Is this conversation serving any useful purpose at this point?
Your problem is that you are part of the “I’m OK You’re OK” school. There is no excellence in this school. Intentions and effort are all that counts. Anyone who comes along and says that there are standards and there is something called excellence is proud. This is one of the great fallacies of modernism. Standards are gutted. Effort counts for more than excellence.
The rewarding of effort over excellence is a formula for mediocrity. In fact it is the absolute ultimate in pride. A great musician, artist, scientist, etc. who is arrogant is, at his worst, less proud than a mediocrity who vaunts himself. Though sometimes superficially arrogant, the excellent humbled themselves before their muse and achieved something real. Far worse to me are people who brag that they are self taught and prattle on about all the praise they have received. “I do this little affectation, then I do this other affectation and everyone tells me how great I am.” Ughh..
It is truly nauseating but it is epidemic. I have seen it over and over again. I am anonymous here so I feel quite bold to speak about it. I hope a few people read it and recognize themselves. I have had a secret desire to tell some of these kind of people how bad they suck for many years but I am sure that I would be excommunicated (if not punched out) if I told every popinjay church musician what I thought.
By the way: I have heard a lot of very poor church musicians who humbly gave it all they had and I don’t have anything to say to them except “Thank you very much”]]>
Maybe you should tell the author of Third Nephi, “so much for your knowledge of writing and the alphabet,” since there were prayers that apparently couldn’t be written down.
If you were reading with a generous spirit, you would have known that Mark B. was referring to the well-known fact that any score is the most crude representation of any actual performance. No human is actually capable of playing in exact rhythm or even of striking the notes of a chord simultaneously, as many computer studies have shown.
But all of your preening criticisms of the supposedly prideful ring hollow. A dilettante psychologist might say they were inspired by some kind of projection.]]>
Right back atcha, Kaimi!]]>
So much for his previous insistence on hymns being played as written (as if music ever really can be written). And as soon as one allows any variation at all, the only thing left is “taste” and “appropriateness.”
As Winston Churchill allegedly said to his neighbor at the dinner party, when she accused him of thinking her a whore: “We’ve already established that. Now we’re just dickering about the price.”]]>
Off course I didn’t criticize D. Fletcher’s organ playing Kaimi. I criticized modulating upward between verses of a hymn. There is a crucial distinction there that I thought a professor of Law could understand.
J. Coffey Most LDS organists are in fact quite untrained. I wish more of them would seek out instruction but I can silently endure (and perhaps even enjoy) the diligent efforts of an amateur to play if they are playing “straight” and trying. I wish more stakes and regions would try to offer some seminars on organ playing using some of our finer trained organists.
I do think that subtle changes in color between verses can be quite effective. There is nothing wrong with a somewhat grand conclusion to a big hymn. There are many creative devices that organists of varying levels of skill can employ to enhance the hymn singing experience of the congregation. I mentioned soloing out a line. I think that this might be too advanced for many but it is subtle and effective.]]>
My only question is: how many organists out there are REALLY “properly trained”?? I mean, most everyone I have ever encountered in my neck of the woods has admitted to self-taught organ playing. We have only had ONE person in the 13 years I’ve lived in the same area that had taken organ classes at BYU—and he moved back to Utah last spring!
I was VERY lucky that just a few months after I was called someone came from BYU to our area to conduct an organ workshop where I learned that you SHOULD change things for each verse to encourage more of the congregation to sing. Years later I was talking about a hymn with one of the organists I rotated with and he inquired about the u’s and ^’s I had on my music to indicate heel and toe, and so I “taught” him about that very simple concept that the BYU instructor had taught us but he had never known: because he was self-taught! How do you teach yourself if you don’t know what you’re doing to begin with? (After playing for a few years I learned about the transposing knob one day after discovering it was FIVE steps lower and I wondered why the Sacrament hymn sounded too “gravel-ly” and OFF! So now I know to check that knob!!)
What happens when someone doesn’t get ANY training??
So anyway, sorry I was so curt and that I started a very heated debate. (yeah, Susan! I was agreeing with you in wondering how a post on organ-playing could get so controversal!) I think we were all just getting our feathers ruffled because what may seem like “showboating” may just be someone experimenting and TRYING to learn!
BTW- how DID your organ-playing today go anyway, Amy? My feet were not agreeing with my head a few times today…]]>
Of course modulating upward can be used effectively. You hear modulation all the time in general conference; perhaps the Tabernacle organist didn’t get George’s across-the-board memo.
Also, modulation has to be used carefully. Unnecessarily inflammatory jabs aside, George is right to point out that excessive or uncareful modulation can make a hymn unsingable for an average LDS congregation.
Is that likely to happen with D. on hymn 62? Probably not.
D. doesn’t mention whether he modulates upward a half-step or a whole step. (It’s been a while since I heard him play. I vaguely think he modulated a full step, but I could be wrong.)
A half step takes the highest melody note in 62 from an E-flat to an E. That’s well within the range of most congregations. A number of popular hymns go up to E, starting with God Be With You Till we Meet Again. Unless your congregation can’t sing 152, they’ll be fine with a half-step modulation on 62. And any number of other hymns in the green book go up to E: Though Depeening Trials, God Speed the Right, Our Savior’s Love, The Lord is my Shepherd, Master the Tempest is Raging, High on the Mountain Top.
A full step moves the highest melody note from an e-flat to an F. That’s probably the edge of singability for a lot of congregation members. There are still hymns in the green book with melodies that go up to F as written — such as 118 and 77 — but they’re not as common.
Plus, I’m certain that D. has already taken all of this into account in his playing decisions — he’s an exceedingly conscientious organist.]]>