Vidas: Hi guys, this is Vidas.
Ausra: And Ausra.
V: Let’s start episode 349 of Secrets of Organ Playing Podcast. And Francois is writing:
I would like to ask about an exotic Pedal form, in German
Stummelpedal, impossible to find an adequate translation...
Well this pedal form, coming from Halberstadt over Böhms e-organs, to mention a better form than the ones on spinet organs, has some
advantages. One is that it is not so monstrous like a conventional
pedal, in an house organ.
I think of building one (long pedals, axis far behind. So my question,
did you had to do with historical pedal of this form? Or students who
could bring far their technique (at least till some romantic works)
practicing on this kind of pedals?
Thanks in advance,
Nicer and nicer you daily email, Thank You.
V: Oh this is really wonderful to hear that Francois is enjoying our daily conversations, Ausra.
V: Can you say some nice words to Francois at first?
A: I appreciate it. It’s nice that somebody finds us nice and useful. That’s why we are doing it.
V: Exactly. If nobody would pay attention or find them valuable we would probably would be doing something else. And concerning Francois’s question, the picture that he is sharing is basically looks like a pedalboard with very short sharp keys and it’s flat and some electronic pedalboards have that. 25 keys, midi organ pedalboard, suitable for jazz and Hammond, Clavia-Nord, PK-27 model. It looks like similar to historical instrument, right Ausra? But it has some differences too.
A: Well, for me it does not look like historical.
V: The only similarity of course is its flat.
A: Yes, that’s the only similarity as far as I can see.
V: And plus 25 keys are really not enough I think for today’s practice, you need 30 keys at least or sometimes 32.
A: And you know historical pedal board even is often as flat as this one is, it displayed sort of wider because the keys are wider too, and especially black keys, they are also wider in my experience. And on a keyboard like this you really have to play sort of like a ballerina.
V: I’ve played such a similar disposition before on Allen digital organ.
A: Me too. Some of Allen digital has this kind of pedalboard and it’s sort of pain in the ….
V: Pain in the neck.
A: Not only the neck but you know what I mean. I don’t want to swear.
V: It’s very inconvenient to play actually. You have to constantly think about where you are hitting and if you play historical pedalboards they are as Ausra says, wider.
A: And this kind of pedalboard, I don’t know what they are suited for. Neither for historical performance practice, nor really for modern music practice. It’s really not so comfortable.
V: And we have pedalboards with 25 notes in our church chapels, right? They go up until C. And I guess a lot of organs in baroque times had the compass until C, treble C, but today sometimes even in baroque organs need D, right?
A: Of course it’s better to have this kind of keyboard when don’t have any keyboard.
V: You mean pedalboard.
A: Pedalboard, yes. If you can manage such a pedalboard you will probably be able to manage any pedalboard.
V: So Francois is thinking of building one and maybe if he likes historical pedalboards maybe he could look at pedal clavichord layout.
A: But what I understood from his letter maybe he does not have so much space as a real pedalboard takes.
A: So I guess what he liked about this one that it doesn’t take so much space.
V: Yes, it’s smaller.
A: So pedal clavichord pedalboard takes a lot of space.
V: Probably the same space as a normal baroque organ pedalboard would take.
A: At least, maybe even a little bit more.
V: But in general he asks can you advance in organ playing not only playing early music this way but also romantic and modern.
A: Of course you can.
V: Using early type of pedalboard.
A: Well to play the modern music on the baroque, well, that’s a tricky question.
V: We heard this situation in Rochester, New York, remember in one conference when one student at Eastman School of Music, he practiced exclusively on the pedal clavichord, even sonata by Reubke and got really good with it, at least he said so. So people do all kinds of tricks I think. What do you think about that?
A: Well you can do that but when you get to another organ you will have to re-adjust.
A: But that’s the case for all organists with each different instrument.
V: Imagine if Bach wanted to create romantic music on his area organs what he would do.
A: I think it’s very unrealistic. He didn’t live in romantic era so he didn’t have to struggle with that and to solve that dilemma.
V: And composers influenced organ builders and vice versa in their discussions and meetings about what kind of music to create and what kind of instruments to build.
A: That’s right.
V: OK. This is interesting question, right? The one that people sometimes have to think deeply in figuring out the solutions and solutions might not fit every one, right? If Francois likes this kind of pedalboard there is nobody stopping him, right?
A: True, why not?
V: And he can do that and after he has done that and midified his pedalboard maybe he can then after six or ten months he can tell us his experience if he likes it or not.
A: True because it’s still better to have such a pedalboard than not having any.
V: Than practicing on the floor.
V: Umm-hmm. Yes. Thank you guys for sending these 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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