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      Updated 5 May 2017

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    • Yes it does, on the part of those who have already posted on this topic.  I'm not sure it will apply to me and what I'm about to say though, but here goes. In his novel "Under the Greenwood Tree", Thomas Hardy describes delightfully the grumbles and rumbles which accompanied the removal of the west end church musicians in his not-so-fictional Dorset village setting, and their replacement with an organ complete with lady player (who turned more heads than one among the male members of the congregation).  So, and probably quite unwittingly, Hardy was depicting something which was happening right across the country at that time as previous posts have mentioned.  The novel was set bang in the middle of the Oxford Movement.  I've never been certain, however, whether "organ" meant pipe organ or reed organ.  It's some time since I last read it, but when I did I remember trying to establish which type of instrument he meant.  I recall there was mention of  a cabinet organ and, elsewhere, a harmonium (called 'harmonion' by the rustic choir and band), together with a passage implying that the lady blew the instrument herself with her foot.  Perhaps all this sways the argument in favour of a reed organ, though in those days it was not unusual for a small pipe organ to be blown by a foot pedal. Incidentally, when I did last read the novel I was living in Hardy's fictional Weatherbury in an old thatched cottage which the great man was said to have visited often as a boy.  I also played the organ there from time to time, which had escaped the reforming zeal of the age because it was still sitting resplendent in its west gallery in the late twentieth century!
    • Martin, you speak so much common sense and, particularly concerning wisdom and maturity that, at nearly 70 years old, I could even be inspired to work up the pieces for ARCO myself. For me the tests are not a problem. In my day at University transposition, score reading, sight-reading were all part of the course. When at school I even did Grade VIII General Musicianship,  which included all three, because I was determined to have three Grade VIII's before I left the place! What would cause me the difficulties would be the playing of the pieces to a sufficient standard - caused, I'm afraid to say, by a certain amount of arthritis in my thumbs!   I watched the video 'Your RCO exam' - I thought it was excellent! There is so much good material nowadays to assist with preparation for exams. I remember doing ARCM Performers and the FTCL in the late 60's, early 70's - I hadn't the faintest idea of the standard expected - and, despite having wonderful teachers, they didn't seem to know either! (I passed both by the way!) I think that the standards for Diplomas are higher now than they have ever been but I think the College's preparation material, and their assistance with preparation, is also excellent.   
    • Quite a few serpents seem to have survived and are now enclosed in glass cases in church - I know of three! Yes, we have come quite a long way from he Albert Hall - it shows you the excellent intelligence of thought we have here! It can be a bit of a nuisance sometimes but I, for one, welcome it!
    • One of the churches where I used to play has, displayed in a glass case at the west end, a ‘serpent’ - a splendid-looking instrument and the sole survivor of the church band.  The organ is, indeed, now at the eastern end of the south aisle.  As in many other churches re-ordered in the 19th century, the gallery has gone. Apart from a mediaeval west tower, the village church where I live is wholly Oxford Movement with the organ in a chamber in the chancel, and, alongside, set into the floor centrally, a large brass to John Keble who is, however, buried outside in the churchyard.  Even the font canopy was the gift of Dr Pusey!   We seem to have strayed a long way from tuning at the RAH!
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