Words of Wisdom (on the light side)
  • I'll start. here is Eugene Ormandy:

    "Watch me closely. Only one can spoil it."

    "During the rests - pray." -


    Thanked by 3KARU27 Carol chonak
  • MichaelDickson
    Posts: 373
    My horn teacher (RIP) used to say to his students: "If you're not 10 minutes early to rehearsal, you're late."
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 9,142
    My organ prof used to tell me that if you pull on the chamade during communion, they will notice.
    Thanked by 1mmeladirectress
  • Michael,

    I wonder what harpists tell their students!

    Charles,

    Chamade ---- Communion...…. how on earth did this unlikely combination come up?

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  • CharlesW
    Posts: 9,142
    His point was to watch carefully when you pull a stop to be sure it is what you wanted. I suppose that would be good advice for registrations, too. He was correct. Accidentally pull the chamade during communion and people will notice.
    Thanked by 1mmeladirectress
  • A seminary priest used to say: "Don't be nervous. JUST DON'T MESS UP!"


    CharlesW - your prof was wise. I've never accidentally pulled a chamade at communion, but I did "slip" into the tutti button in the middle of softly accompanying the Veni Creator Spiritus... during a televised ordination Mass... on a rather large and harshly voiced instrument. Oops.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 9,142
    Before our console was rebuilt, I was never sure exactly what I would get. Some buttons no longer worked, others would stick, and one in particular would cause the wire insulation to smoke.

    That's the great thing about church music. If it messes up you can redeem yourself the following week.
  • Charles,

    Thank you for the clarification. I was conceiving in my mind this conversation...


    Charles "I want people to pay more attention to the music I will work so hard to prepare."
    Orgprof: "Well, if you pull the Chamade out at Communion, people will certainly be unable to avoid paying attention."
    Charles "Ok., but wouldn't that be taking attention away from Our Lord"
    Orgprof: "You have the loudest voice in the building without trying, even with your 8' flutes. You can't help but drown out others. You can't help but upstage Our Lord, so you might as well do it in style"

  • CharlesW
    Posts: 9,142
    He also said for postludes hit the sfz and put both elbows on the great manual. He said the congregation was rushing toward the door so fast they would never know the difference.
  • M. Jackson Osborn
    Posts: 5,935
    My piano teacher was the first one to tell me that 'a musician never makes a mistake, it's what you do with it that counts'.
    Indeed, a 'mistake' is an invitation to learn improvisation - on the proverbial spot.
  • >> I wonder what harpists tell their students!

    well, here's what mine told me :-) that [on a folk harp], it's not possible to play a sour note.
    That is, on this instrument one presets the sharps or flats; therefore, whatever is played will not be discordant, and people will just think that you're being creative.
    I must say, it was very encouraging to a beginner.
    Thanked by 1Carol
  • >> That's the great thing about church music. If it messes up you can redeem yourself the following week.
    Yes, Deo gratias!
    and in the meantime, you give the parishioners a chance to increase in the virtue of charity. One day they will thank you for it. :-)
    Thanked by 1Carol
  • Samuel Johnson:
    "Of all noises, I think music is the least disagreeable."
  • >>> Orgprof: "You have the loudest voice in the building without trying, even with your 8' flutes. You can't help but drown out others. You can't help but upstage Our Lord

    Drat, I cannot find anywhere that ode someone once wrote to the church organist... something about ...
    "upon thy oaken seat,
    and tramplest mighty Bach beneath thy feet"...
    Thanked by 1Incardination
  • M. Jackson Osborn
    Posts: 5,935
    Gleaned from a book
    which I was perusing whilst having a coffee at Barnes and Noble's this evening -

    Emile Zola -

    There are two men inside the artist: the poet and the craftsman.
    One is born a poet.
    One becomes a craftsman.

    Henri Matisse -

    Creativity takes courage

    da Vinci -
    It is a poor teacher whose students do not surpass their master.

