\"\"
Piano Forum logo

Pedaling and Bach prelude in C (Read 14929 times)

Offline sewillis

  • PS Silver Member
  • Newbie
  • ***
  • Posts: 5
Pedaling and Bach prelude in C
« on: October 12, 2007, 07:47:29 PM »
I am very much a beginner at piano and was wondering how to use the pedal when playing the Bach Prelude in C.  The music I've seen of it never has pedal markings.  I tend to have the pedal down through the whole piece (at least as much as I can play so far).  But that seems to be a bit too much.  Unless I am just playing to loud and too slow.  I could play quieter, but I'm not ready to be able to play much faster yet.  Any thoughts?

Offline dmc

  • PS Silver Member
  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 113
Re: Pedaling and Bach prelude in C
«Reply #1 on: October 12, 2007, 07:53:35 PM »
Typically music of Bach and other composers of his era (i.e. Scarlatti) shouldn't be pedaled at all.  The idea is try and sustain notes by "manually" connecting them (i.e. holding a note by depressing it until you play the next one).  If you aren't quite up to this yet, than just slow it down to a speed where its manageable.

Offline sewillis

  • PS Silver Member
  • Newbie
  • ***
  • Posts: 5
Re: Pedaling and Bach prelude in C
«Reply #2 on: October 12, 2007, 08:03:47 PM »
I somewhat thought that might be the case, but if I listen to a recording and then listen to what I'm playing it doesn't sound the same.  No surprise there, huh?  I'll work on that no pedaling more.  Maybe once I get all the notes and can then speed it up a little it will sound more to my liking.  Thanks.

Offline Nightscape

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 784
Re: Pedaling and Bach prelude in C
«Reply #3 on: October 13, 2007, 12:17:57 AM »
You should be able to play any Bach on the piano without the pedal convincingly.  However, by doing so you would not be utilizing the maximum amount of tonal color the piano has to offer.  I don't think you would ever want a hazy Debussyesque atmosphere, but using the pedals to highlight or color individual tones or lines without blurring the counterpoint is fine and an acceptable practice among pianists.

But for the most part, you wouldn't use the pedal.  I think in the first prelude, a very slight amount of pedal in some places enhances the piece - but you have to use your ear to determine where (and take into account the space you are playing in) and can be a rather advanced technique in Bach.

Offline ramseytheii

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2515
Re: Pedaling and Bach prelude in C
«Reply #4 on: October 13, 2007, 02:13:19 AM »
The reason that your result sounds so different from others you've heard may be that while they don't use pedal, they use what we call finger pedal, that is, holding over notes while you play others, using the fingers alone.  It's a very important technique for playing Bach, and in fact, he wrote it into this prelude... notice the bottom note is a half note, while the one above is a dotted ... literally wrote finger pedalling into the score.

Walter Ramsey



Offline dmc

  • PS Silver Member
  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 113
Re: Pedaling and Bach prelude in C
«Reply #5 on: October 13, 2007, 12:31:54 PM »
It does take adjustment to do this.  Particularly if one is used to pedalling a lot more on works from later eras.  I'm working on a couple Scarlatti pieces that call for the same thing and occasionally catch my right foot inching towards the pedal.  But this is also one of the reasons Bach is such good material for beginners because it develops this area.  Just slow it down until it feels comfortable.  Than try to play portions of it up to speed.  Eventually it will come together.  Good luck !

Oh yeah - welcome !   :)

Offline ada

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 761
Re: Pedaling and Bach prelude in C
«Reply #6 on: October 13, 2007, 01:05:42 PM »
Technique is what makes the Prelude in C a difficult piece. People think it is easy to play, which is why  it is given to beginners, but to play it beautifully is an entirely different matter.

I have been working on it for years and I'm still not entirely happy with the way I play it.
Bach almost persuades me to be a Christian.
- Roger Fry, quoted in Virginia Woolf

Offline term

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 493
Re: Pedaling and Bach prelude in C
«Reply #7 on: October 13, 2007, 04:43:20 PM »
Do as you like. There should be no rule about it.
I'm inclined to agree that, as nightscape said, you should be able to play bach without pedal convincingly. But that's all, the rest is a matter of taste.
In my humble opinion, the pedal is a very good tool to get more out of the prelude.  I personally use both "finger pedalling" and the normal pedal, depending on my mood. Dry and clear or rich and soft.
"Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools talk because they have to say something." - Plato
"The only truth lies in learning to free ourselves from insane passion for the truth" - Eco

Offline photowriters

  • PS Silver Member
  • Newbie
  • ***
  • Posts: 13
Re: Pedaling and Bach prelude in C
«Reply #8 on: May 05, 2008, 06:25:57 PM »
I'll add my two cents worth as well in regards to no pedaling. When Bach wrote the Well-Tempered Clavier, the most widely used keyboard instrument was the harpsichord which did not have any pedal to lift the dampers. That said, the piece does sound quite nice with judicious additions of sympathetic vibrations from other strings when the pedal was down.

