The Lady Organist

an online magazine for organists

Pedals, pedals, pedals – resources for organists

If your New Year’s resolutions included improving your pedal technique, here’s a summary of the assorted pedal resources I’ve marshalled over the last couple of years.


Some pedal etudes

To start with, here’s something to make the process a little more interesting.  Composer Paul F Page recently contacted me to tell me about the organ music available to download from his website, which includes some Pedal Etudes for organ.  He says he never found pedal ‘exercise’ books to be much fun, so thought he’d try his hand at this topic with ‘compositions’ rather than ‘exercises.’

Some are written for pedal solo; others for pedal with modest melodic and/or harmonic counterpoint, the pedal part remaining the focus of each short work. Paul has allowed me to offer the first of his Etudes as a download here:

Pedal Etude 1.mus

And if you want a copy without markings, he kindly did a second version for you to add your own footings as you wish:

Pedal Etude 1 no markings.mus

Visit his website for numbers 2 to 13!


Pedals repertoire

My correspondence with Michael Wong in the States has provided two splendid pages of ideas for pedals-only repertoire of a more demanding nature, including pedal duets, music for pedals and percussion, insanely difficult variations and assorted pedal workouts: here’s the first page, and the second page is here.

Michael Johnston of  has issued a reprint of  Dramatic Pedal Studies by Hamilton Crawford Macdougall, which aim to give the feet parts that are melodically interesting in their own right.  Michael is based in North Carolina, US, but ships worldwide.  He aims to restore, reprint, and distribute organ music which is otherwise unavailable, and his website is well worth a browse.


Instruction books

Back to early days at the pedalboard:  here’s a book of graduated exercises to improve your sight-reading on three staves.

And here are two pedal tutors which I’m using, that take you from complete beginner to virtuoso (if you work at it, of course):

Joyce Jones
Alfred Publishing Co
ISBN 0-7692-5044-0

Anne Marsden Thomas
Cramer Music
ISBN 9780902577145
widely available online, eg at RSCM shop

Both books include excerpts from organ repertoire as exercises which is very rewarding – Anne’s book is particularly good for this, with a comprehensive index at the back.


More, February 2017:

Many thanks to Jimmy in Florida who has sent this link to the Middelschulte Perpetuum Mobile for pedals.

He says: “It is the fourth movement on Pages 20 and 21 of the Konzert. The name Perpetuum Mobile is not mentioned by Middelschulte in the manuscript. It has Allegro energico ma non presto noted. I think Virgil Fox took it close to Presto most of the time, but then, that’s Virgil! (He may even have come up with the alternate name?)”

Wilhelm Middelschulte Album fur Orgel-Spieler  1906

Jimmy also sent through this pair of Middelschulte studies – the first (for pedals only) he says “gives a good study for the difference between “staccato” and “tenuto” in the left while maintaining legato in the right”.

Middelschulte Zwei Studien uber Vater unser im Himmelreich

You can find the original on IMSLP


If you know of anything else which will add to this page, by all means send it along!



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