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Last verse harmonisation

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Last verse harmonisation

Last verse harmonisation is a technique of hymn accompaniment used by church organists. As the name suggests, this is a practice whereby the last verse of a harmony, or use an alternative one that has been written specifically for use in conjunction with the descant, as the melody of the descant may not sound right with other harmonies.

Characteristics

Usually the organ accompaniment to the last verse of a melody in unison at three pitches (each an octave apart; the lowest played on the pedalboard), which is another popular technique of last verse harmonisation.

Performance

Experienced organists will usually vary their use of hymn accompaniment), and this technique is indeed occasionally used, the effect being known as the Full Organ.

However, in practice, it is unusual for all stops on a pipe organ to be drawn together (except on smaller instruments) as some stops (generically called 'celestes') are tuned slightly sharp or flat, and will not compliment the 'Full Organ'.

References

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