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Offline diverse379

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styles on the organ
« on: June 11, 2007, 06:55:11 AM »
we all talk about brooklyn style or west coast
but there are other styles or ways to approach the organ

the other day I was playing praise him and at one point i started fingering the melody against left hand chords

and the church went crazy

usually i chord the melody in my right hand
but when you finger the melody it is possible to get much more expressive




when you do play chords how big do you make your chords?

for me since i am still a newbie on the organ

i tend to stick to tritones or upgraded tritones in my left hand

and sometimes i move to four note chords occasionally

or partial fragments that belong to the right hand chords

I have learned much from dvd's and of course my teachers
but even youtube has enlightened me to the many ways to play the organ



sound off
how do you approach the organ
To be or not to be that is the question you anwer when you pray practice and read your word

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Re: styles on the organ
« Reply #1 on: June 11, 2007, 04:08:21 PM »
Good thread.

I'm working on Left Hand Clusters to go with Right Hand chords right now.

Some NICE chords that Key-wiz posted-

Ebmin11

Eb/Gb-Ab-Bb/Db-F-Ab   

Another Voicing for this chord:

Eb/Gb-Ab-Bb/F-Bb-Db

DbMaj13

Db/F-Bb/Eb-Ab-C

Note: Major 13 chords sound nice as 4 chords, so this works in the key of Ab.

Oh, and I LOVE this one

Dbmin11

Db/E-Gb-Ab-B/Eb-Gb-B

Note: Minor 11th chords sound very good as 6 chords, so this chord sounds great in the key of E.

Clusters I like to use

In the Ebmin11 you see the Gb-Ab-Bb cluster.  I like that 3-4-5 cluster for minor chords.

In major chords I don't like it because the 3 and 4 are right next to each other.  I'd use 3-5-6 instead.

A nice way to voice a Major 13 chord:

Eb/D-G-Bb/C-F-Ab

Yep.  Just the 3 chord in one hand and the 2 chord in the other.
(depending on what you want the melody to be.)
 :)

Offline bug

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Re: styles on the organ
« Reply #2 on: June 14, 2007, 05:36:00 PM »
Styles seem to be coming out of the rhythmic school or the harmonic school. Both are mixed because to play as an advanced player you need to play harmonically, but you need to have good rhythm also.  Slow, medium and fast tunes require, different concepts. Since rhythm is infinite and so is harmony there will be no shortage of harmonies and tunes as long as there are creative people in the world.

Voicings can be clear, but they can be obscure also. How clear or obscure you want to be depends on your concept of how you want to arrange the pitches.  Sometimes people say they can't find the right chord to fit in a spot, but when that happens sometimes the answer lies in the rhythmic approach to the point of rest, rather than a harmonic solution to the problem.  Good players can solve problems well. Harmony is in motion or resting, throughout the tune. You can't just lay on one chord through the whole tune, you have to move. So what is the purpose of this movement?  You will have to figure out if it is roving, transitioning, progressing to a point, or the opposite.  It is a ying-yang, or tension-release problem. If what you are trying to play seems complex then you are looking at it wrong. I always try to simplify.  Many of the things you hear in jazz solos and chords are based upon simple ideas that sound complex.  In your analysis always try to simplify after you figure out the notes. Gospel is a little simpler than jazz, yet nearly as complex if you approach the harmonies of the voices and /or voicings as counterpoint.  You are not likely to find any fugues in gospel, but you will find seperate moving melodies.  It is hard enough to write one beautiful melody, but quite another to write 3 or more beautiful melodies that tie together in a harmony that is pleasing to the ear.

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Offline Muziqmann

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Re: styles on the organ
« Reply #3 on: June 20, 2007, 11:32:06 AM »
When I play by myself or with just a drummer I play very full thick chords ( Ab/ Gb-Bb-C-Eb/ F-Bb-D-F).  I'm told that I have big hands.  My playing is very jazz infused, I used tri-tone substitutions and I outline 2-5-1's and other chords and chord changes. (Like playing a dorian mode over a D minor, G7, C major).  In my early developing stages I was and at times still am a "hardcore" NY COGIC styles organist, now I have other in my playing as well.  I grew up playing hymns and traditional gospel and then branched out to more contemporary styles.  Now I'm studying classical music and jazz in school.

