MUSIC 116R Syllabus

Winter 2007

Go to Music 116R Web Site



1. To develop further the basic organ playing skills necessary for one to function satisfactorily in a church service
2. To learn more advanced concepts and skills in organ technique, registration, and interpretation
3. To become familiar with a broad cross section of organ repertoire

1. To understand and apply more advanced principles of organ registration
2. To develop fluency in manual techniques, including finger independence, redistribution, finger crossings, glissando, and substitution
3. To understand basics of touch, phrasing and articulation, and to know how to utilize them to enhance the expressiveness of a piece of music
4. To develop greater fluency in pedal playing
5. To understand and be able to employ various advanced hymn playing techniques
6. To develop basic accompanying skills on the organ
7. To cultivate more efficient practice techniques
8. To experience (primarily through listening) a wide range of organ repertoire with four main goals:

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Because of the high degree of interaction necessary between teacher and student, ONLY THREE ABSENCES are allowed per semester. Any additional absences will result in the lowering of your final grade by one notch (e.g., A to A-, A- to B+, etc.) for each additional absence. Exceptions will be granted only with a doctor's written explanation.

REQUIRED MATERIALS (All but the shoes are available on the text floor or general book area of the bookstore.)



The course grade is determined as follows:

PRACTICE GRADE (The weekly minimum of 4 practice hours is used for grading only if it will improve your grade, in which case it may count up to 30% of the course grade)

COURSE GRADE (These portions of the course may be reduced by up to 30% if the Practice Grade is applied)

Played portion 75%

Written portion 25%

Extra Credit (approve with instructor--up to 3% total)

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In keeping with the principles of the BYU Honor Code, students are expected to be honest in all of their academic work.  Academic honesty means, most fundamentally, that any work you present as your own must in fact be your own work and not that of another.  Violations of this principle may result in a failing grade in the course and additional disciplinary action by the university. Students are also expected to adhere to the Dress and Grooming Standards.  Adherence demonstrates respect for yourself and others and ensures an effective learning and working environment.  It is the university’s expectation, and my own expectation in class, that each student will abide by all Honor Code standards.  Please call the Honor Code Office at 422-2847 if you have questions about those standards.


Sexual discrimination or harassment (including student-to-student harassment) is prohibited both by the law and by BYU policy.  If you feel you are being subjected to sexual discrimination or harassment, please bring your concerns to the professor.  Alternatively, you may lodge a complaint with the Equal Employment Office (D-240C ASB) or with the Honor Code Office (4440).


If you have a disability that may affect your performance in this course, you should get in touch with Services for Students with Disabilities (1520 WSC).  This office can evaluate your disability and assist the professor in arranging for reasonable accommodations.

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The semester is divided into five units. Each unit includes various assignments and projects that may be passed off at any time during the unit, but MUST be completed by any due dates indicated. Projects and assignments are graded with "A," "B," or "C" representing "above average," "average," or "below average," respectively. Late completions, if accepted, will receive a full grade drop or more. All played assignments except the hymn and repertoire projects may be graded during the Friday open labs. Frequent attendance at these labs is required. Written exams will take place during Week 8 (midterm) and on the scheduled final exam day. Details of most assignments and projects are given below.

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PRACTICE (4 hours per week--52 hours for the semester)

Since improvement is possible only with disciplined work over a time period, practice time is required. The weekly minimum of 4 hours is used for grading only if it will improve your grade. This means that those who can complete the played assignments with fewer practice hours per week may do so. For those who have difficulty completing the played assignments satisfactorily in the allotted time, more practice hours may be needed. Consistently high practice hours may improve the grade. Either way, you must keep a practice record and report your time to your instructor at the end of each unit or as requested. Failure to turn in an accurate practice record as requested will result in a full grade drop for the course.

Use your practice time to prepare the played assignments listed below. The weekly total for grading purposes is calculated by dividing the total semester practice hours by 13. Hence, extra practice during a good practice week can help offset a bad week.

HYMN PROJECTS (three, due on your last class day of Weeks 7 and 10, and at the beginning of the final exam)

For each hymn project, prepare all verses in standard style (soprano, alto and tenor on the Great, bass on Pedal), with an introduction and at least two changes of registration. Where appropriate, one or two verses may employ an alternate re-arrangement of the voices (tenor solo, manuals only, soprano solo, etc.). The three suggested hymns are #116, #19, and #170, but alternate hymns may be substituted with the instructor's approval. Your score must be prepared similar to the example on p. Hymns 23 (or p. Church 15), and your playing will be evaluated according to the criteria listed on p. Hymns 5 (or p. Church 7).

REPERTOIRE PROJECTS (two, due on your last class day of Week 10 and at the beginning of your last class day)

A repertoire project may be a standard organ work, a hymn setting (hymn "prelude"), or a hymn. Both repertoire projects must be selected and approved by your last class day of Week 4. Choose music that is interesting and challenging to you, that is in line with your goals in organ playing, and that can be completed in the allotted time. You may wish to choose music from the Listening Exercise.

