The Art of Pedaling on the Piano – Part 2

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Welcome back to our multi part series on the art of pedaling on the piano. Last time in part one we talked about the damper pedal and clearing the pedal on the downbeat of new harmonies. This week we are going to be covering some nuances of pedaling.

For this example, I use the Beethoven Pathetique Sonata. In the example, I demonstrate playing the piece without the pedal. When it comes to performing the piece you will want to use the pedal, but you should learn all your music without the use of the pedal first so you can hear the connection of notes that good fingering provides. This helps you to understand where to apply the pedal in your music as well as avoiding the bad habit of using the pedal as a crutch to connect notes in difficult passages.

Another way to enhance your music with the pedal is like what we talked about in the first video. This is achieved by putting the pedal down as soon as the harmonies change. Sometimes you might want the clarity of the notes to shine through in certain passages,. In these instances it’s a good idea to not hold down the pedal for the entire beat like we did in the first video. Instead, we will be using touches on the melody and for the passages that you can’t connect with my fingers alone.

This might give you an idea as to why pedal markings are not written into the score most of the time. If you tried to write down everything I was doing in the example video above it would create chaos on the page! Many other factors from the acoustics of the room, to the quality of the piano, to the size of pianist’s hands all factor into when to use the pedal.

The best thing you can do is to practice without the pedal and learn your music completely that way. After you feel confident playing the piece without the pedal, slowly go through and add the pedal where you think you need it – either to connect difficult passages or to enhance the harmonies or melodies of your music.

Thanks again for joining me Robert Estrin (949) 244-3729