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#2043913 - 03/06/13 12:18 PM Action of Damper Pedal
pianokeys135 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/12/08
Posts: 184
Loc: Greater NYC Area
Hey everyone -

I have some questions about how the damper pedal is supposed to work. I also posted in the technicians forum, but I would appreciate some input from piano players on this as well. Here is the other post (I hope this link works).

Pedal Posting

Here are some of my questions:

1) How high off of the ground is a pedal supposed to be when it is not depressed? What about when it is fully depressed? Do people prefer different pedal heights or often encounter different pedal heights?

2) How far should a pedal go down from its starting point before it stops and is completely depressed? My pedal has a range of motion of about two inches. I would think that it is difficult to pedal quickly when you have to move your foot up and down 2 full inches each time - I would think that less of a range would allow for quicker pedal changes.

3) I'm having trouble with my damper pedal because when I rest my foot on it, it depresses, so I have to hold my foot up with my leg and back muscles. I'm wondering if this is normal or if the tension on my pedal needs to be increased, or the pedal mechanism otherwise adjusted somehow.

Thanks!
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pianokeys135
amateur piano player

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#2044001 - 03/06/13 03:27 PM Re: Action of Damper Pedal [Re: pianokeys135]
Polyphonist Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/03/13
Posts: 7605
Loc: New York City
I'm not sure, but it seems like two inches is a huge range of motion for a pedal, and will be detrimental to good pedaling, as you suspect.

The fact that your pedal depresses when you rest your foot on it is a very bad sign. The pedal should require a substantial amount of pressure before depressing even a little. If you have to hold your foot up that way whenever you play/practice, you are likely to develop muscle cramps and other problems. I would see a qualified technician about it as soon as possible. I'm not one, so I couldn't tell you anything more specific even if I could see the piano in person. Insufficient tension in the mechanism that operates the pedal is likely the cause of the problem.
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Polyphonist

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#2044004 - 03/06/13 03:32 PM Re: Action of Damper Pedal [Re: pianokeys135]
BruceD Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 18030
Loc: Victoria, BC
What is the brand of the piano, what is its age, and what is its maintenance history?

Regards,
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Estonia 190

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#2044027 - 03/06/13 04:41 PM Re: Action of Damper Pedal [Re: pianokeys135]
pianokeys135 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/12/08
Posts: 184
Loc: Greater NYC Area
Thanks for the comments Polyphonist. I've stuck a piece of felt above the pedal, which has cut down the 2" range to about 1.5 inches. It still seems like too much distance to me, though, although I can rest my foot on it more easily now. I'm thinking of sticking something underneath it too. The first inch of the downward motion doesn't actually do much anyway. I'm trying to get someone in to look at it, but it usually takes some time to schedule an appt. with the person I use.

Quote:
What is the brand of the piano, what is its age, and what is its maintenance history?


It's an upright W. Hoffmann - 50" tall. It's a few years old. As far as maintenance, I've had it tuned regularly (at least every 6 months or so) and had few minor mechanical and voicing adjustments done - Nothing too major yet. I also had a Dampp Chaser system installed.
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pianokeys135
amateur piano player

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#2044065 - 03/06/13 06:24 PM Re: Action of Damper Pedal [Re: pianokeys135]
BruceD Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 18030
Loc: Victoria, BC
Originally Posted By: pianokeys135
[...]
Quote:
What is the brand of the piano, what is its age, and what is its maintenance history?


It's an upright W. Hoffmann - 50" tall. It's a few years old. As far as maintenance, I've had it tuned regularly (at least every 6 months or so) and had few minor mechanical and voicing adjustments done - Nothing too major yet. I also had a Dampp Chaser system installed.


Frequently on many uprights - and I can't speak for the W. Hoffman - the adjustment of effect of the travel distance of the damper pedal is as simple as turning the rod that connects the damper pedal arm to the damper bar.[1] The top of the rod has a screw thread and turning the rod one way or the other adjusts the travel of the dampers.

