By Ausra Motuzaite-Pinkeviciene (get free updates of new posts here)
One of the characteristics of organists who lack musical intuition is that they play only notes without giving any thought about what happened in the mind of the composer when they wrote it. Also they don't think about what any of the notes, passages or chords mean.
And I don't mean to give negative criticism here. It's just that they lack certain training which can be improved over time.
Usually such organists also tend to end their pieces abruptly.
This is like driving your car and when you have finished your trip and arrived at the destination, you simply engage the emergency hand break and your car stops suddenly.
The only time we do this is for emergencies, right? So why the ending of organ pieces should be any different?
Sure, there are instances when you have to leave your listeners surprised at the end but in most cases they should feel the ending coming.
So an obvious way to do it is to gently slow down at the end and hold the last note longer. You have to because as you slow down, you keep counting the beats slower and slower.
Imagine, you're playing "Kommst Du nun Jesu vom Himmel herunter" from the 6 Schubler chorale preludes by J.S. Bach and you forget to slow down at the end of the final Ritornello and abruptly release the last note.
It's like an accident, right?
Instead, keep slowing down in your mind starting maybe a couple of beats in the penultimate measure and hold the last note longer.
Do this and your piece will end very naturally.
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Drs. Vidas Pinkevicius and Ausra Motuzaite-Pinkeviciene
Organists of Vilnius University , creators of Secrets of Organ Playing.
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.