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CREATIVE HYMN PLAYING TECHNIQUES (eight, due as listed below)

Several ways of adding variety and interest to hymn playing will be introduced throughout the semester through podcasts or class discussion. Tenor solo should be employed in a single verse of any hymn by your last class day of Week 4. Soprano solo, manual only, and non-harmonic tones should each be employed likewise by your last class day of Week 7. Use a creative introduction and use an effective (but not necessarily creative) interlude in at least one of your hymn projects. Alto up an octave and soprano/tenor switch should each be employed in at least an eight-measure segment of any hymn by the end of Week 10. Learn a free accompaniment and play it by the last day of class. You may pass these off as part of your hymn projects as long as two conditions are met: 1) the deadlines are met, and 2) no single hymn becomes cluttered with too many creative techniques.

PEDAL EXERCISES (consistent progress required through Week 12)

Pedal exercises from the text should be a part of every practice session, and should passed off frequently during Friday Labs or during class time through Week 12. You should begin from the point at which you left off in your previous semester of Group Organ. If you completed all groups of exercises, you should go back and work through the "review" exercises. If you have completed the review exercises, work out a plan with your instructor to deepen your pedal skills.

LEFT HAND AND PEDAL STUDIES (eight, due in groups of two on your last class day of Weeks 4, 7, 10, and 12)

Choose eight hymn arrangements from Easy Organ Hymn Settings or another similar resource (with instructor approval; fingering and pedaling must be supplied) from which to learn the left hand and pedal parts only. You may use the left-hand and pedal parts from current hymn or repertoire projects. Do not choose hymns that you studied in Music 115. Work towards attaining complete independence of the two parts.

LISTENING EXERCISE (one, due on your last class day of Week 4)

Follow the specific instructions given in the booklet on organs 9-12.

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ACCOMPANIMENT (due on your last class day of Week 12)

Choose one accompaniment (for choir or soloist) that requires some adaptation to render successfully at the organ. Your instructor will suggest some options. Long works may be cut (with instructor approval). Carefully devise a registrational plan, make whatever adaptations are necessary, and show the accompaniment to your instructor. You do not need to learn the accompaniment, but you may use it as a repertoire project (with instructor approval).

CHURCH PLAYING EXPERIENCE (to be completed by the Sunday following reading days)

This is an opportunity to play one or more of your repertoire projects and a hymn for a singing congregation.

Near the end of the semester team up with a classmate and share the organ playing responsibilities for one sacrament service in a local LDS ward. Organ prelude, postlude, hymn playing, and possibly a special musical selection (all of your choosing) should be divided equally between the two of you. Either or both of you might also offer to direct the music if you wish. If you do not have access to a ward with an organ, one will be assigned to you. Arrange with the contact person a single two-hour period when you BOTH can practice and work out registrations. Do not ask local priesthood leaders for more than one practice session on site.

Afterwards, write a short description and evaluation of your experience, and you will receive full credit. Rather than be concerned about a grade, this is an opportunity to apply some of the skills you have learned in a church service. Your main goal is not to exemplify perfect technique or to show off, but to offer service. You and your partner should pull together all your resources to contribute positively to the worship experience. Be very diplomatic, patient, humble, and loving as you deal with the local church authorities. Be gracious and positive about the organ, conductor, priesthood leaders, etc.


The midterm will take place during Week 8, and the (comprehensive) final exam will occur as listed in the university class schedule. These exams cover the topics listed in the calendar up to the date of the exam, including reading, lecture (take complete and accurate notes!), class discussion, literature presentations, and technique. The listening exercise is not included in either exam.

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You are responsible to study the Internet resource, "Organ Composers Database" and listen to the associated audio examples. You need to know at least three things about each composer. Given his name, learn:

1. The country and region with which he is associated as an organ composer
2. The 20- to 40-year period of his compositional activity; and
3. One of his most important contributions in ORGAN literature (not orchestral, opera, transcriptions, etc.).

Exception: you will need to know much more about the organ works of J.S. Bach. Once again—take complete and accurate notes! Questions on organ literature topics will appear on both the midterm and final exams.

Periodically throughout the semester a certain set of composers will be featured (see the "Literature demonstrations" in the syllabus calendar). By the beginning of the class period when that set is due, you should have written notes covering the three items mentioned above for each composer, and you should show them to the instructor. If you are fully prepared, you will receive full credit. If you are not, you will receive no credit for that assignment. There will be no credit given for late completion of assignments in this area.


Attend at least one organ recital during the semester, and turn in a short review that follows the guidelines that you will receive. Watch for recital announcements on the bulletin board outside the door of the organ lab. DO NOT procrastinate this review; end-of-semester recitals are occasionally cancelled.


Up to 3 percentage points in extra credit may be earned by doing an extra hymn or repertoire project. Other ideas may be proposed to the instructor for approval. If you attend the Saturday Salt Lake trip, it is worth one course percentage point.

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