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Joined: May 2001
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Originally Posted by Sam S
[...]
4000 is nothing. Scroll back up and look at [...]and Bruce D's totals - and be amazed!

Sam

Or just scratch your head and ask: Why? smile

Posts such as this one with its powerful and inimitable prose do contribute to the number count, of course!

Cheers!


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Originally Posted by ranjit
I know this is an old thread, but I've realized that I intuitively always "half-pedal", varying the amount of damper pedal, typically from about 1/2-3/4 of the way down. I've done this ever since I've played on acoustic pianos. Pressing it down fully seems to blur the sound a bit too much for my taste, so I'm always varying the amount I press it down, in a largely intuitive fashion. Is this wrong or inadvisable?
Besides what others have already written above, you should also consider that quickly releasing a fully depressed pedal can cause unwanted noise from the mechanism. I think what works best is to depress the pedal down to that point where it barely begins to be engaged and then use the slightest motion of the foot up or down to either engage it fully or release it or use shades of "in between" as needed.

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Since the una corda pedal shifts the action towards the keys on an acoustic upright, it is quite possible to sound notes as well by simply using this pedal aggressively. Obviously this would be inappropriate use of that pedal. And it is an important pedal.

I take back what I said before. You can play forte with the una corda engaged and you can play piano (softly) without it engaged. So, the variances you can achieve with these mixtures is what you learn to control. So, half pedal on this una corda pedal makes no sense really. Also, it gets engaged or disengaged maybe once or twice for an entire composition. Unlike a sustain that may be engaged and refreshed 100's of times.

It is a skill to use both. Either one can become a crutch. Doesn't mean you shouldn't use them, but you need to learn to use them properly. As the una corda behaves differently on a grand, you may or may not want it in all the same places as it alters more than just volume.

Sustain is the one that really takes perfecting and makes a big difference. Una corda is next and sostenuto comes in a distant last. It is so infrequently used that some piano manufacturers swap it out for another function or leave it off altogether. If you never practice this pedal in your lifetime, no will ever know. Honestly, I wouldn't even bother with it as the pay back (if any) is so minimal.

It is a decorative pedal to me. On my piano it drops a practice felt, so useless anyway.

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Originally Posted by Greener
I take back what I said before. You can play forte with the una corda engaged and you can play piano (softly) without it engaged. So, the variances you can achieve with these mixtures is what you learn to control. So, half pedal on this una corda pedal makes no sense really. Also, it gets engaged or disengaged maybe once or twice for an entire composition. Unlike a sustain that may be engaged and refreshed 100's of times.
I have to disagree. I practice daily on a grand piano so I had time to experiment and I feel that it does make sense to half-pedal the una corda. Its purpose is not to soften the sound but to change the color; something you cannot do with your fingers alone.

One example is in Moonlight 1, the diminished chords passage in the middle of the piece, I like to gradually engage the una corda when going down. The combination of decrescendo and the darker tone of the una corda gives a more dramatic effect.

It's mainly the slow expressive pieces or the impressionistic ones that benefit from the una corda. But you have to experiment and use your ears to decide.

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Some very subtle difference I am sure and only applies on a Grand. But if you are able to capitalize on these subtleties, all the power to you and added power for better control of your sound overall.

It doesn't work the same on an upright and is more about control of attack in that case and not colour of tone.

Anyway, I just think it makes way more sense to perfect if and how you use the una corda pedal on various instruments. It is the least understood, respected and discussed of all the pedals, but is far more important than the sostenuto. I think.

Last edited by Greener; 08/07/21 02:30 PM.
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This thread was posted on the adult beginner's forum. I don't think any beginner or even someone only playing 4-5 years should be thinking about or using the una corda or sostenuto pedal. There are so many other things of so much more importance to learn during the first years. And the OP's question went even further since it questioned about employing half pedal with the una corda.

Last edited by pianoloverus; 08/07/21 03:01 PM.
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
This thread was posted on the adult beginner's forum. I don't think any beginner or even someone only playing 4-5 years should be thinking about or using the una corda or sostenuto pedal.
I often get annoyed by how people who have played for 5 years seem to be considered real beginners here... I guess they might be if they've been wasting most of their time.

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Originally Posted by ranjit
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
This thread was posted on the adult beginner's forum. I don't think any beginner or even someone only playing 4-5 years should be thinking about or using the una corda or sostenuto pedal.
I often get annoyed by how people who have played for 5 years seem to be considered real beginners here... I guess they might be if they've been wasting most of their time.
If your comment is referencing what you quoted, then you misread or misunderstood my post.

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Beginners? smirk

I must have been a beginner for close to a decade when I was a student, as I never used the una corda or sostenuto pedals until I was studying advanced rep - several early & late Beethoven sonatas, Carnaval & Kreisleriana, Chopin and Rachmaninov etudes, Brahms's Op.117 - 119, Estampes and Images etc - with my last teacher.

Well, I didn't have access to any grand until then: all the pianos I played & practiced on in high school and university were uprights, which had no sostenuto pedals, and the 'una corda' pedals were no such thing. I had to learn to use my fingers (and wrists and arms and shoulders) rather than my feet to produce all the gradations of tone color from sotto voce pppp to unbridled ffff.

However, as I am unblessed with false modesty, I stopped calling myself a 'beginner' when I started (or rather, my first teacher started me) on real Mozart when I was around three months into lessons........


"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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