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Organ Concerts / Chris Jones AR100
« Last post by Roger Mardon on May 24, 2018, 09:09:18 PM »
Be aware that organist Chris Jones is giving concerts with his rebuilt AR100 in a brand new brilliant white portable cabinet with Ketron SD40 arranger module.

For dates see
General Interest / Chris Jones and his new portable AR 100
« Last post by Hugh Wallington on May 23, 2018, 09:27:02 AM »
Chris Jones

Take a look at the 'Players Organfax Directory' under Chris Jones.  Chris has a picture of his 'New Yamaha portable AR 100' (pictured above).  Yes, it's white!  Reading his history, I suspect he has put this together himself and it is not something you can 'buy off the shelf'.  Anybody know anything about this organ?

If you scroll down to the bottom of the page he has listed the few concerts he plays for.  You'll have to ring and ask him if he is playing the AR 100.  Unfortunately he is not playing anywhere near me (Weston-super-Mare).


So, why are there so many different clarinets?

The reason could well take up a whole Pearl of its own, but you need to understand that the clarinet is one of many musical instruments, which are called Transposing Instruments.

That means they read an individual note, finger that particular note, but the sound that comes out is not that note, because it is another note entirely.

In other words they are not notated at their true pitch, but mechanically and without any extra effort on behalf of the player produce the different pitch.

For instance, let us take the Bb Clarinet.    For the player with this instrument, Bb is the ‘natural key’.    This is somewhat like keyboard players enjoying playing in the key of C.

But the Bb Clarinet player, will read a Bb note on the score, finger a Bb note on their clarinet, but the sound produced will actually be an Ab.   i.e. one tone lower.

If they read a C note and finger that C note, then the sound emanating is actually a Bb note.

Why is this?

The answer is to make the playing of the instrument a little easier, because it reduces the number of sharps and flats that the Clarinetist has to deal with.

e.g. If the music score is written in Eb, which has 4 flats, the clarinetist will actually be playing in the key of F, which only has one flat.

But obviously, I hear you say, they can still come across a ‘horrible’ key, so what happens then.    The answer is to simply swop instruments.     They may pick up a Clarinet in A.    However, when they do so, the music score has to be transposed for them to read it more easily.

The A Clarinet sounds 3 semi-tones lower than it reads.   Therefore, when it reads the note C it actually sounds the note A.

Thus if the sound needed to be in the key of B, which has five sharps, the clarinetist would play with the A Clarinet, in the key of D, which only has 2 sharps.

In practice, nowadays clarinetists are so accomplished that they play in every key, including those horrible ones, with no trouble at all.    This means that the original reason for transposing has virtually been eliminated, but now you know why they were designed that way, and why the tradition continues.

The important reason to know all this, is that if you are accompanying a Clarinet with your Yamaha AR, you will not be able to play from the same piece of music, unless you adjust your Yamaha AR to sound the same note as they are playing!

With a Bb Clarinet, we now know that your AR will sound one tone higher than the clarinet.

Imagine a couple of youngsters playing a duet, with one on the clarinet and the other on the flute, and both reading from the same music.    The discordant noise, because they are playing one tone apart, would be horrendous and you could guarantee that each of them would blame the other, for playing the wrong notes!    Reminds me of Eric Morecambe, on the piano, and with Andrew Previn conducting the orchestra.    In actual fact our two youngsters would both be playing exactly the right notes! even though it sounds awful.

With a piano or organ you would have to have suitably transposed  music.    This explains why you can buy music books written for instruments in Bb.   It does not mean that all the scores are written in Bb.   It means that all the music is written twice, once for the instrumentalist and also for the accompaniment, but one tone lower.

With our Yamaha AR we can get round this problem and simply set out Transpose button to -2, and away we go.   

More to be found in the next Reply.

Peter's Pearls / Re: No__88___Pedal Exercises
« Last post by Peter Anderson on May 21, 2018, 02:49:53 PM »
Pedal Exercises

In subsequent posts, you will find many pedal exercises, given in the form of a music score, so it is helpful for you to be familiar with reading and playing the bass clef.

There are only 8 notes to learn (plus sharps and flats, I appreciate)  but it really isn’t too difficult to master this.

Here are the 8 white notes that are found on the standard 13 note pedal board of most home organs, that are written in the bass clef, together with the note names.    The Yamaha AR has 20 pedals, of course.

So here is your first exercise, and you can print out this score as a pdf, by clicking on this link, if you would like to:

Pedal Notes Bass Clef Scale

Do not try to play it too fast, as it is better to play at a steady, even rate.

I suggest that you select a pedal sound that is clean and crisp, maybe like an electric bass, to which you may prefer to add a small amount of sustain.

Now choose a suitable rhythm style and set the rate at 60 beats per minute, as this will help you to keep time.   Feel free to vary the speed to suit your level of ability.

If you are still tempted to look at the pedals, then first glance down to establish your starting or home point, which is that pedal G, and then don’t look at them again.

Rather use your ears to tell you whether or not you have hit the correct note, or not.    If you can’t recognise that, then play the note you are after on your Lower Keyboard and see if the pedal note matches it.

