Easter 2024

30 January 2006
Thiman, Eric (1900-1975) - fan page

Eric Thiman, not will soon host The Eric Thiman Fan Page.

Who is Eric Harding Thiman (TEE-mahn) you ask? Only the greatest overlooked English composer ever. He was Professor of Harmony at the Royal Academy of Music (London) and the Organist and Director of Music at the City Temple (also London) from 1958 to 1975 (maybe?, see the need for more information?).

Some of his neo-Victorian* church music, which I find harmonically inspired and quite convincing, is already going out of print, it seems. I would like to create a fan page to compile a works list and increase general Thiman awareness.

The fan page will have a readable biography, list of anthems and organ pieces with publisher information, a list of resources, and -- hopefully -- a photograph or two (I don't think there is a photo of Thiman on the web at present).

If you would like to contribute in any way please contact me.

Here's a thought, what about a Thiman Wiki?

* Yes, I coined that term in reference to his music, and, yes, my writing is copyrighted (see bottom of this page), so, no, you can't have it. Ha! Wait until I patent peanut-butter & bacon sandwiches, then the world will be mine!

28 January 2006

Archabbey of St. Meinrad, St. Meinrad, Indiana

Chapter House, Archabbey of St. Meinrad, St. Meinrad, Indiana

27 January 2006
worship - organist's role in

organ cross section

Regarding the question "What is demanded of a good organist?" in essence, I believe it comes down to the following four points. He must
  1. play chorales superbly, and consequently have a comprehensive knowledge of thoroughbass;
  2. play a good suitable prelude;
  3. be adept at accompanying a musical work and be able to play in the less commonly used keys;
  4. have knowledge of organ building, and try to maintain his instrument in good condition.

Daniel Gottlob Türk on the Role of the Organist in Worship (1787), trans. Margot Ann Greenlimb Woolard

So, not much has changed. I might update it slightly:

  1. play hymns superbly, and consequently have a comprehensive knowledge of harmony;
    • I love Türk's use of the word "superbly"
    • This includes hymn introductions, which Türk rightly called "preludes." This tradition isn't really separate from good hymn playing any more.
  2. play a good suitable repertoire;
    • Repertoire instead of "prelude." Maybe the phrase "varied repertoire" would be appropriate. Whatever the case, it must be liturgically appropriate and played well.
    • Türk's original writing does address Postludes:
      Perhaps this would be the most opportune time for the organist to demonstrate his proficiency . . . Should he stray to far afield in this, the nuisance he causes as a result will not be of great consequence because the majority of the congregation will no longer hear him.
  3. be adept at accompanying a musical work and be able to play in the less commonly used keys;
    • "less commonly used keys" seems a little dated, but what the heck.
  4. have knowledge of organ building, and try to maintain his instrument in good condition.
    • We just sent a space probe to Pluto; there's no reason we can't do this.


25 January 2006
untied shoes - profitability of

back of a twenty dollar bill (detail)My shoes come untied every so often. Okay, maybe even frequently.

I avoid double knotting my shoes because, as an organist, I always need to be ready to take them off and slip into something a little more, you know, organy.

But truth be told, I more often play in my socks than shoes of any type.

See also: organist - shoe-less (with snare drum!)

Today my shoes untied themselves near the Indiana University Law School. I walked up to a stone wall and as I put my foot up noticed a folded twenty in the shadows.

This finally makes up for the other time I found a twenty dollar bill.

Specific Childhood Memory: I was approximately seven and in a small Cincinnati grocery store (Keller's IGA?). A twenty dollar bill was lying in plain sight. I picked it up. I was excited. Mom, being the upstanding outstanding citizen that she is, took it from me and gave it to the cashier, demanding that its lost status be duly noted. She told me that if no one claimed it, she would ask for it the next time we came in. Incredibly, she forgot to do this. Also, when I brought this up a decade later, she pretended not to remember.

