Vidas: Hello and welcome to Secrets of Organ Playing Podcast!
Ausra: This is a show dedicated to helping you become a better organist.
V: We’re your hosts Vidas Pinkevicius...
A: ...and Ausra Motuzaite-Pinkeviciene.
V: We have over 25 years of experience of playing the organ
A: ...and we’ve been teaching thousands of organists online from 89 countries since 2011.
V: So now let’s jump in and get started with the podcast for today.
A: We hope you’ll enjoy it!
V: Hi guys! This is Vidas.
A: And Ausra
V: Let’s start episode 672 of Secrets of Organ Playing Podcast. This question was sent by Gerrit, or, I don’t know how to pronounce it. If he’s Dutch, maybe “Herrit.” I would appreciate people maybe giving us feedback how to pronounce their names, right? Would be nice. So Gerrit writes:
I’ve watched and listened to your performance of Duetto, Op. 156 No. 6 of Joseph Rheinberger. Thank you for that. It sounds beautiful.
I have a question, maybe somewhat off topic, but I’ve noticed that playing from a tablet, the pages seem to turn by themselves. For example at 1:04. How did you do that? I am working with MobileSheets with the auto-scroll function, but your method is better.
Did you turn the pages by yourself or was it another person?
Hope that you can clarify this mystery for me.
A; (laughs) That’s so funny. Yes, it will be a miracle - you know the pages was turned just by themselves. I’m afraid nobody has yet developed such an advanced technology.
V: But they will. I think I heard people are developing neuro- something with brain - you think that, once you think of an idea of turning pages, it will turn the pages.
A: But that’s kind of scary because you can think about it in the wrong place and then it will flip your page in the wrong spot.
V: Yes. Yes. Or somebody else will think for you?
A: Yes. So I guess we need to explain what kind of program we use for turning our pages while playing from the iPad.
V: And what do we use, Ausra?
A: Well, we have special program.
V: Called…ForScore. F-o-rScore. One word. It’s only available for iOS. Basically for iPads, for iPhones. Obviously iPads are easier for eyes, because they’re larger. And the modern, the newer iPads have this camera function of facial recognition, you know, where you unlock not with typing passwords or your fingerprint, but with facial recognition. You look at the camera and they recognize that it is you, right? That’s the newer kind, newer models of iPads. And this camera can work with ForScore, and you set up this facial gestures feature. It only works I think with ForScore Pro. You have to pay a small subscription fee every year, I think. We also do, but for that, in return you get additional features not available in basic edition. And one of them is of course facial gestures, and you can set up page turning either by blinking or by moving your lips.
A: Which one do you prefer with this?
V: Right now, obviously blinking is nice, but I’ve worked with both. When you blink, you actually kind of move your lips too a little bit, don’t you think?
A: Not so much, actually.
V: I’ve seen people move their lips during livestreams.
A: It doesn’t look nice. It seems like a man or a woman has some kind of neurological problems, so I prefer blinking myself. It’s easier. And if you want to flip the page forward, you blink your right eye, and if you want to go back, you blink with your left eye.
V: For me, blinking is easier too, because with lips, I get confused when to move my lips to the left or to the right. It’s quite confusing at times. And as Ausra says, it looks not very elegant.
A: Sure. Then when watching people turning pages with their lips, I’m thinking of treatise by Francois Couperin who wrote that while practicing you need to put the mirror in front of you and to look to your face, what kind of mimics do you make, because he wrote that it’s inappropriate to make too much out, with your face during performance.
V: That was 300 years ago.
A: I know, but I think it still works today, too.
V: Do you think Couperin would not use ForScore facial gestures feature?
A: Maybe he would use it, but he would definitely blink, not move his lips.
V: Hm. I wonder. Yeah, probably. I mean, it’s elegant. Just blink to the right, with the right eye, and page is flipped to the right side, right, forward. And with the left, backwards. There is additional thing you could do, right, because when you’re playing from paper sheets, you could put like a score, open score with two pages open, and you only have to turn pages every two pages once, right, not every page. And that is easier, right, in performance. A lot of pieces are just two pages long. And more, less effort is required in turning pages this way. But with one iPad it’s not really possible, right? Unless you put it horizontally, and then there are two page view. But then your pages are twice as small. Correct, Ausra?
V: And what did we find, how did we find another solution?
A: We tried to put two iPads on the, on music rack, one the bigger one and then the small one.
A: Especially when we were playing duets.
V: Right. Ausra sits on the right. She needs pages on the right side, and I sit on the left, and I need another device for that. And this way you only blink once, but turn two pages at once.
A: Yes, but it’s costly. Not everybody can afford to have two iPads.
V: Assuming they have more than one device, then there is this score, this app, ForScore. And in addition to this app, the same company that makes ForScore, they have an app called Cue - C-u-e. And you download this Cue app on another device, and you basically connect two devices…
V: …via this app, right? And blink once and turn two pages at once.
A: Yes. Also, I never think that we have to say about this blinking, that you have to write the sort of correct spot on the organ bench, and always try to blink from the same position.
V: Correct, and especially it’s true if the iPad is positioned horizontally, right? In landscape mode, not in portrait.
A: Yes, landscape mode.
V: Therefore, your camera is not right in the middle, but a little bit to the left, even I think,.lower right corner of an iPad, and if you just move just a little bit to the left, the movement can be predictable. You blink, and can turn the page or not; sometimes it turns the page automatically without you even blinking. I find it problematic when iPad is positioned in landscape mode. So I prefer portrait mode of course, if it’s possible. And another thing, especially on different instruments if you are traveling, for example. Music racks are angled at a different angle sometimes. Wider angle or narrower angle. And that means your eyes are looking at the camera from a different angle, and face as well. And not always basically straight into the camera. So sometimes, I find it easier to put something on the music rack, on top of the music rack, so that iPad is moved a little bit forward, to adjust for the distance between the eyes and the camera. I did that in Germany while on tour, and it worked. Like a hymnal basically, but on top of the music rack. That worked.
A: (laughs) Everything sounds so problematic.
V: Yes, because I was alone. There was nobody to help me, so I had to really make sure it will work. Any other suggestions, Ausra?
A: Well, if you can play from the paper score, better play from the paper score. You will have less problems with that.
V: What about trees, saving trees?
A: I know. Do you think the musical scores will diminish the number of trees in the world? Do you think musicians have the main problem of global warming?
A: I highly doubt it.
V: Agreed. Agreed, yeah. And of course, all iPads require electricity…
A: That’s right.
V: …to charge. And you’re not always charging your devices with renewable sources.
A: That’s right.
V: But that’s another topic for another day. And for now, thank you so much guys, for sending us 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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