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#1735157 - 08/17/11 02:58 PM Pedalling
wayne33yrs Offline
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Registered: 03/31/11
Posts: 1865
Loc: Sheffield UK
As a result of the ABF recital #23 I've been advised (and I want to) to learn more about pedalling.

I don't actually know what I'm doing with the pedal ha ha, all I know is that the right pedal creates like an echo/loudness. I use it most the way through songs, and release it only really when I hear it's too much. I've never used the other one lol.

Cebukid, advised starting some classical stuff. I have started a few classical pieces already, but use the pedal in the same way as with the other stuff I play. Any tips/advice here would be great! smile

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#1735164 - 08/17/11 03:05 PM Re: Pedalling [Re: wayne33yrs]
Rostosky Offline
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Loc: Lost in cyberspace.in the UK.
Wayne, Your right Pedal is not "echo/loudness" but is "sustain" it will let the strings ring untill you take your foot off it.. Normally, when you are not using it, as soon as you take your finger off a key the damper for that note will damp the string stopping it ringing out further.

your left pedal is the soft pedal, and without looking in your particular piano may work in a number of ways,, It may move the hammers closer to the strings so they dont hit as hard and therefore causes a quieter strike, OR your left pedal may operate a felt bar that goes between the hammers and the strings, again causing a quieter strike, you will need to open your pianos lid to see what is happening when you use the left pedal , and then it will be clear.
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#1735167 - 08/17/11 03:14 PM Re: Pedalling [Re: wayne33yrs]
Inky Offline
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Registered: 08/17/11
Posts: 25
Loc: England
My personal opinion is that unless indicated on the music you should stay away from the pedal, especially if you haven't learnt much about it yet - I think it's easier to learn smooth fingering this way as with the pedal it's harder to tell whether or not you are doing this well.
Apart from when it's marked on the music, another situation when you might want to use it is when you can't reach a note without having to lift off from the previous note. On the first note, press it down, then as soon as you've touched the next note, lift it so that the first note doesn't sound longer than it should.
I hope that this helps! Sorry if I haven't explained very clearly, just ask if you want me to clear something up

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#1735172 - 08/17/11 03:22 PM Re: Pedalling [Re: wayne33yrs]
wayne33yrs Offline
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Registered: 03/31/11
Posts: 1865
Loc: Sheffield UK
Inky, I'm self taught and don't read sheet music that much, I play mostly by ear, or using sheet music as a guide to playing songs in my own way. Maybe you would get a clearer picture of where I'm going wrong, if you wouldn't mind watching the video I submitted to the ABF recital. Thanx


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#1735174 - 08/17/11 03:23 PM Re: Pedalling [Re: Rostosky]
wayne33yrs Offline
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Loc: Sheffield UK
Originally Posted By: Rostosky
Wayne, Your right Pedal is not "echo/loudness" but is "sustain" it will let the strings ring untill you take your foot off it.. Normally, when you are not using it, as soon as you take your finger off a key the damper for that note will damp the string stopping it ringing out further.

your left pedal is the soft pedal, and without looking in your particular piano may work in a number of ways,, It may move the hammers closer to the strings so they dont hit as hard and therefore causes a quieter strike, OR your left pedal may operate a felt bar that goes between the hammers and the strings, again causing a quieter strike, you will need to open your pianos lid to see what is happening when you use the left pedal , and then it will be clear.


missed your post rossy, 2 ticks

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#1735181 - 08/17/11 03:33 PM Re: Pedalling [Re: wayne33yrs]
BenPiano Offline
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#1735183 - 08/17/11 03:34 PM Re: Pedalling [Re: wayne33yrs]
Monica K. Online   blank

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Wayne, I'm probably not the best person to give pedaling advice, as I over-pedal tremendously. But here's my general strategy:

1.) Pedal with chord changes.
2.) I usually try to pedal right after hitting the keys, rather than simultaneously.
3.) If playing a trill or quickly alternating keys that are right next to each other, I usually try to hold off on the pedal, so the articulation is clear and it doesn't create dissonance.

