The trend in recent years has been to move away from a quasi-sostenuto (bass sustain) pedal in upright pianos and replace them with what is referred to as a “practice pedal”. My favorite (favourite:) video for advanced pedaling is from Graham Fitch from Pianist Magazine. Such a technique might be applied to the waltz below. In addition, because the hammers are closer some runs and trills are easier. You can think of the sostenuto pedal as a more selective damper pedal. In this article we will discuss how piano pedals work, what effect they produce, and how to practice using them. What does the ‘una corda pedal’ do? The sostenuto pedal is used to hold low notes while higher notes are played stacatto, the una corda pedal is used to play softer, and the damper/sustain pedal is used to allow all strings to resonate. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. A piano typically has two or three strings per key – view below. Developing proficiency with this pedal is important in moving your piano skills to the next level. If it is notated, it may look like one of the sustain pedal markings but with “S.P.” or “Sost. This way, the hammers that usually strike three strings only hit two of them, which ensures a softer sound. And the left pedal pushes the hammers closer to the strings to make the piano quieter (closer to the strings means there's less room … Typically, the left pedal is usually a soft pedal, the center pedal is either a “faux” sostenuto pedal (will explain later) or a practice pedal (extra soft lock-on), and the right pedal is always the sustain pedal. Modern pianos usually have three pedals, from left to right, the soft pedal (or una corda), the sostenuto pedal, and the sustaining pedal (or damper pedal). The first way is with the “ped” and asterisk symbols. When a key is pressed down on the piano, a hammer is moved towards the corresponding string(s). It does not shift the action from left to right but typically will move the action closer to the strings. Normally, when you play a piano key, the hammer strikes three strings for each given pitch. A piano typically has two or three strings per key – view below. Why shift all of the keys? On a grand piano softness is achieved by moving the hammers so that they hit only one or two strings. Legato pedaling – The sustain pedal is used to create smoothness by connecting two chords or phrases. UPRIGHT PIANO PEDALS. Left pedal. The reason the soft pedal is sometimes called “una corda” is thatuna corda means “one string.” Formerly, piano strings had a little more space i… On upright pianos there are a couple different functions for the middle pedal but they rarely perform the function of a sostenuto pedal that a grand piano offers. At 7:57 he demonstrates flutter pedaling which he also calls half pedaling. The damper pedal releases all dampers off of their strings, allowing strings to resonate freely. The practice pedal is designed to allow someone to practice the piano while reducing the volume of the piano substantially. In addition, there are 7 standard metal pedals (instead of 3). It moves the hammers closer to the strings so that they hit them with less velocity – allowing the player to produce a sound which is a little quieter and softer. On some older pianos if you hold down the right pedal and pump the left pedal you can produce some very weird sounds! Below are the most common pedal markings. Given how late it was popularized, there is not a lot of repertoire that directly calls for it. By placing the hammers closer to the strings, the left pedal will change the touch of the piano but does not change the tone. On upright pianos the left pedal does not function at all like it does on grand pianos. It does not shift the action from left to right but typically will move the action closer to the strings. While the sustain pedal moves the dampers off all strings the sostenuto pedal only holds the dampers off the keys that are down when the pedal is pressed. What’s happening below the surface is that the soft pedal (the left pedal on any piano) is connected to a rod which eventually joins to a lever that swivels. Graham Fitch argues that there are actually very few instances where a sostenuto pedal is needed. So what does the left pedal on the piano do? Pianos rarely have more than three pedals. It will release the dampers only on the notes that you depress and hold before pressing the pedal. Simultaneously, a damper, which usually rests on the string to prevent vibrations, is released. A piano typically has two or three strings per key – view below. Instead of using the sostenuto pedal he uses varying depths of the sustain pedal to achieve a very similar effect and clear out some of the muddiness. In my experience once I reached the intermediate stage it was so second nature that I stopped developing the skill, however, there is a lot of nuance even at advanced levels. This pedal changes the tone of the piano to a slightly softer sound. In conjunction with a long held damper or sustain pedal it creates a captivating dream like beginning. Not all music indicates when to use the sustain pedal, but there are two ways that it may be notated in your sheet music. The opening is marked con sordina which can mean “with mute” and my teacher encouraged me to use the left piano pedal called the una corda pedal to get a particularly soft entrance. So, it functions almost like a sostenuto pedal in many musical contexts. Start at 1:52 for a demonstration of the piano in action. The pedals on the piano do more than just create a softer tone or an easy legato. So does anyone know what the left most pedal is supposed to do? There is a lot of misconceptions about how these pedals function when compared to grand pianos and my hope is that this article has shed light on this subject. After watching 5-10 youtube videos on pedaling, I’ve pulled out my favorite beginner and advanced pedaling videos. In addition, he gives straightforward exercises perfect for beginners. Ped.” markings instead of “Ped”. I hope this is helpful and if you have any questions about this topic or any other, please email me Robert@LivingPianos.com for more information. There are typically three pedals on modern pianos. By placing the hammers closer to the strings, the left pedal will change the touch of the piano but does not change the tone. Because the sostenuto pedal is not used often, it is rare for it to be notated in a score. Only those notes continue holding, but new notes played will not hold after you release the keys. The higher strings on a piano dampen more quickly than the lower strings. The standard notation is to write Una corda when the una corda pedal should be depressed, and Tre corde (or 3 strings) when the pedal is released. To put it simply: You play some note – while holding them down, press the middle pedal and hold it down to keep the dampers of the held notes from going back down again after releasing the keys. This is the most mysterious one – what does the middle pedal on a piano do? Below is an example of where to use the sustain pedal from prelude of Debussy’s Pour Le Piano. Piano pedals are foot-operated levers at the base of a piano that change the instrument's sound in various ways. The reason for this is that most pieces of music that utilize the middle pedal have low notes that hold while other notes are played in the upper register. 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