Piano Forum



The Relaunch of Pleyel in France Produced Far Away
Last year, the completely new Pleyel instruments from the Algam company, which bought the brand in 2007, was presented to distributors. For the first time since Pleyel was founded in 1807, its pianos are made outside Europe. Read more >>

Topic: Is soft pedalling cheating?  (Read 2287 times)

Offline mjames

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2541
Is soft pedalling cheating?
on: February 05, 2016, 02:17:39 PM
Well I always knew about the soft pedal but I only just recently begun to use it...

See even if I play PPPPPP on rachs prelude op.3 no. 2 the tone still becomes um "clammy"when I slightly use the damper pedal, but that harsh tone disappears when I use the soft pedal. While I was using it I thought..wait, I can use this for other places that are pissing me off too and then I thought "is this bad for my progress??"

It's not that I don't know how to ppp I do but ppp+little bit of pedal=yucky sound

But ppp+damper+soft=yummy

advice pls

Offline quantum

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 6202
Re: Is soft pedalling cheating?
Reply #1 on: February 05, 2016, 02:44:37 PM
IMO, do what you need to to in order to achieve your vision.  If the soft pedal is what gives you the sound you want, why would you not use it?  It is on your piano, you paid for it, use it. 

Take some time to explore the resources the pedal gives.  Just like the damper pedal, it is not an on/off switch, but capable of fine gradient.  Take care not to glue your left foot down on it whenever you need soft sound - just as you wouldn't do with your right foot.  Think of it as expanding the tonal palette of the piano: helping you to refine ppp passages and giving them shape. 

There is some dogma surrounding its use, but at the end of the day your ears have the best perspective.  Explore non-standard ways of using the pedal.  Let your ears guide you to the pedal's use. 
Made a Liszt. Need new Handel's for Soler panel & Alkan foil. Will Faure Stein on the way to pick up Mendels' sohn. Josquin get Wolfgangs Schu with Clara. Gone Chopin, I'll be Bach

Offline adodd81802

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1114
Re: Is soft pedalling cheating?
Reply #2 on: February 05, 2016, 04:53:37 PM
For a piece i was playing the piano teacher told me on an upright he would hold it town for most of the performance and so while i think good touch is important i think the pedal is there for a reason
"England is a country of pianos, they are everywhere."

Offline iansinclair

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1472
Re: Is soft pedalling cheating?
Reply #3 on: February 05, 2016, 06:58:08 PM
Do keep in mind that the "soft" pedal on a grand -- properly termed an "una corda" pedal -- has a completely different effect from that on an upright.  You don't say which you are playing.  On a grand, it shifts the keyboard so that on the notes with two or more strings one of them isn't struck.  This gives a different quality to the tone, as well as a slightly softer sound for a given key strike.  On an upright, it shifts the hammers slightly closer to the strings, so that for a given key strike one does get a softer sound -- but it is very much as though one had struck the key with less velocity.  The tone quality, for the same volume, doesn't change.

Just worth thinking about, if you play on both grands and uprights -- don't expect exactly the same results!
Ian

Offline mjames

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2541
Re: Is soft pedalling cheating?
Reply #4 on: February 06, 2016, 01:57:34 PM
Oh yeah, I'm using an upright. I guess what I meant by tone is this:

When I use the damper pedal, I've experienced this on every upright so far, is that the damper not only holds down the notes you play but it also produces an "outer noise" or echo (not echo of the pitches). Electronic pianos don't have that, its just the pitches you hear. So basically upright pianos=pitches (inner sound)+outer damper sound, when you hold down the pedal. Now how much "outer sound" you get depends on how much you press the pedal. Well since I like clarity and hate the muddiness that comes out of pedaling like an idiot, I've grown very wary and eventually became very accustomed to half-pedaling-barely pedaling (just enougg for the pitches to stay on) and i rarely press it all the way down. Only when I'm playing stuff like the climax in rach's prelude op. 3 no.2.. i guess

the problem ive encountered with rach's prelude and few other pieces is that EVEN when I pedal the pitches slightly (LIKE BARELY), and even if i constantly lift it up and down to reduce the muddiness(to avoid blurriness and muddy harmony), the outer sound still PERSISTS. It's been infuriating me to NO end whenever I go through quiet sections. However I just discovered  that when I use the soft pedal, the outer sound caused from the damper pedal almost COMPLETELY disappears. And I've found this very useful for really quiet passages in the prelude or the op. 50 no. 3 chopin mazurka..

The elimination of the outersound/muddiness from the damper pedal is what I meant by "change in tone"

I'm using the soft pedal not to achieve ppp, because I can do that, i'm using it to eliminate the god awful outer sound during quiet passages.
sorryy for not using the proper terminology but thats what i meant
I hope that clarifies things
 

Logo light pianostreet.com - the website for classical pianists, piano teachers, students and piano music enthusiasts.

Subscribe for unlimited access

Sign up

Follow us

Piano Street Digicert