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#1534446 - 10/13/10 07:12 AM Soft Pedaling on PP  
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SamOnThePiano Offline
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SamOnThePiano  Offline
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I've a question about the soft pedal. Is it better to use the soft pedal to play pianissimo sections instead of learning to play softly??

Because my teacher has been teaching me on the grand piano, I'm sure you should NOT use the pedal. However I'll be taking my grade 8 exam on an Upright piano and I"m pretty sure that the soft pedal is really just to make soft tones.

Any opinions?


Never,ever lose against yourself and always try to be a better person than you ever were yesterday.

Founder of my own dreams, to become a concert pianist.

I am Samuel Cho(click!) and music is what I'm here for.
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#1534453 - 10/13/10 07:19 AM Re: Soft Pedaling on PP [Re: SamOnThePiano]  
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Mostly Offline
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Quote
Is it better to use the soft pedal to play pianissimo sections instead of learning to play softly??

Well, the way you ask shows you obviously know the answer...

Quote
However I'll be taking my grade 8 exam

Exams being what they are, if you need the soft pedal to make a pp, obviously do use it.
It does create differente tone and action, so unless you've practiced it, I don't think it's as simple as just pushing a pedal to go pp.

In the end I'd just practice my dynamics, try to practice on an upright if it will be your exam's instrument. It will serve you better on the long run, and you will be able to use the soft pedal properly in the futur.

#1534499 - 10/13/10 08:48 AM Re: Soft Pedaling on PP [Re: SamOnThePiano]  
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Morodiene Offline
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IT all depends on the instrument. You'll have to test it out at exams to see if you can get the kind of effect you want. The soft pedal on an upright works differently than on a grand, and may create an undesired effect. Best to be prepared by practicing on several different uprights beforehand.


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#1534500 - 10/13/10 08:49 AM Re: Soft Pedaling on PP [Re: SamOnThePiano]  
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Czerny recommended learning to play pianissimo without any pedal whatsoever, and then using the soft pedal more as a backup, instead of relying on it.

Czerny was da boss.

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#1534544 - 10/13/10 10:02 AM Re: Soft Pedaling on PP [Re: SamOnThePiano]  
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Victor25 Offline
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I hate Czerny, Beethoven was da boss.


Currently working on: Perfecting the Op 2/1, studying the 27/2 last movement. Chopin Nocturne 32/2 and Posth. C#m, 'Raindrop' prelude and Etude 10/9
Repetoire: Beethoven op 2/1, 10/1(1st, 2nd), 13, 14/1, 27/1(1st, 2nd), 27/2, 28(1st, 2nd), 31/2(1st, 3rd), 49/1, 49/2, 78(1st), 79, 90, 101(1st)
#1534602 - 10/13/10 11:18 AM Re: Soft Pedaling on PP [Re: SamOnThePiano]  
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Personally, I feel that a pianist should be able to create a very quiet sound without the assistance of the soft pedal. Because of the nature of how the soft pedal works, it does diminish the dynamic a little bit, but not enough to rely on that alone for the dynamic variation in what you are playing! The soft pedal is to create a different effect with the tone, and not so much the dynamic. I use the soft pedal to make the tone softer, not quieter, if that makes any sense... Like any other effect, the soft pedal should not be overused because then it loses its impact because it doesn't seem special anymore.


#1534831 - 10/13/10 05:07 PM Re: Soft Pedaling on PP [Re: SamOnThePiano]  
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dolce sfogato Offline
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using the left pedal is not just for reducing volume. On an upright it hardly works, on a grand though, it changes the colour, not nec. the volume, sometimes it can be used while playing indeed more forcefully, just for changing colour's sake, it's not a means to reduce volume, the fingers are though...


Longtemps, je me suis couché de bonne heure, but not anymore!
#1534839 - 10/13/10 05:14 PM Re: Soft Pedaling on PP [Re: SamOnThePiano]  
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david_a Offline
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To repeat something already mentioned: On some upright pianos, the soft pedal makes the keys feel wrong. Therefore, if your exam is on an upright, don't expect to be able to use it - learn everything without.


(I'm a piano teacher.)
#1535131 - 10/14/10 03:38 AM Re: Soft Pedaling on PP [Re: SamOnThePiano]  
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Victor25 Offline
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You are talking about the soft pedal, not the una corda, so imo, yes you can definitely use it. It places the hammer's closer to the string, thus making it easier to play softer, which is already WAY harder on a upright compared to a grand.