    And an observation of my own -

    There are two kinds of teachers:
    One, those who make all their students clones of themselves.
    Two, those who teach each of their students to perfect his own native genius.
    (Don't be number one!)
  • In the house of God there is never ending festival; the angel choir makes eternal holiday; the presence of God's face gives joy that never fails. - St Augustine
  • SalieriSalieri
    Posts: 2,166
    A chorus director to Sopranos: "When you get to the high notes, don't shriek. You're singing, not getting stabbed in the shower."
  • Gamba
    Posts: 51
    “The work was murder and the work was the reward.” David Remnick, in his obituary for Philip Roth, in the New Yorker.
    Thanked by 1mmeladirectress
  • Richard MixRichard Mix
    Posts: 1,519
    don't shriek
    This is wise, because it conveys what technical precept? Maybe the sopranos are now imagining getting at the would-be Toscanini in the shower, in which case the remark was truly unwise. Much more so if they're in fact uppercase Sopranos.
    Thanked by 1Carol
  • M. Jackson Osborn
    Posts: 5,935
    Guest choirmaster at an Episcopalian diocesan choir festival rehearsal quite some time ago -
    'My! You all are easy to follow - but I'm supposed to be the leader.'
    Alas, how often have we all felt that way?
  • I usually say to my voice student: don't climb to the high pitches; fly there (as in, soar on the wings of an eagle).
  • David AndrewDavid Andrew
    Posts: 1,191
    “You must feel very lucky”

    “Yes, and the more I practice the luckier I get!”

    (Exchange between Marylin Mason and an audience member at a reception.)
  • "Music is enough for a lifetime, but a lifetime is not nearly enough for music." - Sergei Rachmaninoff
  • M. Jackson Osborn
    Posts: 5,935
    'We shall die, that is certain,
    and we shall die stifled by the all pervasive inertia of mediocrity.'
    - Debussy, in his play Freres en Art.
    (May it not be so.)

    A beautifully crafted Music is as an Holy Icon written in Sound:
    Of Realms Invisible it offers a Glimpse,
    Whilst Those Visible it casts in a Light more Profound.
    - From my diary

    Architecture, said Goethe, is frozen music.
    It would follow, then, that music is form and mass in motion, unbound, set free in time and space.
    - Ibid.

    'Surely taste is a moral category.'
    - Stravinsky, in Poetics of Music

    It is widely known that Mozart conferred the title 'King of Instruments' upon the organ.
    However, it was Guillame de Machaut, about four hundred years before Mozart, who first said [l'orgue] de tout instruments le roi.
  • “The Church knew what the psalmist knew: Music praises God. Music is well or better

    able to praise Him than the building of the church and all its decoration; it is the

    Church’s greatest ornament.” – Igor Stravinsky
  • “Where there is devotional music, God is always at hand with His gracious presence.”
    – J.S. Bach
  • Eugene Ormandy:
    "Start at B. Yes. No. Yes. No."
    Thanked by 1M. Jackson Osborn
  • M. Jackson Osborn
    Posts: 5,935
    When working on the soprano and alto parts of an anthem, the altos in one of my choirs would sometimes feign having their feelings hurt when I routinely said something like 'Let's have the ladies and the altos... second score, page three.' I don't know why I said it that way, I just did.
  • Carol
    Posts: 252
    In our choir you would have to say, "The ladies and the sopranos" because we have what I call a "man-prano."
  • Steve QSteve Q
    Posts: 93
    I have a son who is autistic and also a gifted musician. One day he overheard me say (tongue-in-cheek) that REALLY good musicians know how to cover up their mistakes. Some months later we were visiting a parish where the organist is a friend of mine and we were chatting with her after mass. Suddenly my son said to her, "You are a very good player. You cover your mistakes really well!"

    Oh boy...luckily we remained friends afterwards.
  • Mary Ann
    Posts: 48
    My Father, may he rest in peace, directed our Schola for many years. From him: "Remember, we're wearing ballet slippers with our voices when singing chant...not combat boots."
  • "Music is the exultation of the mind derived from things eternal, bursting forth in sound."
    -- St. Thomas Aquinas
  • M. Jackson Osborn
    Posts: 5,935
    Why should the devil have all the good tunes.
    - M. Luther

    (In response to those elements who wanted to ban all music from Christian worship.)
    Thanked by 1Carol
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 829
    Luther was clearly of that sentiment, but the phrase has not yet been found in his writings. More on this page. It is popular in Salvation Army circles.
  • Richard MixRichard Mix
    Posts: 1,519
    I don't know about the light side, but here's a motto for any of us: Bruno Walter on leaving Munich (temporarily avoiding Nazis by moving to Berlin in 1923!)
    ...it signified the abandonment of a task to which my nature seemed to have predestined me: to be the guardian and keeper of a cultural institute and to make its blood circulate by the force of my heart.

