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Pedaling (Read 612 times)

Online 1piano4joe

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Pedaling
« on: June 19, 2020, 06:09:10 PM »
This is a collection of pedaling posts from other forum members. I can't seem to figure out the quote function giving credit to the original posters. 

PEDALING

Quote
It all depends on the space you are playing it in. If this is a large concert hall, no pedal simply won't work. The necessary roaring effect will be lost, and the left hand will sound dry and naked. There are no simple rules for pedaling here, but here are some ideas:
1. Pedaling obscures the bass more than the treble, and thus should be used more sparingly as the bass descends.
2. There is huge variety in pedal, a pedal is not merely either on or off. Experiment with different levels of pedaling. (The Yamaha disklavier as over 40 levels for the pedal!)
3. Pedaling always sounds more intrusive to the performer than the listener. Generally, a little more pedal (or even a lot more) than you think sounds right actually does sound right. Try to test this in a big space if you have access, using a knowledgable person in the audience.
4. Pedaling is an art. In a piece like this, I would shy away from the "change pedal every measure" attitude. You must be more flexible. Depend on your ear, and the ears of those people around you. It all depends on your piano, your space, and your interpretation. Remember that even when a composer or great editor marks a pedaling, this is merely the outline of idea. It is specific to that piano in that space. Try to keep the overall idea while still remaining flexible.

I know this is vague and difficult, but so is pedaling. And BTW, to not pedal a piece because no pedaling is marked in the score is nonsense. Chopin occasionally marked pedaling, but this shouldn't make us think that everywhere else he played "dry." This is simply unhistorical, read accounts of his playing.

I would like to add that if the LH run clearly forms some sort of arpeggio based on a chord, it would be quite safe to add a lot of pedal.  This will reinforce the harmonic structure of the arpeggio. 

If the LH has more scale like passages, use a bit less pedal so not to obscure the line of the scale.  But do not leave scales completely dry, add touches of pedal or half, or quarter pedal to give colour to parts of the scale.  If used wisely it can aid your direction of phrasing and line verry much. 

Remember the LH is not just accompaniment alone.  There are many instances where Chopin inserted melodic contour into the accompaniment.  Don't ignore these, but play them as a melody or counter-melody.

Pedaling is very individual.  If I know the pedaling marks are the composer's, I'll pay much closer attention to them and try to figure out what he/she intends.  If they are an editor's, well it depends on the editor, but with most I think my opinion is as good as theirs.  For me the goal is to have the pedal as unobtrusive as possible -- with some exceptions.  Occasionally in Chopin and Brahms and more often in Debussy an "atmospheric" pedal is OK or even necessary for some passages where the blending of sonorities is what the composer appears to be after.  Still, I've heard Debussy so abused by over use of pedal, especially in pieces like "Cathedral engloutie" where a lot of sustaining is required -- it just has to be very precise and well thought out.  Sorry to get a little off topic.

Pedaling is, in many cases, a matter of personal preference.  There are places, however, where either the use
of the pedal or no use of the pedal is required.  On this edition of Bacarole, the editor went a little hog-wild with the pedaling.  It is my opinion (as a Chopin fanatic) that pedaling on his pieces should be as uninvasive as possible; in fact, I devise my own pedaling for many of his pieces since I often do not agree with the editors of my books.  The editor for this piece seems to have tried to take his own personal preference for this piece and transcribe it to the page.  Pedaling marks like this should be left out completely and the pedaling should be left to the player to decide in instances such as this! 

The pedal is very different from a straight piano to a grand piano. Generally the rule of thumb is you can keep a pedal if its the same chord.

Here is a trick that my teacher taught me about pedaling. You should pedal every measure, except when you change chords. You always pedal when you change chords. If you don't it will sound slurred.

On pedaling, the higher you are in the treble part of the keyboard you are, the more forgiving is the piano when you pedal a passing tone.  The reason is that the sustain is less on the high notes.  You should still avoid messy pedaling up there, but yes, you can also get away with more.  Pedaling passing tones in the tenor and bass, however, will instantly put you in a bad light.

What I am saying here, by the way, does not entirely apply to Debussy and Ravel, where not only are there exceptions, but sometimes you take a bath in the piece by applying a great deal of pedal, half pedals, flutter pedals, etc.  But in the Classical and Early Romantic period, you have to use a lot of discipline.

Offline samwitdangol

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Re: Pedaling
«Reply #1 on: June 20, 2020, 01:10:10 AM »
What is the point of this?
Currently working on:

Beethoven Sonata 22 and 27
Chopin Nocturne Op. 15 No. 1
Bach Sinfonia 2
Czerny Op. 740
Scarlatti K. 18

Online 1piano4joe

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Re: Pedaling
«Reply #2 on: June 20, 2020, 02:48:53 PM »
Yes, those are all posts from other members. I don't remember how to use the "quote" function giving credit where it's due.