Currently working on: Perfecting the Op 2/1, studying the 27/2 last movement. Chopin Nocturne 32/2 and Posth. C#m, 'Raindrop' prelude and Etude 10/9
Repetoire: Beethoven op 2/1, 10/1(1st, 2nd), 13, 14/1, 27/1(1st, 2nd), 27/2, 28(1st, 2nd), 31/2(1st, 3rd), 49/1, 49/2, 78(1st), 79, 90, 101(1st)
#1535184 - 10/14/10 06:46 AM Re: Soft Pedaling on PP [Re: SamOnThePiano]  
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SamOnThePiano Offline
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Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei
Thanks for all your opinions.

I practice on an upright at home but my teacher gives me lessons on her grand piano.

Does trinity exams penalize you to use the soft pedal or do the penalize you for not using the pedal??


Never,ever lose against yourself and always try to be a better person than you ever were yesterday.

Founder of my own dreams, to become a concert pianist.

I am Samuel Cho(click!) and music is what I'm here for.
#1535188 - 10/14/10 06:53 AM Re: Soft Pedaling on PP [Re: SamOnThePiano]  
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Victor25 Offline
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Do you take the exam on a grand or upright?

Either way, you will NOT get penalized for not using the pedal! Pianissimo should be played with the keys, the soft-pedal on an upright is a helping tool. The una-corda on a grand is a whole different story.


Currently working on: Perfecting the Op 2/1, studying the 27/2 last movement. Chopin Nocturne 32/2 and Posth. C#m, 'Raindrop' prelude and Etude 10/9
Repetoire: Beethoven op 2/1, 10/1(1st, 2nd), 13, 14/1, 27/1(1st, 2nd), 27/2, 28(1st, 2nd), 31/2(1st, 3rd), 49/1, 49/2, 78(1st), 79, 90, 101(1st)
#1535288 - 10/14/10 09:38 AM Re: Soft Pedaling on PP [Re: SamOnThePiano]  
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SamOnThePiano Offline
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Thanks for the info! I shall vindicate my teacher's mistake immediately! =D


Never,ever lose against yourself and always try to be a better person than you ever were yesterday.

Founder of my own dreams, to become a concert pianist.

I am Samuel Cho(click!) and music is what I'm here for.
#1535296 - 10/14/10 10:04 AM Re: Soft Pedaling on PP [Re: SamOnThePiano]  
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Bart Kinlein Offline
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Funny how people react to the una corda pedal. Years ago my wife, taking lessons at a major conservatory (though not as a graded student) was essentially told to "always" use the UC on pp passages. My present instructor (doctorate from same school) insists that it should rarely be used, and then only to change color, not dynamics.

You should be able to play pp passages without the UC. I would think an adjudicator would penalize you if he/she felt you were relying on the UC pedal to produce a pp.

I am only referring to grand pianos, not familiar with uprights.

Last edited by Bart Kinlein; 10/14/10 10:07 AM.

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#1535325 - 10/14/10 10:56 AM Re: Soft Pedaling on PP [Re: SamOnThePiano]  
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Vindicate means show that it wasn't the teacher's fault. Not sure what you really meant. smile

You have a teacher who already told you what to do? Why are you asking us?


(I'm a piano teacher.)
#1535729 - 10/15/10 02:21 AM Re: Soft Pedaling on PP [Re: SamOnThePiano]  
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SamOnThePiano Offline
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Oh my bad. I thought vindicate was correcting ones mistake.

She did tell me what to do, but I have doubts you see. =P


Never,ever lose against yourself and always try to be a better person than you ever were yesterday.

Founder of my own dreams, to become a concert pianist.

I am Samuel Cho(click!) and music is what I'm here for.
#1535876 - 10/15/10 08:38 AM Re: Soft Pedaling on PP [Re: Bart Kinlein]  
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Morodiene Offline
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Originally Posted by Bart Kinlein
My present instructor (doctorate from same school) insists that it should rarely be used, and then only to change color, not dynamics.

You should be able to play pp passages without the UC. I would think an adjudicator would penalize you if he/she felt you were relying on the UC pedal to produce a pp.


I agree with the above. UC/soft pedal should only be used for changing color, not dynamics. However, if you are playing on a sub-standard instrument then you use whatever is available to you to get the sound you need. This is why I recommended practicing on several different uprights to be prepared for the exam.


private piano/voice teacher FT

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