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#2228937 - 02/10/14 11:09 AM Changing pedal when playing Octaves problem  
Joined: Nov 2013
Posts: 102
DanL Offline
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DanL  Offline
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Joined: Nov 2013
Posts: 102
Hi everyone!

I have a big problem here. I have recently start to work on a new piece my teacher gave me. Since I won't be taking lesson until Sunday, I'll share my problem here smile

This is my most difficult part frown. I have to playing Octaves at a pretty fast tempo, with the left hand changing chord at the beginning of each bar. So when playing Octave, it seems like I can't hold the last keys long enough during the pedal changing, I have to leave those key immediately to play another octaves (eg a C-C to G-G, they are...a bit far away from each other, right?). So that create a "hiccup" at the beginning of each bar, which really gets on my nerve. I tried to hold the last octave before changing the pedal a little bit longer but It does not work, if I do that, I'll be late for the next ones.

Any advice? Please help me if you can. Thanks in advance!

Best Wishes!

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#2228944 - 02/10/14 11:26 AM Re: Changing pedal when playing Octaves problem [Re: DanL]  
Joined: Apr 2010
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Andy Platt Offline
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Andy Platt  Offline
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Virginia, USA
I'm trying to understand exactly what's happening here. It sounds like the harmony changes each measure and you pedal at the beginning of that. The melody is being played in octaves above that, right?

And I'm assuming that the octave is being held across that barline but needs to change very soon after so you have already released the keys and moved to the new point?

Whenever I have this issue, I only have a few alternatives:

a) Slow the tempo down so I can actually make the move in time with the pedal.
b) Accept the gap and try to make it musical.
c) Decide the piece is too advanced. Luckily not got to that point yet.

Perhaps posting an extract from the score would help us figure it out?

  • Debussy - Le Petit Nègre, L. 114
  • Haydn - Sonata in Gm, Hob. XVI/44

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#2228958 - 02/10/14 11:54 AM Re: Changing pedal when playing Octaves problem [Re: DanL]  
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4evrBeginR Offline
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4evrBeginR  Offline
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It sounds to me you are trying to pedal with the new chord causing a hiccup sound when you are supposed to pedal after you play a new chord / octave. If your are playing in fast succession, it is a bit of a coordination challenge but practice makes perfect.

Art is never finished, only abandoned. - da Vinci
#2229252 - 02/10/14 09:50 PM Re: Changing pedal when playing Octaves problem [Re: DanL]  
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Brian Lucas Offline
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Brian Lucas  Offline
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It could also be a matter of not getting the pedal back down fast enough. I've come across students who time the pedal with the music, for example... quarter notes, up on beat 1 and down on beat 2. So any note played in the first beat isn't held because the pedal hasn't come back down yet.

I too say slow the tempo down but keep the pedal speed fast, up then immediately back down. It sounds to me like you're not getting the pedal down before your hand leaves the notes you want to hold.

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#2229320 - 02/11/14 12:09 AM Re: Changing pedal when playing Octaves problem [Re: DanL]  
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Derulux Offline
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Derulux  Offline
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Yeah, it sounds to me like a coordination issue, but there's more than one "type" of coordination going on. If we knew where this was, or had a score snippet to look at, it might be easier to understand the specific issue you're trying to overcome.

Every day we are afforded a new chance. The problem with life is not that you run out of chances. In the end, what you run out of are days.
#2229359 - 02/11/14 02:18 AM Re: Changing pedal when playing Octaves problem [Re: DanL]  
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JohnSprung Offline
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JohnSprung  Offline
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How about sostenuto to hold the old octave while you move to the new one? It avoids the mushy/fuzzy all dampers off thing....

-- J.S.

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#2229401 - 02/11/14 05:34 AM Re: Changing pedal when playing Octaves problem [Re: DanL]  
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Tubbie0075 Offline
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Tubbie0075  Offline
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My 2 cents:

1) Different pedal levels
Like the keys on the keyboard, the sustaining pedal also has different levels. Since you are playing rapid octave notes, I suspect you use the pedal to make it sound legato rather than trying to make it sing and resonate. Therefore, you may not need to use full pedal.

Experiment with the different pedal levels. I suggest you start with half pedal. By that I mean only press the pedal half way down rather than all the way down. Then experiment to see how little can you press the pedal to produce a legato octave notes at normal speed. Then press more than half pedal and see how much is too much (when your notes start to sound muddy). Once you have decided the desired level, you can go on to step 2 below.

The reasons to use less than full pedal is are that you get to change the pedal quicker and your rapid octave notes will not be so muddy.

2) Practice slowly
Start play the notes and pedal at your normal speed. When you hit the note that requires pedal change, hold that note then change the pedal quickly. Make sure you play the note first before you change the pedal. Also, make sure you hear a clear and clean pedal change before you play on at normal speed. Repeat when you hit the next note that requires pedal changing. Be careful not to accent the notes that you are holding (unless it is musically desirable).

Hold those pedal changing notes shorter and shorter as you progress with your pedal changing. Once you feel you are capable, play it normal and see if it works.

When you practice slowly, depending on what you are practising, it doesn't mean all your movements become slow. It is not like playing a video in slow motion where everything just slowed down. While the music is at a slower tempo, parts of your physical movements is to do it fast, like changing pedal above. This is so that when you play at normal, you get to do the difficult bits at normal tempo. It also save you practice time because you don't slow down the non-problematic areas.

Try it and let me know how you go.

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#2230148 - 02/12/14 03:56 AM Re: Changing pedal when playing Octaves problem [Re: DanL]  
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DanL Offline
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DanL  Offline
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Joined: Nov 2013
Posts: 102
Thank you for all your replies! smile

I immediately tried to practice slower. I decrease the tempo about just 5 percent and it makes things better, really. Doing so allowed me to hold the note longer, just enough to get rid of the "hiccup" during the pedal change smile. At this time I think this'll be the best way for me smile. Playing the piece a little slower is quite great, there is no more gap between sounds. I'm very delighted now!

I'll keep practicing, perhaps I'll be able to play at the correct speed with some slow and efficient practice. No rush!!!

Best Wishes!

Last edited by DanL; 02/12/14 03:56 AM.

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