A wealth of information about a piece of music can be gleaned from examining the title of the piece, such as:
- The form – Do you know the difference between a fugue and toccata?
- Whether the piece is hymn based – Have you read the text to Amazing Grace?
Did you know that a word in capital letters indicates the name of the tune on which the piece is based?
- The mood – What moods do the words Fanfare or meditation evoke?
- Its use as service music – Can a piece titled Prelude be used in other parts of a worship service?
- The tempo – How fast is allegro? How slow is lento?
- Registration suggestions – How do I create a tierce en taille registration?
Where can one find the answers to these questions?
I. A Music Dictionary
A music dictionary should be something you carry with you in your music bag and use at every practice session. You will be amazed at how much you will learn by looking up one word at every practice session.
Google “music dictionary” online or visit any music store and you’ll find a music dictionary to purchase to fit your needs.
For all of you iPad type device users, the Virginia Tech Multimedia Music Dictionary is quite the resource. It is found at http://www.music.vt.edu/musicdictionary/
II. A Hymnal
A hymnal should also be found in your music bag. It is an invaulable resource for hymn texts and tunes.
A superb online resource for finding hymn texts and tunes is http://www.hymnary.org
III. An Organ Registration Resource
Google search on the web still amazes me! Want to know about tierce en taille? Google the term and you’ll find videos, definitions, and resources galore.
Also check out http://www.organstops.org to learn more about the Tierce or Trompette stop.
For a resource book to carry with you or at least have handy in the organ bench, look for the Dictionary of Pipe Organ Stops by Stevens Irwin.
It is amazing how much information the
title of a piece imparts to the curious student of the organ.
So, don’t foget to start
“at the top”
to become a creative and informed performer.
Dr. Jeannine Jordan, instructor and concert organist