View Poll Results: Which instrument is harder?

Voters
26. You may not vote on this poll
  • Organ

    20 76.92%
  • Piano

    6 23.08%
Page 2 of 2 FirstFirst 12
Results 16 to 29 of 29

Thread: Organ vs Piano, Which one's harder?

  1. #16
    New Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2020
    Posts
    3
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    If you’re playing electro pneumatic organs then yes, the action is light, but not on mechanical action organs... the action can be extremely heavy depending on how many keyboards you have coupled together. It can be much heavier than the piano.

  2. #17
    Senior Member chu42's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2018
    Posts
    1,307
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Organ is harder to learn, since there is an increased coordination required between hands and feet.

    On the other hand, piano is harder to master. The dynamics and colors vary more, there are a higher variety of advanced techniques, and tone quality/articulation can be much more pronounced on the piano.

    Furthermore, the repertoire is deeper. While there are incredibly difficult works for organ, the piano has been the de facto instrument for virtuoso writing since its invention. Perhaps only the violin has a similar or greater amount of difficult works written for it.
    Last edited by chu42; Jan-19-2021 at 16:00.

  3. Likes Krummhorn, Varick liked this post
  4. #18
    Senior Member amfortas's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Illinois
    Posts
    2,880
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by David Pinnegar View Post
    It depends on the definition of harder and of how well one wants to play.

    To play the piano well . . . um . . . that's hard.
    Is that in part because "well" has been defined by such a rich legacy of extraordinary live and recorded performances? It seems the bar for piano playing has been set incredibly high.
    Alan

  5. #19
    Senior Member Varick's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Posts
    747
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Having played the piano most of my life and never playing the organ, I can't say which is more difficult. Given the fact that mastering the piano can take a lifetime; technique, shading, performance, etc. I may be wrong, but I can't imagine the organ doesn't have similar obstacles. I remember standing at the organ at Saint Bartholomew's Church in NYC (after hearing an amazing recital of all Bach's Preludes and Fugues) and thinking, "Good Lord, look at all those levels of keys, pedals, stops, and levers!" I thought it must be 20 times harder to play that thing. But again, I've never played, so I'll listen to those who play both.

    V
    Nostalgia isn't what it used to be.

  6. #20
    Senior Member chu42's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2018
    Posts
    1,307
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Varick View Post
    Having played the piano most of my life and never playing the organ, I can't say which is more difficult. Given the fact that mastering the piano can take a lifetime; technique, shading, performance, etc. I may be wrong, but I can't imagine the organ doesn't have similar obstacles. I remember standing at the organ at Saint Bartholomew's Church in NYC (after hearing an amazing recital of all Bach's Preludes and Fugues) and thinking, "Good Lord, look at all those levels of keys, pedals, stops, and levers!" I thought it must be 20 times harder to play that thing. But again, I've never played, so I'll listen to those who play both.

    V
    Organ is the "king of instruments"—certainly there is a lot of nuance, but definitely not as much as the piano. For example, playing a really really good pianissimo is one of the most difficult things to do on the piano but I've never heard any organist truly play what you would call pianissimo. And there just isn't as much room for articulation or phrasing. Of course you can play detached, and you can play connected, but there seems to be so much reverb out of the organist's control that I can't imagine that he has nearly the amount of options that a pianist has. In many ways the organ is the opposite of the harpsichord—where the harpsichord has no choice but to project a delicate, detached, quality, the organ has no choice but to project a regal, majestic, sound. The piano has more freedom with both spectrums while never fully committing to either one.

    This is why one can take works written for the harpsichord/organ and transcribe them for the piano and not lose too much of the original intent. But if one were to transcribe a Scarlatti sonata for the organ, or a Brahms intermezzo for the harpsichord, bad things might happen.

    This isn't knocking the organ in any way but this is just what I can hear with my own ears, having never played the instrument myself.
    Last edited by chu42; Jan-21-2021 at 04:35.

