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#440876 - 03/10/08 01:48 PM Sloppy Pedalling
ChopinChamp Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/28/08
Posts: 113
My teacher says I dont pedal clean. Does anyone have any tips on pedalling besides following the pedal marks on the music? (since some doesnt have it so I wanna know when to pedal on my own)
Currently Working:
Brahms: Intermezzo Op.119 no.3 in C

Currently Polishing:
Chopin Fantasie-Impromptu Op. 66

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#440877 - 03/10/08 01:59 PM Re: Sloppy Pedalling
Phlebas Offline

Registered: 01/02/03
Posts: 4654
Loc: New York City
What does your teacher suggest?
Pedalling is 99% listening.

#440878 - 03/10/08 03:33 PM Re: Sloppy Pedalling
BruceD Offline

Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 20227
Loc: Victoria, BC
Explaining good and efficient pedalling is so much easier in person at a piano than trying to do it via text.

As Phlebas observed, most of good pedalling comes from good listening combined with a thorough knowledge of performance styles of various periods/composers. For example; use pedal sparingly in Mozart mainly to give colour rather than to aid in creating legato where scalar passages should always be clean and clear. A similar scalar or even chromatic passage in Chopin might require pedal to create a certain overlapping effect of tones. In Debussy, chords and notes often are meant to overlap to create shimmering or hazy impressions.

So, not only do you have to learn to listen, you have to know what to listen for and how the damper pedal can aid in creating that effect.

Much of pedalling is intuitive; there are some pianists who need little instruction on how to pedal and there are some - in my listening experiences - who just never seem to get it in spite of their teacher's efforts.

- - - - -
Estonia 190

#440879 - 03/10/08 03:43 PM Re: Sloppy Pedalling
ChopinChamp Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/28/08
Posts: 113
My teacher tells me about how you have to pay attention to the chords. When the chords change you have to clear the pedal.. The advice you guys gave is great though. Ill just have to listen, and Im glad you mentioned the Chopin and chromatics, because me it sounded good, but my teacher told me NEVER to pedal scales and runs... So I just have to start listening more I guess...
Currently Working:
Brahms: Intermezzo Op.119 no.3 in C

Currently Polishing:
Chopin Fantasie-Impromptu Op. 66

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#440880 - 03/10/08 03:56 PM Re: Sloppy Pedalling
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 24767
Loc: Oakland
Start without pedaling, even if you feel you absolutely must pedal. Then add it, using as little as possible. It is easier to use more than less.

Keep both feet by the pedals. Be ready to use the sostenuto pedal instead of the damper pedal, if you have it.
Semipro Tech

#440881 - 03/10/08 04:13 PM Re: Sloppy Pedalling
epf Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/13/07
Posts: 658
Loc: Central Texas
One other thing to point out: since pedaling is about listening, realize that it may change in different settings. What doesn't seem to blur notes in a large hall might in a smaller setting. Critical listening is very, very important.

"...a man ... should engage himself with the causes of the harmonious combination of sounds, and with the composition of music." Anatolius of Alexandria

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#440882 - 03/10/08 04:30 PM Re: Sloppy Pedalling
apple* Offline

Registered: 01/01/03
Posts: 19862
Loc: Kansas
i would give myself a little pedalling exercise.

practice depressing the pedal at the exact same time the note (or a chord) sounds... note after note.

then practice depressing the pedal right before the note sounds.. note after note

then practice depressing the pedal right after the note sounds.. note after note

then practice depressing the pedal at the same time the note sounds, but only 1/4 or so the way down, note after note

learn to hear how the note (or chord) sounds with these different techniques..

it took me quite some time to be able to learn to bring my foot down at the exact same time as my fingers.

it also took me quite some time to pay attention to how long the pedalling lasts.. when it ends which is very important.

it's a skill
accompanist/organist.. a non-MTNA teacher to a few

love and peace, Õun (apple in Estonian)

#440883 - 03/10/08 04:58 PM Re: Sloppy Pedalling
frida1 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/02/04
Posts: 199
Loc: Pacific Northwest
As I become a better pianist, I find I want to use the pedal in a different way. Try depressing the pedal only a quarter or halfway down. This allows you to use it more frequently without getting muddy.

#440884 - 03/10/08 09:33 PM Re: Sloppy Pedalling
Guendola Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/06/08
Posts: 39
Don't only listen to yourself. Check videos on places like youtube to find out how others (not necessarily the great ones) play it and how that sounds. Like that you will develop more sensitivity to what is possible and THEN it is time to listen to your pedaling again.

#440885 - 03/11/08 04:37 PM Re: Sloppy Pedalling
Jan-Erik Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/18/05
Posts: 1302
Loc: Finland
Have the pedal properly regulated!

But there are various opinions on what is correct adjustment: IMO htgere should be very little free movement, and the full of rising of the dampers should require only about 1 inch of pressing the pedal.

Many uprights have a sloppy sustain pedal mechanism, making it necessary to keep the pedal continuosly slightly pressed for obtaining fast pedal shifts.

Some pedals are so high above the floor that the ergonomy is suffering.

But it is anyhow much easier to adapt to different pedal feels than to different action feels.


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