[1] Taking the bottom front cover off the upright, you should see that the damper pedal has a long (usually wooden) arm that extends to the right from the damper pedal to the right side of the inside frame of the piano. At the end of that arm is a (brass?) rod that runs up to the bar that controls the dampers.

Regards,
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Estonia 190

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#2044120 - 03/06/13 08:09 PM Re: Action of Damper Pedal [Re: pianokeys135]
pianokeys135 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/12/08
Posts: 184
Loc: Greater NYC Area
Thanks Bruce. The inside of my piano is similar to what you describe.


The long wooden bar runs to the left on my piano (Doesn't seem to matter which way it goes though). I was curious about tightening the nut on top of the wooden bar, but there is a nut on the bottom that's really hard to get to. Unfortunately, I don't have a ratchet that will work on it. I would just need to hold the bottom nut in place, and then I could tighten the top nut by hand. (I tried turning the top nut, but the bottom nut is just spinning around so nothing is accomplished.) I thought of going to pick up a ratchet. I'm not sure what the size of the nut on the bottom is. My guess is that it would be metric. I'm hoping my technician will call me tomorrow - Maybe he will be able to give me some guidance.
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amateur piano player

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#2044145 - 03/06/13 08:45 PM Re: Action of Damper Pedal [Re: pianokeys135]
pianokeys135 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/12/08
Posts: 184
Loc: Greater NYC Area
I posted some pictures in the thread in the technicians forum (link in original post).
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pianokeys135
amateur piano player

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#2044154 - 03/06/13 08:57 PM Re: Action of Damper Pedal [Re: pianokeys135]
Peter K. Mose Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/06/12
Posts: 1351
Loc: Toronto, Ontario
I own a smaller Hoffman upright from the 1980s, and indeed the pedals are very high off the floor. About 3.5 inches, and the damper pedal travels about 2 inches. It's not my principal instrument, so this doesn't matter to me, but when I was using it regularly I put a small block of wood under my right foot, to raise my heel about an inch. That worked.

I love German pianos, but sometimes one still encounters bad design. My music rack is also poorly conceived: it's fine for a volume of Beethoven sonatas, but won't hold a piece of sheet music. Hmm.


Edited by Peter K. Mose (03/06/13 09:04 PM)

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#2044223 - 03/06/13 11:06 PM Re: Action of Damper Pedal [Re: pianokeys135]
pianokeys135 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/12/08
Posts: 184
Loc: Greater NYC Area
That's funny. I have the hardest time with single pages. They are always falling when I'm in the middle of something. I'm planning at some point to buy or make an L-shaped music holder to put on top of the music stand so that it will hold single pages. Usually I just put a bound volume behind them to hold them in place.

I think I'll have to figure out a way to alter how the pedals work, or else have a technician do a little customizing work. I've made some progress so far, but it's not perfect yet smile
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pianokeys135
amateur piano player

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#2044226 - 03/06/13 11:09 PM Re: Action of Damper Pedal [Re: pianokeys135]
Polyphonist Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/03/13
Posts: 7605
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: pianokeys135
That's funny. I have the hardest time with single pages. They are always falling when I'm in the middle of something. I'm planning at some point to buy or make an L-shaped music holder to put on top of the music stand so that it will hold single pages. Usually I just put a bound volume behind them to hold them in place.


Have you considered putting them in a ring binder? That's what I do.
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Polyphonist

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#2044229 - 03/06/13 11:15 PM Re: Action of Damper Pedal [Re: pianokeys135]
pianokeys135 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/12/08
Posts: 184
Loc: Greater NYC Area
A ring binder is an interesting idea. I like to work with the paper exposed because I like to write on it. Also, sometimes I want to work with single sheets when I'm writing something because I'm going back and forth to the computer and printing new versions. Do you put the sheets into those plastic sleeves with the ring holes, or just punch the holes into the paper? I also would like a long L-shaped board that can hold a number of pages so I don't have to flip pages all the time. I guess pages in a binder would be pretty easy to flip though...Thanks for the suggestion.
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pianokeys135
amateur piano player