I don't know when to pedal. I just can't seem to get the hang of it. I don't understand /agree with pedaling choices in some scores and so was looking to learn as much as possible from other members here. I spent maybe 6 or more hours reading hundreds of posts from many users addressing various pedaling situations. I collected posts that I found to be useful/interesting to further my rather limited understanding of pedaling. I do not want to have to sift through all those posts again to find that information.

"Con pedale", I hate that. I use the pedal when instructed but without specific instructions things get wonky.



Offline dogperson

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Re: Pedaling
«Reply #3 on: June 20, 2020, 07:18:25 PM »
You don’t even need a special ‘quote function’ to give credit

Option 1 for post
‘I found this great post here regarding pedaling posted on xxx by xxx. I have copied it below’

Option 2:
I have found this great post here re pedaling.  Here is the link.

Then put your finger or cursor in the top url bar and copy and paste the url for  the thread with the post

https://www.pianostreet.com/smf/index.php?action=post;topic=66610.0;last_msg=700964

————-
You need to pedal with your ears!  Sound too mushy, pedal more often or half pedal. Experiment until the music sounds the way you like.





Online 1piano4joe

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Re: Pedaling
«Reply #4 on: June 20, 2020, 07:47:08 PM »
Mea Culpa

Yes, it was quite thoughtless of me.

Offline quantum

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Re: Pedaling
«Reply #5 on: June 20, 2020, 08:25:32 PM »
As dogperson said, use your ears.  Think of pedalling directions as something you hear rather than something you see.  You will come to an understanding of pedalling if you let your ears guide your foot. 

"Con pedale" is far more useful than explicit pedal directions.  It declutters the score and leaves pedal directions to the pianists ear, rather than distract them with markings the pianist not likely to use. 
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Offline keypeg

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Re: Pedaling
«Reply #6 on: June 20, 2020, 11:16:13 PM »
There is a bit more to pedal than "use your ears".  I've been told by at least one teacher that almost every transfer students who comes to him has not been taught properly the fundamentals of pedal.  Many pedal "backward", and so on.

To the OP:  Can you start by telling us, as well as you can, what you know about pedaling so far.  Start with the basics of how to pedal, what happens with hand and foot, when and why.  Then choices in music - for example in terms of chords, harmonies, dry and wet sound.  There is no such thing as a stupid question, and it is not stupid not to know something.  That's why we're students.

Online 1piano4joe

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Re: Pedaling
«Reply #7 on: June 21, 2020, 01:30:07 AM »
Hi keypeg

Thank you for giving me the go ahead to ask some questions. I didn't mean to post the score twice. I don't know how to delete one of them.

I am learning Barcarolle Op. 138, no.5 by Heller. The version I have is from RCM Etudes Level 6. The only instructions are con ped.

So, I look the score over and decide to pedal 2 times a measure for most of the score. I wanted to test my ear and tried holding the pedal the entire first measure. Yes, my ear yelled at me. This sounded awful and so I knew not to do that. Besides there is a change of harmony in the left hand.

So, I found a copy on IMSLP (Petrucci Library) with pedaling. I have so many questions about this now.

My confusion begins in the very 1st measure. Why is the pedal held down for only half the measure? I wouldn't know to do that. My ear didn't tell me not to. It sounds okay to me with pedaling that 1st measure 2 times.

So, I ask myself Why? Evidently, somebody else's ear says not to pedal there. Is it because of the chromaticism in the right hand melody? Was it to emphasize the b minor of the piece? The right thumb goes f#, e#, e in the first bar and a half. So, no pedaling. Okay fine.

but in measures 6&7 with d,c#, c there is 3 pedals in a row. What? Is this to make it musical and not formulaic? Don't pedal the same idea the same way twice? I don't know and am puzzled by this.

Okay, more trouble for me in measure 2. I would have pedaled on beat 4 and not beat 5. Also, I would have pedaled at beginning of measure 3 and not held the pedal across the bar line. The 2nd half of the 3rd measure is unpedaled! How bizarre to me when the previous measure it was at least partially pedaled.

In the middle of measure 7, the pedaling just stops for a few bars. I would "con pedale" there. How should I know not to pedal measures 8,9 & 10?

Why is measure 10 senza pedale and measure 15 con pedale? Is it the fp marking?

What about the 16th note run in measure 9? That run appears 3 times in this piece but is only pedaled the 2nd and 3rd time it appears. I have no idea why. Is it because it starts mf? I don't know.

I tried pedaling those 16th note runs 4 times a measure on beats 1,2,4 &5. This makes the right hand less blurry to my ears but I lose the base note too soon for my ears. Maybe the middle pedal should hold that bass note. I have an upright with a middle practice pedal so that's not really an option but just curious though.

Measure 15 I can see maybe there isn't any need to pedal twice in that measure.

