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Matti Raekallio on the Piano Education Pyramid
Matti Raekallio is one of Finland’s best-known piano teachers, who taught at the Juilliard School in New York from 2007 until 2021. In this essay, shared by the Finnish music magazine Rondo Classic, he examines the condition and requirements of music education from that perspective. What does it take to get to the top? What does the influx of Asian musicians tell us? Read more >>

Topic: The Sunken Cathedral  (Read 7243 times)

Offline ptyrrell

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The Sunken Cathedral
on: April 20, 2010, 12:07:47 PM

I am a bit confused on how to pedal the middle section of The Sunken Cathedral bar 28-39, I have heard that the middle pedal is depressed on a grand, however I am practicing on an upright.  I have also heard about 1/2 pedalling applied on an upright, but not sure on this

Any help would be greatly appreciated


Offline kitty on the keys

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Re: The Sunken Cathedral
Reply #1 on: April 20, 2010, 05:27:07 PM
ptyrrell....such a great piece to learn and play!  There are 2 schools of thought on the pedal in Debussy. Since it is stated that Debussy did not have the middle pedal, you should not use it. What it comes down to is is LISTENING.  If you can play this piece on a grand...try  the middle pedal...and listen. As in the Rachmaniniff C# minor prelude, do you use the sostenuto for the low tied notes or half pedal? I would also develop your pedal technique too.....half pedaling is used in many pieces and comes in handy. So you must experiment and listen as you play....good luck and have fun! :D

Kitty on the Keys
Kitty on the Keys
James Lee

Offline prongated

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Re: The Sunken Cathedral
Reply #2 on: April 20, 2010, 05:30:04 PM
It is indeed as you say re: middle pedal.

Half-pedalling is a universal pedal technique, and not just for pianos lacking the middle pedal. It is used to maintain the bass line as much as possible, without cluttering the upper register with unnecessary resonance. The result in the Debussy is, you get a cleaner change of harmony while still preserving the bass (C octave) for as long as possible. So change pedal every chord, but lift it halfway up, not all the way. (Or to be more specific, lift it only up to a point where the upper register starts to get dampened, before depressing it again - it's usually around halfway anyway...use your ears as judge!)

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