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#2044241 - 03/06/13 11:27 PM Re: Action of Damper Pedal [Re: pianokeys135]
Scout Offline
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Registered: 08/20/12
Posts: 48
Loc: USA
Have you tried printing on card stock? I've had no problem keeping the music in place since doing this.
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#2044250 - 03/06/13 11:35 PM Re: Action of Damper Pedal [Re: pianokeys135]
Polyphonist Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/03/13
Posts: 7605
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: pianokeys135
A ring binder is an interesting idea. I like to work with the paper exposed because I like to write on it. Also, sometimes I want to work with single sheets when I'm writing something because I'm going back and forth to the computer and printing new versions. Do you put the sheets into those plastic sleeves with the ring holes, or just punch the holes into the paper? I also would like a long L-shaped board that can hold a number of pages so I don't have to flip pages all the time. I guess pages in a binder would be pretty easy to flip though...Thanks for the suggestion.


No, you don't put the sheets into plastic sleeves, you just punch holes in the paper. It's very easy to write on the score. And I find that putting all the pages of a 3 or 4 page piece side by side and taping them together will be pretty stable.
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Polyphonist

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#2044290 - 03/07/13 12:43 AM Re: Action of Damper Pedal [Re: pianokeys135]
pianokeys135 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/12/08
Posts: 184
Loc: Greater NYC Area
Thanks for the tips. Card stock is interesting. I hadn't thought of that. I'll have to pick up a binder, some card stock, and a three-hole puncher next time I'm out!
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pianokeys135
amateur piano player

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#2044312 - 03/07/13 02:36 AM Re: Action of Damper Pedal [Re: pianokeys135]
BruceD Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 18030
Loc: Victoria, BC
[RANT Warning!] Slightly off topic, but the thread has veered in this direction :

I do get mildly annoyed when I see/hear a performance where the performer is using the score (nothing against that; I often use the score in performance myself), but where that score is four, five or six pages photocopied or printed from the internet all spread out on the music desk. I've seen some "performers" spend a couple of minutes trying to get all their sheets lined up and not have quite enough room for the last one which keeps sliding off the desk. Then s/he has to spend another couple of minutes trying to overlap all the sheets enough so that they will all fit on the desk.

At the point where a piece is ready for performance - which means, to me, that the performer probably knows - or should know - the piece pretty well - can't s/he have the sense to bring a decent score on stage? The performer does get dressed for the performance, then on he comes with a sheaf of these wilted, flimsy sheets, often tattered and dog-eared, fiddles with them and prepares to give a convincing, polished (?) performance! There is something to be said about all aspects of a polished performance being considered, isn't there, including aspects of stage presentation?

More than that, bringing a decent score on stage is a consideration for the audience. I can't tell how many times in a situation such as this I have been figuratively on the edge of my seat wondering if that last page is going to stay on the desk or not throughout the performance, as it gently waves with the slightest current of air on stage. I'm more worried about the damn score than I am about listening to the performance.

So, all you performers who work/study from printed and photo copied sheets, please bring a bound score on stage - and a page turner, if you need one - for your next performance. I thank you and your audience thanks you! smile

[End of RANT; Off the soap-box, now]

Regards,
_________________________
BruceD
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Estonia 190

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#2044315 - 03/07/13 02:44 AM Re: Action of Damper Pedal [Re: BruceD]
Polyphonist Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/03/13
Posts: 7605
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: BruceD
[RANT Warning!] Slightly off topic, but the thread has veered in this direction :

I do get mildly annoyed when I see/hear a performance where the performer is using the score (nothing against that; I often use the score in performance myself), but where that score is four, five or six pages photocopied or printed from the internet all spread out on the music desk. I've seen some "performers" spend a couple of minutes trying to get all their sheets lined up and not have quite enough room for the last one which keeps sliding off the desk. Then s/he has to spend another couple of minutes trying to overlap all the sheets enough so that they will all fit on the desk.

