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September Contest - Writing for Organ


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  • 2 weeks later...


What do you mean it is strictly advertising?

I disagree too about strict parameters - sometimes you will need to adhere to it because eventually you will need to deal with the limitations/resources of the performer or tools . For example, if you have a church position and need to write for an amateur choir you know very well you will have strict parameters to adhere to -- so this competition isn't that divorced from real life. And my parameters offered a pedagogical challenge which at least Jimmy attempted with the limitations he had.

A you said it isn't about winning - so why not offer a challenge to stimulate one's mind and creativity?

And if many people feel I went too far then I am sorry - I did my best to offer a challenge, a score and an overview of the literature.

I'll let you and Jose determine what is best - postpone or close the competition.

What I'll do is look over Jimmy's score and offer my critique from an organist view. Give me some time Jimmy - very busy now. Allow me 2 weeks and then pm me if you don't get comments.

PS. Also,

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  • 2 weeks later...

Jimmy Juicin -

Reviewed your piece -

1) Very organ idiomatic. Love your pedal line though tricky to play legato but a more non-legato would be easier. Did you want a legato line?

2) Great use of the echo! The imitation at the unison with the melody was a good choice.

Now some recommendations:

1) I would NOT register everything the same - the pedal would be a soft flute 8 and later add some 16's for the big chords at the end . Also to hear more clearly the imitation and the intervals formed just adding a 4' to one manual would make a hige difference. The piece also cries for a fuller sound at the end - maybe adding a 4 to the pedal and other manual or coupling everything together would be good.

2) Harmonically it gets interesting when you move out of D major to F major and when you add non chord tones to your diatonic chords. Unfortunately there is not enough of this and the harmonies get a bit static.

3) You need more lessons in canonic imitation - you often repeat the same exact figure and depend on the imitation and a few changes in chord inversion or rhythmic displacements for variety - which is OK to a degree if it creates a sense of movement. Even in minimalism movement harmonic or melodic is created - just over a much slower rate of change.

4) The repeated note section is a good idea but again you could use some grounding in counterpoint - tends to get static as you like to move your chords in parallel motion. Again used judiciously or for a particular effect or sound it is fine but here it seems rather unconscious and due to a lack of strong technique.

5) As for the use of long held cadences to ensure the piece breathes - well you get a bit carried away with sometimes by doing it after every phrase. Also, I think a good deal of this can be barred - I understand you were trying with the limitations of Print Music to write unbarred music - but the majority of this piece could be barred - albeit irregularly. Or you could suggest the rhythm of the line by breaking it up into smaller phrases.

So, bravo on playability and writing idiomatically for the organ for your first organ piece. Just wished you were much more adventuresome with the registration and investigated more music that is unbarred (heck even checking out more chant helps!). But big concern here is you need more grounding in counterpoint and harmony - you have the ear for it but lack practice and proper technical grounding to SOME degree. This can be fixed easily with courses in harmony and counterpoint with good teachers and a few threads here at YC.

I hope this helps.

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