After my recent experience, I can't help but feel like there's some divine presence in the chronic untying my shoes experience. And it's all wrapped up in my vocation, you see (if I weren't an organist . . . if I didn't have to tie my shoe . . . if I wasn't seeking some free legal advice, etc.).

Shoe tying, once an inconvenience, is now a potential money-finding opportunity.

"In God We Trust" indeed.

Tangents (God & shoes): Noah mentioned a hymnic shoe advertisement in his -- tragically -- defunct blog.

I think the world needs more organist blogs, specifically organist blogs with mentions of footwear.

organists - heard, not seen

Organists should be heard and not seen.

Unless conducting from the console.

Then both.

24 January 2006
Buy - Best Worst

In December I called the local Best Buy because I wanted to know if they carried portable Minidisc players. I understand that they're probably especially busy that month, but I thought it was a pretty simple question. Here's a summary of my telephone experience:

Worst BuyI navigate the automated menu and select the option that has me ending up in the audio department. "Good," I thought, "Right where I need to be."

The audio guy sounds confused and puts me on hold. I guess he got one of his colleagues because a different guy answers the phone. He sounds a little confused.

"So, you're calling about portable DVD . . ."

"No," I correct him. "Portable MiniDisc players."

Before I can stop him, he transfers me to the computer department.

I wait on hold for a while until the computer guy says he'll transfer me to the music department. I was skeptical, but as I wait I recall the layout of the store. The blank minidiscs are definitely over in the music section. I figure someone will know what I'm talking about.

The phone call passes the 10 minute mark while I'm on hold.

There's a break in the hold music as the phone starts to ring. I quiver with anticipation . . . for 16 unanswered rings. No one picks up the phone, and the call goes silent (not dead).

I've been on the phone for 13 minutes at this point.

By default, the phone system rerouts me to customer service.

The customer service rep (a different one, again) wants to transfer me to digital imaging. I beg to differ. I try to stress that it's audio related.

"It's a recording device," I explain.

He says he'll transfer me back to audio, but this time, no one answers.

The next thing I know a woman answers the phone from the customer service desk. I'm getting a little flustered, but I still manage to ask my question in the same manner.

"Hi, I am interested in portable Minidisc players. Do you have those?"

"Minidisc players?" she asks.


"No, we do not."

"OK. Thank you.

I called a mainstream electronics store to find out if they had portable minidisc players. Seventeen minutes and 20 seconds later, I am told they do not.

Addendum (25 Jan): IVR Cheat Sheet lists a quick way to talk to a human at Best Buy: "Press 1,1,1,#,# and then wait through the 3 prompts asking for your home telephone number." Next time I'll call the 888 number and use this technique.

15 January 2006
scared - there's no "p" in

beerLast night I lay awake listening to the drunken voices of multiple parties around my apartment. It was nearly 2:00 a.m., but I didn't feel like calling the cops.

"It's the first weekend of the semester," I thought. "Surely these undergraduates are entitled to one evening of noisy fun."

Then one voice rose in prominence above the others. One partygoer had decided to hold a loud phone conversation outside my bedroom window.

I was fed up. I went to the window and slid it open quickly.

"Excuse me," I said.

But before I could finish with, "I'm trying to sleep," the silhouetted male said, "sorry."

"Thanks," I said, trying to sound angry and sleepy all at once (this was not difficult).

It wasn't until after I got back in bed that I understood the ramifications of his phone conversation.

"Dude, I have to p*ss so bad"

and then,

"No, one-handed! One-handed!"

I'm not sure at what stage of the game I confronted this individual. All I can say is thank goodness I didn't have the light on.

12 January 2006
King, Martin Luther, Jr. - favorite hymn of

Thomas A. Dorsey and Mahalia JacksonMany churches will be observing the Feast of Martin Luther King, Jr. this weekend.

Last week, Chicago's Pilgrim Baptist Church was destroyed by fire.