I have a question for Bug:  Are you classically trained?
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Offline rpking

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Re: styles on the organ
« Reply #4 on: June 26, 2007, 03:38:02 PM »
we all talk about brooklyn style or west coast
but there are other styles or ways to approach the organ



I agree...I think that there are four styles of Black Gospel music - Brooklyn, East Coast, Mid-West, and West Coast. 

The East Coast style to me is on another level when is comes to skill and musicianship.  It is abstract, profound, and very much out-the-box.  Part of its style involves playing phrases in a key a half step higher than the original key in which you are playing.  Also, it involves combining major chords of various keys into one key.  So, in this style, it sounds like the key is changed, but it actually isn't.  I won't even get to the advanced chords and runs that it also involves.......it's just too deep.  John Peters, Travis Sayles, Youth for Christ and Tye Tribbett recordings represent some of that East Coast style.

The Brooklyn style involves using broken tritones and major/minor chords more often than full chords.  It's kinda funky to me, with a little more emphasis on the bass drum.  It also involves using 2-note chords, moving in half-steps more often than full chords.  Melvin Crispell w/James Hall, Tunesha Crispell and Hez. Walker, Butch Heyward and Timothy Wrights recordings obviously display the Brooklyn style.



The Mid-West style can really be described as one word - "churchy".  It's that hand-clappin', toe-tappin' music that is really in a format of a traditional shout played slowly. It involves the excessive use of the tritones and 3-6-2-5-1 turnaround.  This style also involves the use of more full chords than the runs and licks of the East Coast style.  The late Thomas Whitfield, Rudolph Stanfield, Asaph Ward, the Clark Sisters, and Bishop Larry Trotter's recordings all represent some of the Mid-West style.

The West Coast style to me is best described as contemporary.  The musicians of the West Coast seem to take on music from the Caucasian contempory christian churches before everyone else in the Black churches, and re-created it.  It involves the use of more suspended chords in praise-and-worship-style songs.  Kurt Carr and Judith McCallister's recordings display that West Coast style.

That's just my assessment after listening to different artists and musicians from across the country, but let me know what you all think.

Offline diverse379

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Re: styles on the organ
« Reply #5 on: June 26, 2007, 03:49:21 PM »
I like your doscography of each of the styles

i think you hit on a lot of good points

you left out timothy wright and butch heyward and of course charles minor,s my hope

and you may have left out donald lawrence for midwest
and of course chicago mass

but what about tonex for west coast


but to be honest when i started this post I was trying to get away from geographic styles

I wanted to explore how people individually approach the organ

but it is all good i think what you wrote answered a lot of unanswered questions and now people have artists to look at if they want to explore the various styles

i am from the east coast and I play a little brooklyn style

i dont know what you meant by
playing things a half step up

could you elaborate a little?
To be or not to be that is the question you anwer when you pray practice and read your word

Offline rpking

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Re: styles on the organ
« Reply #6 on: June 26, 2007, 10:17:27 PM »
I also meant to comment that this is a good topic you created.  I thought that I was adding my input to a subtopic of your topic, but I didn't mean "to go in left field". :-\

If your playing a song in the key of "C" and a director tells you to take the song up (or down) a whole step, then you would change keys to "D" (or "Bb").  If he/she tells you to take the song up (or down) a half step, then you would change keys to "C#" (or "B").  I hope that makes sense.

