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When to practice with pedal? #2949967 02/21/20 10:12 PM
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baudelairepianist Offline OP
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I'm starting on the Chopin preludes (currently looking at prelude 1) and was curious regarding how others approached pedal practice,

Is it more efficient to learn the piece without pedal and then relearn it with pedal or to include the pedal when working on sections?

Also would dynamics be practiced in the same manner?

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Re: When to practice with pedal? [Re: baudelairepianist] #2949990 02/21/20 11:42 PM
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If you are just starting with the Chopin Preludes I wouldn't start with the first one since it's kind of middle difficulty as far as the Preludes are concerned. About 1/3 of the Preludes are quite easy, 1/3 are horrendously difficult, and 1/3 are somewhere between those extremes.

Some beginners find it necessary to learn just the notes and rhythms in a piece first so they can concentrate on one thing at a time, but I think most more advanced pianists include pedaling and dynamics in their practice from the beginning.

Re: When to practice with pedal? [Re: baudelairepianist] #2950047 02/22/20 05:53 AM
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As you memorise the notes first, I would leave pedalling until later. Divide and conquer.

Re: When to practice with pedal? [Re: baudelairepianist] #2950055 02/22/20 06:22 AM
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Me too when I learn a new passage of a piece, at first I focus first on learning the notes without pressing the pedal. It could be too distracting if you use the pedal from the beginning. Then, when I'm confident enough, I begin to use the pedal (where appropriate) and I focus on tempo and dynamics. Usually I'm playing very very slowly at first, then I gradually increase tempo until I get a passage right.

Re: When to practice with pedal? [Re: baudelairepianist] #2950074 02/22/20 09:33 AM
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Ideally, every aspect of the music would be studied from the beginning.

In this case (the OP uses Synthesia to learn) it's probably more efficient to just concentrate on the notes first.

Last edited by johnstaf; 02/22/20 09:34 AM.
Re: When to practice with pedal? [Re: baudelairepianist] #2950079 02/22/20 10:01 AM
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Originally Posted by baudelairepianist
I'm starting on the Chopin preludes (currently looking at prelude 1) and was curious regarding how others approached pedal practice,

Is it more efficient to learn the piece without pedal and then relearn it with pedal or to include the pedal when working on sections?

Also would dynamics be practiced in the same manner?

It all depends on how difficult a new piece is relative to your abilities as a pianist and musician. For example, take the opening theme from Mozart's "12 Variations on 'Ah, vous dirai-je maman'", also known as "Twinkle, twinkle, little star". The opening theme is stated in a straightforward and simple manner. IMO, an intermediate level pianist would be able to read the notes and incorporate appropriate dynamics and pedaling from the get go. (We adjust pedal and dynamics in real time to what is indicated in the score and how it sounds on a particular piano in a particular location).

On the other hand, Godowsky's transcription of Chopin's Etude Op10 #1 is something that almost any of us would have to read slowly - perhaps even hands separately - just to get the notes. For anyone taking on that level piece, initial pedaling and dynamics would come instinctively and would be refined as the notes were mastered, and we listened to what comes from the instrument.


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Re: When to practice with pedal? [Re: baudelairepianist] #2950125 02/22/20 12:01 PM
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Re: When to practice with pedal? [Re: baudelairepianist] #2950153 02/22/20 01:01 PM
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For me, it really depends upon the piece whether or not I use the pedal in initial practice or whether I apply it later.

Learning the Liszt Consolation No. 3, I use the pedal (and the sostenuto pedal) from the outset. There, learning and obtaining the balance depends upon a sustained left hand arpeggiated accompaniment supporting a right hand melody. The only way to get that sustained accompaniment and achieving the balance I am looking for is with the use of the damper pedal; I can't imagine practicing it without it.

Learning the Schubert Impromptu, Op. 90, No. 2, I do a lot of practice without pedal as the "A" section is nothing but a series of scales, and the evenness and clarity of execution are paramount, so, no pedal while practicing. Ultimately in performance there is little pedal used in this work, anyway. Except for touches of the damper pedal for the addition of a little tonal colour, one could play the entire "A" section without pedal, even in performance.

Regards,


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Re: When to practice with pedal? [Re: baudelairepianist] #2950177 02/22/20 02:03 PM
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Ideally, you want to do everything simultaneously. But, the way you ask the question suggests to me that you are feeling overwhelmed trying to do it all at the same time.

So, ease yourself into this gradually. As you play, don't think too hard about pedal, but let yourself be open to using it. Ignore the pedal most of the time, but every once in a while, when you feel inspired, play with it a bit.

Same thing with dynamics. Focus mainly on the notes for now, but if you happen to feel inspired to play louder or softer at a given moment, just let yourself go with it. Even if it's not what's marked in the score. Right now, that's not the point.

Re: When to practice with pedal? [Re: baudelairepianist] #2950227 02/22/20 03:56 PM
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The question james does not have a easy straight forward answer. For your 1st prelude I had a look at the score since I am playing the last chopin prelude at the moment. With that the pedal suggestion is pedal change at the start of each bar. It is the easiest pedal suggestion possible so I would pedal from the start. With the last prelude I am working on I follow the markings in the score from the start. My teacher went through pedal suggestions and alterations only once I had the notes a little secure but I generally would pedal from the start. There are some exceptions. There is a particularly hard cadenza in this prelude. For that I had to do hands separately, then hands together and the pedal was only included at the end once I could play the hands together where the notes were a little secure. So there are times you may have to include the pedal in later but generally I would just play pedal and dynamics from the start. It does depend on the piee. Good luck with the preludes. I am a bit unsure of the preludes myself. Are they meant to be played on after another in a complete set ? Some are only 8 bars long and snippets of music so I did not really understand how they fit together.

Last edited by Moo :); 02/22/20 03:59 PM.
Re: When to practice with pedal? [Re: baudelairepianist] #2950236 02/22/20 04:13 PM
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My feet are always on the pedals anyway in my sitting position. So even when I'm just learning a piece, when it feels (sounds) right, the feet will naturally pedal. It may not be good pedaling but it's part of learning the piece and I don't worry if I pedal too little or too much. I think it's the same with dynamics. You include it because it sounds right and so you're going to have some dynamics just because you can't help it.


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