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Dear Uncle Max

UNDER CONSTRUCTION – This will be completed (and look better) soon!

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 AprBrahms Chorale Preludes Master Lesson
1987 SepPreston Rockholts Creative Service Playing
1990 JunInterpreting the AGO College Certification Required Composition
1992 NovThe Fugue Book Review
1992 DecTributes for George Faxon
1997 JanWhat is a mutation?
1997 JanWhat is ‘skip’ registration?
1997 JanWhy do some pieces list stops to be used as Principal while others say Montre or Diapason?
1997 JanHow long should a prelude for church be? Should I play a whole prelude and fugue?
1997 JanA bride wants me to play Clair de Lune on the organ. I only know it on the piano. What should I do?
1997 JanHow do I know the best tempo for hymns?
1997 JanCarillon by Vierne – I am confused by the left hand part. How should it be played?
1997 JanHow can I make an Alberti style bass line sound better on the organ?
1997 MayWhy 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 MayI 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
1997JunWhat is a “ventil”
1997JunHow to mark the difference between general pistons vs. manual pistons in my music score
1997JunPractice suggestions for Bach’s first Trio Sonata
1997JunWhat is the difference between a rank and a stop?
1997JunWhat is meant by a “pulled cornet”?
1997JunHow can I bring variety to different hymn stanzas without using pistons?
1997 AugCan the two- and three-part inventions of J.S. Bach be used on the organ?
1997 AugIs it ever possible to change the voicings of chords to fit smaller hands?
1997 AugI am curious to know of Brahm’s background with the organ and why he wrote what he did for the organ.
1997 SepHow to move from stanza to stanza in hymn playing
1997 NovSelf-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 NovAfter the June 1997 (issue) . . . I think I will finally remember how to construct a cornet. A couple of questions…
1997 DecGelineau Psalms – recommendations of a book or course of study on how to sing these settings
1998 JanWhat is a wind stabilizer? Why would one be necessary? How does it affect the overall winding of a larger (Fisk) instrument?
1998 FebSuggestions for Toccatas for junior high through high school students
1998 MarE.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 AprHow many beats to allow between stanzas?
1998 JunRecommendations 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 JulThe 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 SepWhat can I do to rid my performances of mistakes?
1998 OctPlease clarify “Soli Deo Gloria” vs “Soli Dei Gloria”
1998 NovHelp me understand the latest thing in synthesizers: the computerized interactive piano-organ
1998 DecRecommend good books on organ history to understand revolutionary phases of organ building and organ music
1999 JanWho is the organist at the Met? Does the Met have a pipe organ? Are there any operas with extended organ solos?
1999 FebWho are celebrities who play the organ
1999 MarHow to approach the ‘tricky’ sections in Bach’s “Aus tiefer Not schre’ ich zu dir” (BWV686)
1999 JuneExplain mixture stops to the young organist
1999 JulyHow to locate “Air” by Giuseppe Tartini
1999 AugRenaissance organs – what stops do 16′, 8′, and 4′ organs contain?
1999 SepList of organ and choral works for composers who have been cataloged: Bach, Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven, etc.
1999 OctIs it correct to change manuals in Bach in the preludes and fugues?
1999 OctDid Bach use reeds in his pleno and should we?
1999 OctWhy do organists play Bach on one loud registration?
1999 DecIs the lack of a 4′ reed stop in the pedal a matter of economics?
2000 JanWhere to locate CD or tape of anthems for the CAGO exam of that year
2000 MarWhat 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 AprWhat Bach masterpiece for the organ would have such an internal climasxthat an organist may stop and not ruin the flow?
2000 MayChoirmaster salaries seem greater than organist/choirmaster – why
2000 JuneIs there a listing of Bach compositions that include BWV numbers and introductory measures
2000 JulyWhen to use connected vs. separated fingering
2000 July Using 1 or 2 manuals with Bach chorales
2000 JulyIf organ doesn’t have a good reed should one skip that repertoire
2000 JulyWhen to couple manuals to pedals
2000 AugDifferences in French and German Ornamentation
2000 AugWhen melody is in the pedal, at what pitch should it be played
2000 AugHow long to wait between stanzas of a hymn
2000 AugHow much organ study to have before taking the AGO Service Playing Exam
2000 SepAre skip registrations good?
2000 OctHow to adapt piano/guitar anthem accompaniments to organ
2000 NovHow to deal with different personalities
2000 DecWhere to find English translations of title of French Noëls
2001 JanDifferent registrations of “Salve Regina” than Widor indicated
2001 FebMeaning of “A Capella” in 15th and 16th centuries
2001 Mar 
2001 AprHow to play notes for keys that don’t exist on keyboard or pedalboard
2001 MayPostludes of Medium Difficulty
2001 JuneLiterature for easy harp/medium organ duos
2001 July Hand placement for pedal cadenza
2001 SepLanglais “Pasticcio”