Trust me, I know that I didn't mention everyone who reps their geographical location and styles.  I just thought of a few that came to mind.  On the East Coast Doobie Powell with Kevin Powell comes to mind, Jonathan Nelson with Kenneth Nelson and Damien Mindley.  New Yorkers have the Brooklyn style and the East Coast style wrapped up in one.  I didn't forget Timothy Wright with his son and Butch Heyward, and Eric McDaniel with David Brandon and Damon Mack.  In the Mid-West, Kevin Bond and Cedric Thompson, Levi "Too" King, Butch Woodie (of course), Kirk Franklin and Kim Burrell come to mind.  Tonex reps the West Coast strong.  Norman Hutchins and Martha Munizzi are on the East Coast, but Jason White out of So. Cal produced those albums, so you can hear the West Coast influence on them.  "Get Ready For Your Miracle" off of Hutchins' newest album has that L.A. bassline/groove to it.

Of course there are others, but I just named some artists and musicians whose music styles correlate with their geographical home.

I was born and raised here in Detroit, but my wife is from New York, so I have a Mid-West with a little East Coast/Brooklyn influence in my playing.

Offline rpking

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Re: styles on the organ
« Reply #7 on: June 27, 2007, 04:33:24 AM »
I also meant to comment that this is a good topic you created.  I thought that I was adding my input to a subtopic of your topic, but I didn't mean "to go in left field".

If your playing a song in the key of "C" and a director tells you to take the song up (or down) a whole step, then you would change keys to "D" (or "Bb").  If he/she tells you to take the song up (or down) a half step, then you would change keys to "C#" (or "B").  I hope that makes sense.

Trust me, I know that I didn't mention everyone who reps their geographical location and styles.  I just thought of a few that came to mind.  On the East Coast Doobie Powell with Kevin Powell comes to mind, Jonathan Nelson with Kenneth Nelson and Damien Mindley.  New Yorkers have the Brooklyn style and the East Coast style wrapped up in one.  I didn't forget Timothy Wright with his son and Butch Heyward, and Eric McDaniel with David Brandon and Damon Mack.  In the Mid-West, Kevin Bond and Cedric Thompson, Levi "Too" King, Butch Woodie (of course), Kirk Franklin and Kim Burrell come to mind.  Tonex reps the West Coast strong.  Norman Hutchins and Martha Munizzi are on the East Coast, but Jason White out of So. Cal produced those albums, so you can hear the West Coast influence on them.  "Get Ready For Your Miracle" off of Hutchins' newest album has that L.A. bassline/groove to it.

Of course there are others, but I just named some artists and musicians whose music styles correlate with their geographical home.

To answer your question directly, I tend to play choral hymns with my left hand echoing my right hand, gospel hymns with tritones in my left hand, and contemporary songs with 3 and 4 note chords in my left hand.  The left hand seems to determine a large portion of one's style.  I was born and raised here in Detroit, but my wife is from New York, so I have a Mid-West with a little East Coast/Brooklyn influence in my playing.

Offline diverse379

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Re: styles on the organ
« Reply #8 on: June 27, 2007, 07:23:40 AM »
You ned to write a book


wow what a list

how long have you been in the music ministry

this is an incredible list of names and I already said that your previous explanations of styles was on point and on time

I will have to start looking for your posts
you are well informed
and know how to articulate what you understand


To be or not to be that is the question you anwer when you pray practice and read your word

Offline rpking

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Re: styles on the organ
« Reply #9 on: June 27, 2007, 10:23:48 AM »
Ha! Praise God! Thanks man!

There should be a book written on different gospel music styles in the U.S.

I don't consider myself as well-versed as yourself and others regarding music theory and the music industry within the music ministry.  I've been studying music on and off for a total of 24 years.  The last 5-6 years, I learned how to play the organ, spending 4 hours a day the first two years on getting the technique.  I started out learning from some of the best gospel organists here in Detroit (Rudolph Stanfeld, Curtis Pearson, Sam Cook, Larry Nix, Eddie Moore, Reynolds Hemphill, and so many others) directly and indirectly (playing with these guys or recording them play at concerts).  Then Harold Watson (you all have to buy his cd, good people) moved here from D.C. and introduced the East Coast style of music to me.  That led me to visiti my wife's church in NY to hear their musicians, and learn about James Hall and the Brooklyn style.  Then that led me to compare all gospel music styles across the country, so I try to study all styles now.  I felt cheated just knowing the Detroit style of playing after I heard so many different ways to approach songs from some of the best gospel organists around the country.  I can currently play at an intermediate level, even though I am fairly new to this.  Developing organ skills has helped me to improve my piano and sax skills as well.