As you practise playing the pedals, your heel should be higher than your toes, and this puts a certain amount of strain on your leg muscles, but do stick at it.   My advice is don’t practice for too long in one go, especially at the beginning, so be prepared to get up and walk around every so often.

Remember, what we are aiming for is good technique, coupled with effective practice, so that you will naturally hit the right notes every time.    So practise playing this simple exercise for a few minutes every day.

This basic exercise, where the notes played are adjacent to each other should prove to be quite easy, but we follow this with at least 20 more, which become progressively trickier, because the wider the gap between notes the more difficult it is to hit the right note cleanly.      Surprisingly, we also have trouble hitting the same note consecutively, so we reflect that detail, in some of the following exercises.   We will also add some of those tricky sharps and flats.

In time you should be able to play whole tunes on your pedal board, and the last 2 exercises given in a later Reply, are of well known tunes for you to master on the pedalboard.

In the next Reply you will find a couple of basic pedal exercises to start you off.

Peter's Pearls / Re: No__87____Regular Warm Up
« Last post by Peter Anderson on May 21, 2018, 02:46:38 PM »
III   Strength, Co-ordination and independence Exercises

Stage 1 of 3 stages

Form your hand into a tight fist, then relax it as if you holding a small ball.   Your thumb and fingertips should now all line up.

Lay your fingertips on a table.
Raise your thumb without disturbing your other fingers.  Lift it quite high.
Tap that thumb 3 separate times on the table and set it back down again.

Now lift you index finger off the table, and again tap the tip of that finger, 3 times on the table, before setting it down again.

You should now clearly see where this is going.

So do the same with the middle, ring and little fingers of that hand.   Don’t forget – don’t disturb the other fingers or your thumb.

Then do exactly the same set of exercises with your other hand.

Stages 2 and 3 are described in the immediately following Replies.

Peter's Pearls / Re: No__86___Repeats in music scores
« Last post by Peter Anderson on May 21, 2018, 02:39:51 PM »
The Two Measure Repeat is used only for Drums, Piano or Guitar.

This is what it looks like:

And this is how you interpret it:

Four measure repeats are also possible but they use four slashes and the number 4, not 2.
To repeat more than 4 measures, use the simple repeat signs.

This wraps up this Pearl about Repeats in music scores.


The Clarinet

Although the Clarinet belongs to the Woodwind section of the orchestra, and can, therefore, be made of wood, it may also be manufactured in a plastic derivative.

They have a single Reed, usually made of cane, which actually sits on the mouthpiece, and is clamped to the mouthpiece farthest away from the tip, that goes into the mouth of the player.      Both the mouthpiece and the reed are placed in the player’s mouth.   When blown, the reed beats against the mouth piece.   I am sure you have all done something like this, with a piece of grass between your thumbs, when you were children.

In the case of the clarinet, blowing through the mouthpiece creates a column of air in the tube of the instrument to vibrate.    The player’s fingering controls which holes are open and which are closed.   This alters the effective length of the tube, and that changes the pitch of the sound that comes out.

You may be surprised to know that there are several different clarinets.

The most common is the Bb Clarinet, which is the one most people learn to play when they take up the instrument.

You will also find the Clarinet in A.    This, too, is widely used in orchestras.

The Clarinet in Eb.   This tends to be used mostly in military bands.

The Bass Clarinet, which is also used in military bands, but is also used in some orchestras.

There are a few others, which are older, and we won’t discuss those here as their use will probably not affect what we are talking about on this particular subject.

However, the question may well be asked, “Why are there so many clarinets?”

I'll answer that in the next Reply.

Well egg all over my face on this last change, I could not get on with the Roland, quite different in many aspects of the operating bit when compered to the Orla, The range and quality of the Roland's voices are tremendous but I found that you could not just walk up to it , sit down and start to play, you had to have something saved because trying to manually set up a registration could take ages.

So I now have a Technics G100 and start the learning curve all over again, not such a high spec but much more user friendly. Ken
Organ Concerts / Alex Payler & DirkJan Ranzijn May 2018
« Last post by Roger Mardon on May 17, 2018, 10:01:46 AM »
Going to see Alex Payler playing Stagea ELS-02C at the Avenue Theatre, Sittingbourne, Kent on Sat. 19 May. Only two tickets left at this 88-seat venue.

Going to see DirkJan Ranzijn playing Bohm at Faversham Organ and Keyboard Concerts on Wed. 23 May. Plenty of room - pay at the door. Faversham Assembly Rooms, Preston Street, Faversham, Kent, ME13 8PG
When it comes to using Voices that mimic actual musical instruments, if we understand something about how the original instrument functions, it should be easier to use that Voice on our Yamaha AR and make it sound more realistic.  What keys we play and how we handle them does make a difference.

I have posted about playing within an instruments range else where on the web site, but in this Pearl, we take a deeper look at this whole subject of playing these instruments authentically.

I will post a complete set on each type of instrument and therefore separate the Pearls with a unique number.   This will make it easier to find them in the future, if members wish to make reference to a particular type of instrument.

To view that other posting, click on this link to open it in a new window:

In the next Reply, we delve into the Clarinet and how to play it.

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