  7. #21
    New Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2021
    Posts
    2
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    step one: stop watching watch-mojo

  8. #22
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    May 2021
    Posts
    13
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    I was going to mention that. A lot of people who may have experimented with a Rodgers or Allen, or may have played some on an elector pneumatic action pipe organ might think that all organs have light action. They obviously have not played a tracker/mechanical-action organ. Even uncoupled manuals you still have a little bit of resistance, like pushing a lever with a spring. When an organist couples manuals, it becomes even heavier. Granted modern trackers have Barker levers (amazing invention of Aristide Cavaille-Coll, but even with that, the St Suplice organ when all 5 manuals are coupled, is said to be rather heavy. Daniel Roth must have some strong fingers. I love Cavaille-Coll organs, but as an organist myself, I prefer electro-pneumatic action.

    Someone else mentioned difficult music, virtuosity, etc,. Again, there is a lot of organ repertoire that requires extreme virtuousity to play. Most anything by Marcel Dupre, Vierne, Reger, the Durufle Tocatta, Demessieux Six Etudes, a lot of Cesar Francks literature is difficult. J.S. Bach's Trio Sonatas require virtuosity in spades to play well and cleanly. There is just as much virtuosity in organ literature as in piano literature. Each instrument has its own particular demands on the skills and talents of the musician on the bench of that particular instrument. Also, almost all concert and professional church organists can play the piano at an advanced level. Can many concert pianists play the organ at an advanced level? I do know some that do, but not as many as the other way around.

  9. #23
    Senior Member dissident's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2021
    Posts
    594
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    The organ. A virtuoso organist can probably transition more easily to other keyboard instruments than a pianist or harpsichordist can. Walcha, Karl Richter and Rübsam, for example.

  10. #24
    Banned
    Join Date
    May 2021
    Posts
    155
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Organ I would imagine. Playing a fugue with your feet!

  11. #25
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    May 2021
    Posts
    13
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by dissident View Post
    The organ. A virtuoso organist can probably transition more easily to other keyboard instruments than a pianist or harpsichordist can. Walcha, Karl Richter and Rübsam, for example.
    Walcha and Richter were very skilled harpsichordists. In fact, most concert caliber organists tended to have studied harpsichord is their secondary instrument and visa versa. That said, I know All three of these organists were skilled at the piano. Richter was a conductor as well. Every organist that I know started on the piano. To enter conservatories and schools of music at Universities, all keyboard majors invariably need to audition on piano, usually at least one or two pieces of literature from the Baroque, Classical, Romantic, and 20th century eras. Same as harpsichordists as well. That is because having a foundation in piano and piano technique is so important. It also shows just how important the piano is in the music world. Many schools and conservatories require some piano proficiency to study any area of music, including orchestral instruments and voice. I guess one could say, "The organ is the King of Instruments, while the piano is the Prime Minister." Yeah, I know, sounds corny, but maybe I just penned a new quote. I love all three of the major keyboard instruments. I am an organist; I have been an organist/choirmaster at various churches.

  12. #26
    Senior Member dissident's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2021
    Posts
    594
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by ejw View Post
    Walcha and Richter were very skilled harpsichordists. In fact, most concert caliber organists tended to have studied harpsichord is their secondary instrument and visa versa. That said, I know All three of these organists were skilled at the piano. Richter was a conductor as well. Every organist that I know started on the piano. To enter conservatories and schools of music at Universities, all keyboard majors invariably need to audition on piano, usually at least one or two pieces of literature from the Baroque, Classical, Romantic, and 20th century eras. Same as harpsichordists as well. That is because having a foundation in piano and piano technique is so important. It also shows just how important the piano is in the music world. Many schools and conservatories require some piano proficiency to study any area of music, including orchestral instruments and voice. I guess one could say, "The organ is the King of Instruments, while the piano is the Prime Minister." Yeah, I know, sounds corny, but maybe I just penned a new quote. I love all three of the major keyboard instruments. I am an organist; I have been an organist/choirmaster at various churches.
    True, but the thing is I don't know that if you set Martha Argerich, Murray Perahia or András Schiff at the console of a pipe organ that they would know how to proceed.

