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#2037132 - 02/21/13 06:07 PM How can I play this chord
persa Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 02/21/13
Posts: 5

I won't waste your time with any introductions. I'll ask my simple question directly. Suffice it to say that I'm an amateur and beginner piano player and that the piece of music I'm trying to master is not classical. (I can play half the piece now so I think it's at my level)

Many of you here must be used to playing complicated classical pieces, so this popular piece I am referring you to must be a piece of cake for you

Here's a capture of a section of the score my question is about:(please have a look) http://postimage.org/image/m8jncg3sf/

Here is my question: on the score, the first note of the chord to be played in the bass clef is usually a dotted half note or a whole note followed by several quarter notes that should be played right after while the first note (the dotted half or the whole) should still be sounding. Of course the right hand is busy playing the melody at that time in the treble clef. I find it difficult to play the notes of the chord without lifting my finger of its first note as indicated. On the first measure of the section in the picture I uploaded, it is simply impossible! (I circled it with red). Please have a look. If I use the sustain pedal to sustain that first note of the chord, then all the subsequent notes (of the chord and of the melody) will be sustained, and that's not the desired effect.

Should I just ignore it and play the dotted half note or the whole as quarter like the following notes? or is there a special technique for that? I am lost, please help.
Thank you.

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#2037144 - 02/21/13 06:33 PM Re: How can I play this chord [Re: persa]
Euan Morrison Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/01/05
Posts: 1588
Loc: Edinburgh
Hi persa, welcome to the forums!

I don't have any formal piano training, but for me, I would pedal the first chord, and play the higher notes with the pedal down.

I can't think of any other way to achieve what is written on the score, as you would need hands bigger than Rachmaninov to play that first bit.

With the other sections, if your hands are big enough, you might manage without using the pedal so much. Or keeping the pedal down for a small time to hold the first note, but not enough to blur the melody?

Edited by Euan Morrison (02/21/13 06:39 PM)

#2037146 - 02/21/13 06:38 PM Re: How can I play this chord [Re: persa]
supertorpe Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/27/10
Posts: 117
Loc: Spain. Cadiz.
You can play it with sostenuto pedal. It sustains only those notes that are being held down when the pedal is depressed, allowing future notes played to be unaffected.
Started learning piano: 01 March 2010
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- Current: Kawai CA-63
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#2037151 - 02/21/13 06:42 PM Re: How can I play this chord [Re: persa]
persa Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 02/21/13
Posts: 5
Thank you Euan Morrison for your quick reply.
I've been told the same thing by someone I know, I just wanted to be sure...

Though if the score is to be meticulously respected, the pedal shouldn't be used (that's why I supposed it wasn't the desired effect by the composer), but as you say, practically speaking, it appears to be the only solution. Except for the first measure (which I circled in red) and which is simply impossible to play without the pedal, I am able to play the other chords without the pedal, but for that I have to stretch my hand to a very unnatural and very uncomfortable position that limits my speed as well...

I guess I'll pedal!
Thanks again smile

#2037154 - 02/21/13 06:47 PM Re: How can I play this chord [Re: persa]
persa Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 02/21/13
Posts: 5
supertorpe, that's right!
I don't have the sostenuto pedal on my piano, but I just read about it and you are right!
thats would do it, more or less, because there would still be a small problem. The sostenuto pedal would sustain the the first melodic note that is played on the treble cled, which shouldn't.
to be 100% precise, I would need a sostenuto pedal that sustains only the bass notes!
but a normal sostenuto would still be closer to what's expected than the sustain pedal.
I think so...


#2037207 - 02/21/13 08:32 PM Re: How can I play this chord [Re: persa]
Andy Platt Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/28/10
Posts: 2496
Loc: Virginia, USA
Can you grow a third hand? Just pedal it and don't worry. "Half pedal" works well for this kind of thing and it's a good skill to learn. (Word of warning: Not all digitals support half-pedaling.)

Half pedalling (basically using less than full pedal) will allow you to hold the bottom notes and have less smudge for the melody.

Very very little music is written for the sustenuto piano; almost always you would just be expected to pedal it. Or grow that third hand.
  • Debussy - Le Petit Nègre, L. 114
  • Haydn - Sonata in Gm, Hob. XVI/44

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#2037212 - 02/21/13 08:44 PM Re: How can I play this chord [Re: Andy Platt]
persa Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 02/21/13
Posts: 5
Andy Platt, my extremly strong motivation to play this piece well COULD get me to grow a third hand! smile

Seriously, now I understand that it should just be pedaled. As I have been told elsewhere, I'm taking the score too literally because I lack experience and can read notes but can't read music (that is the intention of the composer).

Do you think I should just pedal here too: http://s15.postimage.org/4zxrz0ki3/sheet2.png

I could hold the base note of the chord here through the measure without any need for a third hand, but is it how it is meant to be? If I pedal it, should I let go of the pedal in the middle of the measure, or keep pressing till the end of the measure?

#2037216 - 02/21/13 08:58 PM Re: How can I play this chord [Re: persa]
malkin Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/18/09
Posts: 4114
Loc: *sigh* Salt Lake City
The first piece just isn't possible for mere ten fingered mortals, so you've got to grab those dotted notes with the pedal.

The second one is at least generally, mostly within the realm of possibility, although if I had to sing that Japanese lyric I'd be in trouble.
Having power is not nearly as important as what you choose to do with it.
– Roald Dahl

#2037218 - 02/21/13 09:06 PM Re: How can I play this chord [Re: malkin]
persa Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 02/21/13
Posts: 5
For the second piece, regarding the whole notes at the beginning of each chord, there are 4 possibilities:

1- Hold the base note of the chord (whole note) through the measure using my finger.
2- Hold the base note of the chord (whole note) till the middle of the measure (where the chord ends) using my finger.
3- Press the pedal till the end of the measure.
4- Press the pedal till the middle of the measure. (where the chord ends)

What should be done in your opinion?

#2037225 - 02/21/13 09:24 PM Re: How can I play this chord [Re: persa]
PianoStudent88 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/16/11
Posts: 3851
Loc: Maine
I would pedal every time the low bass note changes.

Pedaling is not always indicated in a score. Sometimes the way the notes are written implies certain pedaling, and sometimes it's expected that the player will use their musical sensitivity to decide on appropriate pedaling.
Elie Wiesel, 1928-2016.

#2038524 - 02/24/13 03:56 PM Re: How can I play this chord [Re: Andy Platt]
JohnSprung Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/02/11
Posts: 3825
Loc: Reseda, California
Originally Posted By: Andy Platt
Just pedal it and don't worry.

Yup. Look at the chords and second voice melody notes. If you just played them all at once, you'd have a B-something or other chord (I looked but forgot already). Pick a chord, any chord. Play it with the pedal down, keep it down, and go back playing the individual notes of that chord in pretty much any order and any octave. Nothing bad happens....
-- J.S.

Knabe Grand # 10927
Yamaha CP33
Kawai FS690

#2038852 - 02/25/13 06:05 AM Re: How can I play this chord [Re: persa]
wouter79 Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/14/10
Posts: 4783
For the first chord, you can apply the sostenuto BEFORE you even start playing. For the rest, maybe you can just do by hand.

And getting a sostenuto probably is easier than growing a 3rd hand smile


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