I've been playing piano/keyboard for many years and have some classical training but I've recently started playing with two keyboards placed on top of each other. Specifically a Korg SV1 (73 key) and a Moog Sub 37 (37 key).

What are some ways classically trained organists practice scales, arpeggios, etc. hands on different manuals to increase that mastery? I can definitely play a lot with one hand on each keyboard but I can also tell there is slightly less comfort like that. Also, is anything equivalent to a Czerny book for organ?

2 Answers 2


Why settle for Czerny pablum when there's so much good music to play? That's much more rewarding, and even simple good organ music gets you used to how, in pieces that you'd like to play for others or even just for yourself, the sound and touch and patterns differ from a piano.

In particular, arpeggios and broken chords are common in piano from Bach's sons to Liszt, because the piano has a damper pedal and doesn't have an infinitely long sustain. But an Alberti bass on the organ sounds ridiculous. (Vierne's occasional noodly textures aren't so much broken chords as tremolo or timbre. Because reverb.)

Another trick, because there's no decay, is squirming your way up and down. You can (slowly) play a legato C major scale with just the outermost inch of your thumb. This kind of stuff appears in polyphonic "choral" writing... which is common because rapidly changing between 3 notes sounding at once to full chords in both hands, as in Beethoven's piano sonatas, on the organ means a drastic change of loudness, whether you want it or not.

To train your ear that, unlike a piano, a high pitch might be quite far to the left, choose (say) a 2' solo stop for left hand melody, and quieter 8' and 4' stops for right hand accompaniment.

If your piano training included the Goldberg Variations, try them "with one or two claviers" as marked for each variation. The hands cross each other, but on two manuals they don't get tied into knots, BUT the lack of knotting can melt your brain. But3 in the meantime you get to master great literature.

When you get a pedalboard, your biggest hurdle will be independence of feet and left hand. It's an immense relearning to discover that your left pinky can have nothing to do with the lowest note.


Organ manuals of one instrument typically have the same number of keys (so the similarity of your separate different keyboards with an organ is mostly optical).

Even this "mechanical compatibility" is according to my observation not used for cross-manual spanning action by the same hand. One would simply registrate accordingly or use octave coupling and similar provisions by the instrument.

  • I think I just clarified the question better. I don't mean one hand on two manuals. I mean just playing things with one hand on each manual. I've started doing things like scales with a hand on each but I was wondering if there were more specific exercises that are done to increase mastery of that.
    – Rozgonyi
    Sep 10, 2019 at 19:08

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