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Etude Magazine

Choir Man

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I have stumbled across an archive of Etude, an American music magazine that was published in the early 1900s. It has a section for Organ & Choir here . I was particularly amused by the following published under "Don'ts for organists"

  • Don’t go through any contortions of the body when about to remove the hands from the keys at the end of a composition that terminates with the full organ. The audience forgets all about your playing in sympathizing with you in your apparent agony.
  • Don’t sway back and forth when playing. An easy, graceful appearance at the organ requires but little motion of the body.
  • Don’t improvise all the time on the salicional with tremulant. The combination is effective when properly used, but becomes tiresome with an overdose.
  • Don’t think that, because the vox humana (without tremulant) combined with the mixtures in the swell sound “novel,” they are pleasing. A dish-pan and poker would sound just as “novel,” and about as agreeable.
  • Don’t improvise every prelude and postlude which you play. You cannot stand Beethoven’s music all the time. How can your congregation stand your music all the time?
  • Don’t use the tremulant very often in accompanying singers.
  • Don’t hold one chord or note a minute and a half while you change the stops and arrange your music. Remember that those who are listening to you have nerves.
  • Don’t complain all the time that your present position is beneath you. He who looks up to himself must first lower himself to look up, and then only sees his former position, not the occupant.
  • Don’t think that you know it all. Even the greatest organist can learn something new every week.

There's a quite a few articles on various subjects. It's fascinating to see how some attitudes have changed with time, whereas others have not!


Best wishes to all.


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