Ronald Sumner: I know you said avoid seated at the organ photos but what else can you do with a digital organ? This is a Majestic 3-39 organ built by Makin's of Oldham, UK and this is me playing at the end of Sunday morning's service at Bamber, Bridge Methodist Church near Preston in Lancashire, UK.
Much of French 19th century and early 20th century organ music was written using symmetrical 4 or 8 measure units taken from the classical school. Here I mean that very often you can count on finding a cadence at the end of 4 or 8 measures of music.
Middle sections of the pieces, such as Development, might be an exception to that because obviously composers wanted to avoid too much predictability. This is evident in much of the music by Vierne, Dupre, Franck and others.
But what if a composer wanted to create something really unpredictable, something which the listener and the performer would find interesting, flexible, and alive? What would happen if instead of 4 or 8 measure units, you could have 3, 5, 6, 7 or even 9? Moreover, one sentence in a period might have 5 measures and another - 4 etc.
Today's sight-reading piece is Andantino (p. 1-2) by Louis Marie François Andlauer (1876-1915), little known French organist and composer who worked at Notre-Dames-des-Champs and Eglise Saint-Eloi in Paris. This composition is taken from Two Short Pieces for Organ or Harmonium (1912). If you look closely to the score, you will notice asymmetrical phrases right away.
You can play this piece with or without the pedals. As you sight-read it, pay attention to the stops or cadences at the end of asymmetrical units. Here's how the piece is divided in measures: 6-6-7-5-2-2-2-5-7-6-6-2.
In order to achieve a fluent legato touch, you will need to use finger substitution and glissando techniques. The composer suggests soft registration so choose perhaps 8' flutes with or without 4' reinforcement.
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Don't have an organ at home?
Download paper manuals and pedals, print them out, cut the white spaces, tape the sheets together and you'll be ready to practice anywhere where is a desk and floor. Make sure you have a higher chair.