Organ shoes

Organ shoes

Organ shoes are special shoes worn by organists, designed to facilitate playing of an organ pedalboard and reduce the risk of receiving a marching fracture. Also, since organ shoes are worn only at the organ, the use of special footwear avoids picking up grit or grime that could scar or stain the pedals.

Description

Organ shoes are typically as small as possible, so as to prevent accidental hitting of more than one pedal at a time. They usually have a flexible, lightweight leather upper held snugly to the foot. The material should allow the organist’s feet to glide against each other without sticking together or making noise. They are often made from a soft, flexible leather sole (suede preferably) which allows the organist to slide his/her feet easily both along and across the pedals. The sole should be thin enough to feel the pedals easily. Organ shoes always have a slight heel, of about an inch and a quarter in height (for comfort of the leg and playing double notes) and wide enough that it cannot become wedged between two pedals, covered with a soft material such as suede leather to dampen noise. In general, rubber-covered heels are not suitable because they cannot slide easily between pedals (e.g., for chromatic glissandos).

While specialized organ shoes are not widely available, many types of footwear have characteristics that make them suitable for use as organ shoes, depending on the needs and preferences of the individual organist. A lace-up ballet slipper, or capezio shoe can also double for an organ shoe for those organists who are on a budget. Like that of an organ shoe, the ballet slipper, or capezio shoe also allows the organist to "feel" the pedals, and play them without hitches because they are generally have the same characteristics of a specialized organ shoe: a leather upper and sole for flexibility.

Wearing appropriate footwear can protect organists from getting a "marching fracture", which is a type of incomplete fracture in bones. It is caused by "unusual or repeated stress" from some type of physical activity. This is in contrast to other types of fractures, which are usually characterized by a solitary, severe impact. Organists often keep their organ shoes in a box in a separate place from their everyday shoes, so that they will not get dirty. This reduces the risk of picking up grit or grime which could marr the pedals. Organ shoes for men and women are available from specialty stores such as www.organmastershoes.com and www.tictactoes.com.

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