sostenuto pedals on a baby grand

Posted by: tommytones

sostenuto pedals on a baby grand - 10/19/09 08:55 PM

Hello all out there in piano world!!! Just a quick question, any help would be much appreciated! Recently, I got into an argument with a colleague regarding sostenuto pedals. She claims that it is impossible to have a sostenuto pedal on a baby grand, while I maintain that as long as it's a grand style piano- baby and concert- that a sostenuto pedal on a baby grand is indeed quite possible. Who is right?
Thanks,
Tommytones
Posted by: Kevin Glover

Re: sostenuto pedals on a baby grand - 10/19/09 09:13 PM

You most certainly are smile

Even tiny little 5' grands have a sostenuto... Come to think of it, I don't think I've ever played a grand that doesn't.
Posted by: Gene Nelson

Re: sostenuto pedals on a baby grand - 10/19/09 09:19 PM

What size fits your/her description of baby?
Why is it impossible? Did she give you the reason/s?
When you say sostenuto pedal I assume that you mean the entire mechanism to go along with it - rod, mounting assembly, pittman and lift levers with tabs - or are we just talking pedals?
Posted by: tommytones

Re: sostenuto pedals on a baby grand - 10/19/09 09:44 PM

Thanks for the quick replies, Gene and Kevin!
Gene- I'm thinking anything under 5'10" qualifies as her definition of a baby grand. Does this change your answer for you?
Posted by: WeatherTheLizard

Re: sostenuto pedals on a baby grand - 10/19/09 10:10 PM

I have a 4'5" grand piano and it has all 3 pedals.
Posted by: Dave Stahl

Re: sostenuto pedals on a baby grand - 10/19/09 10:42 PM

3 pedals don't necessarily mean one is a sostenuto...
Posted by: sotto voce

Re: sostenuto pedals on a baby grand - 10/19/09 11:01 PM

Originally Posted By: Dave Stahl
3 pedals don't necessarily mean one is a sostenuto...

That's true. It's possible that a grand piano, probably a low-end one, could have a middle pedal that functions like the one on a typical upright by lifting all dampers in the bass section.

Still, there's no basis at all for the OP's friend's assertion. She's wrong.

Steven
Posted by: WeatherTheLizard

Re: sostenuto pedals on a baby grand - 10/19/09 11:08 PM

Originally Posted By: Dave Stahl
3 pedals don't necessarily mean one is a sostenuto...


Haha... I'm not entirely sure, that's why I wrote it that way. I never use the middle pedal!
Posted by: Gene Nelson

Re: sostenuto pedals on a baby grand - 10/20/09 11:05 AM

For me, under 5ft is baby - interesting how this opinion varies.
It is definitely possible to have full sostenuto on the smallest grand.
I have a 8'9" Hallet&Davis 1880's that does not have sostenuto and only has two pedals - it will have full sostenuto with three pedals when I finish the restoration.
Posted by: Silverwood Pianos

Re: sostenuto pedals on a baby grand - 10/20/09 02:49 PM

Most modern grand pianos have a sostenuto assembly now; I would be surprised to view one that does not. The one that Gene has is an exception; it is an older piece. Everyone will see the size issue in a different way.
A very general distinction: the "concert grand" (between about 2.2 m and 3 m long) the "parlor grand" or "boudoir grand" (about 1.7 m to 2.2 m) and the smaller "baby grand".
Miniature grand =up to 5’2”
Baby grand = 5’2’ up to 5’8”
Parlour or Boudoir = 5’ 8” up to 6’6”
Semi-concert = 6’10” up to 7’ 6”
Concert grand= considered beyond that length.
And then you have the Alexander over there in New Zealand....I think it is 20ft. or 22ft. or something.....
Posted by: Marty Flinn

Re: sostenuto pedals on a baby grand - 10/20/09 03:13 PM

There are many new sub-5'10" grands available today that have full working sostenuto functions. There are even a few high end uprights.

There are also many entry level grands that have a bass sustaining middle pedal function as well. The sostenuto linkage and action features are additional manufacturing costs. Believe it or not, there are many long term piano teachers who still do not know how a true sostenuto pedal functions. Very few composers who have ever written for this function.

