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Finger pedaling- Who uses this technique?
#3009855 08/03/20 01:48 PM
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So I was working in a piece with my teacher this weekend when the subject of finger pedaling came up in lieu of using the damper pedal. I'm ashamed to say I was not very familiar with this technique and often wondered how in some recordings I've heard the pianist is able to add a bit of "reverb" to a melody line but it was clear they were not lifting the dampers. Initially what I thought I was hearing was half-pedaling, but that apparently was not the case. Anyone use this technique regularly? The technique involves holding a single key slightly longer so that it bleeds into the next note but completely lifting that key when the following key is depressed. The sequence is first key held down so it bleeds into second key and then first key is lifted once the third key is depressed. The idea that we are creating a controlled sustain without muddying the entire section with a wash of sustained notes.


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Bach/Busoni Chaconne in D minor BWV 1004
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Re: Finger pedaling- Who uses this technique?
Jethro #3009864 08/03/20 02:17 PM
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If the so called finger pedaling is as you described, then I'm sure its a very common thing most of piano players use more or less. I spam it almost all the time when playing Bach and Beethoven. However when playing Chopin , I found it's impossible to not use damper pedal, otherwise the sound will be terrible .


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Re: Finger pedaling- Who uses this technique?
Jethro #3009865 08/03/20 02:17 PM
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I think this may be something advanced Jethro. I did not understand it at all so maybe I dont this technique. Maybe if you find a youtube example it would be clearer.

Re: Finger pedaling- Who uses this technique?
Jethro #3009868 08/03/20 02:28 PM
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Could it be the same thing that my teacher simply calls overlapping?


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Re: Finger pedaling- Who uses this technique?
Jethro #3009871 08/03/20 02:30 PM
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I did a google search Moo.

https://www.teresawong.hk/finger-pedaling/#:~:text=Finger%20pedaling%20is%20the%20delicate,The%20concept%20is%20simply%20OVERLAPPING.

The concept is easy but not as easy to execute if you are not used to it. She calls it an advanced technique.

Last edited by Jethro; 08/03/20 02:31 PM.

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Bach/Busoni Chaconne in D minor BWV 1004
Chopin: G Minor Ballade
Schumann/Liszt Widmung

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Re: Finger pedaling- Who uses this technique?
Jethro #3009872 08/03/20 02:31 PM
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Re: Finger pedaling- Who uses this technique?
Animisha #3009874 08/03/20 02:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Animisha
Could it be the same thing that my teacher simply calls overlapping?
Yes is also known overlapping. I'm embarrassed to say after all these years I have been told this until this past weekend. This is quite exciting to have learned but it is not as easy to do if your not used to it.


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Bach/Busoni Chaconne in D minor BWV 1004
Chopin: G Minor Ballade
Schumann/Liszt Widmung

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Re: Finger pedaling- Who uses this technique?
Jethro #3009877 08/03/20 02:43 PM
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Am I the only pianist on the planet not using this technique? This can open many doors for me personally in my interpretations.


Working on:

Bach/Busoni Chaconne in D minor BWV 1004
Chopin: G Minor Ballade
Schumann/Liszt Widmung

Shigeru Kawai SK2
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Re: Finger pedaling- Who uses this technique?
Jethro #3009881 08/03/20 02:49 PM
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Thank you for the video it was very clear and interesting. To be honest I have never heard of it before Jethro. I think it may have some uses like the example of Bach wtc 1 c minor prelude it really made sense. Other times I just thought you could get the same with a dab of pedal. It looks to me quite advanced tbh and a little over my head.

Re: Finger pedaling- Who uses this technique?
Jethro #3009888 08/03/20 03:17 PM
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Tbh as a 'self taught' player, yes, I often use it to give extra richness/texture (or whatever you want to call it) but like many of the terms used on PW I used it without knowing its name. In my case it originates from playing a lot of non-classical music first (effectively ending up with a chord to enrich the sound) and is a kind of lazy habit that I actually need to control better, but I think that with careful use there are times when it is particularly pleasant. For example, there's a simple Haydn piece which I like to play, 'Adagio in F,' where with the right application of it really 'enhances' (in my opinion) the sound but whether or not Haydn would have liked the effect is another matter...


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Re: Finger pedaling- Who uses this technique?
Moo :) #3009889 08/03/20 03:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Moo :)
Thank you for the video it was very clear and interesting. To be honest I have never heard of it before Jethro. I think it may have some uses like the example of Bach wtc 1 c minor prelude it really made sense. Other times I just thought you could get the same with a dab of pedal. It looks to me quite advanced tbh and a little over my head.
Yes, my teacher said you could feather the damper pedal but that is a very advanced technique as well.


Working on:

Bach/Busoni Chaconne in D minor BWV 1004
Chopin: G Minor Ballade
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Re: Finger pedaling- Who uses this technique?
Jethro #3009892 08/03/20 03:20 PM
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I think the most common way the term "finger pedaling" is used is in Alberti bass figurations where one holds the lowest note while the other three notes are played. This was popular some time ago. I have an edition of the Mozart Sonatas by Bartok where holding the lowest note in each Alberti bass is actually indicated in the score. I don't think one does this the way the OP described in non Alberti passages. If one held the first note until one played the third note it would often cause a major dissonance.