Measure 5, I'm pedaling on beat 1 and pedaling that measure twice. That extends the duration of the quarter note in the right hand. Is this just my interpretation or do I play it this way because I just don't know any better. I don't know. This score puts the pedal down on beat 2 which could hold that quarter the whole entire measure! So, I could either release the right hand note a smidge earlier and/or pedal a little later like on beat 3. I like pedaling beat 1 as it holds the bass note and sounds better to my uneducated ears.

Finally, measures 24 & 25. Measure 25 is unpedaled is that because of the pp?

Is this piece supposed to be a little blurry because it's a barcarolle?

Does anyone know of a similar piece? Preferably, a little bit easier. I like the Chopin Nocturne in Eb but it's a bit much for me.

I know very little about pedaling. I know I can pedal before, on or after the beat. That I can do. I know about 1/4, 1/2, 3/4 & flutter pedaling but those I can't do. I use the pedal more or less like an on or off switch. I know the pedal can be used for legato purposes. That's pretty much about it.

keypeg, what does it mean to pedal backwards? Maybe I do this and don't know it? It sounds like a bad thing. I'm guessing it has to do with timing between hands and feet. 

p.s. I just remembered two more things I learned about pedaling. Firstly, at the very end of a piece you can release the pedal very slowly for effect. Secondly, after a longer duration note and the sound is fading away, play the following notes softer or they will sound accented or possibly like a crescendo.

Offline samwitdangol

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Re: Pedaling
«Reply #8 on: June 21, 2020, 02:05:21 AM »
      It is strange how you did not include a question or express uncertainty in your original post and only did so later in the thread after being accused of plagiarism.
Currently working on:

Beethoven Sonata 22 and 27
Chopin Nocturne Op. 15 No. 1
Bach Sinfonia 2
Czerny Op. 740
Scarlatti K. 18

Offline lostinidlewonder

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Re: Pedaling
«Reply #9 on: June 21, 2020, 02:43:32 AM »
Welcome to the world of bad pedal markings, a very common occurance. I don't see why they have different pedal on parts which look exactly the same elsewhere. Don't trust pedal markings when they go loopy like that.

The single bass notes in the LH are quavers so they don't want to drag through the lines. The piece ultimately can be played with zero pedal at all and finger legato effects. Perhaps when there are tempo changes like the rit and accents in the melody releasing the pedal is better because things will overlap more noticeably. Also the phrasing in the RH right at the start in bar 1 and throughout, I wonder if the legato ties between the two pairs of notes in a row can be effectively expressed with a pedal held down?
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Offline keypeg

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Re: Pedaling
«Reply #10 on: June 21, 2020, 03:06:45 PM »
Hi keypeg
........

I know very little about pedaling. I know I can pedal before, on or after the beat. That I can do. I know about 1/4, 1/2, 3/4 & flutter pedaling but those I can't do. I use the pedal more or less like an on or off switch. I know the pedal can be used for legato purposes. That's pretty much about it.

keypeg, what does it mean to pedal backwards? Maybe I do this and don't know it? It sounds like a bad thing. I'm guessing it has to do with timing between hands and feet. 
I'll start here.  Yes, at the most fundamental level, I was thinking of hands and feet timing.  My teacher tells me that many students who come to him have it backward, as if there was a string from hand to foot, so when hand goes up, foot goes up.  Understanding how pedal works (for those who don't have it) is the first step: that your hand and foot take turns holding the damper off the strings so that they can continue resonating.  You probably know that.  The simplest exercise is to play diatonic chords up the piano, connecting them to sound legato (C, Dm, Em, F, G etc.) in such a way that the previous note doesn't bleed into the next note, nor to have a hole in the sound.  The hand has to hold the chord long enough for the pedal to engage to sustain the sound, and the pedal has to "turn off" the old note at the right moment.  I learned to play staccato minus pedal, then do the same thing with pedal where suddenly we get the legato sound. This is fundamental for getting the coordination and ear going.  You experiment.   Later you can experiment with how much you might want chord 1 to bleed into chord 2, for different effects.  Then as you work with music, you have all that in your pallet.

That is all I'll say about this part of it.  Make sure you know how it works, that your ear gets some training in coordination with your hands and foot, so that you have these tools.

What I'm reading in the rest of your post, you seem to be following instructions written into the music, sort of passively, and then listening to the results.  What if you examine the music ignoring any pedal marks, work to understand the music, and then plan out what kinds of sounds you want to hear in the music.  Mark it in, experiment.  Work in smaller sections.  Use the knowledge you gained in the first part.  Obviously if you have a piece of music with a C chord and notes belonging to that, followed by a Dm chord and ditto, you will want to change pedal at the Dm.  This is really obvious, but it's an example of planning.  Supposing you have a C chord for 2 measures, but your melody notes are a scale, or even a chromatic passage.  You'd have a muddy mess.  Since you have to pedal frequently you'd have to hold your C chord down with your hand, but on the last RH note, just before the next passage with a new chord, you could "grab" that chord with your pedal, release it with your hand, and zip over to a new place.  This can all be planned out, marked in.

