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Pedalling stride piano? #1378033
02/19/10 11:40 AM
02/19/10 11:40 AM
Joined: Dec 2009
Posts: 16
S
Seven Offline OP
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How should the sustain pedal be used, when playing simple stride piano? If it should be used at all? Or do you just change the pedal with the chord changes?

If I don't use it at all it sounds some what dry, but if I use it the sound gets really muddy.

Thanks.

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Re: Pedalling stride piano? [Re: Seven] #1378071
02/19/10 12:47 PM
02/19/10 12:47 PM
Joined: Jan 2003
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apple* Offline
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i played a few stride songs (for a gospel choir)and was told to pedal very sparingly. ..which is probably what you've figured out.

It was very difficult for me to 'feel' the music.


accompanist/organist.. a non-MTNA teacher to a few

love and peace, Õun (apple in Estonian)
Re: Pedalling stride piano? [Re: apple*] #1378095
02/19/10 01:08 PM
02/19/10 01:08 PM
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Posts: 6,496
Santa Fe, NM
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jotur Offline
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I've been working on Joplin's Bethena and worked a lot on the pedaling. I finally often pedaled every half measure, whether or not the chord changed, if at all. For me the phrasing wasn't crisp enough if I pedaled only once in a measure - I felt, as you say, that it was muddy. But I have very small hands so stretching for the octaves keeps my wrist stiffer than ideal and I can't get to the jumps as fast as I might otherwise, so no pedaling at all was, for me, too staccato. That may change as I get more stretch and more familiarity and technique, but for now, every half measure - and I was careful about when I lifted and when I pressed - was what worked for me.

Cathy

EDIT: to be accurate, since Bethena is a waltz, I would pedal for the first two beats and then pedal the third beat separately. And it seemed to me to work best if I pressed the pedal immediately after I played the notes, rather than trying to do it simultaneously.

Last edited by jotur; 02/19/10 01:10 PM.

Cathy
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Practice what you suck at - anonymous
Re: Pedalling stride piano? [Re: jotur] #1378115
02/19/10 01:30 PM
02/19/10 01:30 PM
Joined: Dec 2009
Posts: 16
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Seven Offline OP
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Seven  Offline OP
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Thank you. It's very helpful with some input.

Re: Pedalling stride piano? [Re: Seven] #1378119
02/19/10 01:34 PM
02/19/10 01:34 PM
Joined: Nov 2007
Posts: 340
Vermont, USA
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wavelength Offline
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wavelength  Offline
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Vermont, USA
Genneraly speaking, use no pedal at all.

Re: Pedalling stride piano? [Re: wavelength] #1378125
02/19/10 01:44 PM
02/19/10 01:44 PM
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Hudson, FL
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Hop Offline
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Chopin's Waltz in A minor uses a stride bassline. Pedaling is marked for the first two beats, released on the third beat. (This is probably from the editor rather than Chopin). Here is a link to an internet performance: http://www.chopinproject.com/2008/06/10/waltz-in-a-minor-kk-1238-9-1843/

While I think she plays it too slowly and too Strauss-like, she does ornamentation very well and emotes more than a little. Notice that she changes the pedaling on the bass-line at some of the repeats.

Hop


HG178, Roland FP-5, Casio PX 130
Re: Pedalling stride piano? [Re: Seven] #1378162
02/19/10 02:21 PM
02/19/10 02:21 PM
Joined: Aug 2009
Posts: 1,935
Colorado
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Inlanding Offline
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Originally Posted by Seven
How should the sustain pedal be used, when playing simple stride piano? If it should be used at all? Or do you just change the pedal with the chord changes?

If I don't use it at all it sounds some what dry, but if I use it the sound gets really muddy.

Thanks.


Hi Seven,
You can find Fats Waller, Ralph Sutton and Willie the Lion Smith on YouTube, all stride pianists.

I don't recall ever seeing/hearing any of them use the pedal. You rarely see it being used in Ragtime music, as well. If you use the pedal at all playing stride-style, use it sparingly, at most.

Glen


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Re: Pedalling stride piano? [Re: Hop] #1378306
02/19/10 05:35 PM
02/19/10 05:35 PM
Joined: Nov 2007
Posts: 340
Vermont, USA
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wavelength Offline
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Vermont, USA
Originally Posted by Hop
Chopin's Waltz in A minor uses a stride bassline. Pedaling is marked for the first two beats, released on the third beat. (This is probably from the editor rather than Chopin). Here is a link to an internet performance: http://www.chopinproject.com/2008/06/10/waltz-in-a-minor-kk-1238-9-1843/

While I think she plays it too slowly and too Strauss-like, she does ornamentation very well and emotes more than a little. Notice that she changes the pedaling on the bass-line at some of the repeats.

Hop


Exactly. If you use the pedal, it will sound like Chopin and not like stride.
She'd be laughed off the stage at a jazz jam session, with all that rubato.

