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In Stephen Hough's very recent book, Rough Ideas, in one of its 200+ mini essays he says that Chopin indicated the equivalent of finger pedaling some of his scores. The only one I could think of is in his Ballade No.1 starting after the short intro.

Any other examples you can think of?

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The first one to occur to me is the opening of the second sonata. Bar 3.

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Interesting input - thank you! I've never had the idea to play this or the sonata introduction without pedal, but the notation indicates that it was Chopin's intention to do so.

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I don't know about that m. 3 in the 2nd Sonata....

I wouldn't have thought it means that, and even with it being pointed out, I still don't.

Why do y'all think it necessarily means that?
(as opposed to just playing the notes that way and leaving it to judgment what to do with the foot pedal)

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Originally Posted by florhof
Interesting input - thank you! I've never had the idea to play this or the sonata introduction without pedal, but the notation indicates that it was Chopin's intention to do so.


Like Marc_C, I don't see how the notation "indicates" that Chopin's intent was to play the introduction without pedal.

Regards,


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Really it depends on what Hough meant, exactly, by "finger pedal."

If he meant simply that Chopin is showing that the notes are to be held with the fingers -- which BTW can affect the effect (sic) grin in all kinds of ways even if the pedal is used -- sure, I get that, and indeed we could find other examples of it.

But if he meant also that the damper pedal isn't used, I don't know.

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Originally Posted by Mark_C
Really it depends on what Hough meant, exactly, by "finger pedal."

If he meant simply that Chopin is showing that the notes are to be held with the fingers -- which BTW can affect the effect (sic) grin in all kinds of ways even if the pedal is used -- sure, I get that, and indeed we could find other examples of it.

But if he meant also that the damper pedal isn't used, I don't know.


Indeed. I don't think it indicates that the pedal shouldn't be used. Likewise with legato fingerings (whether from a composer or an editor).

Last edited by johnstaf; 10/02/19 01:39 AM.
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Originally Posted by Mark_C
If he meant simply that Chopin is showing that the notes are to be held with the fingers -- which BTW can affect the effect (sic) grin in all kinds of ways even if the pedal is used -- sure, I get that, and indeed we could find other examples of it.

But if he meant also that the damper pedal isn't used, I don't know.
Maybe Chopin wanted to make sure the notes were held if the pianist didn't use the pedal.

If the pedal is used I don't think holding the notes with the fingers or not makes any difference but perhaps you can convince me otherwise?

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I have to apologize. I recalled the mentioned pieces from memory instead of using the score.

In Ballade 1, I have always wondered why Chopin used this complicated notation instead of writing simple quavers. Hough's thoughts about finger pedalling could have been an explanation. But, in fact, they are not.

Chopin's autograph reveals that he definitely used the damper pedal. So, I am with Marc_C: I just don't know. But I am sure, it isn't that important.

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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
......If the pedal is used I don't think holding the notes with the fingers or not makes any difference but perhaps you can convince me otherwise?

I didn't mean to imply anything that goes against what you're saying, although I do think that in various indirect ways it can affect the sound, and most definitely it affects the "effect," which includes visual aspects, not unlike how in hand-crossing, for example, there's a visual part of the effect over and above the effect on the sound.

But in terms of the sound: I think there's a good analogy to tennis, which you know a lot more about than I do, and which one of my teachers often used.
One might wonder, why does "follow through" matter? Once I hit the ball, what does it matter what I do after? I don't mean as opposed to abruptly stopping the swing at the moment the ball is hit, which obviously would make one start doing wrong stuff before the ball is hit, but, not bothering about the follow through.

The answer, of course, is that doing a good follow through helps ensure the right kind of stroke. It's hard to have the best chance to do the stroke the way you want and to do it consistently without doing a good follow through.

In this case, we're not talking about follow through, but the analogy is that it's about the physical approach. Simply, we are apt to hit the keys differently; and -- a subtler thing -- to approach the phrase differently, both physically and conceptually, according to whether we're going to be holding the keys down or not. Whatever else Chopin was intending to indicate with such a notation, I very firmly think that this was a big part of it: helping ensure that there will be the intended kind of approach to the phrase.

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Originally Posted by Mark_C
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
......If the pedal is used I don't think holding the notes with the fingers or not makes any difference but perhaps you can convince me otherwise?

I didn't mean to imply anything that goes against what you're saying, although I do think that in various indirect ways it can affect the sound, and most definitely it affects the "effect," which includes visual aspects, not unlike how in hand-crossing, for example, there's a visual part of the effect over and above the effect on the sound.

But in terms of the sound: I think there's a good analogy to tennis, which you know a lot more about than I do, and which one of my teachers often used.
One might wonder, why does "follow through" matter? Once I hit the ball, what does it matter what I do after? I don't mean as opposed to abruptly stopping the swing at the moment the ball is hit, which obviously would make one start doing wrong stuff before the ball is hit, but, not bothering about the follow through.

