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Topic Options
#467680 - 03/09/08 06:54 PM The Thing with the practice pedal
Innominato Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/05/08
Posts: 802
Loc: London
I now practice almost exclusively with the practice pedal in order not to have neighbours complaining, also I do not play an entire piece very often but most of the time repeat the same measure or passage, so I do no think it would be very pleasant to listen to me. I only occasionally play without the practice pedal when I am trying an entire piece or big section.

I have the following impressions:

1) when I play without pedal the tone changes, it is not only louder, it is in my ears different sounds. Accustomed to the practice pedal sounds, it then sounds very strange to me. Impression of mine or truth?

Without pedal, I'd say the piano is out of tune (first tuning end of the month I'd say); with the practice pedal I wouldn't be so sure.

2)I can control my "touch" better with practice pedal than without; without practice pedal it seems to me that I make an awful lot of noise and have more difficulties in regulating my touch. But again I play without practice pedal only rarely so it might only be a matter of practice.

Do you think I should practice more without the practice pedal? Do I run the risk of making an ear to the sound of the piano with practice pedal and then hear it "strange" without or is it something that will automatically adjust?

Do you practice with practice pedal?

Thanks to all
Innominato
_________________________
"The man that hath no music in himself / Nor is not mov'd with concord of sweet sounds / Is fit for treasons, stratagems, and spoils." (W.Shakespeare)

Kemble Conservatoire 335025 Walnut Satin

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#467681 - 03/09/08 09:35 PM Re: The Thing with the practice pedal
Loki Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/09/05
Posts: 1035
Loc: Texas
 Quote:
Originally posted by Innominato:


1) when I play without pedal the tone changes, it is not only louder, it is in my ears different sounds. Accustomed to the practice pedal sounds, it then sounds very strange to me. Impression of mine or truth?

[/b]
If the practice pedal is the same one that I am thinking of, then it is the truth. The pedal lowers a strip of felt between the hammers and the strings, which would alter the tone of the piano.
_________________________
Houston, Texas

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#467682 - 03/10/08 07:57 AM Re: The Thing with the practice pedal
TerryL Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/19/08
Posts: 27
Loc: Australia
Personally I don't think that is a problem.
Of course if you are going to have a recital or exam, you NEED to practice on the grand because the upright is nothing good for practicing 'touch'.

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#467683 - 03/10/08 08:25 AM Re: The Thing with the practice pedal
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11845
Loc: Canada
I wonder about the piano sounding out of tune without the practice pedal. It is more likely that the tone is affected by the pedal. When strings ring there are partials that go with them giviing a tone color and I imagine that this color might change significantly either way. You are accustomed to hearing one set of tones and now you are hearing another so it sounds out of tune.

I have a digital and there is a significant difference in the sound when I don't use ear phones. I was using the ear phones exclusively and when I tried to play what I was practicing the change was severe enough that I could not play well at all. (I also don't like the "grand piano effect" that is brought into the speakers.)

I had to desensitize myself as well as become accustomed to the sound. I try to play at least once a day without ear phones. Specifically, I try to play pieces that I have practiced because they "play" differently over the two medium.

I have not experienced that kind of problem going to different pianos with different mechanisms in terms of how easily the keys swing, how hard they are to press down. It may actually be the fact that it IS the same piano with the same feel in the keys but suddenly produces a different sound.

There is a feedback loop where we listen as we play, and respond to what we hear, adjusting, and I'm guess that this gets disturbed. In particular with the practice pedal you are expecting a certain quietness which is absent when you don't use it, so you would be trying to get that "normal" quietness back - response of ear and hand would be confused. I suspect if you simply keep going back and forth so that you are accustomed to the change, you would gain control over the phenomenon.

Treat your neighbours once in a while to a piece that you have perfected. If you hear footsteps above coming toward your piano, or even a chair dragging in your direction, you'll know they like it. If they turn on the radio, or the footsteps recede rapidly followed by a slamming door leading to the outside ... well, you know.

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#467684 - 03/10/08 11:10 AM Re: The Thing with the practice pedal
Jan-Erik Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/18/05
Posts: 1302
Loc: Finland
As the practise pedal reduces the dynamic range your will not hear uneveness in your playing. You can perform runs in pianissimo with ease, for example.

That is the worst drawback.

Then you will get more dust in your action by the time - the felt between hammers and string wears down graudually.

If you master a piece on a quality upright with fast pedal response, there will be no problem playing on a grand. On the contrary - a grand is easier to play on: better action, better sitting ergonomy.

Two instruments in not equal surrondings will almost always sound differrently, so you will anyhow have to adapt yourself slightly.

P.S Excactly what brand and model of upright do you have?

