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Thread: Organ

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    Junior Member Weltschmerz's Avatar
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    I decided that I'm going to learn to play organ when I move down to Austin (UT) in the fall. That way, when I move to Austria, if I cant land a good job, I can offer to be a church organist for free at one of the many cathedrals over there in exchange for a place to sleep at night and maybe some food every once in a while.

    First, does anyone happen to know a good teacher in Austin?

    Second, how much piano skill would I have to have to play organ?

    Third, woud I have to become Catholic (technically) to be an organist at a Catholic cathedral?

    Fourth, wouldnt playing for a church be somewhat easy, because its mostly just old chord patterns (non-virtuostic)
    "When all hopes of recognition or honor have faded into distant memory, when purity of heart meets sorrow of mind, when all the world seems to walk in blindness, and yet a man works without wearying for that which he loves...only in this moment is passion truly understood." - Franz Schubert, 1827

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    Member vivaciouswagnerian's Avatar
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    Hey. thats so ironic. I'm actually from Austin, Texas. UT has an amazing music department. Early music seems to be some of their best work so that includes organ. Since I sing though, I dont have too many contacts in the piano scene.

    To answer you quesitons:

    They say you should be able to play a triple fugue before even looking at the organ. I think while thats probably an acurate statment skill-wise. I think trying an instrument is never a mistake. Organ is extremely difficult though, a defenite beast.

    You absouletly do not have to be Catholic to work in a catholic church. Your looking at a perfect example, lol. They prefer to have a person of the same denomination, but talent is talent, and they almost never take denomination or religion into account. As long as your good it doesn't matter.

    As for difficulty: Sacred music is some of the hardest music in the genre. You have be able to read 4 part choral without a piano reduction (not terribly difficult, but its all got to be sightread) and you would have to play the organ prelude and postlude. While you could play really easy stuff for that, you probably wouldn't get hired anywhere. They high organists who can play real organ music. And organ music is quite difficult to play.

    Hope this helps!
    "Don't bother to look; I've composed all this already"
    -Gustav Mahler to Bruno Walter, who had stopped to admire mountain scenery in rural Austria

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    Junior Member Weltschmerz's Avatar
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    Thanks a lot.

    Thats pretty discouraging though...I've never even taken piano lessons, although I play around occassionally...but as far as reading multiple lines at different times....ahhhh...what am I going to do...how am I supposed to get a job in Austria then....that sucks
    "When all hopes of recognition or honor have faded into distant memory, when purity of heart meets sorrow of mind, when all the world seems to walk in blindness, and yet a man works without wearying for that which he loves...only in this moment is passion truly understood." - Franz Schubert, 1827

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    Senior Member Oneiros's Avatar
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    Ah, thanks for this thread. I would also like to learn organ, and eventually play as church organist.

    Could I just ask, how difficult would a triple fugue be to play? I have only been playing piano for around 6 months, and have not seen any fugues yet.

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    Member vivaciouswagnerian's Avatar
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    Triple fugue's are usually not even studied until mid-college piano. The only reason I compare the organ to a triple fugue is because you have to be able to play at LEAST two parts simultaneously with your hands and one with your feet. Footing (dont know if thats an actual term but its the equivalent to fingering in piano) has very specific techniques. Not having studied organ personally I dont know these techniques but I have had many organ comrades and its not an easy thing. Minimal piano skills unfortunatly are not adequate when it comes organ playing. But its an amazing intrument if you decide to study it. Hope that helps
    "Don't bother to look; I've composed all this already"
    -Gustav Mahler to Bruno Walter, who had stopped to admire mountain scenery in rural Austria

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    Senior Member Oneiros's Avatar
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    Ah ok. I'm definately going to study organ, but perhaps I'll wait until my piano and sight-reading skills are a bit better. Thanks for the help.

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    Senior Member Edward Elgar's Avatar
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    The main problem people face when switching from piano to organ is that their playing becomes considerably detache as there is no pedal to sustain the notes. An organ must be played with little or no expression and fingering/substitution of fingers is essential.
    When all the paint has been dried, when all the stone has been carved, music shall remain, and we shall work with what remains.

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    Administrator Krummhorn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by phatic View Post
    Ah, thanks for this thread. I would also like to learn organ, and eventually play as church organist.

    Could I just ask, how difficult would a triple fugue be to play? I have only been playing piano for around 6 months, and have not seen any fugues yet.
    If at all possible, check out The Method of Organ Playing by Harold Gleason. It's a rather pricey book, but perhaps a local university fine arts library might have it. The book (to be used concurrent with organ lessons) is very methodical in its approach. Truly a night and day thing going from piano to organ - only similarities are the two-toned keys. I still have my Gleason book from the19 60 and refer to it periodially to keep my playing technique in form.

    I've been a church organist for over 47 years - a wonderful profession that I still enjoy to this day ... certainly the musical highlight of my week.

    Kh
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