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una corda pedal

Discussion in 'Technique' started by pianolady, Jul 5, 2006.

  1. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Do you use the soft pedal very much? I never did when I was young, because none of my teachers ever suggested or taught me it. (Yes, I know. I'm already considering taking lessons, again) Now I see how the professionals are most of the time on both the damper and the soft pedals, and I am trying to remind myself to use the soft pedal more often. But I prefer the clearer tone I get without the soft pedal. I'd like to hear what all of you fine players have to say.
     
  2. rachmaninoff

    rachmaninoff New Member Piano Society Artist

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    I use it very much. I think you get a nicer sound and you can play allot softer. I know its a bit weak but I don't know where I need to putt my other foot :oops:
     
  3. jesus_loves_u

    jesus_loves_u New Member

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    i use it heaps! but only for real fast songs! (such as moonlight sonata 3rd movement) My piano keys are quite difficult to press down so when I'm playing fast songs it's a necessity for me =p, but i don't use it when im playing practice books like Czerny, Bach and stuff like that, because they're practice songs lol your not gonna perform them at Carnegire Hall or something like that.
     
  4. lol_nl

    lol_nl New Member

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    Yeah I use it. Mainly when it's indicated in the score, like in some Chopin Nocturnes. You can add it at other times as well of course, but I like to follow the score. Playing Debussy for example needs quite some soft pedal (or many people use the soft pedal while playing Debusssy).

    lol :lol: ! You know, if you practise like that you will never come into Carnegie Hall 8) . That's called cheating. Either buy a better piano or practise good on a bad piano. Cheating is the worst way and can worsen your technique...
     
  5. Anonymous

    Anonymous Guest

    Agreed with LOL. You are cheating. I hope you don't think you're really going to Carnegie Hall like that.

    I like to follow the scores, too. Soft pedal is required when the score says to use it or when it says to play very quiet.
     
  6. jesus_loves_u

    jesus_loves_u New Member

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    lol, im just a noob just being playin PIANO for like 2 years =p (I keyboard for about 2 years too, but i didn't even know how to read music scores then, it was all the finger numbers and ye), can anyone tell me what the middle pedal is for?
     
  7. lol_nl

    lol_nl New Member

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    That one holds the notes you press at the time you press the pedal. But it's mainly on grands, some uprights have a middle pedal with no function. And some grands don't have a middle pedal at all...
    Oh yeah, some uprights have a soft pedal in the middle, it's actually a piece of cloth which goes before the hammers. That'll let you practise without disturbing the neighbours.
     
  8. rachmaninoff

    rachmaninoff New Member Piano Society Artist

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    don't need to practice with the midle padel because my neighbours like my playing :)
     
  9. jesus_loves_u

    jesus_loves_u New Member

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    o cool tnx i neva knew what dat 2nd pedal was doin there =p
     
  10. Anonymous

    Anonymous Guest

    Una Corda Pedal truly works only on grands.

    Hello to Piano Society Moderators and Fellow Members:

    This is my first post to this forum.


    On a grand piano, the una corda pedal shifts the keyboard and action slightly to the right, such that the hammers hit only two of three strings in the upper register, and sometimes only one of two strings in the tenor register. Single strings in the bass section are still hit by the hammers, but with a different contact point of the hammers.

    This is the noteworthy point: by shifting the contact point of hammer upon the strings, the una corda pedal allows a "softer" portion of the hammer (the felt is less mashed than the portion of the hammer's surface that normally contacts the strings). The overall effect of using the una corda pedal on a grand piano is a pleasingly softer sound with less overtones.

    Contrasting the above discussion with an upright piano, the una corda pedal is fairly useless: its use only moves the "rest" position of the hammers closer to the strings -- such that they theoretically have less momentum when they hit the strings. Less momentum, perhaps, but the harder parts of the hammers are still contacting all of the strings.


    Cheers,

    Joe <jcfeli>
     
  11. Anonymous

    Anonymous Guest

    Una Corda Pedal truly works only on grands.

    Hello to Piano Society Moderators and Fellow Members:

    This is my first post to this forum.


    On a grand piano, the una corda pedal shifts the keyboard and action slightly to the right, such that the hammers hit only two of three strings in the upper register, and sometimes only one of two strings in the tenor register. Single strings in the bass section are still hit by the hammers, but with a different contact point of the hammers.

    This is the noteworthy point: by shifting the contact point of hammer upon the strings, the una corda pedal allows a "softer" portion of the hammer (the felt is less mashed than the portion of the hammer's surface that normally contacts the strings). The overall effect of using the una corda pedal on a grand piano is a pleasingly softer sound with less overtones.

    Contrasting the above discussion with an upright piano, the una corda pedal is fairly useless: its use only moves the "rest" position of the hammers closer to the strings -- such that they theoretically have less momentum when they hit the strings. Less momentum, perhaps, but the harder parts of the hammers are still contacting all of the strings.


