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Is there a term for this?
#3052063 12/02/20 02:04 PM
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TBell Online Content OP
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Is there a musical term or a standard name for this type of note progression? Where you alternate notes, one staying on the same note and the other descends or ascends.

[Linked Image]

I see this frequently in Bach's music. And Hanon #5. Just curious.

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Re: Is there a term for this?
TBell #3052074 12/02/20 02:33 PM
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It might be referred to as a pedal point, or something of that nature. I am not too sure. I used to know that kind of stuff, but it's been a while. I'm curious to know what the answer is myself. I actually see that a lot in many of the songs I eventually want to play.

Last edited by ul7; 12/02/20 02:37 PM.
Re: Is there a term for this?
TBell #3052082 12/02/20 02:57 PM
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Originally Posted by TBell
Is there a musical term or a standard name for this type of note progression? Where you alternate notes, one staying on the same note and the other descends or ascends.

[Linked Image]

I see this frequently in Bach's music. And Hanon #5. Just curious.
Perhaps an 'inverted pedal point'?

BTW, are you playing BWV 565 on the piano or organ? (Pun intended wink )


"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: Is there a term for this?
TBell #3052179 12/02/20 07:18 PM
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i've always thought that a "pedal point" is _one note_, held through a section of RH
playing (or LH/RH playing, on an organ with pedalboard).

For this example, its name -- I don't know.


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Re: Is there a term for this?
TBell #3052191 12/02/20 07:54 PM
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Liszt was probably the preeminent expert at that type of notation, he even liked to throw grace notes and trills into the same mix.
Not sure if it has a name, I would call it "impossible to play for mere mortals"


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Re: Is there a term for this?
TBell #3052195 12/02/20 08:10 PM
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Anyone of a curious disposition (of at least intermediate standard) might want to try out this little Brahms piece which was only discovered this century, with a theme later used in his Horn Trio. It makes profuse use of (bass) pedal points:

https://ks4.imslp.info/files/imglnks/usimg/d/d1/IMSLP173071-PMLP305651-Albumblatt.pdf

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0a3REsRnotY


"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: Is there a term for this?
TBell #3052768 12/04/20 08:09 AM
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ul7 benevis +1

Yes the repeated C is a pedal point or pedal tone. And yes, inverted pedal point in this case.

The other notes I would call the melody notes

See also https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pedal_point


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Re: Is there a term for this?
wouter79 #3052955 12/04/20 05:35 PM
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Originally Posted by wouter79
ul7 benevis +1

Yes the repeated C is a pedal point or pedal tone. And yes, inverted pedal point in this case.

The other notes I would call the melody notes

See also https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pedal_point


Damn, I guess No Nonsense was right. Maybe my rusty brain still has some scraps of retaining knowledge. Oh well, I'm still gonna say I'm wrong just because.... laugh. Plus I agree with the "impossible to play by mere mortals" version by trooplewis lol hahahaha.....

Last edited by ul7; 12/04/20 05:39 PM.
Re: Is there a term for this?
TBell #3053124 12/05/20 03:28 AM
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It's a type of figuration common in string writing where it is known as 'bariolage'.

Re: Is there a term for this?
TBell #3053321 12/05/20 03:44 PM
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I’m confused. How is this a repeated C? How do you know it means pedal? All I see is a D A C# A D A etc. all 1/16. I feel like I’m not seeing full picture or I’m just lost which could very likely be the case.

Re: Is there a term for this?
TBell #3053387 12/05/20 06:18 PM
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It's a repeated A in the OP
Also to the OP, Hanon #5 doesn't fit the description, but #31 sure does. Just a finger exercise for extension, not for melody.

Last edited by trooplewis; 12/05/20 06:22 PM.

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Re: Is there a term for this?
trooplewis #3053407 12/05/20 07:05 PM
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Yes my mistake. It is Hanon #6 I was thinking of - 1st measure is C-A-G-A-F-A-E-A. Then move up a note and repeat.

I hear type of arrangement in some Bach's Organ works - Fugue in D minor BWV 565 (as keenly spotted by bennevis) and Fugue in A minor "The Great", BWV 543 just to name a couple.

Re: Is there a term for this?
TBell #3053417 12/05/20 07:29 PM
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It's not just Bach and Hanon of course - in fact, Beethoven makes use of this kind of inverted pedal point more often than any other composer.

Probably the most well-known use of it is in the finale of his Moonlight Sonata, where he uses it not just in RH, but also LH.


"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: Is there a term for this?
Charles Cohen #3053529 12/06/20 05:23 AM
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Originally Posted by Charles Cohen
i've always thought that a "pedal point" is _one note_, held through a section of RH
playing (or LH/RH playing, on an organ with pedalboard).

For this example, its name -- I don't know.

That is the original and true definition of the pedal point, coming from the organ pedal usage. A note held in the bass (or alternatively in the tenor) on the tonic or dominant, while the other voices play a consonant or dissonant harmony on top. That is the most common usage that Bach does at the end of of his fugues. In the typical fugue structure, it is even named the pedal section. By extension one can also put the pedal in other voices than the bass and by further extension on other notes than tonic and dominant, though the effect is not the same.

On instruments that dont have the capability to sustain a note over several bars, there are work arounds, such as repeating the note, on every beat or bar or whatever frequency. Another way is to put a long trill on the note. Scarlatti was using quite often a sort of inverted pedal, though in his case, the purpose is not the same as when putting the pedal in the bass. The pedal note can also be repeated just for the effect in itself rather than as a need due to an instrument limitation.

On instruments like the luth, french composers developed the style brise which simulates the effect of several voices while a single string is played at a time. In that case, the pedal note alternates with other notes simulating 2 or more voices played together with the pedal point. The harpsichordists adopted that technique as well, which then started to be used as a compositional feature in itself. So in the case of the OP example, there are in fact 2 voices, one is playing the pedal point alternating with the second voice playing its own line. You can call it a pedal point or a sustained note in "style brise".

Re: Is there a term for this?
Sebs #3053532 12/06/20 05:55 AM
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Originally Posted by Sebs
I’m confused. How is this a repeated C? How do you know it means pedal? All I see is a D A C# A D A etc. all 1/16. I feel like I’m not seeing full picture or I’m just lost which could very likely be the case.

Sorry it's a repeated A. The note flags occlude the upper staff line, i think that confused me.


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Re: Is there a term for this?
TBell #3053774 12/06/20 05:53 PM
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So how is this a pedal point and not just the notesbeing played? If I saw this score I’d play them all as individual notes. I still have no idea why people are saying this is pedal. Maybe I’m missing it.

Re: Is there a term for this?
TBell #3053781 12/06/20 06:16 PM
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My bad guys, maybe I shouldn't have said anything. I'm not 100% sure what it is, but the term varies greatly depending on the context.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pedal_point#Use_in_classical_music

Read that. More importantly scroll down and skim that section and read all of the instruments and "their application to pedal points." This may help clarify a bit better. Especially read the sections on Harpsichord and Piano.

Last edited by ul7; 12/06/20 06:17 PM.
Re: Is there a term for this?
TBell #3053784 12/06/20 06:28 PM
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[Linked Image]

Basically the inverted color row that I highlighted would be viewed as a pedal point. Again, I'm not 100% confident in that.

Last edited by ul7; 12/06/20 06:29 PM.
Re: Is there a term for this?
TBell #3053794 12/06/20 07:15 PM
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Ok I thought I was missing something here. I was thinking Id simply play all sixteenths D, A, C#, A, D, A and so on. I was wondering if I was way off. Glad to know I'm not as lost as I thought I was.


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