Vidas: Hi guys, this is Vidas.
Ausra: And Ausra.
V: Let’s start episode 297, of Secrets of Organ Playing Podcast. This question was sent by Dineke. She writes:
Much pleasure with my pedal course. The first week I was some ill and the printer was new....I am studying with pleasure and it s just have been good I had basic knowledge of Theory..... we continue....beside my usual lessons. Nice you had a good Saturday with books meeting. Many greetings from Dineke.
V: So this message was sent quite a while ago, right? When...
A: Well at the beginning of the month.
V: Yes. When our friends came over to our house and we discussed a few of the books we read over the summer. And next month we also will have similar meeting too. I think it’s good to read, right, Ausra?
A: Yes. To bad what most of our friends read is only Lithuanian books. And that sort of...
V: It’s a limit then.
A: Dead, end. Yes.
V: Mmm-hmm. Because there are not too many choices then.
A: That’s right and Vidas and I, we mostly read English books. And even if there is a book written, let’s say by, Spanish author for example, I want to read it, not with translation into Lithuanian but with translation into English. Because I think it’s better.
V: Right. Right, you’re right Ausra. And sometimes it’s interesting to read books not in your direct professional sphere.
A: That’s right.
V: Or area. Because then, you can really discover new things you didn’t even know existed. And sometimes not even books, but articles. I’ve, for example, found out that on the platform Steemit where we are posting our comic strips about Pinky and Spiky, there is a nice community called Curie. And Curie selects and basically finds fascinating and exceptional content, exceptional articles. Because sometimes they get buried down underneath some garbage posts, right, on social media. But they discovered new wonderful content, and they upload basically, give their likes, there, and people can follow the trail of quotes that Curie community gives, And I’ve been doing this for the past couple of weeks, I think. And reading articles that are not necessarily related to my direct interest, you know. And I’ve been discovering so many new things. It’s so fascinating. And all these articles are written by regular people, you know. Most of the time they are documenting their day, day-to-day activities, what they do, they travel, they work. And for them it’s usual. For me, it’s quite unusual because they live differently. And it’s so broadening my own perspective too. That’s inspiring.
A: Well, I’m actually very glad that Dineke enjoys our pedal course.
V: Right. It’s a rigorous course. It starts right away with C Major scale over one octave. And it’s not easy because C Major doesn’t have any sharps and it’s easier to play pedal scales with a little bit of sharps—a few, two or three sharps or flats. Because then you can play toes on the sharps and heels sometimes on the white keys too. But she apparently is sticking with the pedal course, which probably means that in a few months she will develop this wonderful ankle flexibility that we’ll need and which allows to play all kinds of difficult pedal passages then later on.
A: And what do you think she means by that she has, that it’s good that she has a basic knowledge of theory? Do you think it’s because different keys have different accidentals?
V: Uh-huh. That’s obviously it. Because, the way the scores is written down, is every day we’re practicing scales with ascending number of accidentals, major and minor scales too. So for people who don’t know music theory and circle of fifths and key names, tonality names, it’s confusing, right? But it’s good that she has this knowledge. And actually she does have her own organ professor. She is just supplementing her own organ studies with our course, right? Nice depth. It works for her too, to advance in her own organ playing too.
V: Right. Do you think sometimes, people can get different conflicting ideas from different professors when they study with us and with others?
A: Oh yes.
V: Mmm-hmm. Have you seen people, these people write to you?
A: Well, yes. It’s usually, it’s about the same all the time. It’s about our understanding of early music, of baroque music.
V: What do you mean, how is it different from other people?
A: Well, it’s not so different from other people, but from some people.
A: That they still had learned not following the historical approach. And then playing Bach, legato, and use the heels in the baroque music.
V: And it sometimes even not the case with organ professors who are teaching these people but maybe with a person who looks online at Youtube videos, right? There are so many Youtube videos now, and so many different versions of the same piece. So if you’re playing one piece, you can listen to ten different versions, and say that, ‘Oh, I like that version’. So, that person plays legato, right. And you’re teaching articulated legato. Maybe you are wrong, right? Because I like that version better. So, what could you tell that kind of person?
A: Come and try historical instrument, and you will see that legato technique doesn’t work.
V: Mmm-hmm. Because keys, pedal keys are generally differently constructed. And manual keys are also different. The touch itself, when you depress the keys is sort of different on the mechanical instrument. Especially on the historical mechanical instrument too. Sometimes very light, sometimes very heavy—depression of the key. And the keys are shorter so there is no easy way to use all fingers in early music, in music from 17th century, let’s say. To put the thumb on the sharp keys, it’s very inconvenient. Especially if an action is very light. Then you could hit the wrong key very easily. Did you discover yourself, one time, that kind of instrument?
A: Yes, of course.
V: Where was it?
A: It was in Sweden, in Gothenburg.
V: Oh, in 2000.
V: Mmm-hmm. Tell us more.
A: What I can tell you? But then you come yourself and see, for yourself.
V: No no. It’s not enough. You have to paint the picture—what’s happened.
A: Well, it’s just completely different world. I could talk about it for an hour. And maybe not in this podcast.
V: Mmm-hmm. So maybe, just for information of people who are wondering, the keys are very differently constructed there, and you need to really try to go to those places. Maybe not necessarily to Sweden, but maybe to organs that are closer to you, right? Sometimes in the country where you live, there are replicas of older instruments too.
V: Thanks, guys. This was Vidas.
A: And Ausra.
V: Please send us more of your questions. We love helping you grow. And remember, when you practice...
A: Miracles happen!
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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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