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Using the damper pedal to sustain final notes
#3048415 11/22/20 11:13 PM
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I have taught my students that when they reach the end of a song, they are to hold the final notes down for the full time value of the notes, even though they may be tempted to just play the notes briefly and let the sustain pedal carry on the sound. When one student asked me the reason, I wasn't sure how to put it into words. He never exhibits a resistant attitude, so he wasn't challenging me - he just has a very inquisitive and creative mind and wants to know. How would you express the reason?

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Re: Using the damper pedal to sustain final notes
MJG10 #3048443 11/23/20 02:34 AM
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My piano teacher once explained it to me this way:
You want to develop the habit of holding your hands on the keys and release them at the same time you release the sustain pedal because of the visual impact of appearing to still be playing; playing for any audience, it is visually jarring if you remove your hands but there is still sound from the piano.


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Re: Using the damper pedal to sustain final notes
MJG10 #3048455 11/23/20 04:13 AM
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The visual effect as explained above, it signals the piece is complete and the audience can now applaud thunderously!

Also I've noticed there can be an unpleasant "whiny" sound when the sustain is released.

Re: Using the damper pedal to sustain final notes
MJG10 #3048507 11/23/20 08:49 AM
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Showmanship. Don't kill the illusion or the moment. That's how it was explained to me.

Re: Using the damper pedal to sustain final notes
MJG10 #3050450 11/28/20 11:27 AM
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Are notes not usually held for their full duration throughout a piece? And if so, why be different for the final note?

Re: Using the damper pedal to sustain final notes
David-G #3050662 11/28/20 09:02 PM
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Originally Posted by David-G
Are notes not usually held for their full duration throughout a piece? And if so, why be different for the final note?


Yes, notes are held for the noted duration- but in the interior of the piece, it is not always possible to hold them with your hands as a hand may need to move to a different location which makes holding the note with your fingers impossible. This does not affect the visual image of a sound being made because your hands are still producing sound.., there is an illusion that your hands are quite busy when you are relying on the pedal’s help.

If you were to completely remove your hands but there was still sound, you destroy the illusion that your are the wonder kid that produced all of the sound. 😊.


"Music, rich, full of feeling, not soulless, is like a crystal on which the sun falls and brings forth from it a whole rainbow" - F. Chopin
"I never dreamt with my own two hands I could touch the sky" - Sappho

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Re: Using the damper pedal to sustain final notes
David-G #3051234 11/30/20 12:27 PM
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Originally Posted by David-G
Are notes not usually held for their full duration throughout a piece? And if so, why be different for the final note?
A note has to last for as long as it's supposed to last. So a whole note should be 4 beats long etc. Then you have articulation: staccato has a little break between notes; legato, one note flows into the next without an excessive blur which means you have to let it last long enough. Once the hammer strikes the string, the sound is started and continues unless the damper falls on the strings to stop the note. So to get the note to continue for as long as it needs to sound, your actual job is to keep the damper off the strings. That can be done with hands or damper pedal.


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