That's what I mean by planning rather than passively received what was written in by someone.  You might combine this by first planning out your own pedaling, then compare it with what "they" wrote in, see whether you were of one mind, what is different, and whether that makes any sense.

Quote
p.s. I just remembered two more things I learned about pedaling. Firstly, at the very end of a piece you can release the pedal very slowly for effect.
Have you figured out what is happening as you release the pedal?  And what effect you get?

I'm picturing that first the strings will be resonating freely since nothing is impeding their vibration.  Your pedal foot is holding the felt dampers away.  When you "release" the pedal, you are actually gradually lowering the dampers.  At first they barely touch and don't really teach, like a mosquito's wings.  You might get some kind of a buzz or something.  As soon as a critical point is reached, the vibrations and sound are stopped.  But I'm wondering - does one need a very well calibrated sensitive instrument to do something that delicate.

Quote
Secondly, after a longer duration note and the sound is fading away, play the following notes softer or they will sound accented or possibly like a crescendo.
That makes sense.  That's physics and behaviour of the instrument - a sound struck starts decaying the instant after.

Offline keypeg

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Re: Pedaling
«Reply #11 on: June 21, 2020, 03:10:04 PM »
A while back I was given a second cool view of pedal.  As an "off" instead of an "on".  In "on", I'm thinking of turning on the continuation of a sound, and keeping the sound going.  I'm listening for the duration of the sound until I stop maintaining its duration.  My focus is on the depressed pedal, which has removed the dampers.  In "of" I'm thinking of a sound that is continuing, and at what point I want to turn it off.  My focus is on the falling dampers and the moment of release of the pedal.  There's kind of a shift in viewing time, and for some reason it's been useful.   I can't quite explain why.

Online 1piano4joe

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Re: Pedaling
«Reply #12 on: June 21, 2020, 05:20:01 PM »
Hi keypeg

I've been thinking about an analogy that came to me. I don't know how appropriate this analogy is. Let me know what you think of it.

I've been "pedaling" (not piano) since I was 3 years old. Yes, just bicycles. Then it was go karts and motorcycles as a teenager. Oh, and we had an organ (still have it actually) when I was a child. Right foot controls volume and left foot plays bass notes. This requires reading 3 staffs and some coordination as well. Sometimes, I have to look down at my feet. Those foot pedals are awfully close together. Just recently learned there are "organ shoes" which taper at the bottom. Never had those, my organ shoes were my Nikes!

Well the analogy is my car. I have both an accelerator and brake pedal. I don't drive around "riding" the brake but I do hold the gas pedal to keep the car at a steady speed. You can probably surmise where I'm going with this.

When I'm driving on the highway any distance at all, I sometimes use more gas pedal to pass someone or change lanes. Other times when I come to some slower traffic, I just back off the gas pedal enough to slow down some. I don't necessarily use the break but sometimes if I need to slow the car faster that easing off the gas I need to use the break pedal. And when I had my corvette there was a 3rd pedal called the clutch. So, three pedals with three different functions like the piano!

Are there pieces that are played (pedaled that is) sort of like driving a car where the right foot goes from 1/2 pedal to 3/4 or more and then back to 1/2 then maybe 1/4 and maybe stopping for a stop sign or redlight?

Should I think of pedaling like I thing about dynamics? I think that would be helpful to me if I did.

A crescendo, an increase in volume would be analogous to using more pedal. FFF, fully depressed pedal, ppp minimal?

I use pedal like an on or off switch. Does fractional pedaling work the same on an upright the same as a grand piano? I know the dampers are vertical and not horizontal but I meant the sound. I know repeated notes can be played faster on the grand because of that. Also, my upright left pedal just moves dampers closer to the strings and has been called a true soft pedal. I don't use it at all unless dictated to by the music whereas the grand shifts the hammers and strikes 1 string. I wonder how that works on the 4 string Bluthner pianos. Is is still 1 string? Or maybe two?   

Even though I don't "fractional pedal", I've always thought about it in a pressing down way. Now, I'm thinking in terms of lifting up fractionally. Fully depressed then lifting the foot fractionally. Is this done all the time? I'm thinking I'm an idiot for not realizing this.

Well, that's all for now.

Thanks keypeg.

p.s. Is there a video just demonstrating the fractional pedaling where my simple, uneducated ear could actually here a difference? I don't know where or when to pedal as it is but now I have to decide "How Much"? I will start with training wheels for two reasons. Firstly, I think I could 1/2 pedal, maybe. Maybe I could even hear the difference eventually. Secondly, where or when would it be appropriate to use 1/2 pedal? That's probably all  could handle right now but Rome wasn't built in a day. So, I guess that would be a start/step in the right direction.

Thanks again, Joe.

p.p.s. I found a YouTube video by Graham Fitch talking about 10 levels of pedaling.

