Early organ technique ----A Method of Articulated playing for Music Composed before 1750
Since early organ compositions demand a more articulate style of playing and a subtle grouping of notes, the pedal lines are played primarily by the toes, with the feet frequently moving in front of and behind each other. Therefore, it is usually best to have the bench slightly higher and closer to the manual keys than it is when using the modern heel-toe technique. The resulting relationship of the upper body to the feet is similar to the position one assumes when riding a bicycle. The feet should dangle, with the heels elevated.
THE "ORDINARY TOUCH"
Just as the legato touch is the heart of modern technique, the Baroque "ordinary touch" is the heart of early technique. The exercises that follow are designed to help achieve mastery of the ordinary touch, which is best defined as an articulate legato, halfway between the slurred legato of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and true detached playing. Ordinary touch is the sound that results from connecting two adjacent white notes as smoothly as possible with one finger or one toe. In early music, this type of articulated link was also used when two notes were played by adjacent fingers. Comments by Baroque theorists that any two successive notes of equal rhythmic value are related as "long" to "short" suggest that bound more closely than they generally are in modern technique.
The actual finger motion in ordinary touch - the manner in which the key is depressed - is quite the same as in modern technique. The finger rests lightly on the key and remains in contact with it as it is depressed and released. But the lateral movement of the fingers up and down the keys is very different in early technique from what it is in modern technique. It involves very active shifting of the hand and arm from position to position, and calculated skipping of the finger from note to note.
Modern organ technique ---- A Method of Legato playing for Music Composed after 1750
Modern organ technique was born in the nineteenth century, when several inventive pedagogues succeeded in bringing organ performance into line with legato playing styles that had been developed for other instruments. Without a doubt, the foundation of modern organ technique is legato touch, the manner of connected playing needed to produce lengthy, unbroken musical phrases. Legato touch is the norm in modern technique: Articulations such as staccato, marcato, and nonlegato are viewed as special adjustments made within a legato context. Modern technique enables an organist to perform with remarkable reliability and ease the diatonic and chromatic scale patterns, the chordal textures, and the extended melodic phrases found in most music written after 1750.
Legato touch and finger independence
Central to modern organ technique is legato touch. On the organ, there is no such device as a damper pedal like as the piano, and the sustaining of tone must be accomplished by the fingers alone. It is not unusual for one hand to play two parts at the same time, one slow and sustained and the other moving and detached. Thus, in organ plating, the fingers must be able not only to produce a smooth legato but also to attain a remarkable degree of independence and control.
The word glissando is an Italianization of the French verb glisser, "to slide" or "to glide." In organ Playing, glissando is used to describe the sliding or gliding from one note to another by a single finger or toe. The glissando connecting two adjacent notes is part and parcel of a modern organist's technique. Therefore, it is essential that the finger and wrist motion involved be thoroughly understood and mastered. The symbol used to indicate a glissando is a dash. Thus, 1-1 indicates that a glissando is to be performed by the thumb of one hand. The most straightforward type of glissando is the slide from a black key to a white key.
Finger crossing is perhaps the most versatile of the special legato techniques. It can be used to avoid unnecessary finger substitutions and glissandos and to play fast passages smoothly. It is often essential for the legato execution of parallel thirds. There is but one general rule in finger crossing: A longer finger crosses over a shorter one, and a shorter finger crosses under a longer one.
The Notation of the Pedal
On most modern editions, organ music is printed in "organ score," a three-staff system in which the two upper staves are used for the manual parts and the bottom staff for the pedal. The two manual staves, in treble and bass clefs (or occasionally in order combinations), are united by a bracket. The pedal part is notated in bass clef.
In the 17th, 18th, and early 19th centuries, the pedal part of organ music was normally allotted an independent staff only in trios or in works with unusually independent voices. More commonly, the pedal was included with the manual parts in a single two-staff system (or, during the Baroque, it was written as the bottom line of an organ tablature),. With this method of notation, the pedal line was commonly distinguished from the manual voices by indications such as "Pedal", "Ped.", or simply "P". Often these signs were omitted, however, leaving it to the player to decide if the range of all the parts or the nature of the bottom part demanded the use of the pedal.
Over the centuries, a number of symbols have been used for pedaling, to indicate which foot - left or right - and which part of the foot - toe or heel - are to be used for a given note. The most commonly encountered signs are :
Left toe ♪ Right toe ♪
u or o
Left hell ♪ Right heel ♪
u or o