Pedals on piano are truly their sole and the amazing sound that comes from a piano has its features and properties connected to pedaling. These are livers that control various mechanisms of piano. Use of piano pedals in a certain way is actually an art. Although mastering on use of pedals is something that can be learnt with knowledge, practice, experience, creativity and inspiration. All these are properties that govern the use of pedals by a pianist to add more flavor to their music. In order to earn good pedaling tips and techniques, you need to have an impressive hearing, focused practicing and theoretical knowledge.
Piano Pedaling Tips:
Different piano pedals are there to serve different purposes and one should have complete knowledge of functions and features of each of them so that you can add some depth and expressiveness to your piano music. Here are some tips that would help you in gaining good hands over piano pedals:
Knowing the Piano Pedals: You can’t learn to use piano pedals properly without knowing them. There are 4 basic types of piano pedals that can be found in any modern piano including:
- Sustain/Damper Pedal: Located usually in the right side, the Sustain or Damper pedal is used to increase richness of sound. Piano strings sounds are released when the damper is raised and thus resulting in a richer yet controlled sound. This type of pedal is most commonly used with any musical piece played on piano.
- Sostenuto Pedal: Located usually in the middle and controlled using right foot is the sostenuto pedal that is used to give damping effect to only a limited number of keys. Not really common with all the grand pianos but this piano is usually found with upright pianos and is fun to use where pianists needs to hold a chord or play some notes without the blending effect. This pedal is only rarely used.
- Una Corda Pedal: Located at the left side and controlled with left foot, this piano pedal moves the keyboard function towards right side where the hammers are controlled to hit one less of a string. This piano pedal can be termed as a function offering muting effect that makes piano sound much softer with a tonal change.
- Additional Middle Pedal: Many of the upright pianos include this middle pedal function that is used to make the sound muted in case where you want to avoid loud disturbing sound. Sound produced with the use of this pedal is not really appealing and it is better to use this pedal only if it is absolutely necessary.
Practice Correct Posture: In order to make best and comfortable use of piano pedals, you should practice proper posture with your feet flat on the floor. Your body should be in a position that enables you to comfortably reach for pedals so that you don’t have to move during a piano practice or performance session for using pedals.
Adjust and Place Feet Properly: Your feet must be placed in line with the pedals, one placed at the left and one at the right in front of the pedals. Your legs must be straight along with your feet. Feet ball should be placed at the end of the pedal and you may move that area up and down to depress and release pedals smoothly. If you depress or release abruptly, it would result in a jerky sound.
Pedaling Experimentation: A pianist can use pedals in a variety of ways. It could be a full way pedaling or a half way or only a quarter way. Piano sound would vary as a pianist would press the pedal down in a different way. You can experiment sounds and its quality by experimenting ways of pedaling. As you press pedal, you will be able to witness different changes in sound.
- Full pedaling: This pedaling method involves pedaling all the way down and then lifting it up. As pianists do so, keys will vibrate and sound will be produced.
- Half pedaling: This pedaling method involves pushing the pedal only partially and lifting in order to diminish the effects of sound.
- Quarter pedaling and other ways.
Pedaling Technique: Along with different ways of pedaling, expert pianists explain varied techniques of pedaling:
- Delayed Pedal: Delayed pedaling involves engaging sustain pedal after playing a chord or note. But the pedal is engaged before keys are released. This technique makes the sound more appealing and enables you to connect notes and harmonies for a clearer dissonant sound. It is also termed as indirect, overlapping or legato pedaling.
- Simultaneous Pedal: This technique involves pressing of pedal and keys at the same time. A certain note or chord is accented with this type of pedaling and thus makes sound more intense and deep. This piano pedaling works effectively for sharp pieces. It is also termed as direct or rhythmic pedaling.
- Preliminary Pedal: This is the simplest technique however offers an impressive effect for piano sound. This involves pressing of pedal before playing piano music piece. Piano sound resonance is activated with this technique and sound becomes even deeper and richer.
Follow Music Sheet Notations: Pedals are marked on music sheet with different words and symbols used. When you have a music sheet in front of you, try following pedaling notations. For example where damper pedal is involved, you may see ped script and where sostenuto pedal is involved, you may read sost ped Releasing a pedal may be notated by an asterisk. You may not necessarily find scoring written and thus at times you would have to use your own pedaling technique to get your desired musical taste.
Hand and Feet Coordination: Sound effects would vary with use of different pedals and proper technique can be earned with proper hands and feet movement. A pianist should pay proper attention on how his fingers and hands are moving on piano and how and when feet needs to be moved for pedaling.
Go Slow: This is one of the important tips. With piano as you pedal and play, you are multi-tasking. Thus you should go slow so that your brain and body can co-ordinate and accustom to this multiple tasking.
Controlling Quality: As you pedal to accentuate piano sound, you will actually be working towards growing a louder sound. Change, release and depress pedal often in order to maintain quality of tone and sound. As you continuously hold the pedal down, you can make the sound unclear and mash up its integrity.
Do notoveruse: Pedaling must be done in an appropriate manner and you should not overuse it.
Good pedaling technique cannot be limited to or expressed within some words but it is about all the ways that could bring beauty to your piano musical pieces. Pedaling techniques can make your sound deeper, vibrant, expressive and richer. Pedaling techniques and tips can be termed as tools with which you can experiment various sound effects. You can enhance dynamics and tones of sound with subtle changes of using pedals in a variety of ways. Altering the weight and pressure at different pedal points can make your piano sound change to a great extent.