Piano Forum



Piano Streetís Top Picks of 2022
With a handful of articles published every month since it's start in 2007, Piano Street's online magazine now consists of over 500 interviews, news, videos and in-depth articles about all kinds of piano-related topics. These are the 16 most read, discussed or shared articles of 2022. Read more >>

Topic: Can I use both Sostenuto and Sustaining pedals at the same time?  (Read 4143 times)

Offline amytsuda

  • PS Silver Member
  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 247
I don't have a teacher again, so I thought to see if someone kind can help! I am working on the menuet from Le Tombeau de Cuperin. There is a place where right hand is playing many big chords, while left hand hit the low octaves and need to sustain it for a while, while also playing many big chords. If I use sustaining pedal, it gets really muggy and dirty, so I tried out by using the sostenuto pedal when I hit the low octave on left and then, using sustaining pedal on top to connect other chords by renewing on each chord. It works on my piano. When I release all keys and sustaining pedal, but if I keep the sostenuto pedal, the left low octave is still there. But I am not sure if it works on all pianos. Is this a good approach?

Offline quantum

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 6220
Have you tried fractional pedaling?  Bass pitches tend to sustain over very quick pedals, or partial lifts of the pedal.  Test this out yourself: play a bass octave by itself and release hand off the keys, partially lift and then depress the pedal very quickly.  There should be a good amount of bass still left without needing to hold down the key with your fingers.

Voicing the top chords will give them clarity.  In other words, not all notes in those chords should be given equal importance.  

The sostenuto will trap any dampers that are lifted up and hold them up, whether it be from holding with your fingers or holding with the damper pedal.  If you choose to use it, you would need to release the damper before applying the sostenuto.  Now this would mostly apply to grands that have a standard sostenuto mechanism.  On verticals, the middle pedal can be any number of things.  

To answer your question, yes you can use the damper and sostenuto at the same time.  You just have to be aware of what the dampers are doing, and the order in which you depress and release both the damper and sostenuto.  The order in which you use them matters, as the dampers will follow one or the other pedal. 
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 avanchnzel

  • PS Silver Member
  • Jr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 44
Hi. Generally what the guy above said.

I played the menuet a long time ago, and Ravel specifically wrote pieces where use of the sostenuto pedal was expected in some passages. This one is one of them, and other examples by him are Jeux d'eau and Ondine. You'll really have a bad time if you perform and/or practise on a piano that hasn't got a sostenuto pedal, but pedalling by a fraction should keep things going.

As for the order in which you use your pedals for that particular passage. Damper pedal down on the first minim chord, release all the notes (allowing the pedal to sustain them), and leave the pedal down. Play the G octave and before releasing that, lower the sostenuto pedal before releasing. Holding both pedals, move up to the next crotchet chord and play that, changing your sustain pedal. Go on, just keep the sostenuto down as long as the music demands.

Offline amytsuda

  • PS Silver Member
  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 247
Thank you!!

Offline quantum

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 6220
avanchnzel, has the idea.  However, I would make a small amendment.  As I said above, order matters.  Doing the following: damper down, sostenuto down, damper up; would render the damper ineffective until the sostenuto is raised up.  Remember, the sostenuto catches the damper position regardless if it is your hands or the damper pedal holding the dampers up.  This is easier to visualize if you are at the piano and looking at the dampers as you move the pedals. 

Here's what I would do:
Play RH, LH chords; damper down
Hold RH chord, release LH chord
Play bass note and hold with fingers
Damper up
Sostenuto down
(Damper down optional)
Release LH bass note
Play RH, LH chords, damper down
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 amytsuda

  • PS Silver Member
  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 247
Thank you, Quantum, that was exactly what I was experimenting on my piano. This is great; this is the first impressionist big work I am working on, so exciting to learn how to use sostenuto pedal!!
For more information about this topic, click search below!
 

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