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What's the point of doing legato while using the sustain..?
#2897155 10/04/19 09:50 PM
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I went to my piano class and my teacher was asking me to do legato while pressing the sustain pedal, so I asked her what's the reason for that if the notes are still going to sound at the same time whether I play legato or not , and she told me that it sounds different, and then she played legato while using the sustain pedal and the only difference in sound I noticed was was the volume, because she was pressing the keys with less force, but then I tried doing the same thing bu trying to apply the same force in both ways of playing (pedal pressed with and without legato) and when I managed to do that (i'm no that good at dynamics yet) I heard no difference in the sound, so now i'm really confused.

Indeed, there are scores where it is marked to play legato while using the pedal, so I figured it is a common thing people do when they play music but I just can't hear any difference and I have a very good ear.

I thought that maybe this is one of those cases where people think it sounds different due to the legato when in reality it sounds different because they just tend to use less force while playing legato, (because maybe there is more control over softer dynamics when playing legato) (at least that's my case), and maybe you can just achieve that same touch by not using legato but you just have to play the dynamics the same as if you'd do when you play legato.

In summary, I could play both ways (using legato with pedal, and playing without legato with pedal) and make it sound pretty much the same (at least for my ear) but I could achieve that sameness of sound more easily by using legato.

By the way, the piece I was playing was Beethoven's moonlight sonata 1st mov.

Last edited by Álvaro; 10/04/19 09:58 PM.

All you need is discipline, passion and the right method
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Re: What's the point of doing legato while using the sustain..?
Álvaro #2897156 10/04/19 10:26 PM
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Beethoven wrote the moonlight with the pedal held down the entire 1st mvt; no lift. It was for sonic effect, the harmonicity of the open strings shimmering like a veil.

Nobody plays it like that today. We pedal more or less every chord change. I suppose we prefer clarity.

Anyway, the pedal is for sustain especially of arpeggios. Yes it can give a silkier legato effect or a pronounced portamento. However you can also play legato or portamento without the pedal. In fact you should learn legato without the pedal to gain more control.

Rubenstein I believe said the pedal is the soul of the piano. Wish I'd thought of it.


With new students Chopin was chiefly anxious to do away with any stiffness in, or cramped, or convulsive movement of the hand, thereby obtaining the first requisite of fine technique "souplesse" (suppleness). -- Carl Mikuli on Chopin the teacher.
Re: What's the point of doing legato while using the sustain..?
Álvaro #2897163 10/04/19 11:43 PM
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The damper pedal in Beethoven's day did not have the sustaining power it has today .
The piano then, was a very different instrument.

Re: What's the point of doing legato while using the sustain..?
Lady Bird #2897168 10/05/19 12:16 AM
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so that is the reason as to why there are legato markings while playing the sustain pedal?


All you need is discipline, passion and the right method
Re: What's the point of doing legato while using the sustain..?
Álvaro #2897174 10/05/19 01:06 AM
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So on the "scores where it is marked to play legato", are you referring to a curved line usually above a group of notes?

I think you'll find that this curvy line is telling you a bit more about how to play the music than a simple "play legato."

Check this out with your teacher.

Re: What's the point of doing legato while using the sustain..?
CharlesXX #2897316 10/05/19 01:38 PM
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yes, I was referring to that curved line above a group of notes.


All you need is discipline, passion and the right method

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