At the point where a piece is ready for performance - which means, to me, that the performer probably knows - or should know - the piece pretty well - can't s/he have the sense to bring a decent score on stage? The performer does get dressed for the performance, then on he comes with a sheaf of these wilted, flimsy sheets, often tattered and dog-eared, fiddles with them and prepares to give a convincing, polished (?) performance! There is something to be said about all aspects of a polished performance being considered, isn't there, including aspects of stage presentation?

More than that, bringing a decent score on stage is a consideration for the audience. I can't tell how many times in a situation such as this I have been figuratively on the edge of my seat wondering if that last page is going to stay on the desk or not throughout the performance, as it gently waves with the slightest current of air on stage. I'm more worried about the damn score than I am about listening to the performance.

So, all you performers who work/study from printed and photo copied sheets, please bring a bound score on stage - and a page turner, if you need one - for your next performance. I thank you and your audience thanks you! smile

[End of RANT; Off the soap-box, now]

Regards,


BruceD is possibly the one poster here whose posts I enjoy reading the most...
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Regards,

Polyphonist

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#2044344 - 03/07/13 05:59 AM Re: Action of Damper Pedal [Re: BruceD]
JoelW Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/12
Posts: 4781
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By: BruceD
[RANT Warning!] Slightly off topic, but the thread has veered in this direction :

I do get mildly annoyed when I see/hear a performance where the performer is using the score (nothing against that; I often use the score in performance myself), but where that score is four, five or six pages photocopied or printed from the internet all spread out on the music desk. I've seen some "performers" spend a couple of minutes trying to get all their sheets lined up and not have quite enough room for the last one which keeps sliding off the desk. Then s/he has to spend another couple of minutes trying to overlap all the sheets enough so that they will all fit on the desk.

At the point where a piece is ready for performance - which means, to me, that the performer probably knows - or should know - the piece pretty well - can't s/he have the sense to bring a decent score on stage? The performer does get dressed for the performance, then on he comes with a sheaf of these wilted, flimsy sheets, often tattered and dog-eared, fiddles with them and prepares to give a convincing, polished (?) performance! There is something to be said about all aspects of a polished performance being considered, isn't there, including aspects of stage presentation?

More than that, bringing a decent score on stage is a consideration for the audience. I can't tell how many times in a situation such as this I have been figuratively on the edge of my seat wondering if that last page is going to stay on the desk or not throughout the performance, as it gently waves with the slightest current of air on stage. I'm more worried about the damn score than I am about listening to the performance.

So, all you performers who work/study from printed and photo copied sheets, please bring a bound score on stage - and a page turner, if you need one - for your next performance. I thank you and your audience thanks you! smile

[End of RANT; Off the soap-box, now]

Regards,



An easy fix is to just tape the pages into a 'single' piece of paper. No arranging. No mess. And if there's a couple of inches of paper left, it won't go anywhere.

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#2044481 - 03/07/13 11:28 AM Re: Action of Damper Pedal [Re: pianokeys135]
pianokeys135 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/12/08
Posts: 184
Loc: Greater NYC Area
I'm enjoying the discussion about piano music, but I'd love to hear more from people about the pedal topic if anyone has any other thoughts. laugh
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pianokeys135
amateur piano player

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#2044766 - 03/07/13 08:30 PM Re: Action of Damper Pedal [Re: pianokeys135]
ahhsmurf Offline
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Registered: 03/07/13
Posts: 48
Loc: Banned
so I couldn't tell you anything more specific even if I could see the piano in person.

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#2050588 - 03/19/13 01:37 AM Re: Action of Damper Pedal [Re: pianokeys135]
pianokeys135 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/12/08
Posts: 184
Loc: Greater NYC Area
I've recently noticed that on grand pianos, the pedals seem to be set a few inches farther back from the keyboard (I'm referring to the horizontal distance from where the white keys end to where the pedals are), which gives you a few extra inches of leg room on grands as compared to uprights. I've been sitting at grands lately and I find that the extra space makes sitting at a grand seem more comfortable to me than sitting at an upright.