Offline cakinbro

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Re: styles on the organ
« Reply #10 on: June 27, 2007, 04:18:37 PM »
Great post man...I have a question though...what about the musicians from the south...NC, SC, GA, FL???? Hating on us lol...Nah I'm just joking....I'm from North Carolina, but growing up playing, I pretty much listened to the Brooklyn-East Coast (james hall, melvin, butch) and West Coast(kevin bond, td jakes) styles..around me already in NC was the "churchy" style, so it wasn't anything new. So in my playing you'll hear a mixture of it all...
Learn every chord and scale with both hands....it will pay off in the long run!!!

Offline rpking

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Re: styles on the organ
« Reply #11 on: June 28, 2007, 09:29:59 AM »
Hahaha!  North Carolina is part of the East Coast man.  ;D :D ;)

Yeah, there’s one more style that I didn’t mention, and that’s Southern Gospel.  I didn’t mention it because it seems to have its own style that Caucasians and Blacks have welcomed into their churches, separate from the other styles that I mentioned under the  Black Gospel umbrella.  I would describe it as churchy and a part of that Mid-West style also.  However, I would say that it involves using more 1-4-5-1, 1-4-1, 1-5-1, 1-2-5-1 turnarounds, less tritones, but more major chords and 7th chords.  The Carolinas, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, Arkansas, Tennessee, Louisiana, and even Texas kind of fall under the Southern Gospel style (but of course they are not limited to that style).  They pick up a little of all the styles……the last time I checked. The Canton Spirituals and John P. Kee’s old school songs come to mind for this style, but I don’t follow it that much, so someone can educate me on this.

I agree with you……the Carolinas have that churchy feel, so I would say that you all have Mid-West style going on.  Pastor Stenneth Powell’s Abundant Life COGIC choir is down there, and they put out an album two years ago.  Ivan Powell put his stamp on it, so you can tell that has that hand-clappin’, toe-tappin’ feel to a number of their songs.  The album is hot to me.  Of course John P. Kee is down there too.

Georgia has the Georgia Mass Choir down there of course.  I read that Rev. Milton Biggham and Kenneth Paden run the music, and their style is churchy.  Justin Gilbert is from the ATL, an awesome young musician. He produced LaShun Pace’s newest album, and it’s churchy all the way through.  Bishop Eddie Long’s church and choir is in the ATL, but it was produced by Kevin Bond, who’s originally from Chicago.  Derrick Starks used to play for his church for a little while, but he’s originally from Detroit, and is now back in Detroit playing for Marvin Winans’ church with Key Wiz.   That’s all I’ve got on Georgia.

Florida has Eddie Howard down there somewhere, but I think that he is from Baltimore.  Again, Martha Munizzi’s big church is in Lakeland, but Jason White from Cali produced her music.  Of course they have the Florida Mass Choir, but I don’t know who plays for them.  A hot musician named Rodriguez from Detroit moved down there a couple of weeks ago.  About a month ago, someone put on You Tube a shout during a church service down there that was hot. I don’t know of any names originally from Florida who has produced albums, so someone from FL can enlighten us.

Of course there’s Mississippi Mass as well, so the southern states kinda have a Mid-West/Southern flavor with a little East Coast (especially in Florida).  That’s just my two cents, so someone please correct me if I’m wrong somewhere……

Offline bug

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Re: styles on the organ
« Reply #12 on: July 10, 2007, 10:59:42 AM »
Muziqmann,

