MusingMuso Posted June 10, 2011 Share Posted June 10, 2011 THE FUTURE ORGANIST? Is there a future for the organist? The question is simple enough, but the answer less so; possibly because history teaches us little and trends in music-making are notoriously difficult to predict. History only teaches us that the organ, as both instrument and musical machine, has enjoyed great popularity and success, as well as drawn admiration and numerous compositions from composers such as Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms, Liszt, Messaien and all the rest. Even as a machine, it was once at the pinnacle of scientific and engineering endeavour, (certainly in the 18th century). Until relatively recently, only the pipe-organ could drive a vast congregation along, quell the occasional riot and fill a vast auditorium or cathedral with sound. Let's face it; times and fashions, have changed, and other technologies have now stepped in to fulfil many of the requirements of filling a large space with music; the quality of which is often dubious, as we know. Unquestionably, it is the outstanding progress in the quality of audio equipment which has been the catalyst for change: a quality quite unthinkable even fifty years ago, to the extent that a vast arena may now be blitzed with sound at the touch of a button, thus rendering something like the 6-manual Barton organ which once provided music at the former, (now demolished) Chicago Stadium, completely obsolete. Similarly, whereas a building like the Albert Hall once needed an entire symphony orchestra, massed bands, big choirs or the organ to fill it with musical sound; pop musicians and even solo instrumentalists can do the same thing with suitable audio amplification. Churches, which were once the principal market for "big sound machines," have now moved towards amplification, "music groups" and all manner of synthesised sound; many organs now removed or scrapped in preference to play-spaces and anterooms. Then there is the digital organ market, which fulfils the basic need for a lot of sound, (sometimes just noise), and seriously undercuts the cost of a new organ or the re-building of an existing instrument. Organists, who once formed the foundation stone of local and national music-making, are now seen as almost irrelevant in the music schools/colleges and universities, with many closures of courses and teaching opportunities. Should we be down hearted or even depressed about the situation, or is there a future for organists? Discuss! MM Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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