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I have a question about whether/why note duration matters when you're fully pedaling. For example in Chopin Op 69 No 1, bar 27:
[Linked Image]
There's a staccatissimo sign on Gb. But if the pedal is down (since bar 2 says Ped. simile), the note will last a long time anyway? So what does the staccatissimo sign do here?

A related question about pedaling and note duration in general, if you're fully pedaling, does it matter when you lift your fingers? In the same piece, for example, bar 1 left hand, why did Chopin write (a dotted half note F) + (quarter rest, quarter AD, quarter AD) instead of (quarter F, quarter AD, quarter AD)? There's no need to hold F down for all three beats right? (I understand it's not uncommon to lift fingers early while pedaling to play some notes far away that'd be impossible to play without pedal.)

And finally, IF when you lift your fingers DOES matter when pedaling, can someone explain why? Mechanically right pedal should lift all dampers, releasing key isn't going to drop the damper, so should that make a difference in sound?

Last edited by Yao; 05/16/21 10:52 PM.
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Chopin and pedaling who knows. To a certain point it is artistic freedom how you(the performer) want to make it sound.

With that being said, Chopin used to say to his students that “the correct employment of the pedal" remains a study for life.


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I take that as a slight accent, given the hairpin (crescendo) indication under the fioritura.

On the other hand, "Ped. simile" doesn't necessarily mean that every measure is pedaled exactly the same. You certainly could lift the pedal before the third beat. Use some artistic or interpretive discretion here.

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Originally Posted by Yao
. . .
A related question about pedaling and note duration in general, (a) if you're fully pedaling, does it matter when you lift your fingers? . . . .

(b) And finally, IF when you lift your fingers DOES matter when pedaling, can someone explain why? Mechanically right pedal should lift all dampers, releasing key isn't going to drop the damper, so should that make a difference in sound?

(a) No, it doesn't matter, if you're fully pedalling. If the pedal is fully down, all the dampers are fully up, whether your finger is down or not.

(b) It _does_ matter if you're "half-pedalling" -- holding the dampers just a little bit off the strings. And I think that's the right way to play it.

I suspect that, if you fully-pedal straight through those measures, even with lifts at the barlines, your sound will be "muddy".

If you half-pedal (that is, press the pedal down enough to reduce the damping, but you don't _eliminate_ the damping), and lift completely at the barlines, you'll get some resonance during each measure:

. . . not "dry", and not muddy.

Watch the right foot of a concert pianist. It's always going up and down, just a little bit, around the point where the dampers start to lift off the strings.


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Apart from the other comments which I agree with, the fact is that even if the pedal is down, you will still hear the staccato as an articulation. The staccato has 2 effects, one is that the duration is shorter but the other is that the note can also be accented (more or less depending on your choice). The pedal will affect the duration, but the accentuation will remain. In addition, like others have said, it depends how you use the pedal.

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Conventionally piano notation on the staves is written disregarding pedal, otherwise it would be a mess.

The staccatissimo mark there indicates that the key must be attacked very sharply, in a striking manner. It's best done with one of the strong fingers, preferably the 3rd. The form of key attack is heard even when the pedal is fully down.

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Thanks everyone, this was very helpful! I didn't know staccato also means accent, but when I listen to others' performance, this indeed seems to be the case. Back to the piano to practice this!

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Originally Posted by Yao
Thanks everyone, this was very helpful! I didn't know staccato also means accent, but when I listen to others' performance, this indeed seems to be the case. Back to the piano to practice this!
Staccato might mean accent, but certainly not always.

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I think the pedaling indication in this edition is faulty and just laziness from the editor. There are some measures where the harmony changes on the third beat so leaving the pedal down for all three beats would create a terrible effect. With that in mind Chopin's indication to hold the first LH note down for three beats makes more sense.

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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
I think the pedaling indication in this edition is faulty and just laziness from the editor. There are some measures where the harmony changes on the third beat so leaving the pedal down for all three beats would create a terrible effect. With that in mind Chopin's indication to hold the first LH note down for three beats makes more sense.
I see, yeah my teacher also said that different editors can add different pedaling but it should be taken with a grain of salt, and one should play what sounds good to them.

Unfortunately right now I don’t think my ears are trained enough to pick up the subtle differences yet...


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