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#2081000 - 05/11/13 05:53 PM Pedaling  
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Finally connected the pedal to my P85. Since I'm new to pedaling, I want to ask for some general advice. Is the pedal only for sustaining the notes? At least I didn't notice that a chord sounded any louder by pressing the pedal, but the notes continued sounding. Also, do you pedal before or after playing the notes to be held longer? Seems the pedaling worked both by first pedaling and first playing.

Last edited by TheodorN; 05/11/13 05:54 PM.

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#2081014 - 05/11/13 06:19 PM Re: Pedaling [Re: TheodorN]  
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Pedaling is an extremely complicated aspect of piano performance, but it is absolutely vital to learn to do it correctly, or else your playing is liable to sound like a convoluted mess. I cannot go into it in detail at the moment; however, I suggest you search this forum for discussions of pedaling which may help you figure out how the mechanism of the pedal works and how it can be used to greatest effect.


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#2081017 - 05/11/13 06:28 PM Re: Pedaling [Re: TheodorN]  
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This might help. smile


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#2081018 - 05/11/13 06:33 PM Re: Pedaling [Re: TheodorN]  
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Thank you, will check it out. Lypur actually has a video on pedaling.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L1rPYxRFQJI&list=SP253192EED47525A8&index=39


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#2081019 - 05/11/13 06:36 PM Re: Pedaling [Re: TheodorN]  
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A pedal on a digital likely has different characteristics than the damper pedal on an acoustic. The following are acoustic pedal tips.

The primary purpose of the sustain pedal on an acoustic is to keep played notes sounding while you're moving your hand somewhere.

The secondary purpose is to achieve sound effects. As long as you hold the pedal down, the strings will ring and, furthermore, played strings will create harmonics that cause strings associated with keys you didn't play to also ring, yielding a lush sound. But if the chord you're playing changes while you hold the pedal down, then you're apt to get some dissonances that become muddy at best and unpleasantly dissonant at worst.

There are all sorts of hybrid effects that very skilled pianists on well-regulated pianos get from ever so slightly raising the dampers or fluttering the dampers over the strings. We can ignore them for now.

The timing of the pedal is weird and I dunno if I can help much, because I don't consciously think much about the pedal. But, if my memory serves, and it may not(!), I'll tend to sustain notes with the pedal, then hit the next chord in the bass and, while holding those notes, quickly pump the pedal to clear the previous sound and allow the new notes to keep ringing out. It generally lags the beat ever so slightly.

Generally speaking, you're trying to keep the sound harmonious and continuous, but the needs of the music are of course paramount.


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#2081023 - 05/11/13 06:53 PM Re: Pedaling [Re: TheodorN]  
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Originally Posted by TheodorN
Finally connected the pedal to my P85. Since I'm new to pedaling, I want to ask for some general advice. Is the pedal only for sustaining the notes? At least I didn't notice that a chord sounded any louder by pressing the pedal, but the notes continued sounding.

Well, when you play an acoustic piano, the pedal does increase the sound a bit too, because the dampers aren't on the strings. I'm sure with less-than-perfect acoustics the dampers don't quite completely leave the strings before the hammer strikes, thus making it slightly louder. On a DP, however, I doubt that would be something they would emulate.

Quote
Also, do you pedal before or after playing the notes to be held longer? Seems the pedaling worked both by first pedaling and first playing.

This is a more complicated question than it seems. Most of the time you pedal slightly after you have played the note. There are other circumstances, and of course, it gets complicated when you have to pedal consecutive notes. Kind of hard to describe well on a forum without a specific musical example to show.


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#2081036 - 05/11/13 07:35 PM Re: Pedaling [Re: TheodorN]  
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Originally Posted by TheodorN
At least I didn't notice that a chord sounded any louder by pressing the pedal, but the notes continued sounding. Also, do you pedal before or after playing the notes to be held longer?


You should try to look for a real piano, preferrably a grand piano, (friend's, store, or even hotel) and watch how pedaling changes the way the dampers work compared to not pedaling. It is always good to know what something is doing in order to understand why you would want to do something.