I think Inky is right when it comes to much classical music (hi, Inky! welcome to the forum smile ), but for modern/new age stuff, pedalling is rarely indicated in the sheet music but is *definitely* needed.
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#1735185 - 08/17/11 03:36 PM Re: Pedalling [Re: wayne33yrs]
wayne33yrs Offline
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Registered: 03/31/11
Posts: 1865
Loc: Sheffield UK
Rossy


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#1735191 - 08/17/11 03:43 PM Re: Pedalling [Re: wayne33yrs]
jazzwee Offline
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Wayne, one of the most difficult things to do on the piano (and I still work on to this day), is trying to accomplish the same effect as the pedal by doing finger legato.

The problem with the pedal is that it's indiscriminate, like a weapon of mass destruction. Pedal works only when all the notes being held down belong to the same harmony (or same chord -- to be just a little simplistic).

The skill to develop is to hold on to the notes longer with your fingers. Develop the skill to create intentional overlaps between notes so there's no moment that there's nothing playing (unless you intend it). It changes the way you move your fingers and hands, like a laziness to the movement.

This is the better answer than to overuse the damper/sustain pedal. You will notice too that professionals sound different and the sound cannot be explained with pedal. The reason is that they know to use less of it.

I use very little pedal myself BTW.
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#1735199 - 08/17/11 03:51 PM Re: Pedalling [Re: wayne33yrs]
wayne33yrs Offline
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Registered: 03/31/11
Posts: 1865
Loc: Sheffield UK
Thnx for the vid BenPiano, and thnx guys for the advice, I'm gonna carry on looking into this!

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#1735207 - 08/17/11 04:00 PM Re: Pedalling [Re: wayne33yrs]
Inky Offline
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Registered: 08/17/11
Posts: 25
Loc: England
Originally Posted By: wayne32yrs
Inky, I'm self taught and don't read sheet music that much, I play mostly by ear, or using sheet music as a guide to playing songs in my own way. Maybe you would get a clearer picture of where I'm going wrong, if you wouldn't mind watching the video I submitted to the ABF recital. Thanx



Ooh, I see. I mostly played classical stuff from sheet music, so in that case someone else is probably more apt to help you, but I'll try my best to try and give a little advice.

~ To get a good pedalling technique, try slow practise switching between two chords.
Play the first chord, put the pedal down, and keep it there. Move your fingers to the next chord position and then press the keys and lift the pedal simultaneously. You can then put the pedal down again ready to change to the next chord. Ideally the sound shouldn't be echoey or louder as you hear at the moment, but at the same time you shouldn't hear a break between the chords.
However, I believe it is generally fine to keep the pedal down when playing the same chord repeatedly but this depends on the sound you want to make... it's only a small difference (on my piano at least, maybe there isn't usually any difference to be heard?) but is something to take into consideration when learning the song and deciding what would be more appropriate for that piece

~ What you want to avoid is the "muddy" sound that comes from over pedalling, which can make the melody get drowned or lost in the sound of previous notes. For now I'd advise trying to change at least every time the chord changes. It'll be a matter of personal preference of how often and where you change, but some changes will be a lot more beneficial to the clarity of the piece. You could try taking a small section of the song and pedalling in different places, whilst recording it, so that you can decide which is your favourite sound.

((edit: Thanks Monica smile ))


Edited by Inky (08/17/11 04:01 PM)

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#1735210 - 08/17/11 04:05 PM Re: Pedalling [Re: wayne33yrs]
Rostosky Offline
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Ah Wayne, your "soft" pedal is moving the hammers closer to the strings, so making their travel shorter, in essence, this means even if you hit the keys with the same amount of force because the hammers "throw" is shortened , the momentum is restricted, making a quieter hit.

Some old straight strung uprights slide a piece of felt attatched to a bar inbetween the strings and hammers, so essentially, the hammer is still traveliing the same distance and with as much force but the felt "mutes" the sound, if you are ever in a position to compare just these two different systems side by side, it's worth doing for interest value..

You raise an interesting question though Wayne, because if you are not going strictly off sheet music as to when to pedal, then you will be peddeling by "ear" and feel of the music (right pedal)

And by "Feel" (left or soft pedal) and by feel I mean feeling inside you, as well as feel of the keys.

Mrs R says: she noticed my feet one day and just watched them when I was playing a piece I had composed, she said afterwards, how do you know when to do that?

