We are now getting close to the end of the practical part of this organ method. We have dealt with pedal playing, manual playing, and putting hands and feet together, along with various related details and some general things about the instrument. This month’s column is about manual changes and the use of multiple manuals in general. Although I do not intend for this method to address specifically every detail of organ playing (no method does: that would result in a book of frightening length, and it would also probably constitute micro-managing of a sort that would offer students a discouraging message about their own autonomy and maturity), I feel that manual changes are worth some discussion. This is in part because I have found that a lot of students new to the organ are intimidated by the multiplicity of keyboards, and also because I want to include a particular set of exercises that are intended to help make the physical act of changing manuals as easy and reliable as possible. The discussion begins here and will continue next month.

Most organs have two or more manuals, and organ composers have, for most of the time that organ music has been written, been able to assume that an...

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