No Tremolo Please

Posted on February 21, 2012. Filed under: Music in Sacrament Meeting, Organ Music |

Recently I visited a ward in northern California. The organist was quite old, it seems it’s the elderly who have this issue. She played the organ loud using the tremolo. A lot of organs in LDS chapels don’t even have a tremolo stop any more, and I’m sure that’s on purpose. The tremolo is absolutely obnoxious. A tremolo/tremulant is a device on an organ which varies the wind supply to the pipes causing their pitch to fluctuate, producing a vibrato effect.  On an electric organ it sounds like a warbling vibrato, a perfect style for theatre organ music. The tremolo is never appropriate for use in hymn accompanying. Personally, I don’t like when it’s used for any church use, ever. Perhaps on a first-rate pipe organ with a variable tremulant, rare in the LDS Church, it could be used with prelude/postlude music when on the lowest vibrato setting. But, overall it is a major distraction and, like I mentioned before, it can be quite obnoxious.

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