I honestly could not answer, and that didnt make her happy, because she is a very practical person, and likes to know direct and correct answers to questions. I thought and thought and thought, and then tried to analyise the situation, by playing peddeling and thinking about why I was peddeling and when...
I couldn't, it would appear in my case it is done on feel for what is happening at the timewithin the context of the played music....

Experiment Wayne, listen to the piano as you do so, feel the piano as you do so.
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#1735214 - 08/17/11 04:09 PM Re: Pedalling [Re: Rostosky]
jazzwee Offline
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Registered: 04/25/07
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Originally Posted By: Rostosky
Ah Wayne, your "soft" pedal is moving the hammers closer to the strings, so making their travel shorter, in essence, this means even if you hit the keys with the same amount of force because the hammers "throw" is shortened , the momentum is restricted, making a quieter hit.



Yes - this is the behavior on uprights. But Grand pianos operate completely differently. On a grand, the soft pedal moves the hammers sideways and may hit less strings (instead of 3). This changes the tone of the piano, but not necessarily volume.

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#1735220 - 08/17/11 04:15 PM Re: Pedalling [Re: wayne33yrs]
findingnemo2010 Offline
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Registered: 12/17/09
Posts: 1491
im tryna learn more myself cause im actually getting a digital piano with pedals finally getting rid of this crappy usb midi controller. but yea its a beautiful thing. at my lessons i found it hard for me to coordinate it since i am not used to it


Edited by joeb84 (08/17/11 04:16 PM)
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#1735229 - 08/17/11 04:31 PM Re: Pedalling [Re: wayne33yrs]
wayne33yrs Offline
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Registered: 03/31/11
Posts: 1865
Loc: Sheffield UK
cheers guy's I got enough to think about and try for now, thnx to everyone.

Oh yeah, welcome to ABF Inky smile

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#1735240 - 08/17/11 04:44 PM Re: Pedalling [Re: wayne33yrs]
packa Offline
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Registered: 02/05/05
Posts: 1397
Loc: Dallas, TX
Just a point about "classical music" and pedaling. Many composers do not explicitly indicate pedaling in their music. Editions that are prepared for student use often have editorial suggestions added, but many good performance editions have no pedal indications at all. This does not mean to skip pedaling. Rather, it means that pedaling is so individualized that most performers need to work it out for themselves. Even when pedaling is indicated in a score, you often need to develop your own approach depending on the musical style of the piece, the sound you want and, often, the room you're playing in plus the nature of the instrument you're playing on.

Bottom line, pedaling is important in most music, particularly since the Baroque era, but it's often not marked or consists only of editorial suggestions. Learning when and how to pedal is just part of the training.
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#1735454 - 08/17/11 10:02 PM Re: Pedalling [Re: wayne33yrs]
Chris G Offline
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Registered: 01/15/09
Posts: 737
Loc: Portland, Oregon
Hi Wayne,

This has come up on some other threads before and there was a reference to a free online book

A Pedal Method for the Piano, by Albert F. Venino which I found useful.

The pedal is one of the few ways a pianist can change the sound of a note so I don't think that you want to give up on it, just learn to use it better. Overuse of the pedal is bad because the notes get smeared but when used tastefully it can add a lot, especially on slower pieces. I know that I overuse the pedal myself but I couldn't imagine not using it at all, when I started to use the pedal more in my playing I found that I got compliments about how much I had improved. My philosophy ( which I am sure does not represent the opinion of most piano teachers ) is to use as much pedal as much as I can before it starts to sound like there is too much pedal. Lifting your foot off the pedal at the right time is the hardest part of pedaling but is I think the key to tasteful pedaling.

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#1735489 - 08/17/11 11:28 PM Re: Pedalling [Re: wayne33yrs]
CebuKid Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/08/09
Posts: 1176
Originally Posted By: wayne32yrs
As a result of the ABF recital #23 I've been advised (and I want to) to learn more about pedalling.

I don't actually know what I'm doing with the pedal ha ha, all I know is that the right pedal creates like an echo/loudness. I use it most the way through songs, and release it only really when I hear it's too much. I've never used the other one lol.

Cebukid, advised starting some classical stuff. I have started a few classical pieces already, but use the pedal in the same way as with the other stuff I play. Any tips/advice here would be great! smile


Wayne, pedaling was a big problem for me too, and sometimes we get the impression that the sustain pedal makes a piece sound "elegant and majestic."

