Help with accompianment
  • This isn't exactly sacred music, but perhaps someone could help me with a little project. I was wondering if anyone had tips for turning a piano piece into something for the organ. I guess I could use the two staffs given for the manual parts, but I don't know how to improv the pedal parts. Is there anyone who wouldn't mind taking a look at this link and adding pedal parts and stop reccomendations then posting it here? Here is a sample:

    I can buy the full pdf file if someone is willing and able to help. I know it seems goofy, but I really would appreciate your help.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,279
    I would play the lowest notes in the bass clef on the pedal and use my hands to play the notes in the treble. It will be more legato if those chords are played with both hands. If all the pedal notes are octaves, you don't need to play the top note. You don't need to worry so much about the voice line, since the melody is duplicated in the accompaniment (for the most part). Stop recommendations? Depends on what instrument you are playing. Rarely do any two pipe organs sound alike, although the stop names may be the same. Electronics tend to have similar sounds within the same brand name. It would be a good theater organ piece. Experiment and find a stop combination that sounds good to you. There's no historical school of Marvin Gaye playing, so you won't have to deal with organ purists telling you that you are playing it wrong. ;-)
  • At first I was going to post a humorous "historic tradition says that you only use the toes when playing music of this era" but then remembered that there is a tradition. I am not suggesting anyone do this, but having enjoyed the work of African-American organists front and center and having asked a lot of questions, some will do this:

    They register the top keyboard of the hammond with lots of low drawbar settings, then play the bass line with the left hand on the upper keyboard and the right hand on the lower.

    Then they pull out the pedal drawbars to balance the upper setting and a couple of the lowest pedals with the left foot in rhythm to the left hand playing the correct notes.

    Yes, the left foot is playing clusters. Creates a great sound, and is more a technique of creating a certain sound than being a way of cheating by not playing the actual notes in the pedal.

    I have seen the same organists play complicated pedal parts. Early american organ music recreated the drums of the military in the same manner.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,279
    Of course, you have heard about the organist who had his heels surgically removed so he could play Bach correctly? ;-)

    I remember Beverly Jerrold, I think it was, who maintained in an article in the AGO magazine some time ago, that even Bach used heels. It was a fairly convincing article.
  • Frogman, I've only played a hammond once so I'm not really familiar with the numbered stops and drawback tabs featureed on their organs. Would someone care to explain which sort of stops that would equate to on an instrument with stops labeled by the sound it mimics?
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,279
    organist2008, what kind of instrument are you planning to play this on? It would help if we knew what you have.
  • I have access to a couple different instruments. One is a Reuters with stops ranging from Gedackt to Gemshorn and Gemshorn Celeste to Habouis. The other instrument is a Rodgers electronic. Most of the stops on this organ imitate brass instruments.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,279
    I would start with the strings and flutes, then decide if you want to add tremolo. If the volume is not enough, or the tone is too "flat" then add some principals and see if you like that sound. If you have a Reuter pipe instrument, you may have too "churchy" a sound for the Marvin Gaye piece. I have a Rodgers at home, but it's pretty "churchy" also. Noel is the real expert on Rodgers, because I believe he sold them for years. You will have to experiment because the sounds you are pleased with are the sounds you should use.
  • Also on would you just sustain the D's on the base clef or would you play it as written? I would like to do the latter, but it might sound choppy.
  • Let's step back for a moment...this is music that does not, as good church music does, move through harmonic motion, rather it moves by repetition of notes over and over again.

    That means it is choppy music. So playing it on the organ is like stretching taffy while knife blades keep cutting it...impossible to stretch while beign cut you end up not having taffy, but little bits of stuff.

    It's candy, but it doesn't look like taffy, but little blobs. You can put it in a dish and tell people to try the taffy and they will...look at you funny.

    Meaning that, it is impossible to play this piece on the organ effectively even if you are playing a Rodgers that imitates brass instruments. I'd like to hear that because I have never heard one, even a bad one that sounds like brass instruments.

    I had heard some that sounded like bad pipe organs and that's ALWAYS funny!

    I was an Allen organ dealer prior to the death of the inventor and president, was purgued along with a lot of other dealers afer his death, then worked as a Rodgers designer and salesperson for years and still consult on designs of Rodgers, Rodgers with pipes and voicing of Rodgers here and overseas. I do get called in by representatives to assist them in designs as part of the selling process, and do that for pipe organ builders as well.

    To answer your question, while that music is virtually unplayable on a church organ, follow CharlesW's advice for stops.
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    Where you have broken chords, hold the bottom note in the pedal and play the top legato as written.
  • Thanks for the advise. Note Bene: I understand that it isn't really meant for the organ, I just wanted to try it and see what I could do with it and thought that your suggestions could transform the sound from absolutely absurd to somewhat goofy, yet entertaining.