Yes I am classically trained.  I took private piano lessons with Dr. Granuel Whittemore from 1956 to 1968 then I went to Indiana University and studied with Sydney Foster and earned my Bachelors in 1974.  Then I taught music in public school until 1978 then I got my Master's in 1980.  Then I took a band on the road but it failed.  After that I joined the Army and was the piano player for the Army Band of New York  in Brooklyn at Fort Hamilton for three years I studied with a lot of the top jazz pianists in Manhattan. I did some gigging in Brooklyn at the Coronet.  Then I went back home and taught public school from 1984 to 2000.  I had a sudden early retirement because mom got Alzheimer's Disease and I am an only child so I had to take care of my mother.  I moved to Michigan to get some help in taking care of mom but my aunt who lived in this tiny college town died shortly after I arrived here after selling my house at a loss.  I got stuck here without a job and was homeless for a while, but I was able to get my mom secured with my uncle in Detroit who is the legal guardian for her.  She is in Detroit and I am on my own out here in South Central Michigan.  I was teaching at Albion College but I guess I put too much pressure on my students because they all dropped-out saying I was demanding too much from them for a lousy one hour class in Gospel Music.  Fortunately Bethel Baptist Church picked me up and paid for my rent and utilities and paid me a salary of between $200 to $250 a week, otherwise I would probably be living under a bridge or in the homeless shelter in Battle Creek. I finally got my pension started but it only pays between $600 to $800 a month on the 15th of every month.  This is just enough to stay alive.  I am greatful but it is a far cry from what I have been used to living off.  I guess it is God's will that I can't get a full-time job with the school systems around here.  I do have a personal friend who is the new Superintendent of Lansing Schools so I will contact him to see if I can get a job.  I need a full-time income.  I lost my car, because I couldn't pay for its up-keep.

I know that is more information than you wanted to know, but I thought I would share it with you.

The short answer is yes I am classically trained, but I have been listening to Gospel Music and trying to play it since 1962.  I am fond of the contemporary styles as I see you are.  After a while the traditional music becomes boring, even if you can play in all 24 keys. The contemporary styles afford me the luxury of being creative.  I can be an artist when I alter the harmonies and play substitutes.  Much gets interesting then and of course there is no end to how you can voice or alter chords or progressions. I am definitely jazz influenced. I play a lot of block chords and drop two (alto voice) chords when I play chord lines in Gospel. I am fond of the 4th and 5th chords.  I like experimenting with unusual arterations like  say a b6 on a Major triad or sus2/sus4 with a major 7th or susb9 on the dominant or phrygian chords.  Buy the book by Mike Levine called Jazz Piano it has a lot of fresh information and it is easy to understand. It should cost about $25.00.  The book is well worth it if you absorb and apply the information. It will expand your thinking playing exponentially.  Naturally transcribe and play everything in several keys.  Practice voicings using all the cycles, but especially the 4/5,chromatic, tritone, minor third, and major third cycles.  Practice the "Coltrane Giant Steps Substitution" in all the keys until it is second nature, pentatonics and altered pentatonics in all keys.
I am into Augmented triads with a minor third for the forth voice.  Voice these with the 7th or 3rd on the bottom. These symmetrical structures are very versatile.  In fact I have found experimentation with symmetrical structures leads to many versatile chords.  The sound of those structures is similar to what Horace Silver's harmony.  It is hip sounding and can be used in all kinds of Gospel and standard tunes.

Brother Scott (bug)
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Offline diverse379

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Re: styles on the organ
« Reply #13 on: July 10, 2007, 02:57:39 PM »
with all that knowledge i dont see why you cant land a gig as a minister of music

you obvioulsy know your stuff

To be or not to be that is the question you anwer when you pray practice and read your word

Offline Mysteryman

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Re: styles on the organ
« Reply #14 on: July 11, 2007, 02:10:24 AM »
How do I approach the organ? One thing I do is sustain the top note on my right hand chords. I also think playing melodically is one of the most appealing sounds on the organ. This doesnt mean you have to play the original melody line all the time but almost like a counter melody mixed in between chords or with chords. Another thing I think stands out its when you play choir parts over left hand chords. I used to avoid playing some of the left hand register in the keyboard range on organ when I have the brown drawbars pulled out but sometimes that will make you sound fuller. Here's one way I would play "I love you Lord" on organ. I trying to do this on the keyboard.
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Offline diverse379