My "Entertainer" version that I posted here over a year ago was over-pedaled, but at the time, it sounded "right" to me. Several people both here and YouTube pointed out to me that it was muddy, and then it kind of "clicked" after that. Now I can't stand that version....lol.

As i've matured, my ear now knows when to pedal and when not to. My ragtime pedaling is much better than before (classical and romantic is a different story)...

Here's a piece (from last year's recital) that I pedaled generously, but gracefully....it's hard to explain, but I pedaled this on the "OOM" part and let go of the sustain on the "PAH" part (of the OOM-PAH bass cleff notes)...that's as technical as I can get here..lol.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w6nbEnP194E&feature=channel_video_title

Für Elise is highly recommended to practice pedaling technique because it does give pedaling notes on the score. The pedal here will blend the appreggios nicely. smile It's not that hard either (roughly a grade 4 piece), and I know you can technically hand this. I'd love to hear you play this!

PS-I'm starting my foray into the Bach inventions.... are you supposed to pedal the inventions!!?? crazy
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#1735694 - 08/18/11 09:07 AM Re: Pedalling [Re: jazzwee]
Rostosky Offline
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Registered: 04/30/11
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Loc: Lost in cyberspace.in the UK.
Originally Posted By: jazzwee


Yes - this is the behavior on uprights. But Grand pianos operate completely differently. On a grand, the soft pedal moves the hammers sideways and may hit less strings (instead of 3). This changes the tone of the piano, but not necessarily volume.



Jazzwee, not entirely correct, this is the operation on SOMEgrands. Others work differently, some move all the keys on the keybed to one side, Steinway employ this modus operandi, and I find it hideously disconcerting.

BUt not all grands do that, I played on a stunning collard and collard grand from the 1900's in a local museum, and what that did was to lower all the keys in the keybed, so they couldnt be depressed as far, thus limiting their travel....

Unfortunately, as the piano was in a museum, and the Lid was shut, I could not ascertain how this was affected..in terms of mechanical connection to the pedal.

What I can say, was it felt much more natural than having keys shift sideways, which is like moving the goalposts to me!

However, I accept that this is not true una corda, but saying that, I would bet money that the majority of folks cannot tell the diference aurally between true una corda as per hammers hitting one (or two) strings instead of two and three,
And hammers hitting strings very gently.
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#1735719 - 08/18/11 10:03 AM Re: Pedalling [Re: wayne33yrs]
Hrochan Offline
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Registered: 08/14/10
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From my experience, no matter if the pedal should be used in the specific piece, you should always be able to play it without a pedal. Of course, it won't sound as good, but using the pedal from the very beginning of the learning process can be bad for your technique. At least it's bad for mine - I have a habit of just using pedal instead of sticking to the right note lengths etc. - in a pedal-using piece it sounds the same, but it's quite hard for me to play a piece where the pedal shouldn't be used.
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#1735872 - 08/18/11 01:43 PM Re: Pedalling [Re: Hrochan]
Andy Platt Offline
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Registered: 04/28/10
Posts: 2397
Loc: Virginia, USA
Originally Posted By: Hrochan
From my experience, no matter if the pedal should be used in the specific piece, you should always be able to play it without a pedal. Of course, it won't sound as good, but using the pedal from the very beginning of the learning process can be bad for your technique.


Hmm, that would depend on the piece. I'm learning Debussey's arabesque #1 and, like a lot of Debussey, the pedal is absolutely key to getting the right sound and direction of the piece. Without working out early where the pedal points should be, it's difficult to make progress.

Having said that, I wouldn't try tackling this piece unless you are already pretty good with pedalling. It's hard enough as it is!!
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#1735876 - 08/18/11 01:45 PM Re: Pedalling [Re: Rostosky]
packa Offline
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Registered: 02/05/05
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Loc: Dallas, TX
Originally Posted By: Rostosky
Originally Posted By: jazzwee


Yes - this is the behavior on uprights. But Grand pianos operate completely differently. On a grand, the soft pedal moves the hammers sideways and may hit less strings (instead of 3). This changes the tone of the piano, but not necessarily volume.


