SOPP412: There are a couple of scales that may require orthopedic surgery on my ankles to achieve a legato perfection!
Vidas: Hi, guys, this is Vidas.
Ausra: And Ausra.
V: Let’s start episode 412, of Secrets of Organ Playing Podcast. This question was sent by Terry, and he writes:
Very helpful! I did the 12 week course earlier and that was very helpful, as well, but did not have the scales. There are a couple of scales, however, that may require orthopedic surgery on my ankles to achieve a legato perfection! But, I will stay with it. Thanks for all you do. Terry
V: Terry is talking about probably, our Pedal Virtuoso Master Course. And not everyone is able to do those scales and arpeggios, I think. But, as he says, orthopedic surgery is certainly not needed.
A: Definitely. No wonder you hurt yourself.
V: Right. As we always emphasize, technique exists for a person, and not the other way around. If something doesn’t feel right, adjust it, or skip it. Agree?
A: That’s right. Don’t hurt yourself. I’ts the most important thing.
A: But of course, I know what Terry means. I remember myself playing Dupré’s first preludes, first preludes out of those famous three ones: B Major, G minor…
V: And F minor.
A: And F minor.
V: F minor is the second...
A: Yes, F minor is the slowest, the second one. And G minor is probably the most famous, the third one. So I played the first one—B Major. And fugue actually had that fast and very elaborated subject, and it was quite a pain for me to play legato in the pedal.
V: Mmm-hmm. Right! You need the higher heels.
A: That’s right. And you might need to cheat sometimes, a little bit—just a little bit, to reach very wide intervals.
V: Talking about the heels, last night, or not last night, maybe a couple of nights before, we had Unda Maris Studio rehearsal, and I found that one person needed organ shoes. But in Lithuania, what you have to do is either order shoes from abroad, over the internet, or go to some local shops and see what fits. But there is a third option too. I also found dancers shoe shop. And we saw online catalog, and it seems that some of the dance shoes really fit to play the organ too.
A: Yes. Dance shoes are good. Not of course all, not the ballroom dances, but like folk type dances.
A: The shoes for them are suited well to play organ too.
V: Right! So, do you think, Ausra, that men's shoes also could have high heels sometimes?
A: Well, it’s hard for me to say because I’m not a man.
V: But it doesn’t hurt, right?
A: Yes, probably, because if now if I compare to organ shoes, men and women, definitely women's heel is higher than men’s.
V: Maybe it’s because, it’s a generalization of course, but men are sometimes or often higher than women.
A: But still, if you are playing the pedalboard, then [it] doesn’t matter how long your feet, how long your legs are. Because I’m just talking about the high heels…
A: How high the heel is.
V: Probably what matters most is how long your lower legs are.
A: Probably how long is your foot itself.
V: And foot, right? So, yeah. Maybe extending your heels would be sometimes wise—artificial extending.
A: (Laughs). Yes. Make a surgery to extend your foot.
V: No! (Laughs). I just say, what you could go to the shoemaker and ask him or her to adjust the heel—make it longer, higher.
A: That’s right.
V: Okay, so, maybe I’m not sure with what kind of shoes Terry is playing pedal scales too. Some people play with socks, without shoes.
A: Well, don’t do it. I don’t think it’s a wise thing.
A: Then you can really hurt yourself.
V: That’s right. But any rate, when you learn those scales, then they stay with you. It’s a good warm-up exercise before your regular practice. You could spend fifteen minutes every day just polishing up your skills and arpeggios before you really start playing the repertoire, hymns or improvisation or anything else. Right Ausra?
A: That’s right.
V: Thank you guys. This was Vidas.
A: And Ausra.
V: And remember; when you practice...
V: 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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