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#2057771 - 04/01/13 12:43 PM Is this just a decorative thing?
Ragdoll Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/03/12
Posts: 764
Loc: Illinois
Hi all,
I have had my U1 for about 5-6 months and I am wondering WHAT purpose the una corda pedal serves on an upright? Admittedly, my ear is not very mature yet but I cannot tell any difference in the touch or tone when I press this pedal. I understand it's purpose on a grand but is there any purpose to have it on a U1 (other than people expect to have one)or perhaps it isn't working correctly? Thanks for any insight; I don't want to appear clueless when my tech comes in May to tune. confused
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#2057773 - 04/01/13 12:48 PM Re: Is this just a decorative thing? [Re: Ragdoll]
dancarney Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/06/11
Posts: 145
Loc: UK
On an upright piano, the una corda simply lessens the distance the hammer has to travel to make contact with the strings. The idea is that the shorter the blow distance (travel), the softer the impact with the string is, resulting in a softer sound.
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#2057779 - 04/01/13 01:10 PM Re: Is this just a decorative thing? [Re: Ragdoll]
David Boyce Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/14/07
Posts: 492
Loc: Scotland
Ragdoll, as dancarney said, the left pedal moves the hammers closer to the strings, so they have less momentum. The effect can be subtle - very different from the effect of the middle pedal, the "practice pedai", which interposes a strip of felt between hammers and strings.

If you really can detect no difference at all, it is worth checking that the pedal rod has't become disconnected. If you look down inside the top of the piano, when you depress the pedal, you should see all the hammers move closer to the strings. If that doesn't happen, something's disconnected.

The correct term for this pedal in an upright is the Halflblow pedal. "Una Corda" refers to the mechanism in grands which moves the whole action sideways, so that the hammers strike only one of the two strings in the bichords, and two of the three in the trichords.

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#2057795 - 04/01/13 01:33 PM Re: Is this just a decorative thing? [Re: Ragdoll]
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7439
Loc: Rochester MN
It's a minor difference 'across the pond.' In the U.S., the pedals are referred to as Soft, Practice, and Damper/Sustain. On some verticals, the middle pedal is the Bass Damper/Sustain.
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#2057801 - 04/01/13 01:37 PM Re: Is this just a decorative thing? [Re: Ragdoll]
Olek Online   content
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 8026
Loc: France
it should push the hammers 1/3 of their travel. less shank flex may be, less propulsion certainly. it allows to play less strong more easily. indeed the tonal change is near peanuts.

But should be noticed. If not your hammers are not really well voiced, or your panel is very tired if the piano is old (lesser dynamic range, the tone is more uniform at all levels)
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#2057804 - 04/01/13 01:41 PM Re: Is this just a decorative thing? [Re: Ragdoll]
rysowers Online   content
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/07
Posts: 2713
Loc: Olympia, WA
Sometimes there is a lot of free play in the pedal so it is not moving as far as it could or should. It is sometimes called the "half blow" pedal because it is often set to move the hammers half way to the strings from rest position.

It is not that rare for me to find this pedal has become disconnected in client's pianos. Excessive free play makes this more likely. You might check to make sure its actually working.
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Ryan Sowers,
Pianova Piano Service
Olympia, WA
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#2057845 - 04/01/13 03:16 PM Re: Is this just a decorative thing? [Re: Ragdoll]
Zeno Wood Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/20/07
Posts: 502
Loc: Brooklyn, NY
In an upright, also called the "Lost Motion Introducer".
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Zeno Wood, Piano Technician
Brooklyn College

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#2057908 - 04/01/13 04:58 PM Re: Is this just a decorative thing? [Re: Ragdoll]
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 22603
Loc: Oakland
The soft pedals on grands do not work all that well, either.
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#2057936 - 04/01/13 05:24 PM Re: Is this just a decorative thing? [Re: Ragdoll]
Supply Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/11/06
Posts: 3919
Loc: Vancouver Island, BC, Canada
...if the piano is not voiced properly thumb
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#2057974 - 04/01/13 06:15 PM Re: Is this just a decorative thing? [Re: Ragdoll]
David Boyce Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/14/07
Posts: 492
Loc: Scotland
Quote:
In the U.S., the pedals are referred to as Soft, Practice, and Damper/Sustain.


Yes, that is the usual non-technical terminology in the UK also.

Traditionally in the UK uprights only had two pedials, the "loud" (sustaining) pedal and the "soft" pedal.

In cheapo overdamper pianos the "soft" pedal is a celeste felt rail operator, like the middle "practice" pedial of modern uprights. The better quality uprights always had half blow "soft" pedals.

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#2058019 - 04/01/13 08:19 PM Re: Is this just a decorative thing? [Re: Ragdoll]
Ragdoll Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/03/12
Posts: 764
Loc: Illinois
Thanks for the insightful reponses guys. DavidBoyce, thanks for the tip about looking down from the top to see if the hammers actually move closer. I'll check that out later tonight. In fact thanks to everyone for your help.
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Ragdoll

At first, she only flew when she thought no one was watching.


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#2058226 - 04/02/13 10:03 AM Re: Is this just a decorative thing? [Re: David Boyce]
malkin Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/18/09
Posts: 3261
Loc: *sigh* Salt Lake City
Originally Posted By: David Boyce
The correct term for this pedal in an upright is the Halflblow pedal.


Then if you used this pedal to practice from Alfred Book 1, you could Halfblow the Man Down!
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