Offline keypeg

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Re: Pedaling
«Reply #13 on: June 22, 2020, 01:26:56 PM »
1piano4joe, I'm reading this all with interest.

The first important thing, I think, is how you started, with that organ.  It is a different instrument which functions differently than a piano, but happens to look like one.   When you first learn to play an instrument, you build a kind of cross-wiring between your ears, body, and head which becomes automatic.  Your "wiring" and associations right now are for organ, and not piano atm.  You need to rewire that understanding.

I'm taking two different sections of your post
Quote
(the organ)  We had an organ (still have it actually) when I was a child. Right foot controls volume and left foot plays bass notes.
..............
(later, about piano)
Are there pieces that are played (pedaled that is) sort of like driving a car where the right foot goes from 1/2 pedal to 3/4 or more and then back to 1/2 then maybe 1/4 and maybe stopping for a stop sign or redlight?

Should I think of pedaling like I thing about dynamics? I think that would be helpful to me if I did.

A crescendo, an increase in volume would be analogous to using more pedal. FFF, fully depressed pedal, ppp minimal?

Are you able to see, when this is put side-by-side, that you are picturing the piano pedal as functioning like the organ pedal?  They function very differently. You have to replace this picture with another picture.  You have the wrong picture.

First you have to understand how the piano, and the pedal works.  Creating concrete experience is better than just reading about it.     So first, create the experience of a vibrating string.  I took a rubber band and a bowl.  The rubber band has to be stretched, and free to vibrate from either end.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/byz77yd9sgz8qa4/1%20pic.JPG?dl=0

Then pluck the string.  Besides listening, watch how it vibrates so fast that the middle becomes blurry.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/32aqik68p0divr3/2%20movie.MOV?dl=0

This is how your piano works.  (If you have a digital piano, it simulates it).  The hammers strike the string, and the impact makes it vibrate.  That creates the sound.

This is how sound is created.  On the piano, sound is created when a hammer strikes the tight strings with a lot of force.  The faster the hammer flies toward the strings, the louder the sound is.  The only thing that can affect the volume is what you do with your hands.  The initial loudness is set by the force of the strike against the strings, and after that it can only decay.

Your pedal foot cannot create loudness.  It does not have any such role.

So let's find out about this part.  This is the only video I found that shows dampers going up and down.  On an acoustic piano, they are felt blocks that sit on the strings.
=21

Back to our home-made rubber band instrument.  If you rest a finger on the rubber band, and pluck with the other hand, you get no sound because your resting finger stops it from vibrating.  Try it, even if it seems silly.  If you lift your finger off,  to free the string, then it can vibrate and produce a sound when plucked.  The dampers are like that resting finger.  However, there is a mechanism in the piano keys, so that when you press a key down, it also lifts the damper off that string, while also sending the hammer flying for the strike.

This is how your piano works; a digital piano simulates it.

Experiment with your rubber band**, plucking lightly and more heavily, to experience how you can get louder and quieter, and watch the vibrations while you do that. This is the first part.

___
** If you have a guitar or other string instrument, or can borrow one, that's even better

Offline keypeg

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Re: Pedaling
«Reply #14 on: June 22, 2020, 02:05:21 PM »
Part 2.

After you get a sense of vibrating strings and sound, we can look at the damper part of it.

If you pluck your string to vibrate freely, producing a sound, and you drop your other hand (finger) on it, the sound will suddenly stop.  Put another way, you have stopped it from vibrating.  In the same way, if you are holding the dampers off the string via the pedal, and you release the pedal, the dampers fall on the strings.  That stops vibration and sound. This is the crudest way we learn to use pedal.

Pluck your rubber band again.  (A thicker band stretched rather tightly works best, since it will vibrate more strongly.)  This time, while it's vibrating, try to bring your finger near it just so you can feel the vibrating sort of tingling against your finger, or like the sensation of a mosquito's wings or a puff of air brushing past you.  It's a delicate "almost touch" getting close to the string.  Since it's vibrating side to side, you're just catching the outer edges of that.  You might manage to semi-stop some of the vibration, so that it still vibrates, but less.  I ended up with a kind of weird buzzy sound. ........ So if you have played a note with the pedal down, fully lifting the dampers, and you raise your foot just a fraction inside a sweet spot, you might stop some of the vibrations / sound that is already going on, and get it to be a bit quieter.

My teacher talked about this, and also the video you referred to.  That teacher is playing an expensive, top Steinway grand piano, meticulously maintained, with everything balanced perfectly.  Most pianos would not have that degree if sensitivity and fine balance in its mechanism.  (This, from our conversation).

2.  Still along these avenues.  I suppose that if I had a hair's breadth kind of distance from the rubber band before plucking it, then it would start to vibrate, but not be able to reach the full side-to-side due to the interference of my hand, so that would change the initial sound.  That would be like the pedal being half down, doing an almost-lift of the dampers almost off the strings.  This is a stupid way to try to play quieter, since you can do so simply via the fingers.  It might have an effect on quality of sound, like maybe more buzzing or so.  That's probably the "half pedal" idea.  This is how it would work.

