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Testing times


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A bit of fun for the Season...


Being church organists, organbuilders and tuners, my boss and I like to devise challenges that amuse, as well as exercise the mind and ears.


Here's a couple of example oral tests. These are performed 'blind' by the candidate being tested.


(1) Tester draws a Fifteenth 2ft, briefly play and hold bottom C ... and say," this is bottom C."

Release the reference note.

Now play any note in the top octave and ask the candidate to identify the note.


(2) Tester draws a 32ft reed and plays any note in the lowest octave.

Ask the candidate to sing the same note in a comfortable pitch of their voice.

(The flat 21st can be surprisingly troublesome).


...and my most recent personal favourite...


(3) Choose a simple hymn tune (we chose 'St Anne)

Play it, reversing the hands,

i.e., left hand plays Soprano and Alto, right hand plays tenor and bass.


I'd be particularly interested to hear how you get on with (3). Be honest, now !














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My quick study for the week is something similar. I've beeN asked to play 'Der welcher wandleit diese Strausse' from 'The Magic Flute' at a funeral on Friday. Playing the chorale on 4' pedal and the vocal score piano reduction on the manual is (for me at ant rate) somewhat less difficult than trying to play the walking bass on the pedals (it goes up to G in any case).

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In addition (and appropriately enough for the season), there is always Brahms' Chorale Prelude on Deck thyself, my soul, which I usually play on all the strings, but with 4ft. and 2ft. flutes on the Pedals for the melody.


I also arrived at church for a rehearsal prior to a service the other night, only to discover that our dear choir librarian had produced new copies of The Lord is King (Boyce) - and deliberately supplied only a figured-bass for the organ part. Needless to say, my colleague conducted it as if he had a bus to catch.... Fortunately, I did not disgrace myself. But I have not had to read figured-bass for a while.


Unfortunately, until we get a rebuild, I am unable to perform the trick with the 32ft. reed. As it is, I can only fake the effect of this stop, supplying harmonics with the Positive Gedeckt uncoupled.

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