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Organ pedalling problem

Michael Whytock

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I'm having a slight problem with my pedal technique and I am wondering if anyone has any experience of my problem or if they can offer any solution?


Now, I'm sure it's common knowledge that, to play pedals, you sit with your knees together and play with the insides of your feet (toes).

Now my problem is that I am Pigeon Toed and have knocked knees which means when I put my feet together and point the toes in a straight line, my knees bend inwards.


Now, I was told that you know you are playing pedals correctly when you can put both feet side by side of two white notes and play a trill. I can't do that because firstly I find it hard to play with the inside of my feet and secondly because of my knees.

When I position the feet so I can play with the inside of my feet, my knees knock together and it is physically impossible to do, particularly when playing notes close together.


When I play the normal way I do, playing with the outsides of my feet, it's ok but I'm told that's not the way to play pedals!


Thanks for any help :) Michael



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My goodness! I really think that, in order to offer any sensible advice, one would really need to see you in situ. I don't really know what to suggest, but I certainly wouldn't get too hung up on the textbooks, which are written for "normal" people. Individual circumstances require individual solutions. The function - the only function - of "technique" is to enable you to find the right notes at the right time. If the textbook advice isn't working for you, then you need to develop your own, individual, solution. If you find it more comfortable and accurate to play with the outside of your feet, then so be it - so long as the results are consistent and accurate. At the end of the day, it's whatever gets you the most reliably accurate, comfortable and musical result. The real musician develops his/her own solutions to technique. The bedrock of technique is consistency. As long as the way you solve your problem is consistent, it will suffice. Accuracy is everything - it's all down to how you can best achieve this.

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Being relatively small is also a problem.


Had the late Carlo Curley ever shouted at me, "Play from the heels toots," I wouldn't have been able to respond in kind.


I thereofre tend to be fleet of toe rather than fleet of foot, often using the sides of my shoes where other might use heels.


Because of it, I tend to use different pedalling for different pieces, which is not a problem until you forget something or haven't practised for a while.


Thank God for Stanley and Walond! They had the right idea.





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