Dear Uncle Max

Max Miller, former Dean of the Boston Chapter, wrote his “Dear Uncle Max” columns for The American Organist magazine from 1996 to 2001. Special thanks to AGO Headquarters  for assistance in research for this project.

The collection of his columns are below.

1979 Apr Brahms Chorale Preludes Master Lesson
1987 Sep Preston Rockholts Creative Service Playing
1990 Jun Interpreting the AGO College Certification Required Composition
1992 Nov The Fugue Book Review
1992 Dec Tributes for George Faxon
1997 Jan What is a mutation?
1997 Jan What is ‘skip’ registration?
1997 Jan Why do some pieces list stops to be used as Principal while others say Montre or Diapason?
1997 Jan How long should a prelude for church be? Should I play a whole prelude and fugue?
1997 Jan A bride wants me to play Clair de Lune on the organ. I only know it on the piano. What should I do?
1997 Jan How do I know the best tempo for hymns?
1997 Jan Carillon by Vierne – I am confused by the left hand part. How should it be played?
1997 Jan How can I make an Alberti style bass line sound better on the organ?
1997 May Why do large churches expect or require organists to play very difficult selections, and why do they require an organist to possess a degree in music?
1997 May I am writing to express my disappointment in the disappearance of “Getting Through Sunday Morning” articles in THE AMERICAN ORGANIST. It would be most helpful for us “nonprofessional organists” to have articles on organ and choral music we can use as well as on what constitutes a basic music library
1997Jun What is a “ventil”
1997Jun How to mark the difference between general pistons vs. manual pistons in my music score
1997Jun Practice suggestions for Bach’s first Trio Sonata
1997Jun What is the difference between a rank and a stop?
1997Jun What is meant by a “pulled cornet”?
1997Jun How can I bring variety to different hymn stanzas without using pistons?
1997 Aug Can the two- and three-part inventions of J.S. Bach be used on the organ?
1997 Aug Is it ever possible to change the voicings of chords to fit smaller hands?
1997 Aug I am curious to know of Brahm’s background with the organ and why he wrote what he did for the organ.
1997 Sep How to move from stanza to stanza in hymn playing
1997 Nov Self-consciousness at having no formal degrees in organ; I simply feel confused rather than uplifted to
plow through articles I don’t understand about music that I’ve never encountered; nor would I be able to produce any of it if you put it in front of me; Not attending Guild events for fear of being outclassed; My chapter being a small-circle-of-acquaintances chapter and I feel I’m talked down to.
1997 Nov After the June 1997 (issue) . . . I think I will finally remember how to construct a cornet. A couple of questions…
1997 Dec Gelineau Psalms – recommendations of a book or course of study on how to sing these settings
1998 Jan What is a wind stabilizer? Why would one be necessary? How does it affect the overall winding of a larger (Fisk) instrument?
1998 Feb Suggestions for Toccatas for junior high through high school students
1998 Mar E.F. Benson’s novel “The Worshipful Lucia” refers to Falberg’s “Storm at Sea” and a Diocton stop. Is there such a composition? What is a Diocton? Are the new stops are the organ in Rye?
1998 Apr How many beats to allow between stanzas?
1998 Jun Recommendations for a reliable and trustworthy edition of J.S. Bach’s organ works. Is there any book on Bach’s organ works more current that Peter William’s two-volume set of the 1980s?
1998 Jul The pedals on my organ speak slowly and always seem to sound later than the stops on the manuals. What can I do?  What is the difference between a quint stop and a nazard stop?
1998 Sep What can I do to rid my performances of mistakes?
1998 Oct Please clarify “Soli Deo Gloria” vs “Soli Dei Gloria”
1998 Nov Help me understand the latest thing in synthesizers: the computerized interactive piano-organ
1998 Dec Recommend good books on organ history to understand revolutionary phases of organ building and organ music
1999 Jan Who is the organist at the Met? Does the Met have a pipe organ? Are there any operas with extended organ solos?
1999 Feb Who are celebrities who play the organ
1999 Mar How to approach the ‘tricky’ sections in Bach’s “Aus tiefer Not schre’ ich zu dir” (BWV686)
1999 June Explain mixture stops to the young organist
1999 July How to locate “Air” by Giuseppe Tartini
1999 Aug Renaissance organs – what stops do 16′, 8′, and 4′ organs contain?
1999 Sep List of organ and choral works for composers who have been cataloged: Bach, Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven, etc.
1999 Oct Is it correct to change manuals in Bach in the preludes and fugues?
1999 Oct Did Bach use reeds in his pleno and should we?
1999 Oct Why do organists play Bach on one loud registration?
1999 Dec Is the lack of a 4′ reed stop in the pedal a matter of economics?
2000 Jan Where to locate CD or tape of anthems for the CAGO exam of that year
2000 Mar What music was plaid at the weddings of Prince Charles and of Prince Andrew and who was the organist?
(also lists music played for wedding of Prince Edward)
2000 Apr What Bach masterpiece for the organ would have such an internal climasxthat an organist may stop and not ruin the flow?
2000 May Choirmaster salaries seem greater than organist/choirmaster – why
2000 June Is there a listing of Bach compositions that include BWV numbers and introductory measures
2000 July When to use connected vs. separated fingering
2000 July Using 1 or 2 manuals with Bach chorales
2000 July If organ doesn’t have a good reed should one skip that repertoire
2000 July When to couple manuals to pedals
2000 Aug Differences in French and German Ornamentation
2000 Aug When melody is in the pedal, at what pitch should it be played
2000 Aug How long to wait between stanzas of a hymn
2000 Aug How much organ study to have before taking the AGO Service Playing Exam
2000 Sep Are skip registrations good?
2000 Oct How to adapt piano/guitar anthem accompaniments to organ
2000 Nov How to deal with different personalities
2000 Dec Where to find English translations of title of French Noëls
2001 Jan Different registrations of “Salve Regina” than Widor indicated
2001 Feb Meaning of “A Capella” in 15th and 16th centuries
2001 Mar  
2001 Apr How to play notes for keys that don’t exist on keyboard or pedalboard
2001 May Postludes of Medium Difficulty
2001 June Literature for easy harp/medium organ duos
2001 July Hand placement for pedal cadenza
2001 Sep Langlais “Pasticcio”