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#352576 - 01/21/02 12:14 AM Soft Pedal use in Chopin?
aznxk3vi17 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/13/02
Posts: 701
Loc: Johns Hopkins University
Is it acceptable to use Soft Pedal in Chopin? After playing so much Debussy, I got used to holding down the soft pedal during pp parts, and sometimes even in simply p. Is it bad to sometimes rely on the soft pedal?

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#352577 - 01/21/02 01:20 AM Re: Soft Pedal use in Chopin?
Rodion Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/06/01
Posts: 296
Loc: Salt Lake City
my personal opinion about the soft pedal is to only use it when it's asked for - and never to achieve the p's, pp's, or ppp's, but because of the way it changes the overall sound.

i'm sure you can get a million different answers concerning the soft pedal and chopin, and even more on the soft pedal in general. it's just one of those things that seems to depend mainly on what you like best. i think chopin wouldn't need it too much, but i have hardly played any chopin so i don't know.
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Time is a great teacher, but unfortunately it kills all its pupils. - Hector Berlioz

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#352578 - 01/21/02 06:25 AM Re: Soft Pedal use in Chopin?
BruceD Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 18889
Loc: Victoria, BC
I agree with Rodion. In large measure, it depends upon the piano you are playing.

If you are playing on a grand, particularly, where the use of the una corda pedal changes the whole tonal aura of the piece (as it will do), you should, I think, use it sparingly in most of Chopin. It is also important to know, again if you're playing on a grand, whether your hammers strike two or only one string when the una corda shifts the action; how much of a lateral shift does the una corda pedal give? (This is something that can be adjusted by your technician/tuner. The difference in tonal quality can be quite remarkable, depending upon the piano. It is my thinking that Chopin did not want such dramatic shift in tonal quality - but that's just my amateur opinion.

On an upright, it's quite another matter, as the mechanics of using the soft pedal don't result in the same dramatic shift in tonal quality as they do in a grand.

For the development of your personal technique, I would suggest not relying too heavily on the "soft pedal" and, instead, really learning to control your touch.

Regards,

[ January 21, 2002: Message edited by: BruceD ]
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#352579 - 01/21/02 02:23 PM Re: Soft Pedal use in Chopin?
ryan Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/04/01
Posts: 1995
Loc: Colorado
I use the una corda pedal in Chopin as an effect in places where I want the sound to be thinner (one less string). You have to be careful with it, though, because it can cause the sound to be too muffled, especially in the treble. If the balance is ok and the tone quality is what you are looking for, then I don't see anything wrong with using it. But just clamping on it at every P or PP passage without any thought probably will not get the best results.

Ryan

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#352580 - 01/22/02 11:56 PM Re: Soft Pedal use in Chopin?
Palindrome Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/22/01
Posts: 3916
Loc: Chicago, IL USA
Listen to Dinu Lipatti's recording of the barcarolle. In the middle section, there's a clear change of tone quality which, I think, can only have been attained by skillful pedal use.
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There is no end of learning. -Robert Schumann Rules for Young Musicians

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