Organ Music, Repertoire and Performance > Performance technique, style and practice

Extemporisation help

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Jonathan Lane:
I think the trick, as previously mentioned, is not to get hung up on any formula, and that includes AB harmony or anything like it.  It is important to have some structure, but this is much easier to achieve with rhythm and phrase length than with any harmonic device.  If something is in D and ends in on a D major chord, don't be afraid to move to F major or C major, or some unrelated key immediately, it can be very effective, and free you from what has gone before (and the 'audience'), then you can reintroduce fragments of the tune in the new key, or gradually modulate back to the old key.  Time is of course key, as unless you have a very big church, with a very large congregation, and a very short hymn, you don't have much time to play with!



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