Most of the time, you want to pedal up as you play a new chord and pedal down right after a note is played. Careful not to pedal up too much as that causes slamming noise that's very unpleasant, and how much to pedal up then back down to avoid this is different from piano to piano, generally about a little more than half way. I don't recall if the P85 supports half pedal, that would be good to practice, if it's there. Remember, the pedal not an on / off switch.


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#2081040 - 05/11/13 07:39 PM Re: Pedaling [Re: TheodorN]  
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Im just starting to look at adding the pedalling to a piece i am learning.. chopins pollonaise in Gm... the first piece i have ever needed to add pedal too... and its adding a completely new challenge. I used to think what keys to press was the tricky bit... then along came dynamics and pedalling lol.. :-) i have a newish kawai k3 and using the sustain pedal makes a notable difference to key press resistance ... the joys of playing! :-)

#2081049 - 05/11/13 08:05 PM Re: Pedaling [Re: UK Paul UK]  
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Originally Posted by UK Paul UK
Im just starting to look at adding the pedalling to a piece i am learning.. chopins pollonaise in Gm... the first piece i have ever needed to add pedal too... and its adding a completely new challenge. I used to think what keys to press was the tricky bit... then along came dynamics and pedalling lol.. :-) i have a newish kawai k3 and using the sustain pedal makes a notable difference to key press resistance ... the joys of playing! :-)


When I play, I think more about *clearing* the pedal as opposed to *playing* the pedal. Dunno if that's right or that helps.


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#2081056 - 05/11/13 08:26 PM Re: Pedaling [Re: TheodorN]  
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Piano Adventures Technique and Artistry 3A has what I found to be an incredibly helpful exercise for learning timing for the pedal.


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#2081190 - 05/12/13 03:11 AM Re: Pedaling [Re: TheodorN]  
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- for super-critical appraisal of your pedalling work (DP players only) it's worth turning off your reverb....

#2081230 - 05/12/13 06:37 AM Re: Pedaling [Re: PianoStudent88]  
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Originally Posted by PianoStudent88
Piano Adventures Technique and Artistry 3A has what I found to be an incredibly helpful exercise for learning timing for the pedal.


I forget what they do, but it reminded me of what I have my students do:

They play a C major scale (from one C up to the next C and back down, only white keys) using only finger 2 in the RH. They have to pedal each note well enough so that it sounds like they're playing the scale legato with good fingering. It really helps them with the timing and the listening. Listening and pedaling go hand-in-hand.


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#2081308 - 05/12/13 09:36 AM Re: Pedaling [Re: TheodorN]  
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PA has you play whole notes in a scale. First pedal on beat 2. Then after you have that, pedal on the & of beat 1. Then progress to syncopated pedaling. I found that it helped me get the coordination of hand/finger/key and foot/pedal movement.


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#2081339 - 05/12/13 10:27 AM Re: Pedaling [Re: TheodorN]  
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Originally Posted by TheodorN
Thank you, will check it out. Lypur actually has a video on pedaling.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L1rPYxRFQJI&list=SP253192EED47525A8&index=39

Excellent and thorough. I'd study the whole thing. The exercise he gives (around 20 min? - trying to go by memory) is what I started with.

Understand what you are actually doing and how it works. (If you have a digital, then it mimics the behaviour of an acoustic.) When you press a key, the dampers lift of the strings so that they ring when struck by the hammer. When you release the key, the dampers come back down and stop the vibration and the sound. When you press the sustain pedal, the string keeps vibrating. If you play a second note or chord while the pedal is down, both sets of strings will be vibrating, so the two sounds wash together.

Say you are playing C, then D. You release the pedal shortly after playing the next note. That means C will ring, and will still ring as you press D, to give you a legato effect. You press the pedal while still holding D (you can release the note with your hand after that), and this will cause D to keep ringing. Whenever you lift the pedal, you "clear" that sound.

*When* to use it depends on what kind of sound you want to create. Supposing that you play the successive notes of a C chord: C,E,G,C.... they sound good blending together so you would hold the pedal down. But then you start a Dm chord: D,F,A,D. This would sound ugly blended. This is when you change your pedal. You are deciding that you want certain sounds to continue ringing without having to hold the key down, and you are also deciding whether you want sounds to blend, and for how long.