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Re: styles on the organ
« Reply #15 on: July 11, 2007, 07:58:14 PM »
How do I approach the organ? One thing I do is sustain the top note on my right hand chords. I also think playing melodically is one of the most appealing sounds on the organ. This doesnt mean you have to play the original melody line all the time but almost like a counter melody mixed in between chords or with chords. Another thing I think stands out its when you play choir parts over left hand chords. I used to avoid playing some of the left hand register in the keyboard range on organ when I have the brown drawbars pulled out but sometimes that will make you sound fuller. Here's one way I would play "I love you Lord" on organ. I trying to do this on the keyboard.
To be or not to be that is the question you anwer when you pray practice and read your word

Offline normandm85

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Re: styles on the organ
« Reply #16 on: April 24, 2008, 09:34:42 AM »
I agree...I think that there are four styles of Black Gospel music - Brooklyn, East Coast, Mid-West, and West Coast. 

The East Coast style to me is on another level when is comes to skill and musicianship.  It is abstract, profound, and very much out-the-box.  Part of its style involves playing phrases in a key a half step higher than the original key in which you are playing.  Also, it involves combining major chords of various keys into one key.  So, in this style, it sounds like the key is changed, but it actually isn't.  I won't even get to the advanced chords and runs that it also involves.......it's just too deep.  John Peters, Travis Sayles, Youth for Christ and Tye Tribbett recordings represent some of that East Coast style.

The Brooklyn style involves using broken tritones and major/minor chords more often than full chords.  It's kinda funky to me, with a little more emphasis on the bass drum.  It also involves using 2-note chords, moving in half-steps more often than full chords.  Melvin Crispell w/James Hall, Tunesha Crispell and Hez. Walker, Butch Heyward and Timothy Wrights recordings obviously display the Brooklyn style.



The Mid-West style can really be described as one word - "churchy".  It's that hand-clappin', toe-tappin' music that is really in a format of a traditional shout played slowly. It involves the excessive use of the tritones and 3-6-2-5-1 turnaround.  This style also involves the use of more full chords than the runs and licks of the East Coast style.  The late Thomas Whitfield, Rudolph Stanfield, Asaph Ward, the Clark Sisters, and Bishop Larry Trotter's recordings all represent some of the Mid-West style.

The West Coast style to me is best described as contemporary.  The musicians of the West Coast seem to take on music from the Caucasian contempory christian churches before everyone else in the Black churches, and re-created it.  It involves the use of more suspended chords in praise-and-worship-style songs.  Kurt Carr and Judith McCallister's recordings display that West Coast style.

That's just my assessment after listening to different artists and musicians from across the country, but let me know what you all think.



In North Carolina I lot of organists have a "churchy" sound or just I say Mid-West. I've been exposed to all styles, but I love east coast/brooklyn.
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Offline hammondboy

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Re: styles on the organ
« Reply #17 on: April 24, 2008, 10:01:40 AM »
since i was born and raised in North Carolina being an all over musician i believe that there is no certain styles on the organs its just in the voicings and people have there on way of playing and also they pick up what other musicians show them or what they pick up from what they hear on cd's.
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Offline betnich

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Re: styles on the organ
« Reply #18 on: April 24, 2008, 10:19:21 AM »
Ha! Praise God! Thanks man!

There should be a book written on different gospel music styles in the U.S.


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Offline Wolfram

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Re: styles on the organ
« Reply #19 on: April 24, 2008, 11:42:04 AM »
I like to incorporate the jazz organ style into my playing.  That means light comp with the left and faster movement with the right or on the chorus section full out block chord voice leading (you can use the drop 2 or drop 4 voicing with this as well) with the right hand and left hand working intermixed.

I am still learning the poly-chordal stylings of the gospel sound.  It is heavier... that really is not the word I am looking for... maybe weightier is a better term, than what I am use to using in jazz.

Peace,

Wolf
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