Playing organ without all your fingers
  • JesJes
    Posts: 416
    So on Wednesday I accidentally chopped off part of my tallest finger on my right hand. I had surgery and hopefully all should mend but in the absence of being able to find another Organist I played this morning. I managed this by playing the melody in my right hand without my third finger, playing alto and tenor in my left hand and bass in the pedals. I found this really hard to do but I think I’ll be adding it to my practice routine because it made me really think and changing manuals for the hands added excitement of a different textural sound to my normal hymn playing. My improvisations were ordinary at best but passable I think.
    My finger is SO sore at the moment but I think I’ll have a rest for now and resume later.
    On a real high note I’m looking forward to the new year. With all the exciting things upcoming.
  • matthewjmatthewj
    Posts: 2,517

    I accidentally chopped off part of my tallest finger on my right hand.


    It's best to avoid that practice.
  • MarkS
    Posts: 204
    So sorry to hear, Jes! Prayers for a speedy and full recovery.

    I was taught early on to 'solo out' the melody of hymns by playing the alto and tenor in the LH as you describe. It is a great reading exercise and, once mastered (it's not that hard once your brain gets used to it), allows for a lot of flexibility in hymn playing. I recommend it to all!

    But for now, take it easy on that finger!
    Thanked by 2Jes dhalkj
  • Jes, you need to understand that when you want to give the world the middle finger (a tempting exercise I'll admit), this is not the way to do it.
  • ghmus7
    Posts: 956
    God Bless You!
    Thanked by 1Jes
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 3,746
    Bless you, Jes, and I pray for a speedy and excellent recovery.
    Thanked by 1Jes
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 9,087
    Prayers for you. I couldn't afford to lose fingers since I have difficulty playing some pieces with all of them intact. Musician's hands are a treasure. Be very careful with them.
    Thanked by 1Jes
  • I once knew a violinist who had to have her violin restrung, so she could use her right hand for fingerings, and left hand for bowing. She played for the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, in upstate New York. Be grateful that you don't have to play the manual parts with the pedals and the pedal parts with your hands!
    Thanked by 1Jes
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 3,746
    As a student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, I became acquainted with Rudolf Kolisch, leader and first violinist of the resident Pro Arte Quartet. Here's an excerpt from the Wikipedia article:
    His father and maternal grandfather were Jewish, while his maternal grandmother was Catholic. Due to a childhood injury to the middle finger of his left hand, Kolisch, who had already begun to play the violin, relearned the instrument with the functions of the hands reversed.
    Thanked by 1Jes
  • Ouch! I know the feeling... I cut off measurable bit of the tip of my left thumb while cutting drywall for a basement finishing project about 6 years ago. I had to play for Mass the next morning on a very heavy-action tracker. My postlude was the 1st movement of the Bach/Vivaldi Am Concerto (BWV593), which required some clever fingerings, and enduring more than a bit of throbbing pain as I knocked the wrapping against the keys a few times! Thanks be to God, everything healed up within about a month, and has never caused any further difficulties. But it certainly does give you the opportunity to think a bit outside the box with your playing!

    Rest assured of my prayers for a speedy and complete healing!
    Thanked by 1Jes
  • canadashcanadash
    Posts: 1,306
    I'm so sorry. How awful for you. It sounds like you were amazing especially under the circumstances.

    God bless you and prayers for a speedy recovery.
    Thanked by 1Jes
  • JesJes
    Posts: 416
    So kind thank you, I've been bombarded.

    I really just shared cos of the cool new practice I’m going to use a bit more from now on.
    Organists please do try it.
    Three more sleeps til bandage comes off and I get to look at the damage.
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • JesJes
    Posts: 416
    Bandage is off and the tip of my finger is black, my whole hand is still in pain but no longer so bad. I have pins and needles in the tip of the finger so that’s good cos it means I’ll get sensation back!

    Tried something else cool, been using more first inversion chords in my right hand and changed a few harmonies in my improvisations. Suits arpeggiated style "Bach prelude number 1" type of improvisations really well.
  • So kind thank you, I've been bombarded.

    I really just shared cos of the cool new practice I’m going to use a bit more from now on.
    Organists please do try it.
    Three more sleeps til bandage comes off and I get to look at the damage.


    So, are you suggesting the new practice routine or the chopping off of the finger bit?

    Seriously though, I glad to hear that your finger is healing. Please be more careful in the future!!!!!
  • I can see it now: liturgical training camps which include proper arm raising, proper finger trimming, and proper microphone placement!
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 9,087
    One of the liturgical mysteries - don't remember which - had a one-legged substitute organist who couldn't get her artificial leg under the console. She took it off and placed it on top of the console, where it could be seen by all returning from communion. It was also mentioned that no notes were heard from one half of the pedalboard.
    Thanked by 1Incardination
  • canadashcanadash
    Posts: 1,306
    My dad lost four fingers on his left hand. He was a mechanic and had some kind of accident. His two middle fingers were lost forever and two were reattached. The cut was diagonal so he only lost the tip of his index finger but half of his baby finger. He had quite good use of them and this surgery was over 50 years ago. I remember him mentioning black fingers. Sometimes he would sit with me at the piano and ask me to teach him. It was always amusing. Prayers for healing.
    Thanked by 1CharlesW
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 9,087
    This gentleman used to post here. I don't know what ever happened to him, but he is an inspiration. He never let himself be stopped by what someone else might think possible. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HiFXcaXqcPU
  • That is inspiring, Charles.

    There is an English concert pianist who, with his only arm, plays left-hand literature.
    There have been others.
    I stumbled recently on youtube upon a young Russian, Alexei Romanov, who, having no hands, plays the piano only with his wrists.

    Whenever I have piano students who for some reason or another have temporarily incapacitated arms or hands, I compose one-handed music for them to practice on. Some have even played such pieces on recitals - to the admiration of all.
    Thanked by 1CharlesW
  • There is quite some amount of piano literature and concerts for the left hand only, composed shortly after WW I, e.g. Prokofieff's 4th piano concerto, several works by Franz Schmidt and concertos by Ravel, Korngold and Hindemith.
  • JesJes
    Posts: 416
    Finger is sorta almost back in action. Very painful but so nice to play on. Thanks for the prayers people.