The limitation of the piano is that once a sound is started, it cannot be altered.  There are pedal tricks to try to alter volume of a started sound.  So if your damper can "partly stop" a sound as in example 1, maybe you can make it go suddenly more quiet.

My teacher gave me an idea, with the key word "quick", but I think is "quick and light", where you give the string a quick and light touch.  Imagine your rubber band, which is vibrating, and you semi-touch it for a milli-second, slowing the vibration but not stopping it.

I have a screenshot of when I first tried this and too extreme results.  You can see the sudden drop in sound (the fat squiggles, become skinny squiggles, like a tadpole with a tail).
https://www.dropbox.com/s/730wk932pq751xu/fast%20pedal.jpg?dl=0

This is the sound that went with that screen shot.  Later when I play two notes in a row, the idea was that the first note continues, but "less", so that it is still heard.  like in a waltz, you want that first base note to be heard: your LH can't stay down there since it has other notes to play, but you also don't want the whole thing to be a blur.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/br6e9kq1wv2p5fm/20.01.24a%20fast%20pedal.mp3?dl=0

A few days later after working on my teacher's feedback I refined it.  The tadpole has a fatter tail.  Here where I play 2 notes, you want the first note to still blend into the second note, but it's been partly damped.  This "quick and light" pedal was employed.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/z47mdo7u4uvosps/20.01.27a%20fast%20pedal.mp3?dl=0

Offline keypeg

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Re: Pedaling
«Reply #15 on: June 22, 2020, 03:22:35 PM »
About the soft pedal (left).

On your upright, when it brings stuff closer, it means that the hammers are swinging at a smaller distance.  Like if you draw your arm far back to throw a ball, and hurl it, there's more momentum and force.  If you do a flick of the wrist and your arm hardly moves, it won't go far.

On a grand, where the system moves sideways, it means the hammer ends up hitting only 2 out of 3 strings where there are 3 strings to a note; 1 out of 2 strings where there are 2.  It's like 20 people are singing the same tune, and suddenly 10 of them stop singing.  The quality of the sound will also change.

Online 1piano4joe

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Re: Pedaling
«Reply #16 on: June 22, 2020, 06:32:39 PM »
Hi keypeg

Actually, I started flutophone in 3rd grade and studied clarinet in grades 4 through college and eventually became a music major at Five Towns College when it was originally located in Merrick, NY. I was in dance band and marching band for many years. I took year round private music (yes even during the summer) lessons with my clarinet teacher for over 10 years. He also taught me the saxophone and after 4 years of clarinet study, it was a breeze. Later, I studied the flute briefly which has a different embouchure and is not a reed instrument. I don't play flute very well, actually pretty badly.

Organ came about after my father won some money gambling on horses. They were deciding between piano and organ. They bought a Baldwin after I had maybe 4 years of clarinet study under my belt. The organ was for my mom who played and my dad played accordion. I almost didn't get music lessons because of an older brother who took guitar lessons and didn't stick with it. It took a lot of whining from a child to persuade them or more to the point to just shut me up!

I fiddled with the organ. I learned to play it much better than my mom. She never had lessons. You can't play chords on a clarinet. And through the organ was how I learned about harmony, chords and bass notes. I was an extremely proficient treble clef reader and knew all major and minor scales, arpeggios, etc. from the clarinet but my "piano" fingers were way behind my eye-hand clarinet reading. And I didn't know anything about bass clef. Coordinating two hands, reading two staffs, one fluently, and the other barely was frustrating to say the least. I eventually added my left foot. I was doing hand separate practice way back then maybe 50 years ago before I even knew about it. Oddly, I was even doing foot separate practice! Yes, just playing the bass notes with my foot. It was the only way. There was no teacher for the organ just my woodwind teacher.

Anyway, at 16 I got my first guitar. I know all too well about vibrating strings. I am a rather accomplished guitarist. I bend strings with my fingers, hammer on, hammer off, slide up and down the fret board and even vibrato notes and chords. I later learned the travis pick which is a finger picking style. Guitar is much more limited than the organ but I did get to "rock out". Fuzz, flangers, stereo chorus, wah wah, "Do you feel like we do", having the guitar sound in your mouth talking was pretty cool for a teenager! I played guitar for around 15 years. I rarely play now. I would much rather play the piano!

Later, I switched my major from music and I learned about standing waves, nodes, amplitude, frequency, wavelengths, decibels, etc. when I studied physics later in college. Also, cool things like the doppler shift, constructive and destructive interference.

I use to go to my brothers swanky restaurant and play his white baby grand after closing since I didn't own a piano.  That was mostly in my thirties. Finally, I bought myself a piano when I was 40 years old. That's why my handle is 1piano4Joe.