#2081452 - 05/12/13 03:31 PM Re: Pedaling [Re: Morodiene]  
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Originally Posted by Morodiene

They play a C major scale (from one C up to the next C and back down, only white keys) using only finger 2 in the RH. They have to pedal each note well enough so that it sounds like they're playing the scale legato with good fingering. It really helps them with the timing and the listening. Listening and pedaling go hand-in-hand.


Neat!

Doing this on a Casio PX-350 without continuous half-pedalling is going to be a challenge, but I can see that it will pay off.

Thank you.

. Charles

Last edited by Charles Cohen; 05/12/13 03:32 PM.

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#2081470 - 05/12/13 03:56 PM Re: Pedaling [Re: TheodorN]  
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Thank you for your comments, a lot of good info to digest. Dire tonic, are you saying that I should turn off the reverb so it doesn't drown out the effect of the pedal. That if the reverb is off, then you can hear the pedal effect better?

Seems I've heard something about the reverb being set on as to compensate for the lack of pedals in digital pianos and to get the piano to sound more like an acoustic one. I've had it both on and off, sometimes I feel it makes the notes ring too much.

Last edited by TheodorN; 05/12/13 03:57 PM.

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#2081584 - 05/12/13 07:59 PM Re: Pedaling [Re: Morodiene]  
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Originally Posted by Morodiene
Originally Posted by TheodorN
Finally connected the pedal to my P85. Since I'm new to pedaling, I want to ask for some general advice. Is the pedal only for sustaining the notes? At least I didn't notice that a chord sounded any louder by pressing the pedal, but the notes continued sounding.

Well, when you play an acoustic piano, the pedal does increase the sound a bit too, because the dampers aren't on the strings. I'm sure with less-than-perfect acoustics the dampers don't quite completely leave the strings before the hammer strikes, thus making it slightly louder. On a DP, however, I doubt that would be something they would emulate.


Hmm, not sure I would agree here. If a hammer hits a note before the damper is raised, you'll just get a dull thud. Even if the damper is immediately released, it's not going to matter because the strike has already occurred on the dampered note. The reason it gets a little louder is because of the overtones on the other strings that have the dampers lifted from them. Not all digitals will emulate that, though even cheaper ones usually do these days. And how many overtones they will reproduce will differ depending on price.


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#2081587 - 05/12/13 08:16 PM Re: Pedaling [Re: Andy Platt]  
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Originally Posted by Andy Platt
Originally Posted by Morodiene
Originally Posted by TheodorN
Finally connected the pedal to my P85. Since I'm new to pedaling, I want to ask for some general advice. Is the pedal only for sustaining the notes? At least I didn't notice that a chord sounded any louder by pressing the pedal, but the notes continued sounding.

Well, when you play an acoustic piano, the pedal does increase the sound a bit too, because the dampers aren't on the strings. I'm sure with less-than-perfect acoustics the dampers don't quite completely leave the strings before the hammer strikes, thus making it slightly louder. On a DP, however, I doubt that would be something they would emulate.


Hmm, not sure I would agree here. If a hammer hits a note before the damper is raised, you'll just get a dull thud. Even if the damper is immediately released, it's not going to matter because the strike has already occurred on the dampered note. The reason it gets a little louder is because of the overtones on the other strings that have the dampers lifted from them. Not all digitals will emulate that, though even cheaper ones usually do these days. And how many overtones they will reproduce will differ depending on price.
I didn't want to get into the idea of compounding notes one after the other when using the damper pedal. But really, have you ever seen when a damper doesn't fully clear the strings? It's not a dull thud unless there's a lot of contact. But you can have it slightly off timing-wise and not get the full resonance. Another issue that can happen is if the dampers aren't lifting high enough, so they still have slight contact with the strings.


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#2081694 - 05/13/13 02:34 AM Re: Pedaling [Re: TheodorN]  
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You own a digital.... with short samples short decay etc you might as well stick a brick on the pedal!

It translates poorly to a real piano as the sounds will mush!

