A quick-start guide: how to improvise like tudor organists

The purpose of this site is to disseminate over ten years of research that demonstrates many of the improvisation techniques of  the Tudor period. These are not only enjoyable to experiment with, but they will also help you to develop a deeper appreciation of the vocal and instrumental music of the period.

The first few posts will contain the text and music examples based on a paper I gave a few years ago at Amsterdam’s extraordinary Orgelpark—a university museum devoted to the organ’s past and future. I recorded all these examples in St Andrew’s Church in Wingfield (Suffolk) where enough of the timber of the original organ was found to provide some of the best evidence for reconstructing the small Tudor organ that is my featured image. All the examples were played on this organ in Wingfield, probably always in the large collegiate church that most likely supported a small number of choristers and allowed them to develop the basic musical skills outlined in the posts to follow.

Future posts  will contain guided exercises that (if practised diligently) should allow you to improvise on chant using techniques admired and cultivated by Tudor singers, organists and composers.

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