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#467685 - 03/10/08 04:00 PM Re: The Thing with the practice pedal
Gyro Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/24/05
Posts: 4533
When I was a child taking piano lessons
way back when, there was never a problem
with me pounding on our acoustic, even in
a wood-frame apt. building that transmitted
sound like a loudspeaker. But today the
environment is much different. People
are stressed out and will be driven berserk
by the noise an acoustic makes. They
won't tolerate one for a minute.

Acoustic piano makers have tried to address
this problem with awkward, impractical
solutions like the middle practice pedal
that moves a flimsy piece of felt in front
of the strings to mute the sound. But
playing like this is about the most unnatural
thing imaginable. The other solution
is the so-called silent piano, an acoustic
upright with the works of a digital piano
crammed into the interior. To play in
silent mode the hammers are blocked from
hitting the strings and then operate
the digital circuits like on a regular
digital piano. You can only play with
headphones in silent mode, and these silent
pianos are also expensive, in the $9000
price range. Also, the touch is not the
same since there is a blocking device
that prevents the hammers from hitting
the strings.

The awkwardness and impracticality of the
above solutions might make one ask if
there is a better way to do it, and there
is: digital pianos. This is why when
you first posted on the forums I cautioned
against trying to play an acoustic piano in
an apt. building and suggested a digital
instead.

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#467686 - 03/10/08 04:01 PM Re: The Thing with the practice pedal
HouseHead78 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/16/06
Posts: 276
Loc: Austin, TX
I never use the practice pedal because it does change the sensitivity of touch. Also, I find that when I unhook the practice pedal, the piano sounds clangy and loud in comparison and it takes time to get used to the "real" sound again.

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#467687 - 03/10/08 04:18 PM Re: The Thing with the practice pedal
keyboardklutz Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
 Quote:
Originally posted by Innominato:
I now practice almost exclusively with the practice pedal in order not to have neighbours complaining, [/b]
I think it's great you have consideration for your neighbours. I also use one for repetitive stuff - I'd feel guilty otherwise. Henselt was famous for sticking quills between his strings to permanently quieten them.
_________________________
snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/


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#467688 - 03/10/08 04:27 PM Re: The Thing with the practice pedal
miaeih Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/06/08
Posts: 267
Loc: SF Bay Area, CA
I live in a condo complex and practice exclusively with the practice pedal during the weeknights if I have time focusing on non-touch aspects such as getting the right notes and fingering. However, during the weekends when I am able to play during the day, I practice with it off. I have no problem adjusting and to me, this makes the time I am able to play with it off much more enjoyable, to finally be able to play with all the dynamics and expressiveness needed and immerse myself with the full tone.

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#467689 - 03/10/08 10:05 PM Re: The Thing with the practice pedal
Guendola Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/06/08
Posts: 39
I wonder: In Germany we have a law that gives you the right to play music - even practise your instrument two hours a day at reasonable times. How is that in other countries?

As for the sound of the "practice pedal": When I tried that first, I thought "this is not a piano anymore". I recommend playing as much as you can without that pedal, bet it at home, at friends, in school, in bars, churches.....

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#467690 - 03/11/08 03:23 AM Re: The Thing with the practice pedal
keyboardklutz Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
The right to annoy people is enshrined in this country's law too. That doesn't make it agreeable.
_________________________
snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/


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#467691 - 03/11/08 05:16 AM Re: The Thing with the practice pedal
Jan-Erik Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/18/05
Posts: 1302
Loc: Finland
In my town appartment I have an upright and then a digital for learning new pieces, finger exercises at late hours etc. The digital stage model with earphones does not need much space.

It is a far better solution fron hte pianisitic point of view than the primitive middle muting pedal, and cheaper than to have an accoustic piano with silent option.

And you have two independent instruments, one of which is easy to moove.

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#467692 - 03/11/08 05:33 AM Re: The Thing with the practice pedal
keyboardklutz Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
I've not been able to face my DP in the last few weeks. I think it's the plastic keys.
_________________________
snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/


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#467693 - 03/11/08 12:12 PM Re: The Thing with the practice pedal
Gyro Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/24/05
Posts: 4533
In the US, an apt. building can ban all
types of musical instruments from the
premises (you can't even have a digital piano
that you use only with headphones, or maybe not
even a guitar that you are just storing in
a closet and never play), and some of them
do exactly that. I've lived in just such a
building in the past.

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#467694 - 03/11/08 04:04 PM Re: The Thing with the practice pedal
Cultor Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/25/07
Posts: 342
Loc: BsAs
I totally adhere to HouseHead78’s post.
And you have other options for the neighbor’s trouble. For instance:

1. Dampen the harmonic box.
2. Dampen and isolate the legs of your piano. There are several easy devices.
3. Improve your room’s isolation.
4. Kill your neighbor. This option should be checked with your lawyer.

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