    Theme and Variations, 1946
  • mmeladirectress
    Posts: 462
    "It may be that when the angels go about their task praising God, they play only Bach. I am sure, however, that when they are together en famille they play Mozart."
    - Karl Barth
  • Liam
    Posts: 3,355
    Or Haydn...in my imagination:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LKvg2238SQw

  • mmeladirectress
    Posts: 462
    or even... sometimes... Tchaikovsky

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E0oGTxSBCKA
  • mmeladirectress
    Posts: 462
    since we're on the light side - this is a pre Reagan story

    An ancient Jewish father was sitting in Red Square reading in the sun. One of the red guards walked up and squinted at the book. ""I can't make anything out, father," he said, "what are you reading?"
    "I'm reading the Scriptures," the old man nodded without looking up.
    "But I can't read it."
    "That's because it's in Hebrew," the old man said. "You know, in Israel they speak Hebrew."
    The guard scoffed. "What are you, 85 years old? You're never going to Israel, old man. You're going to die right here."
    The old man smiled. "In Paradise, the angels speak Hebrew also."
    "Oh yeah?" sneered the guard. "Well what if you don't get to Paradise either? What if you go to hell?"
    The old fellow shrugged. "Well, in that case," he said mildly, "I already speak Russian."
    Thanked by 3WGS Liam CHGiffen
  • M. Jackson Osborn
    Posts: 5,935
    Einstein is credited with having said, concerning his Theory of Relativity -
    I occurred to me by intuition,
    and music was the driving force behind that intuition.
    My discovery was the result of musical perception
    .
  • M. Jackson Osborn
    Posts: 5,935
    Gleaned from W.L. Sumners' still-authoritative tome, The Organ -

    St Jerome, advising a lady on how to rear her daughter, saith -
    Let her be deaf to the sound of the organ, and not know even the uses of the pipe, the lyre, and the cithara.

    Thus spake Aelred of Rievaulx, who knew about friendship, but not so much about the organ -
    Let me speake now of those who, under the show of religion, doe obpalliate the business of pleasure.. whence hath the Church so many organs... To what purpose...is that terrible noise of blowing of Belloes, expressing rather the crakes of Thunder, than the sweetnesse of a voyce... What with the... noise of the cymbals (mixtures? blockwerk?) the common folk stand with wondering faces, trembling and amazed.

    And, thus saith Erasmus of Rotterdam -
    Money must be raised to buy organs and train boys to squeal.
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  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 7,803
    RULE NUMBER 1

    Do no damage.

    If you are unsure of the passage, pretend you are playing (singing) it without actually doing so. Of course, if you are the soloist, you had BETTER play it right... EVERY time, without excuses... which means PRACTICE it 'till you can do it without thinking. (ten times in a row without making a mistake or even a hesitating moment)

    Of course, this rule applies to concert venues, and not in a liturgical service where mistakes are acceptable with apologies.

    However, in concert venues I make the mistake obvious and close to the start so I can get over the fact that mistakes are part of the human condition.
  • mmeladirectress
    Posts: 462
    >> In our choir you would have to say, "The ladies and the sopranos" because we have what I call a "man-prano."

    A sirprano?
    Thanked by 2Incardination Carol
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 7,803
    hey! I LOVE singing soprano! (contratenor)
    Thanked by 1Carol
  • Carol
    Posts: 252
    Yes, but you are in the same octave, not the octave below! I like "sir-prano." I have heard a contratenor and was astounded by the sound.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 9,142
    Was that contratenor, or contrarytenor? Sir-prano is a new one. ;-)
  • Carol
    Posts: 252
    Actually, I think he was billed as a countertenor. I recall PDQ Bach had a "bargain counter tenor" listed in one of his compositions.
    Thanked by 1CharlesW
  • Carol
    Posts: 252
    Also, a different discussion on the forum brought this to mind. I learned it from my mother, who learned it from her father:

    "Rain falls on the just and the unjust fellas,
    But mostly on the just because the unjust stole the justs' umbrellas.