I've watched many a vibrating string. I know about mass per unit length. Some guitar strings are thicker just like piano. However, the guitar strings are all the same length but I digress.

I have, on occasion, removed the front panel on my piano just to watch the insides, the dampers, strings, moving parts, mechanisms, etc.

The right foot organ pedal does function in a sense like the right foot piano pedal. It's not like an on and off switch. It's a pot, a potentiometer, essentially a variable resistor. You probably have these in your house. The dimmer switch on lights do the same thing, they're pots too. Maybe your stove if it's electrical has pots. I know the pedal lifts the dampers and creates resonance through overtones. The piano pedal create loudness? I hope I didn't give the impression that I thought that!

I've been told the right piano pedal is not an on or off switch neither. That's about where the similarity ends.

Sound in the clarinet is created by a vibrating column of air in the bore of the instrument. The finger holes change the length of this vibrating column. Much like the frets do on a guitar.

I've muted the strings manually by hand on guitar. I have done this on the cymbals when playing the drums. You grab the vibrating cymbal to stop the sound. I guess my hand is a kind of damper.

Sympathetic resonance causes strings which were not struck by the hammers to vibrate. Try yelling and/or singing in to your piano with the dampers lifted. Strings should vibrate according to mathematically related frequencies which I don't remember off the top of my head but then I turn 60 in November and I can't remember what I had for breakfast today.

Offline keypeg

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Re: Pedaling
«Reply #17 on: June 22, 2020, 08:49:17 PM »
If you have all that background, then I am surprised that you haven't yet made the connection, and come to some of the wrong conclusions that you did.  I did the "elastic band on a bowl" thing because I figured you had never experienced a vibrating string.  Since you have all that at your disposal, then maybe something in this conversation will give you the rest for putting it together.  Perhaps what you need to do at this point is take all the info that you have from all over the place, and start making connections, look at things afresh.  Don't keep looking for more and more things, don't research ever more.  Work with what you have.  One cannot become an "information collector" for music, but it is all too easy to fall into that trap.
I wish you the best in this journey.

Online 1piano4joe

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Re: Pedaling
«Reply #18 on: June 23, 2020, 01:49:56 AM »
Hi keypeg

Thanks for all your help. I just decided to play the piece a la Frank Sinatra, "I did it My Way". It sounds perfectly fine. I can be arrogant and cocky in other areas of life but when it comes to piano I generally think other people know better and I MUST BE WRONG.

Maybe I know more about when to pedal then I give myself credit for. Maybe my ear is better than I thought. I don't know. I still can't understand the pedaling in that score though. Is it possible the editor either doesn't have a clue or is just way way out there in his interpretation? And maybe I'm more mainstream?

I thought a good way to learn about pedaling was to look at a piece that doesn't have any markings, print it out, write in my own pedaling and then find a piece that has them "professionally" done by an "expert" and I can see my mistakes and learn from them.

I'm beginning to think that that is "Stinking Thinking"!

Perhaps a much better way to view pedaling is the view I take with given fingering. Merely a suggestion and NOT definitive.

If I pedal where I shouldn't, well, then so be it. Better than driving myself crazy trying to comprehend someone else's rendering.

At least it will be my own version.

Thanks, Joe.

Offline keypeg

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Re: Pedaling
«Reply #19 on: June 23, 2020, 10:50:21 AM »
One of your original issues was, in fact, pedaling marked in by the editors, which did not always seem right.   We will carry in ourselves assumptions we are not aware of, and in everything we do, that assumption is there affecting us, or blocking other possibilities.  If such an assumption or "truth" comes to the light of day, we can suddenly be freed of obstacles we didn't know were there.  I think here you have carried a hidden assumption:
- pedal markings in scores must be right
- there must be sense in the markings that are put in scores

If this unexamined "truth" is a thing you carry inside yourself, and what you actually observe - or what your musical sense and instincts tell you - are at odds, then you will have inner conflict and/or confusion.

Supposing you replace these two ideas (if you held them at some level) with two others, as an hypothesis.
- pedal markings in scores are not always right
- there is not always sense in the markings that are put in scores

And then also examine what you actually know about pedal; examine where your instincts are taking you in pedal when it sounds right to you; why is that so; what's underneath that; learn to know what you know, sort of.

In fact, that's the journey you're on.   If by any chance that belief has been residing somewhere in you that pedal markings in scores are right, and exist for a reason, then by unearthing it and replacing it, will probably give you a sudden freedom and relaxation. 

Actually at least one person before me has said that pedal markings are often wrong or stupid.  There will be some reason why you did not manage to hear it.  That also happens.

What do you think?

Offline keypeg

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Re: Pedaling
«Reply #20 on: June 23, 2020, 11:07:20 AM »
Not pedal, but an experience:

When I came back to piano (I was self-taught as a child, and got a piano again 35 years later, and started to learn-learn), somebody passed on a book of "easy classical" which went chronologically from early composers to modern.  There were some things I didn't know at the time.  1. The music was simplified so that beginner/intermediate students could play it.  2.  Tricks were put in so that the playing would impress parents and I guess the students - they could be little recital pieces.