Jazzwee, not entirely correct, this is the operation on SOMEgrands. Others work differently, some move all the keys on the keybed to one side, Steinway employ this modus operandi, and I find it hideously disconcerting.

This may be what jazzwee really meant anyway. As far as I have experienced, all grands move the whole key frame (and thus the position of the keys under your fingers) in order to position the hammers to strike fewer strings. I've never seen a mechanism that somehow moves the hammers laterally without moving the whole key frame assembly (although I guess anything is possible).

On uprights the left pedal simply moves the hammers closer to the strings but without moving the keyboard itself. This is usually called a soft pedal, but on a grand the left pedal is more properly called a una corda pedal to indicate that it is striking fewer unison strings. Although this does have a softening effect on volume, the una corda pedal is also frequently used to alter the color of the note rather than simply the volume (since you can still play softly without that pedal if that's all you want to do).
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#1735884 - 08/18/11 01:59 PM Re: Pedalling [Re: wayne33yrs]
jazzwee Offline
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Yes, R. you are correct, the keybed moves (I have a Steinway). And it's the same with all Grands I've seen. But I just simplified the explanation smile The effect is the position of the hammer over the strings.

It's so disconcerting to see the keybed move for someone not undertanding what's happening so I thought to not bring it up...I had that reaction when I saw it happen for the first time.
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#1735894 - 08/18/11 02:12 PM Re: Pedalling [Re: wayne33yrs]
Rostosky Offline
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Packa, On other grands than you have seen, vis a vis the collar and collard (formally Clementi) The soft pedal, did not move anything laterally at all, It depressed all of the keys DOWN about half way. This obviously means that if you use the same force, you get a quieter result as the keys leverage is reduced by at least half.

It was a vey pleasent action indeed, and If i was a millionaire I would buy the collard over a sideways shift steinway any day.

Also, not all uprights soft pedels move the hammers closer, some put a sheet of felt inbetween the hammers and the strings as I have allready mentioned.

Just as one example: a straight strung Elmore uses this method.

As Wayne is not talking about strict score pedeling, but has allready stated playing by ear with reference to a score or sheet, the important thing is for him to understand what the pedels do, not primarily mechanically, but Aurally. The pedels are tools to the Piano in much the same way as a tremelo arm on a guitar is a tool to the guitar,
If he is going to be playing by ear and self taught, then he should explore the "toolbox": experimentation and carefull listening should help guide him.

After all, in the early days Pianos did not have pedels, as they were invented, the composers and pianists of the day would have had to experiment to find uses for them, and there have been some strange pedels indeed, obviously the least popular discontinued.
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#1735900 - 08/18/11 02:24 PM Re: Pedalling [Re: wayne33yrs]
jazzwee Offline
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R., I don't know all the upright variations but on my prior Yamaha U3, it had 3 pedals. The Left pedal was the Soft Pedal, the Middle Pedal was lockable via a notch and that was the "Felt" moving in the middle, and the Right Pedal is of course sustain.

My particular Hamburg Steinway has only two pedals but the function of the middle pedal seems pretty variable, though it is the Sostenuto on a Grand. Apparently some uprights have Sostenuto too.

That's interesting with your Grand Una Corda variation. I've never seen that.
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#1735907 - 08/18/11 02:37 PM Re: Pedalling [Re: wayne33yrs]
packa Offline
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Loc: Dallas, TX
There are historical pianos with all sorts of strange and wonderful pedal arrangements. But I wonder if there are any modern grands that don't use the "Steinway style" una corda. My Estonia certainly does, as did Mason & Hamlin, Walter, Yamaha, Kawai, Baldwin, Pramberger, and Knabe (just to name some of the brands I looked at when I was last shopping a few years ago)? I'm really curious now whether any grand built today still uses the "half-depressed" mechanism you describe?

When one sees an explicit indication of the soft pedal in a printed score, the standard notation is "una corda" and then "tre corda" to lift the pedal. I wonder if any composer would use those markings if they didn't also have in mind the change of tonal color initiated by moving the hammers to strike fewer of the unison strings.
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#1736069 - 08/18/11 06:44 PM Re: Pedalling [Re: wayne33yrs]
Rostosky Offline
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Here is another point to be considered: The definition of "una corda" is of course one string being struck.
The majority of Modern grand Pianos have their strings spaced much to close for this to happen, if the hammer was moved over to hit one string, it would also hit the next note allong!

