A common question from our beginning piano students has nothing to do with the black and white keys but what’s at the bottom of the piano – the foot pedals.
You’ve seen these pedals, sometimes there are three but often they are only two. These pedals are an important tool of piano players as it gives them greater control of their sound and better convey the emotions of the composition.
Right or damper pedal. The most often popular pedal, it is used to help a note last longer (or sustain) after the key has been pressed. It creates a wonderful echo, almost gloomy, effect. To listen to an example of a damper pedal, check out the last note in The Beatles’ “A Day in the Life.” In musical notation, the damper pedal is referred to as “Ped.”
Left or una corda pedal. This pedal creates a quiet, softer sound without affecting the tone. This effect is achieved by reducing the number of strings the hammer on a piano strikes. Typically, a hammer will strike three strings when a key is pressed but only one string will be struck when the una corda pedal is being used. In musical notation, the left pedal is used when una corda is written and released when the words tre corde appear.
Middle or sostenuto pedal. This is the pedal that is most often missing in upright pianos and in pedal attachments for digital pianos. In a grand piano, the middle pedal will act as a damper pedal for only the note or notes you are playing when you press down on it. Other keys on the piano will play with their usual short, staccato sound. If an upright piano has a middle pedal it is most often used to mute the overall sound of the piano. It’s often referred to as a practice pedal so students can play without disturbing others in the room.
The Music Junction offers piano and voice lessons at our Burbank and Hollywood locations. Call us today to learn more.
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