King's favorite hymn was "Precious Lord, Take My Hand" by Thomas A. Dorsey (pictured at piano), once the musician at the church.

Listen to NPR's report: The Music of Pilgrim Baptist Church


hack - water fountain

water fountainEver need a drink of water, but you're in a hurry?

In the spirit of the Water hack, I present to you the Water fountain hack.

  1. Activate water fountain
  2. Allow water to accumulate mouth, but do not swallow.
  3. Walk away from the water fountain. YOU CAN NOW DRINK WATER FROM YOUR MOUTH AT YOUR LEISURE.

As always, please use common sense when employing this hack. Please note that if you have sensitive teeth, you may not want a whole lot of cold water in your mouth for very long. Also, if you ride bulls, the water may not stay in your mouth very long.

Unrelated: "Time waits for no man. Unless that man is Chuck Norris."

10 January 2006
Facebook - fraternity

Tonight, Facebook thought I was logged in from Beta Theta Pi, a fraternity.

This simply is not true. And let me state publicly, for the record, that I hope never to log in to Facebook from any fraternity.

(I was really hoping that Beta Theta Pi was a sorority.)

06 January 2006
hymns - weird words in

They often start with "E," these weird words in hymns do.

For instance, Ebenezer as in "here I raise my Ebenezer" from "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing."

Ebenezer is the name of Samuel's pet rock in 1 Samuel 7:12.

Okay, not really a pet rock, but a rock that he names. How many rocks have biblical names?

Now turn to Hymn 426 in Lutheran Book of Worship. You'll find Ephphatha.

Yeah, I thought it was misspelled when I saw the syllabification: Eph-pha-tha. Crazy. I'm not really sure how to pronounce that, let alone sing it.

But someone who could pronouce it? Jesus.

He sighed and said it to a deaf man in Mark 7:34. It means "be opened."

And so, the great hymns of the faith, old and new, continue to improve our biblical literacy.

Stone Tangents: Ebenezer is not the only memorial pillar of stone in the bible. May I also direct your attention to:

Jacob naming Bethel (Genesis 28:18-19),

Laban naming Jegar-sahadutha and being overruled by Jacob (that rascally stone-namer) who called it Galeed (Genesis 31:47-48)

Joshua plays around with a dozen stones in the fourth chapter of the book bearing his name (Joshua 4). He doesn't name the stones, but they do have meaning. It's interesting that Joshua's stones are set up in the middle of the Jordan "to this day" (v. 9) and were also set up by Joshua in nearby Gilgal (v. 20). Does this make 24 stones? Bad biblical editor! No cookie!

Before he dies an old man, Joshua props up a single meaning-full stone (Joshua 24:26-27), but he doesn't name this one either. Bad Joshua! See me after class.


02 January 2006
Christmas - Happy

Royal TelephoneYes, I am still celebrating Christmas. It's 12 days long, you know.

Expect to see more updates on in Epiphany (January 6 and following).

Incidentally, I've solved the whole Merry Christmas vs. Happy Holidays battle with a little help from Harry Potter.

The answer is simple: Happy Christmas.

See? This British phrase combines our two American phrases.

Happy Holidays + Merry Christmas = Happy Christmas

Unrelated: The hymn "The Royal Telephone by Frederick M. Lehman. (Thanks Chris, and happy birthday!)



©MMXVII a site for fun and prophet

Organ and church music, esoteric liturgics, and a site that changes color with the liturgical year.


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The Eric Harding Thiman Fan Page: The greatest composer you've never even heard of.

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The author of this website is an organist whom the New York Times calls “repeatedly, insisting that he pay for his subscription”. He likes to read parking meters, music, Indianapolis Monthly, and weather forecasts in Celsius, particularly whilst wearing cassock and surplice. He serves lasagna, overhand, as an example to many, and on ecclesiastical juries. He mixes salads, drinks, and metaphors. He takes photos, lots of dinner mints, and a little bit of time to get to know.




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