's sight-reading piece is Prelude in D Minor by Fortunat Pintarić (1798-1867), a Croatian organist and composer. Right from the start (system 1) you can see the repeated notes in the left and in the right hand parts.
In order to find out the exact length of the repeated notes, we have to seek out the unit value. It seems like it is an eighth note. So when you shorten the quarter notes in the first system, play an eighth note and make an eighth note rest. When the repeated note is the same as the unit value, shorten it by a half.
Here's the score for playing. Although the tempo is Maestoso (solemnly), for practice purposes, play rather slow - as slow as it is comfortable. If you can't sight-read all parts together accurately, play separate parts. Since this is a piece in Romantic style, every note should be played legato (except when notated otherwise and except for repeated notes, obviously).
PS A common objection to these sight-reading exercises from organists is this: for some people they are too difficult, for some - too easy. That's not a problem - it's a scale issue. We don't need to change exercises, we can change the scaling:
For beginners: play separate parts
For intermediates: play two part combinations
For advanced: play everything together
For experts: transpose the piece to one or more keys
For everybody: increase or decrease the tempo to match your skill level
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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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