Re: Finger pedaling- Who uses this technique?
pianoloverus #3009896 08/03/20 03:29 PM
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
I think the most common way the term "finger pedaling" is used is in Alberti bass figurations where one holds the lowest note while the other three notes are played. This was popular some time ago. I have an edition of the Mozart Sonatas by Bartok where holding the lowest note in each Alberti bass is actually indicated in the score. I don't think one does this the way the OP described in non Alberti passages. If one held the first note until one played the third note it would often cause a major dissonance.
Yes, how I described it in the OP was how she described it to me and how we practiced it. There is an otherwise easy melodic section at the end of the Busoni's Chaconne just following the d major section where it returns to d minor where she suggested finger pedaling over over the damper pedals. She demonstrated it beautifully to me but it was a technique I was unfamiliar with. As one of the posters pointed above it is otherwise known as overlapping.


Working on:

Bach/Busoni Chaconne in D minor BWV 1004
Chopin: G Minor Ballade
Schumann/Liszt Widmung

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Re: Finger pedaling- Who uses this technique?
Jethro #3009898 08/03/20 03:32 PM
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"Finger pedaling" is sometimes 'written in' by the composer (e.g. Bach, Brahms et al), where the notes to be held are indicated precisely. Look at Bach's Goldberg Aria, for instance.

But Haydn and Mozart rarely write stuff like that, so the performer must make his own judgement on how to use finger pedaling, especially in Alberti basses (- I don't use it first time, but deploy it on the repeats) which enriches the harmony without muddying the RH runs - e.g. in K545 - as would happen if you use the sustain pedal.

Anyone who's played a fortepiano (or even concert grand) of that period - Walter, Stein, Broadwood, Pleyel, √Črard etc - will soon discover that those old pianos have poor damping mechanisms, and the sound doesn't abruptly get cut off as soon as the key is released. That's why passagework etc 'flow like oil' (Wolfie). And the sound is never dry, unlike on modern pianos if you don't use the sustain pedal - or finger pedaling........


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Re: Finger pedaling- Who uses this technique?
petebfrance #3009899 08/03/20 03:35 PM
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Originally Posted by petebfrance
Tbh as a 'self taught' player, yes, I often use it to give extra richness/texture (or whatever you want to call it) but like many of the terms used on PW I used it without knowing its name. In my case it originates from playing a lot of non-classical music first (effectively ending up with a chord to enrich the sound) and is a kind of lazy habit that I actually need to control better, but I think that with careful use there are times when it is particularly pleasant. For example, there's a simple Haydn piece which I like to play, 'Adagio in F,' where with the right application of it really 'enhances' (in my opinion) the sound but whether or not Haydn would have liked the effect is another matter...
The technique I'm describing is actually used to create a very clean (versus muddied) sustain on a melodic line. It doesn't end with a holding all the notes to create a chord like effect.


Working on:

Bach/Busoni Chaconne in D minor BWV 1004
Chopin: G Minor Ballade
Schumann/Liszt Widmung

Shigeru Kawai SK2
Kawai VPC-1
Re: Finger pedaling- Who uses this technique?
bennevis #3009900 08/03/20 03:36 PM
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Originally Posted by bennevis
"Finger pedaling" is sometimes 'written in' by the composer (e.g. Bach, Brahms et al), where the notes to be held are indicated precisely. Look at Bach's Goldberg Aria, for instance.

But Haydn and Mozart rarely write stuff like that, so the performer must make his own judgement on how to use finger pedaling, especially in Alberti basses (- I don't use it first time, but deploy it on the repeats) which enriches the harmony without muddying the RH runs - e.g. in K545 - as would happen if you use the sustain pedal

Anyone who's played a fortepiano (or even concert grand) of that period - Walter, Stein, Broadwood, Pleyel, √Črard etc - will soon discover that those old pianos have poor damping mechanisms, and the sound doesn't abruptly get cut off as soon as the key is released. That's why passagework etc 'flow like oil' (Wolfie). And the sound is never dry, unlike on modern pianos if you don't use the sustain pedal - or finger pedaling........
Yes Bennevis, exactly. I have used this technique on Baroque music but it was written IN the music, but it can be used to great effect to produce a very clean sustain or as we discussed a little reverb to otherwise "wet" a rather "dry" section. I think professional pianists use it often over the damper pedal.

Last edited by Jethro; 08/03/20 03:38 PM.

Working on:

Bach/Busoni Chaconne in D minor BWV 1004
Chopin: G Minor Ballade
Schumann/Liszt Widmung

Shigeru Kawai SK2
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Re: Finger pedaling- Who uses this technique?
Jethro #3009909 08/03/20 03:51 PM
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Is this finger pedalling for the top melody line? starting at 02:44


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Re: Finger pedaling- Who uses this technique?
Jethro #3009911 08/03/20 03:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Jethro
I think professional pianists use it often over the damper pedal.
I've been to at least a hundred master classes where the students are all conservatory students. I've never once heard the teacher once talk about finger pedaling.

Re: Finger pedaling- Who uses this technique?
Jethro #3009919 08/03/20 04:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Jethro
The technique I'm describing is actually used to create a very clean (versus muddied) sustain on a melodic line. It doesn't end with a holding all the notes to create a chord like effect.

As far as I know the pedal will not create a muddy sound if used properly. I use finger pedaling because I find it's easier than using the pedal. My pedaling will sound muddy and that's not a pedal issue it's simply because I have not done much pedaling and still need to learn how to use it.

Re: Finger pedaling- Who uses this technique?
Jethro #3009943 08/03/20 05:29 PM
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In this discussion I find myself slightly confused as to what exactly "finger pedalling" is. The OP's description sounds very much like what I would call legato. However, in the earlier PW thread linked above, I read:

Originally Posted by pianoloverus
By "finger pedaling" I'm assuming you mean actually holding down notes beyond their indicated value and not just what would normally be thought of as good legato playing.

I think that this is the way I would define it.

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