I ended up with this giant obstacle with a piece; something was throwing me very badly.  I felt some kind of an inner conflict, like something in me was fighting what was in the score, and by then I knew about this phenomenon. Finally I showed it to a teacher/musician, and she told me of the original version.  I was "hearing" part of the original version sticking out from underneath, and it conflicted with what was in the score, which was formulaic.  As follows:

The original version was a jaunty ballad with a bouncy rhythm, polyphonic interplay of voices, and rather fast.  You'd probably want to use pedal sparingly or not at all.  But it had been given the formulaic treatment that I saw in a lot of the music:

- It was put at a slow tempo, maybe even lento
- Pedal to soften the sound, in a kind of dreamy romantic way
- The polyphony was turned into chords, like somebody singing a sad lament with a guitar underneath, but it didn't quite work.
- A romantic formula that he had done in several other pieces:  In a section of the music that can be seen as a climax, put in a ritardando plus crescendo (dramatic rising tension, a scream of anguish that hovers in the air), then resume a tempo, and mp, to have this soft soothing dramatic contrast.

He did this formula over and over. One could imagine the parents swooning, "Oh how beautiful".  It was an absolute disaster if you're hearing the piece how it was intended, and you're fighting how it was edited to "sound pretty", but trying to obey the instructions of the music.   When I sped up the tempo, ignored the melodramatic interpretation stuck into the music, restored the rhythm and character, suddenly I wasn't struggling with the piece.

Offline dogperson

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Re: Pedaling
«Reply #21 on: June 23, 2020, 11:15:28 AM »
Hi Joe
Have you considered finding a teacher, even if not long-term?  It would provide you with more than a theoretical background and discussion about pedaling.  Your teacher could hear  you play,  discuss your musical intent, and help you identify and hear pedaling options. You really are just not able  to get that through an online Piano forum discussion


Offline keypeg

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Re: Pedaling
«Reply #22 on: June 23, 2020, 01:34:13 PM »
Hi Joe
Have you considered finding a teacher, even if not long-term?
From what I gather from one of the responses, he was at one time a music major, i.e. would have attended what Americans call "college" and we call "university".
But if previous studies in music with private teachers and class teachers did not include piano studies, maybe you're right.  I thought that to enter as a music major for any instrument, a certain level of piano had to have been reached.

Online 1piano4joe

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Re: Pedaling
«Reply #23 on: June 23, 2020, 04:11:44 PM »
Hi keypeg

Wow! Your last post really struck a chord. It was exactly what I needed to read.

Yes, of course, I believe pedal markings in scores must be right and there must be sense in the markings that are put in scores. This is my "unexamined truth"! And I have much inner conflict/confusion.

but now... thanks to you, your choice of words have made me question this belief!

I did read another post addressing this but I misinterpreted it. I needed to read specifically that PEDAL MARKINGS ARE NOT ALWAYS RIGHT, ARE OFTEN WRONG, THERE OFTEN IS NO SENSE IN THEM AND CAN BE JUST PLAIN STUPID!

One of my biggest problems is that things have to be explained a certain way to me or often the message is blocked somehow, someway by my mind. It does not compute!

Perhaps, a much more serious problem I have is listening to others against my better judgment! This has caused me much grief in my life through the years.

About your "experience", I think I have that same book and/or several like it. One in particular comes to mind. "Classic Themes by the Masters" which was arranged by James Bastien. However, I made this purchase as a 40 year old adult. Some 20 years ago.

In books like these, there are some arrangements that I get a kick out of playing and others that I absolutely just shun.

In college, music majors took 0, 1/2 and 1 credit courses. Only music theory was a 3 credit course.

There was something called Departmental Recital Seminar which was a 0 credit course with mandatory attendance and any absences would result in a reduction of your theory grade. These were performances that you were required to sit through and just listen and be exposed to. These were just plain awful! Quite disturbing to me personally.

We did have to take piano minor. That was the hardest class for me. I earned A's in all my classes but not the piano minor. I would spend over 10 hours a week trying to learn a single piece from the AMB notebook every week. I ended up getting a B. There was no instruction. The pieces in that notebook did not have pedal to my recollection.

The "tap machine" was pretty cool. Tapping 3 notes across 4 beats required at that time, what seemed to me, peculiar counting.

I do remember a course called "keyboard harmony" where we were expected to improvise. And band of course. I never, ever in my life sat 2nd chair clarinet but here I was forced to. I always was 1st chair.

I did have to take take solfeggio. I can't sing for beans.

Entering the program, if I remember correctly, consisted of an audition, sight reading something they provided and a personal interview by various members of the department.

Thanks again, keypeg. Always a pleasure.