Jun. 2, 2016

Shoes, Part IV

(con't from Part III)
Dancer's shoes are very similar to organ shoes, and since there are more dancers than organists in the world these may be easier to find, but not every dancer's shoes are a good fit for the organ.
The Capezio SD103 men's social dance shoe for ballroom or character use (photo) is an example of a men's dress shoe that would make an acceptable organ shoe.
This is a lightweight shoe with a 1-inch standard heel that's available in both wide and medium sizes; these might also be worn into and out of the building without wearing out the soles.
The soles of these shoes would need to be kept perfectly clean however, so that dirt and grime are never transferred to the pedal keys.
This is the type of shoe preferred by this author.
We need to be able to "feel" the pedals under our feet, which means the shoe needs to have supple (not too thick or sturdy) leather tops with thin leather soles almost like moccasins; these soles need to be "slippery" without patterns or anything like that, and not too tight by any means.
If the shoes are older and have been used a lot, they're usually flexible and sensitive for that reason, because their age adds to this quality of being flexible; when we wear some kind of shoes for many years like this we often get to where we don't feel them any more and almost get the feeling that we're playing barefoot.
Barefoot playing, without shoes, should be avoided at all costs; the pedalboard at a church may be messy and dusty for one thing, and you may have to vary your playing socks; this type of abuse can actually damage your socks pretty easily, not to mention stretching the Achilles tendons and risking injury; you also still need the heel for accuracy and technique.
Organ shoes should be round and a bit narrow where the toes are and have a round, elevated heel; a shoe like this enables us to glide over the pedals.
The narrow rounded toe enables us to easily move from one black key to the next and lessens the difficulty in positioning the feet next to each other on adjacent pedals.
In this type of shoe the new organist's feet will get to know the "topography" of the pedalboard "by feel" so that it will not be as necessary to look down to find the right pedal.
(con't in Part V)