The Half-Pedal Technique for Piano

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Welcome to another video in our series on the Art of Pedaling. In the first video we covered the Right Pedal (Damper Pedal). Next we covered How to Use the Pedal to Add Color to Your Music and last time we addressed Special Uses for the Pedals. Today we are going to cover half-pedaling. So what is half-pedaling and how can you use it in your playing?

Pedaling really is an art form and half-pedaling is an advanced technique that can add a lot of depth to your music if employed creatively. In the video I use the Chopin Ballade in G minor to demonstrate this technique. There is a gorgeous theme in the middle section of this piece that perfectly captures what half-pedaling can bring to your music.

As I have mentioned in past videos, it is essential that you Practice Your Music Without Using the Pedal. Playing this piece by Chopin without the pedal is going to be a huge challenge but it’s very beneficial for you to understand where and how to employ the pedal by practicing without it first learning how to connect as much as possible with your hands.

As I mentioned in the past videos in this series, you’ll want to change the pedal when harmonies change. This technique involves releasing the pedal as soon as harmonies change and then pushing it right back down. This produces a clean sound. With half-pedaling you can create richness in key melody notes while minimizing lower notes avoiding a muddy sound.

The pedal does not have to be completely on or off. Experimenting with the amount of pedal is a great way to enhance your music. Using the half-pedal technique (by not pushing the pedal all the way down) you can capture the amount of sustain applicable to the sound you are after. You will hear that you can enhance the sound of particular notes by using different amounts of pedal. Experiment and see what you can come up with.

Keep in mind that every piano you play will have different characteristics. The pedal is never the same on any two pianos. Room acoustics also affect the sound. So, getting to know and experiment with your piano is essential to improving the sound of your music.

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