Has anyone else ever noticed this?
_________________________
pianokeys135
amateur piano player

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#2050819 - 03/19/13 12:58 PM Re: Action of Damper Pedal [Re: Polyphonist]
Mwm Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/13
Posts: 752
Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
Originally Posted By: pianokeys135
That's funny. I have the hardest time with single pages. They are always falling when I'm in the middle of something. I'm planning at some point to buy or make an L-shaped music holder to put on top of the music stand so that it will hold single pages. Usually I just put a bound volume behind them to hold them in place.


Have you considered putting them in a ring binder? That's what I do.


Regarding pages of sheet music:

Use an iPad for your music. You can just swipe to turn a page, or, as many of my friends do, use the footpedal attachment available to turn pages.

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#2050834 - 03/19/13 01:25 PM Re: Action of Damper Pedal [Re: Mwm]
BruceD Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 18030
Loc: Victoria, BC
Originally Posted By: Mwm
Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
Originally Posted By: pianokeys135
That's funny. I have the hardest time with single pages. They are always falling when I'm in the middle of something. I'm planning at some point to buy or make an L-shaped music holder to put on top of the music stand so that it will hold single pages. Usually I just put a bound volume behind them to hold them in place.


Have you considered putting them in a ring binder? That's what I do.


Regarding pages of sheet music:

Use an iPad for your music. You can just swipe to turn a page, or, as many of my friends do, use the footpedal attachment available to turn pages.


As I've asked before : How many find that an iPad screen is large enough to read on stage. Consider, particularly, if you are playing a trio or a quartet where all parts are shown in the piano score. You could hardly get one line of all four/five staves on an iPad which means you'd have to be swiping every two or three measures.

Moreover, given the high-gloss screens of the iPads, some venues with overhead lighting might make the screen illegible because of glare.

This does not seem, to me, to be an ideal solution.

Regards,
_________________________
BruceD
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Estonia 190

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#2050868 - 03/19/13 02:12 PM Re: Action of Damper Pedal [Re: BruceD]
Mwm Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/13
Posts: 752
Originally Posted By: BruceD
Originally Posted By: Mwm
Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
Originally Posted By: pianokeys135
That's funny. I have the hardest time with single pages. They are always falling when I'm in the middle of something. I'm planning at some point to buy or make an L-shaped music holder to put on top of the music stand so that it will hold single pages. Usually I just put a bound volume behind them to hold them in place.


Have you considered putting them in a ring binder? That's what I do.


Regarding pages of sheet music:

Use an iPad for your music. You can just swipe to turn a page, or, as many of my friends do, use the footpedal attachment available to turn pages.


As I've asked before : How many find that an iPad screen is large enough to read on stage. Consider, particularly, if you are playing a trio or a quartet where all parts are shown in the piano score. You could hardly get one line of all four/five staves on an iPad which means you'd have to be swiping every two or three measures.

Moreover, given the high-gloss screens of the iPads, some venues with overhead lighting might make the screen illegible because of glare.

This does not seem, to me, to be an ideal solution.

Regards,


You are quite right. It is not an ideal solution - Yet. I use it for music that I already know. Trying to make notations on the music is too difficult on the iPad. Some day, though, someone will come up with a music score screen of the right size and composition to not glare. A bonus is that you don't need to light the score. Very useful in a pit orchestra. For me, the best part is sight reading all that free music from IMSLP.

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#2050898 - 03/19/13 02:59 PM Re: Action of Damper Pedal [Re: pianokeys135]
pianokeys135 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/12/08
Posts: 184
Loc: Greater NYC Area
I have thought of just placing a very thin flat screen monitor on the piano. A glossy screen, like on the ipad, would not be ideal in my opinion. I always prefer a flat or matte screen to a glossy one to reduce the glare issues. Even on my macbook pro and flatscreen computer monitor, I went with the matte screen over a glossy. I wish apple would make matte screens more available on their products.