#2081720 - 05/13/13 04:12 AM Re: Pedaling [Re: justpin]  
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Originally Posted by justpin
You own a digital.... with short samples short decay etc you might as well stick a brick on the pedal!

It translates poorly to a real piano as the sounds will mush!

I play a digital. I've been taught to pedal properly. There is no mush. I do understand that digitals are different one from another. I do not have top-of-the-line but there is control in the settings for things like reverb (and that, without even involving pedal, can sound mushy if turned on too high).

#2081754 - 05/13/13 07:02 AM Re: Pedaling [Re: justpin]  
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Originally Posted by justpin
You own a digital.... with short samples short decay etc you might as well stick a brick on the pedal!

It translates poorly to a real piano as the sounds will mush!
I depends on the digital, and also on the settings you have for the sustain with the pedal. Some digitals can adjust this.


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#2081760 - 05/13/13 07:15 AM Re: Pedaling [Re: Morodiene]  
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Originally Posted by Morodiene
I didn't want to get into the idea of compounding notes one after the other when using the damper pedal. But really, have you ever seen when a damper doesn't fully clear the strings? It's not a dull thud unless there's a lot of contact. But you can have it slightly off timing-wise and not get the full resonance. Another issue that can happen is if the dampers aren't lifting high enough, so they still have slight contact with the strings.


Time to call the piano tech! wink

Yup, I hope no digitals try to reproduce that. Though that is my biggest "complaint" with digitals these days - they often sound too good!


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#2081763 - 05/13/13 07:20 AM Re: Pedaling [Re: Andy Platt]  
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Originally Posted by Andy Platt
Originally Posted by Morodiene
I didn't want to get into the idea of compounding notes one after the other when using the damper pedal. But really, have you ever seen when a damper doesn't fully clear the strings? It's not a dull thud unless there's a lot of contact. But you can have it slightly off timing-wise and not get the full resonance. Another issue that can happen is if the dampers aren't lifting high enough, so they still have slight contact with the strings.


Time to call the piano tech! wink

Yup, I hope no digitals try to reproduce that. Though that is my biggest "complaint" with digitals these days - they often sound too good!
I agree, the way VSTs are working now you can make some great sounds with digital pianos. However, I think they have a long way to go to emulate the feel and the sound for the pianist. Something about the acoustic vibrations coming from the instrument you are playing that makes it come alive.


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#2082431 - 05/14/13 11:21 AM Re: Pedaling [Re: TheodorN]  
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I've been trying to slowly add the pedal to the new stuff that I am learning. Sometimes the pedal works great; especially if I sustain a few notes. But when I use the pedal in the middle of a song with left hand chords, it does not sound good at all. First, it is mushy, and second the overall sound seems out of place. I hope you know what I mean by this. I am using a digital piano and do not have an acoustic available for comparison. Clearly the lack of experience has alot to it; but I keep wondering if I have a setting wrong somewhere. I keep working at it.


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#2082435 - 05/14/13 11:28 AM Re: Pedaling [Re: scorpio]  
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Originally Posted by scorpio
I've been trying to slowly add the pedal to the new stuff that I am learning. Sometimes the pedal works great; especially if I sustain a few notes. But when I use the pedal in the middle of a song with left hand chords, it does not sound good at all. First, it is mushy, and second the overall sound seems out of place. I hope you know what I mean by this. I am using a digital piano and do not have an acoustic available for comparison. Clearly the lack of experience has alot to it; but I keep wondering if I have a setting wrong somewhere. I keep working at it.


Pedalling the harmony but keeping the melody clear is one of the big challenges. Whether your digital can reproduce enough might be an issue. What we usually do is employ half-pedal (which, despite it's name, is a fancy way of saying more or less pedal.) In practice pressing the pedal less than full value tends to allow the lower notes to continue sustaining without blurring the melody so much.

It could also be that you are pedalling at the wrong points in the left hand. Generally on the change of any significant harmony, when not explicitly marked in the score. As you get more advanced you can employ ideas such as fluttering where your pedal coincides with the new chord in such a way that you have the momentary overlap needed for legato but release the "old chord" quick enough it doesn't blur.


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