So, go on have a look in yours, when you press the alleged "una corda" pedel are you seeing your hammers just hitting one string only?

Unless you have an older grand, probably not, so therefore, "Una corda" has become a euphenism for "quieter"

But, Suppose you do have an older grand that can do true "una corda"
Then what have you got? you have a Piano playing all its notes on one string, a very thin sound and a quieter sound by a third in some notes and a half in others ( 3 strings to one and two strings to one)

But with the collard Grands system that I came across, you have the soft pedal allowing all the strings to be struck, the result is quiet , but also richer than the steinway system, as all strings , harmonics, resonances are still in play.

If Una corda is not true una corda, it's just a fancy name for quieter. And if being technical, Duller as well, because a part of the hammer that has not hardened will be brought into play, in a lot of cases.

But, then over time of course that part of the hammer will work harden the felt...






Edited by Rostosky (08/18/11 06:48 PM)
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#1736208 - 08/18/11 10:50 PM Re: Pedalling [Re: wayne33yrs]
packa Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/05/05
Posts: 1397
Loc: Dallas, TX
Originally Posted By: Rostosky
Here is another point to be considered: The definition of "una corda" is of course one string being struck. The majority of Modern grand Pianos have their strings spaced much to close for this to happen, if the hammer was moved over to hit one string, it would also hit the next note allong!

And it gets more complicated. On my Estonia 168, the lowest 10 notes only have a single wound string, so the una corda pedal makes no difference at all for them. The next 19 notes do have two strings, and the una corda pedal does exactly what it's name implies (strikes one of the two). It's only from D3 (the D below middle C) that I finally get three strings and the una corda pedal still catches two of the three.

The important point to me is that the una corda pedal, whether by earliest design or by subsequent evolution, is more than just a soft pedal even if the term una corda is often not literally correct. As Jeremy Montagu notes in his article on the piano in the latest edition of the Oxford Companion to Music, "[t]he una corda has remained a vital device, now operated by a left-foot pedal, not only reducing volume but producing a perceptibly different tone quality."

Montagu also notes that some pianos have both a una corda and a due corda pedal in order to provide even more variety (I've never seen one of these). He also points out that the lateral shifting of the keyboard to engage fewer strings dates to some of Cristofori's instruments, which predates Steinway and other modern pianos by a few hundred years (of course in Cristofori's day, it literally was una corda).

I don't often need a pedal to reduce volume while maintaining all the tonal qualities of the multiple strings. The modern grand action is very sensitive, and it is usually possible to play as softly as I need without much assistance from a pedal. I believe that modern composers and performers usually employ the una corda pedal with its tone in mind as much as its volume, and all of my teachers have emphasized this point to me.

Sorry. I seem to have drifted pretty far from the original post in this thread. But it's an interesting discussion.
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#1736258 - 08/19/11 12:46 AM Re: Pedalling [Re: wayne33yrs]
jazzwee Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/25/07
Posts: 7096
Loc: So. California
My teacher rides the soft pedal when he plays, particularly in a performance. So he has to constantly get the hammers redone by techs because the hammers are essentially hardened in all the spots. Thus overuse actually makes the una corda mostly useless.

Sometimes the fun is the trial and error of finding that spot in the hammer which gives just the right tonal change and often it's just a shade away from the original position. Typically it's the maximum pedal position that has the hardened felt.

Yeah I guess we've gone OT, but the Una Corda is such a mysterious feature of the piano.
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#1736433 - 08/19/11 09:59 AM Re: Pedalling [Re: wayne33yrs]
Rostosky Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/30/11
Posts: 3339
Loc: Lost in cyberspace.in the UK.
It is indeed very interesting and a good discussion, I am glad I did not bring the "Celeste" pedal into play!!

poor Wayne! Wayne, as you are playing mostly by Ear, with reference to score to guide you when needed, I genuinely believe that you can also learn to pedal by ear/feel.

Dont be frightened of experimenting,to find what suits you and the sound you create the best.
_________________________


Rise like lions after slumber,in unvanquishable number. Shake your chains to earth like dew
which in sleep has fallen on you. Ye are many,they are few. Shelley

Founder and creator ofRostoskys 13th crystal skull project

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