The Lady Organist

an online magazine for organists

Dead Organists’ Society


Heaving my music into boxes for the move to Narnia,  I couldn’t help noticing that most of my organ music collection is, um, recycled: most of coming, in fact, from those cardboard boxes that go the rounds in organist circles, of music from deceased colleagues which is seeking a new home. 

Amongst the dross (new compositions that saw one performance only, deeply uncool anthologies from the early twentieth century, and dodgy Victorian editions of Bach) there are usually a few treasures, and almost certainly you can find a nice edition of that classic organ piece your organ teacher has just recommended you study for the next round of exams. 

(The dross isn’t wasted, by the way.  It gets recycled into another cardboard box, marked ‘SIGHT READING PRACTICE’, and stowed under the harpsichord.)

The chart above says it all, really.  I apologise to music publishers, and will try and support the industry a little more in 2017.



For those unfamiliar with it, the IMSLP/Petrucci music library is an online resource of downloadable, public domain music. 

Great place to download and assess a piece of music, before you decide whether to learn it or not.

You might also like:

3 Comments on
“Dead Organists’ Society”
  • I too have quite a bit of music from other organists. One book was falling apart so bad that it went into a pile used for craft projects. I”m passed the “exam” phase of my study, but hope to make some of these cast-offs available to those still working on that phase. Good luck settling in.

  • Morwenna, I think you and Melanie may just be the lucky ones. I don’t think I’ve inherited anything from any other organists, dead or alive, for decades, although in my early years I did inherit a few of those hard-back Victorian or Edwardian harmonium collections – and since my organ playing developed from the harmonium in my home village Methodist church they were useful at the time. Nowadays I rarely take them off the shelf, although there are a couple of passable tub-thumpers included which I occasionally dig out, especially a Postlude by F. A. Challinor which has something of a Walton feel about it.

    I’m reminded by Melanie’s comment that it’s ages since I was in touch with her, must put that right in near future.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.