Offline ramseytheii

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2515
Re: Pedaling and Bach prelude in C
«Reply #9 on: May 05, 2008, 07:12:01 PM »
I'll add my two cents worth as well in regards to no pedaling. When Bach wrote the Well-Tempered Clavier, the most widely used keyboard instrument was the harpsichord which did not have any pedal to lift the dampers. That said, the piece does sound quite nice with judicious additions of sympathetic vibrations from other strings when the pedal was down.

That's absolutely right.  The dry, detached sound that these early music influenced piano charlatans try and shove down people's throat as an authentic - or not as bad, historically informed - sound, is nothing like the sound of the harpsichord.  They should admit they are engaging in a modernist approach, not trying to replicate or imitate a sound from history.

Walter Ramsey



Offline slobone

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1059
Re: Pedaling and Bach prelude in C
«Reply #10 on: May 06, 2008, 03:15:27 AM »
What about rhythm? Absolutely strict, or would a little "agogic accent" actually be authentic? Slow down the first two notes of each measure, then speed up a little?

Offline pianoperformer

  • PS Silver Member
  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 107
Re: Pedaling and Bach prelude in C
«Reply #11 on: May 06, 2008, 03:30:11 PM »
I want to address something else that concerns me. sewillis, you said you're holding down the pedal the whole time. If I understand you correctly, you are never even switching it? That is, you just keep it down? I don't know how new you are, but thought you should know that you pretty much should never do this.

In later pieces there are pedal markings in the piece, but in earlier pieces there aren't. However, if pedal is used, it should be switched generally when the chord changes. Sometimes it is down for an entire phrase, or other times it is changed every beat. There's a part in the concerto I'm learning where it's down for I think an entire measure of 32nd notes, because the sound is supposed to grow in sound to a pinnacle. So it all depends on the music and what the desired effect is.

Eventually, you have an intuitive feel for when pedal is needed or when it should be switched.

I've not played much Bach, but the pieces I've played by him I've not used much pedal at all. In the last piece I learned, the prelude to the second English Suite, there was only a little two-measure section before a the repeat where I used pedal, and also where I was a little more liberal with the rhythm.

Offline dan101

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 440
Re: Pedaling and Bach prelude in C
«Reply #12 on: May 08, 2008, 12:57:11 PM »
Baroque music is generally more stylistic without pedal. Be cautious if you use it at all.
Daniel E. Friedman, owner of www.musicmasterstudios.com
You CAN learn to play the piano and compose in a fun and effective way.

Offline classical88

  • PS Silver Member
  • Newbie
  • ***
  • Posts: 17
Re: Pedaling and Bach prelude in C
«Reply #13 on: May 09, 2008, 01:11:31 PM »
Another issue in the playing of this piece is the aural association with Gounod's use of it an an accompaniment to his well-known "Ave Maria."  Many people when playing the prelude unknowingly shape it dynamically according to the curve of Gounod's vocal line.  This is unfortunate mostly because such a preconceived sound limits the performer's choices.  If you're going to "Gounod" the piece, do it intentionally  ;), and you will likely use the pedal, especially at the "climax' (I've done so myself at times).  But then at other times, choose to do something different, and keep your right foot in check.  My interpretation of this prelude changes also depending on whether I am in fact following it with the fugue.

Have fun with all the possibilities.

Thanks to Mr. Ramsey for his comments on the "charlatans."

Offline rented

  • PS Silver Member
  • Newbie
  • ***
  • Posts: 1
Re: Pedaling and Bach prelude in C
«Reply #14 on: December 09, 2008, 02:54:39 PM »
Please forgive me for resurrecting this somewhat old thread, but I need some tips on pedaling the next to last two measures.

No need to resurrect the debate on pedaling or not :) My teacher had me start this just before she got admitted to hospital. We never reached the end, but I want to work on it until she gets back to teaching again. Anyway, she wants me to use the pedal, and has me repedaling every other beat.

However, those next to last two measures don't work well repedaling in the middle of the measure. How would you suggest I use the pedal for those two measures? No pedal at all maybe? Half-pedaling?

Thanks!

Offline pianowolfi

  • PS Gold Member
  • Sr. Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5658
Re: Pedaling and Bach prelude in C
«Reply #15 on: December 09, 2008, 11:37:24 PM »
No pedal. Only finger pedal like Walter Ramsey suggested above.

Offline gyzzzmo

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2210
Re: Pedaling and Bach prelude in C
«Reply #16 on: December 10, 2008, 07:36:17 AM »
Its abit tricky with pedalling with Bach. You absolutely should not try immitating a harpichord, you're playing a piano afterall, and you can use pedal if you wish. But since Bach is a baroque style music you should try playing it 'baroqish'. That usually means that you dont use pedal much and IF you use it, only shortly for emphasizing purpose.

Gyzzzmo
1+1=11

Offline lostinidlewonder

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 5708
Re: Pedaling and Bach prelude in C
«Reply #17 on: December 12, 2008, 01:14:36 AM »
If you want to use the sustain pedal syncopate it every time you play the lowest note in the LH.
"The biggest risk in life is to take no risk at all."
www.facebook.com/groups/348933611793249/