EXTEMPORE PLAYING - online tutorial

40 Lessons in how to correctly play improvisations.

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The Organist's Work
While every musician should be able to do something in the way of keyboard composing, to the organist the power of extempore playing is absolutely essential. To a greater or lesser extent the necessity for it occurs every time he sits down to play at a service, that is, if he is really using all the opportunities of his office.
There are many special places where extempore playing is suitable, and where lack of efficiency is often obvious. A few may be mentioned.
(i) At the opening of a service, where a set prelude of insufficient length may have been played, and where it is desired to add an extension.
(2)   Before and after the singing of a chorale or hymn.
(3)   Between the verses of a hymn when it is used for walking.
(4)   Before and after the singing of a Psalm.
(5)   To accompany monotones.
(6)   To introduce an anthem, or to supply a postlude after one.
These are some of the places* where good extempore playing can be used with telling effect.
(1)   To prolong a set prelude, music should be added in the form of a codetta in the same key, in the same time and at the same pace, but it should not be a feeble imitation of what has gone before. It is much more likely to be suitable if it introduces something new, from the player himself, which should be of a simple and quiet character.
(2)   In playing for a chorale it should always be re­membered that the organist has before him the vocal parts, not an organ-piece; and that by the expert player these are never played exactly as written. Before com­mencing the singing it is the common practice to play the
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E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III