For me, the ideal digital product would be a very wide-screen e-ink display, like the kindle has, because it has no glare, even in direct sunlight, and works very much like paper. Also, ideally, I would like a small remote button of some kind right near the keys to change pages. I guess the ideal computer monitor would be a wireless and very thin matte screen that you can just place on the music stand. I don't think touch screen is essential because you could just use a small midi controller (or wireless mouse) right near the keys to turn pages, once you have the page orientation correct. I don't think a wireless monitor is very practical right now (not sure they even make them), but a wired version w/ a midi controller or some type of button near the keys wouldn't be a bad solution. A lot of work to get it up and running though! Paper is a more immediate solution for me.

The digital route seems particularly useful for sight reading purposes, btw., I agree.
_________________________
pianokeys135
amateur piano player

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#2050907 - 03/19/13 03:04 PM Re: Action of Damper Pedal [Re: pianokeys135]
pianokeys135 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/12/08
Posts: 184
Loc: Greater NYC Area
By the way, is there a way to change the title of the thread? I would make it "Action of Damper Pedal / Sheet Music - Paper and Digital Solutions" or something like that...
_________________________
pianokeys135
amateur piano player

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#2050928 - 03/19/13 03:28 PM Re: Action of Damper Pedal [Re: pianokeys135]
Mwm Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/13
Posts: 752
Originally Posted By: pianokeys135
By the way, is there a way to change the title of the thread? I would make it "Action of Damper Pedal / Sheet Music - Paper and Digital Solutions" or something like that...


Yeah, I agree that we are way off topic. I can't offer knowledgeable opinions regarding damper pedal placement, but I was interested in the sheet music problem. Regarding wireless monitors, my son just made one up a few days ago using a monitor with a DVI to USB adapter and a USB wireless dongle. The whole cost was about 25 bucks. He hates cable runs.

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#2050944 - 03/19/13 03:57 PM Re: Action of Damper Pedal [Re: pianokeys135]
BruceD Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 18030
Loc: Victoria, BC
Originally Posted By: pianokeys135
By the way, is there a way to change the title of the thread? I would make it "Action of Damper Pedal / Sheet Music - Paper and Digital Solutions" or something like that...


You can change the title of a thread you have created only as long as you still have editing capability within the thread. The title is edited in the "edit" mode in the same manner that text is edited. That is rarely more than (approximately) twelve hours from initiating the thread, I believe, although that time frame does seem to be variable.

Regards,
_________________________
BruceD
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Estonia 190

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#2050954 - 03/19/13 04:08 PM Damper Pedal Action / Sheet Music - Paper + Digital [Re: BruceD]
pianokeys135 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/12/08
Posts: 184
Loc: Greater NYC Area
Thanks Bruce. Yeah, the edit button on the original posting doesn't seem to be there any more, so I guess it's timed out.

I tried to change the subject of this post - not sure what effect that will have.


Edited by pianokeys135 (03/19/13 04:10 PM)
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pianokeys135
amateur piano player

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#2050959 - 03/19/13 04:11 PM Re: Damper Pedal Action / Sheet Music - Paper + Digital [Re: pianokeys135]
pianokeys135 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/12/08
Posts: 184
Loc: Greater NYC Area
Doesn't seem to have changed the way the subject title appears in the list of topics on the main forum page....
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pianokeys135
amateur piano player

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#2051111 - 03/19/13 11:54 PM Re: Damper Pedal Action / Sheet Music - Paper + Digital [Re: pianokeys135]
BruceD Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 18030
Loc: Victoria, BC
Originally Posted By: pianokeys135
Doesn't seem to have changed the way the subject title appears in the list of topics on the main forum page....


It appears that you changed - or attempted to change - the title in one of your most recent posts.

The only way to change the title of the entire thread is to change it from the original post - while you still have the time to do so. In a thread such as this where the topic changes during the progress of the thread and which runs for several days, you're out of luck!

Regards,
_________________________
BruceD
- - - - -
Estonia 190

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