The Lady Organist

an online magazine for organists

Category Books for organists

Ralph Downes and the Royal Festival Hall organ

  I wish I’d met Ralph Downes. His autobographical book Baroque Tricks, subtitled Adventures with the Organ Builders, is difficult to get hold of now* but gives a vivid impression of the man, and his battles with the organ establishment of the 30s and 40s.  Much of the book is taken up with his account of the design and build of the Royal Festival Hall Organ at the Southbank in

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Sight read the pedals

Following my recent moan about sight-reading resources, Mark Ellis of atticbooks drew my attention to Sight-Read the Pedals! by Richard Ellis.  Eighty short pieces for organ sight reading: the pedal line starts with just two notes (C and F) and gradually gets more complicated to cover the whole of the pedalboard.  Mark makes the point that many “introduction to the organ” books move rapidly from single line pedal exercises to

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Everything Else An Organist Should Know

  The authors of this book, Robert Leach and Barry Williams, cheerfully describe it as a dog’s breakfast of law, accounts, science, theology, regulation and received wisdom.  They are being modest – it’s an essential guide to all those aspects of working as a professional organist which they don’t teach you at music school.   Goodwill is not always enough when relationships with the clergy or vestry become strained, when child

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Psychology books for organists

The sports psychologists have been putting sportsmen and women through Mental Skills Training (MST) for years, and musicians have only just caught on to the fact that many playing and performance issues are mental rather than physical.   So our tutors put strange sports books on our reading list.  Here are some that I have read: The Inner Game of Music Barry Green with W Timothy Gallwey (Pan Books 1986) The

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