Re: Pedalling stride piano? [Re: wavelength] #1378426
02/19/10 08:10 PM
02/19/10 08:10 PM
Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 1,829
Auckland, New Zealand
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Ted Offline
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Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 1,829
Auckland, New Zealand
I treat each case on its own merits. In general, stride, swing and ragtime seem to call for the pedal to be used sparingly. However there is no hard and fast rule apart from the ear. I cannot imagine playing Magnetic Rag or Gladiolus with no pedal and neither do I play Frank French's Bucktown Buck with more than a touch of pedal. Some pieces, indeed, sound quite well with or without much pedalling - just different, depending on how I feel at the time.


"We shall always love the music of the masters, but they are all dead and now it's our turn." - Llewelyn Jones, my piano teacher
Re: Pedalling stride piano? [Re: wavelength] #1378428
02/19/10 08:13 PM
02/19/10 08:13 PM
Joined: Sep 2007
Posts: 80
Doncaster
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David Staff Offline
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Doncaster
I would suggest that what we may be lacking here is an accurate understanding of what "stride piano" really is. Like most musical forms, it developed over a number of years, from about 1910, starting life as a sort of expanded or embellished ragtime and culminating with Jelly Roll Morton into embryonic jazz. Many, many pianists of the era performed stride, and all had different takes on how it should be played and they are all valid. Perhaps the two best known exponents were James P Johnson and Fats Waller and closer study of both performers WILL show use of the pedal both in stride and stride influenced compositions. It goes without saying that in faster pieces, use of the pedal is uneccesary, but do not assume that stride is always to be played fast.
The question of when to use pedal, in any form of piano music, will always be with us and, in the absence of composers markings, relies ultimately on the performers familiarity, understanding and sympathy with the music in question. There are no real rules in this sort of music and, quite simply, if the individual prefers to use pedal (intelligently), then use it. Believe me, your own ears will tell you if it's right or not.
By the way, still trying to come to terms with the suggestion that Chopin used a "stride" bass, particularly in 3/4 time. He was a bit of an innovator but come on........

Re: Pedalling stride piano? [Re: David Staff] #1379730
02/21/10 05:36 PM
02/21/10 05:36 PM
Joined: Jan 2008
Posts: 654
Hudson, FL
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Hop Offline
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Joined: Jan 2008
Posts: 654
Hudson, FL
Originally Posted by David Staff
By the way, still trying to come to terms with the suggestion that Chopin used a "stride" bass, particularly in 3/4 time. He was a bit of an innovator but come on........


I see your point; stride piano is usually considered to begin with ragtime. Still, for me the idea of stride is the left hand "striding" up and down the keyboard. A bass note or octave is hit on the strong beat, and a chord (higher up on the keyboard) on the weak beats.

As for pedaling on rags, I agree with you: don't.

Hop


HG178, Roland FP-5, Casio PX 130
Re: Pedalling stride piano? [Re: Hop] #1380220
02/22/10 10:41 AM
02/22/10 10:41 AM
Joined: Oct 2004
Posts: 1,242
Cape Cod
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hv Offline
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Cape Cod
I've always considered Stride piano just the East Coast flavor of Ragtime... evolved from their local tradition of the players constantly trying to outdo each other by inventing new tricks and devices. One of the first being to syncopate the bass line. Where classic ragtime stuck to a rather steady march beat in the left hand. Then they started making the left hand stroke longer, going from octaves to 10ths, forwards and backwards. Luckey Roberts' hands were so big, he did 14ths without even rolling them. I don't thing the name Stride came into actual use until the late 20's early 30's, however. As I understand it, the recording company told JP Johnson that Ragtime was old fashioned and that they wanted him to play Boogie, which he hated. So he told them, "This isn't Ragtime, its Stride," and then he played his usual style with just enough boogie thrown in to snooker them.

Personally, I hate to hear too much pedal no matter what the genre. Excessive amounts tend to cloud the sound with excess reverberation. Kind of like a singer being drowned in reverb. But you need some. Either for a specific sustaining effect or perhaps to sustain notes just long enough to act like melodic glue. Well that's the way I think of it.

Perhaps the best way to examine the pedal usage of a Ragtime player is to look at midi recordings of them playing in a midi editor. I have a pretty extensive collection of my wife Sue playing online in midi format here:

http://www.rtpress.com/titles.htm

Except for "That Old Gang of Mine", none of these are sequenced. They were captured in live performance from a midi keyboard using a program called Cakewalk.

Howard

Re: Pedalling stride piano? [Re: David Staff] #1380858
02/23/10 02:57 AM
02/23/10 02:57 AM
Joined: Aug 2004
Posts: 838
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It's simple... pedal when you want a legato stride (usually a ballad) and don't when you want a detached stride (could be any tempo).

Re: Pedalling stride piano? [Re: Jazz+] #1394807
03/13/10 07:29 AM
03/13/10 07:29 AM
Joined: Mar 2010
Posts: 2
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vmix Offline
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Fast stride generally calls for very little if any pedal, except occasionally during a turnaround for contrast. But in slower and mid tempo stride pieces the pedal is sometimes used to hold "middle line" notes in the left hand, for example in conjunction with rolled 10ths, where the 10th played by the left thumb is held via the pedal until the following chord is played. In these cases the pedal is used with the bass notes and released just before each chord in the left hand.

Stride pedal technique is also briefly discussed in the book Stride Piano Tricks (see www.stridepianotricks.com).


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