The Organ as a Collaborative Instrument: Challenges from a Singer’s Perspective

Joseph Golden

Monday, June 20, 9 AM
Meeting Room 335.B-C

A workshop exploration that will apply the major tenants of the collaborative arts discipline to the combination of the organ and voices in congregational song and in choral music. Successful collaborative keyboard artists are highly sensitive to the specific technical and interpretive needs of their partners. Understanding the needs of singers and creating a style of keyboard playing that constantly assists the vocal experience creates noticeable changes in the decisions made regarding tempo, phrasing, and dynamics. Keyboards do not have to pause for breathing. Singers and some instrumentalists must pause for the taking in of air. Vocal phrasing is determined to a large extent by the need for new air. This presents a conflict that the successful collaborative keyboard artist must mitigate in a highly supportive manner. If a keyboardist is sensitive and fully informed about the details of the singer’s breath management needs, there will probably be a change in basic pulse, phrasing, rhythmic nuances, and articulation in the keyboard part. Successful organ registration for choral accompaniment is a unique skill. Approaching this area in a collaborative posture opens a wealth of creative but always supportive ideas. In addition, the careful preparation of the playing of choral parts in rehearsals is another unique skill. There are essential concepts that result in instant improvements from the singers. Helpful registration and rehearsal practices will conclude this workshop. Be a helpful partner to your singers!

Joseph Golden is Professor of Music, University Organist, Director of Opera, and Director of External Relations in the Schwob School of Music at Columbus State University in Georgia. He is a member of the American Guild of Organists, an artist/teacher member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing, as well as having served as the advisor to the National Council on Creating Original Opera for the Metropolitan Opera at Lincoln Center. He is Organist/Choirmaster at Trinity Episcopal Church in Columbus, Georgia, and he maintains a private vocal studio.