The answer, of course, is that doing a good follow through helps ensure the right kind of stroke. It's hard to have the best chance to do the stroke the way you want and to do it consistently without doing a good follow through.

In this case, we're not talking about follow through, but the analogy is that it's about the physical approach. Simply, we are apt to hit the keys differently; and -- a subtler thing -- to approach the phrase differently, both physically and conceptually, according to whether we're going to be holding the keys down or not. Whatever else Chopin was intending to indicate with such a notation, I very firmly think that this was a big part of it: helping ensure that there will be the intended kind of approach to the phrase.
In terms of visual effect I think there is virtually no difference, and except for and only occasionally for people who know this piece very well, no one will notice whether the notes are held down with the fingers or not.

I don't think your tennis analogy applies here. One might be aware of holding the notes down since that is not a usual procedure but other than that no significant difference in how one hits the keys or how one approaches the phrase.

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I appreciate that that's how you see those things, but I'm confident in saying it's the other way on both.

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While I realise that the present discussion centers around Chopin, can I introduce an example from Haydn?

In his piano sonata No. 31 (Hob.XVI/46) , in the opening dozen or so bars of the Adagio, Haydn notates what I would describe as an interesting use of finger pedalling. Further more, using the pedal in this example is not the answer.


Here is the example.

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Originally Posted by CharlesXX
......In his piano sonata No. 31 (Hob.XVI/46) , in the opening dozen or so bars of the Adagio, Haydn notates what I would describe as an interesting use of finger pedalling....
Here is the example.

Looks like it to me too!
(Nice example!)

This is another example where I wouldn't say we absolutely shouldn't also use any foot pedal; I think I would usually use it.

But IMO indeed that's "finger pedaling."

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The Haydn looks more like standard contrapuntal writing to me. Perhaps we use the term in several different ways.

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Originally Posted by johnstaf
The Haydn looks more like standard contrapuntal writing to me. Perhaps we use the term in several different ways.

Sure, there's that, but we're talking about the long held notes in the accompaniment.

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Best Chopin cases of all that I know of are
Sonata #3, Ist movement (various bars) and 3rd movement, throughout the middle section in RH.
and above all:
Concerto #2, 1st movement -8th note LH accompaniment figures, and many RH 16th note passages, especially in exposition section.

Schumann offers a huge variety. Arabeske, main theme, Allego op8, Sonata #3 and Fantasy are littered with notated finger-pedalling configs, but others crop up in many other pieces.

Brahms Op78, B flat intermezzo; Concerto #1, Finale - transition to 2nd subject theme, following the opening section.

Clementi Gradus ad Parnassum includes various studies featuring finger-pedalling configurations.

Last edited by Scordatura; 10/03/19 10:21 AM.

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Originally Posted by Mark_C
Originally Posted by johnstaf
The Haydn looks more like standard contrapuntal writing to me. Perhaps we use the term in several different ways.

Sure, there's that, but we're talking about the long held notes in the accompaniment.

I think there's no clearly definable criterion for demarcating polyphonic figures and finger-pedalling figures when the diversity of both is so vast. From the standpoint of texture they're
accomplishing much the same intended sonority by one and the same means. Best not to polarize the two, IMO, as in reality, composers aim to notate the qualities of the sounds they want listeners to experience, not academically classifable instances for music-theory textbooks.

Cases in Bach springing to mind: WTC I Preludes, Cmaj, C#min, Fmin, WTC II Preludes C# maj, Fmaj. Partita 1,Allemande, (closing bars of Ist half) Partita 4, Allemande (LH figs); Partita 6, Sarabande.
Typically in dance movements of the various Suites, the final bar of each half ends with a finger-pedalled broken chord of some form.


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Originally Posted by Mark_C
Originally Posted by johnstaf
The Haydn looks more like standard contrapuntal writing to me. Perhaps we use the term in several different ways.

Sure, there's that, but we're talking about the long held notes in the accompaniment.


@Mark_C:

Off topic note:

Glad to report here that I now own the Yamaha P-515 digital piano (latest acquisition) along with the excellent AvantGrand N2 (about as good as it gets for a hybrid piano) and also the older Yamaha Clavinova CLP-990 that dates from 2001. The other acoustic grand (i.e., Baldwin SF-10) had issues with the legs and would have required further rebuilding work to improve the tone as many bass notes were rather "tubby" sounding since the strings were original from 1984. The current digital(s) are far better, overall.

[End of note]

As for Stephen Hough -- he certainly is among the very best players, today:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hov6LIGHZDE

Ballade No. 4 excerpt starts at 3:02 mark.


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