  13. #27
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    May 2021
    Posts
    13
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by chu42 View Post
    Organ is the "king of instruments"—certainly there is a lot of nuance, but definitely not as much as the piano. For example, playing a really really good pianissimo is one of the most difficult things to do on the piano but I've never heard any organist truly play what you would call pianissimo. And there just isn't as much room for articulation or phrasing. Of course you can play detached, and you can play connected, but there seems to be so much reverb out of the organist's control that I can't imagine that he has nearly the amount of options that a pianist has. In many ways the organ is the opposite of the harpsichord—where the harpsichord has no choice but to project a delicate, detached, quality, the organ has no choice but to project a regal, majestic, sound. The piano has more freedom with both spectrums while never fully committing to either one.

    This is why one can take works written for the harpsichord/organ and transcribe them for the piano and not lose too much of the original intent. But if one were to transcribe a Scarlatti sonata for the organ, or a Brahms intermezzo for the harpsichord, bad things might happen.

    This isn't knocking the organ in any way but this is just what I can hear with my own ears, having never played the instrument myself.
    Actually, you make some good points. However, an organ can be very soft depending on the stops and ranks chosen. If one were to use only soft string stops like a Celeste or Harp stop, it would be very, very soft. If one chooses a loud reed like a State Trumpet, French Horn, Tuba Maribus stop it would project a very powerful sound where conversation would be difficult.

    Another thing that hasn't been brought up when it comes to the musical skills of organists, particularly concert caliber organists and cathedral organists. Improvisation. The Art of Improvisation has largely been subdued and pushed out in most conservatories and university schools of music with the exception of Organ performance. It is a very important skill in the toolbox of an organist as in church services, particularly churches that are very liturgical. In the great churches and cathedrals of Europe, the titular organists are required to and expected to improvise on a mass theme. These are intricate and dense improvisations, and very, very beautiful. Organists such as the titulaires of Notre Dame and St. Sulpice (Olivier Latry and Daniel Roth) will improvise and a theme associated with a mass, rendering a beautiful passage of music that can go on for 10+ minutes. I would say that takes an extreme amount of musicality, creativity, and certainly advanced virtuosity. One can listen to these talented organists on YouTube and enter into a YouTube search of organ improvisations.

    There are concert pianists that still improvise, and a movement is being made now to return improvisation to the repertoire of the piano - and I believe this is a good idea. I know the Helene Grimaud is skilled at improvisation, but having to make her name amongst a nation that is well-known and famous for their talented titular organists, it is incumbent that French pianists have a solid footing in improvisation. It is taught in their conservatories. Hopefully, the US follows suit.

  14. #28
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    May 2021
    Posts
    13
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by dissident View Post
    True, but the thing is I don't know that if you set Martha Argerich, Murray Perahia or András Schiff at the console of a pipe organ that they would know how to proceed.
    I do know that most conservatories and schools of music do require some study of organ and harpsichord for piano majors. I had a friend that has an MM in Piano Performance who was asked to be his church's organist and choirmaster. He played the pipe organ rather well. Of course, he had taken some study on organ performance, which did help. Concert pianists have to put so much time into performing on their primary instument, coupled with travel and other aspects of their lives, probably would find it difficult to put time into another complex instrument such as the organ. Glenn Gould played the organ, though I think because of his back injuries, he never developed a supple pedal technique and tended only to play Baroque literature

  15. #29
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    May 2021
    Posts
    13
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Parley View Post
    Organ I would imagine. Playing a fugue with your feet!
    Or a Revolutionary Etude ala Cameron Carpenter.

  16. Likes Krummhorn liked this post
Page 2 of 2 FirstFirst 12

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •