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How did Chopin decide when to pedal?
#2963506 04/04/20 03:09 AM
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Consider etude 25.1
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fRqynzR_8Ts

Instead of just memorizing pedal markings is there a guiding principle besides avoiding muddling the sound?

Re: How did Chopin decide when to pedal?
baudelairepianist #2963522 04/04/20 04:52 AM
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No pianist should "memorize" pedal markings.

They should be guided by their ears: harmonic changes, phrasing, legato melodic lines.


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Re: How did Chopin decide when to pedal?
baudelairepianist #2963523 04/04/20 04:58 AM
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First, i think the way it is notated (or sometimes not even notated) does not tell how to use it. The pedal can be used for different purpose and there are various ways to use it. It is more a matter of personal choice within a certain vision of the piece. Some people would use it largely and others will be more restrained. And yes it is often a question of balance between clarity and blending. But blurring can also be an objective in certain pieces.

Re: How did Chopin decide when to pedal?
baudelairepianist #2963548 04/04/20 07:26 AM
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https://youtu.be/BV1GW3PGx8o

https://youtu.be/F_d8oask2VU

Chopin's piano probably had less sustain than modern pianos. So you might need to change some of his pedal markings according to the piano you play.

Re: How did Chopin decide when to pedal?
Hakki #2963552 04/04/20 07:33 AM
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Originally Posted by Hakki
Chopin's piano probably had less sustain than modern pianos. So you might need to change some of his pedal markings according to the piano you play.

+1

Re: How did Chopin decide when to pedal?
Iaroslav Vasiliev #2963640 04/04/20 01:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Iaroslav Vasiliev
Originally Posted by Hakki
Chopin's piano probably had less sustain than modern pianos. So you might need to change some of his pedal markings according to the piano you play.

+1


Agreed! It's not a question of using and certainly not memorizing the pedal notations in Chopin's music. First: some of those pedal markings may have been added by an editor. Secondly: modern pianos differ in their amount of sustain compared to those that Chopin played, so those pedal markings are not prescriptive.

As Eleanor Bailie points out (I paraphrase rather than quote): Chopin often did not indicate pedal markings in his scores when the appropriate use of the damper pedal was obvious in certain passages. In other spots, where the use of the damper pedal might require several changes and perhaps even the use of half pedal, Chopin didn't indicate this in his scores, either, because it would have been simply too complicated to try to indicate.

Common sense and a good ear relative to the piano one is playing at the moment are the best guidelines for the use of the damper pedal, whether it be Chopin's or any other composer's piano music.

Regards,


BruceD
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Re: How did Chopin decide when to pedal?
baudelairepianist #2963656 04/04/20 03:01 PM
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Another important fact to bear in mind when playing Chopin - and earlier Liszt - on modern pianos is that not only do the Érards and Pleyels of that era have poorer sustain (though only slightly poorer; they were far superior to the fortepianos as used by Mozart et al), their damping mechanisms are also much less efficient.

In fact, when I got the chance to play those grands myself, that was what struck me the most, other than their more 'clattery' and shallower tone. Rests in Chopin were never abrupt silence as you'd get from modern pianos: the sound faded over a second or so. And even without pedal, you get a slight blurring of the notes in passagework because they 'run into' each other; and staccatos aren't the kind of sharply defined sounds that we're used to.

Listen to this - and note the rest just before the coda:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NT6pDrlCbcw


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."

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