Organ Registration for Chant
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,715
    I once told a friend that if I used the trumpet, one of my hearing impaired choristers might be able to get his pitch.
  • Charles,

    In the example you have just given, did you mean that the harsh tone would cut through his hearing problem, or was it the sheer volume of an organ's trumpet?
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,715
    Both. He was older and needed to wear a hearing aid. Wouldn't do so for whatever reason. He had been in the choir so long it was impossible to remove him.
  • Ken of Sarum
    Posts: 406
    I've never heard any accompaniment in Russian Orthodox Churches and their chanting and choral works, even in the lowliest of churches, are supremely excellent and outstanding. May I also suggest listening to recordings / youtube of the chanting from Fontgombault Abbey.
  • Ken is so right. Our people are taught that they cannot sing chant or anything else unaccompanied. They hear it and are told it constantly. And many of our own musicians perpetuate this fraud. It isn't all that difficult, if one is competent to do so, to teach people to sing unaccompanied. Perhaps the root of this problem is that some of our musicians actually prefer their chant accompanied whether it's 'necessary' or not. There are those for whom chant is no fun at all unless they get to play their favourite accompaniments - it's all about the accompaniment.
  • henry
    Posts: 224
    Good organ accompaniment provides noble beauty, ("the pipe organ lifts minds and hearts to higher things") a firm foundation under the voices, and moving harmonies to complement the unison singing. I for one prefer chant accompanied, while of course acknowledging that unaccompanied chant well done is also beautiful.
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 3,088
    Russian chant is not monophonic. Are the lower voices providing the equivalent "firm foundation under the voices, and moving harmonies to complement the unison singing"?
  • I know that most Russian chant from the 17th century onwards is not monophonic. However, there is much chant of the Eastern Rites that is monophonic; especially before the 17th century. And, if read carefully, my previous comments implies that under some circumstances, I like both accompanied and unaccompanied chant. My biggest complaint is that many organist, yes MANY, tend to accompany choral music of all kinds, too loudly. As also a former professional orchestral, chamber, solo violist AND organist, I am very aware of accompanying voices both operatically and chorally. As a choirmaster, I have trained many groups in the art of singing both with accompaniment and without. And while I am on the subject, there are quite a few choirs / choruses that sing too loudly as well. My first conducting teacher was Dr. Richard Lert (god-son of Brahms and friend of Richard Strauss), and many musicians of that era were constantly admonishing there students that the truest/best of musicians were those that played with delicacy, tasteful tempi and appropriate dynamics. "Anyone can play fast and loud, but the true hallmark of an artist is the ability to play softly and slowly." Yes, I agree that in the hands of a master organist, an appropriate accompaniment can truly be inspiring and uplifting. All musicians, well trained and skilled, should be able to do anything in music, well. Right? Therein is the art and challenge.
  • My teacher once told me that if you can't have the audience on the edge of their seats with a mere gedeckt, you were not a very good organist. Indeed, I used to accompany some of the hymns at the Lutheran church I once served with a mere gedeckt. Seven hundred people with no more than a gedeckt. This was especially effective with hymns like 'O Sacred Head' during Holy Week.

    If accompanying chant is in one's parish really necessary, more than the very least necessary is too much.
    Thanked by 2JonathanKK CHGiffen
  • JonathanKKJonathanKK
    Posts: 537
    I wouldn't bind everyone to this. But that was basically my philosophy: 8' Stopped Diapason from the swell for the manuals, and 16' Lieblich Gedeckt for the pedals, no variance. There were a couple quieter strings, but those were too soft to use, and anyhow they were strings. On the rare occasions when I would try something else, I regretted it.