The "names" for the sizes have been so misused and abused over the decades that there is no consensus. We always refer to specific length so as to avoid the ievitable confusion. I learned early on in my career that for some, any piano less than a concert grand was considered a "baby grand" as you can see there is a lot of room for confusion.
Posted by: sotto voce

Re: sostenuto pedals on a baby grand - 10/20/09 03:49 PM

"Miniature grand" is a new one to me! I've always disdained the term "baby" grand, and it turns out I'm one inch away from being miniature.

But I dislike all those various names: the definitions are fuzzy, and none of them serves to distinguishing one type of piano from another in the way that a grand piano is different from a vertical piano.

Steven
Posted by: Jerry Groot RPT

Re: sostenuto pedals on a baby grand - 10/20/09 04:51 PM

Quote:
there are many long term piano teachers who still do not know how a true sostenuto pedal functions.


I get many music teachers that get all 3 pedal names mixed up. Some of them call the sostenuto pedal the una corda pedal or visa versa. While the sustaining pedal is often called the loud pedal. sleep
Posted by: Silverwood Pianos

Re: sostenuto pedals on a baby grand - 10/20/09 05:16 PM


I always make a joke out of it and call it a standard piano.... gas, brake, and clutch.
Posted by: sotto voce

Re: sostenuto pedals on a baby grand - 10/20/09 05:29 PM

It makes sense, Dan, considering how many people have a lead foot and ride the clutch ... wherever they're seated. grin

Steven
Posted by: Jim Moy

Re: sostenuto pedals on a baby grand - 10/20/09 05:37 PM

Originally Posted By: Jerry Groot RPT
I get many music teachers that get all 3 pedal names mixed up. Some of them call the sostenuto pedal the una corda pedal or visa versa.

Here's me on the phone: "...are you talking about the pedal that lifts all the dampers so you can hear all the notes sounding at the same time? ... oh, no, that would be the pedal that holds the dampers up for the notes where you are already holding them up by holding the keys down ... correct, that would be the middle pedal ..." tired
Posted by: tommytones

Re: sostenuto pedals on a baby grand - 10/20/09 08:06 PM

[quote=Marty Flinn]Believe it or not, there are many long term piano teachers who still do not know how a true sostenuto pedal functions. Very few composers who have ever written for this function.quote]

Marty, that's me, a long term piano teacher, who has a vague understanding of the assembly of a sostenuto pedal. To be sure, I definately don't confuse the names of the pedals, though. That would be a sin! If you have a concise explanation of how it functions, I would love to hear it!
Posted by: BDB

Re: sostenuto pedals on a baby grand - 10/21/09 02:48 AM

A sostenuto pedals holds the dampers on the notes which are depressed when the pedal is engaged, until the pedal is released.
Posted by: Marty Flinn

Re: sostenuto pedals on a baby grand - 10/21/09 01:33 PM

Right pedal (sustain) - Lifts all of the dampers, sustain the notes you play with it down as well as adding string resonance of all the rest. Often called the loud pedal.

Midde pedal (sostenuto) - BDB nailed it above. Allows for a kind of phantom third hand on the keyboard.

Left pedal (una corda) - moves the key action (hammers) over to the right a smidge so the hammers contact one less string in the two and three string unisons, offering a slightly softer tone. Often called the soft pedal.
Posted by: BDB

Re: sostenuto pedals on a baby grand - 10/21/09 01:42 PM

Quote:
Midde pedal (sostenuto) - BDB nailed it above. Allows for a kind of phantom third hand on the keyboard.

I tuned an old 2-pedal Bechstein for a concert which included a new work. The page turner had to supply the third hand.
Posted by: tommytones

Re: sostenuto pedals on a baby grand - 10/22/09 06:47 PM

Originally Posted By: BDB
A sostenuto pedals holds the dampers on the notes which are depressed when the pedal is engaged, until the pedal is released.


I know this much!!! I was trying to get a technical explanation (mechanical action, parts used, etc.)