    Cheers,

    Joe <jcfeli>
     
  12. robert

    robert New Member Piano Society Artist

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    Also (adding to jcfeli's post), it is a bit dangerous to get used to the una corda pedal at an upright as the action gets easier. I remember that my first piano teacher suggested against using it at all at uprights. Actually, the effect una corda is not correct interpreted at an upright so it is even wrong to use it.
     
  13. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    So do you Robert, Techneut, jcfeli use the una corda pedal much? I think you all play on grands :?:
     
  14. Anonymous

    Anonymous Guest

    Posted: Mon Aug 21, 2006 5:59 am    Post subject:
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    So do you Robert, Techneut, jcfeli use the una corda pedal much? I think you all play on grands




    I happen to enjoy the tone of a good grand piano using the una corda pedal when I am accompanying a singer -- usually in legato passages intended mp or softer. When I am accompanying a choral ensemble, I often use the una corda pedal during softer passages.

    When i am performing classical piano literature in public, in a venue that seats more than 100 people, I more strongly adhere to the composer's explicit instructions regarding its use. Again, however, in the softest legato passages, I use the una corda to shape and contrast the piano's sound.

    In direct opposition, I NEVER use the leftmost "soft pedal" on an upright piano.

    Cheers,

    Joe <jcfeli>
     
  15. Anonymous

    Anonymous Guest

    "This is the noteworthy point: by shifting the contact point of hammer upon the strings, the una corda pedal allows a "softer" portion of the hammer (the felt is less mashed than the portion of the hammer's surface that normally contacts the strings). The overall effect of using the una corda pedal on a grand piano is a pleasingly softer sound with less overtones. "

    In my opinion though, on most piano the tone isn't as nice with the una corda...on my teachers Steinway it has a very odd tone. Doesn't it also mean that the hammer only strikes 2 of the 3 strings?
     
  16. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    I think it hits only one string if you push it all the way down, two if you push it halfway (think of Beethoven's 'poco a poco tre corde' direction). For sure this will change the sound drastically, losing the subtle interference of the 3 strings which normally determines the character of the tone. It is really a strange design, come to think of it. Somebody should build a grand with two sets of hammers instead :lol:

    In response to pianolady's question (which I only just noticed) : No I never use the una corda pedal, although I find it difficult to create a true pianissimo, and perhaps should start using it in very selected places. But as MaxW says, the tone sort of falls flat. So hmmmm, I'm not sure.
     
  17. MindenBlues

    MindenBlues New Member Piano Society Artist

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    No, the una corda pedal on nowadays grands work so that one hit 2 strings if the pedal is pushed all the way down (For the 3 strings notes). For the 2 strings notes, one hits 1 string with una corda pedal. For one string notes, nothing changes regarding number of strings, whether the una corda pedal is hit or not.

    I think the una corda for grands (not to mixup with soft pedal on uprights - complete different behaviour (the hammers will only be put closer to the strings)) is really an ingenious invention. Since the string numbers which come in contact with the hammer is less, the sound gets softer - however not very much, since the empty string will vibrate too, even without beeing hitten. But the second effect is indeed, that the hammer comes with a different felt part in contact with the strings, what is not so worn out. That's why it sounds not only a bit softer, but foremost mellower. This can be a very drastic difference.

    I too find it difficult to create a true pianissimo (but worthful to try more and more), but that has not so much to do with the una corda pedal. One can play forte with una corda pedal and pianissimo without una corda pedal. But the sound change is drastically, and one robs a lot of sound change possibility if one don't use the una corda pedal. I use it for Chopin playing often, for Bach playing only occassional. It depends also on the grand I play - if it is a grand with worn out hammers, what sounds harsh, I would use it much more than on a new intonated grand.

    There is a trick, if the hammers are terrible hard: One can put a piece of wood (ca. 1 mm thick) at the end of the action, so that if the una corda pedal comes back, it stops a millimeter sooner. So one hits also during normal playing all strings, but on different hammer felt place. It will sound much more mellow now, not harsh anymore. Caution however: if the hammers have deep groovings, there is hammer torsion created this way, because on hits the strings on the side of the grooves, so better consult the piano technician for that!
     
  18. Anonymous

    Anonymous Guest

    Hello MaxW,

    If you would take the trouble to read some previous posts in this thread, you will recognize that the una corda pedal is acknowledged to cause the hammer to strike only two of three strings in the treble section, one of two strings in the tenor section, and always the single bass string -- albeit at different contact portions of each hammer.

    Regarding your comment about an odd sound on a Steinway from using the una corda pedal -- I regularly practice and perform on a Steinway Model M grand, and have heard no sounds described as being "odd". To the contrary, I would qualitatively describe the sound as being more "intimate" -- especially when playing mp or quieter and legato. (In retrospect, if one were to use the una corda pedal while playing loudly and with a staccato touch, I could imagine that some rather unusual sounds might be unleashed. )

    Sincerely,

    Joe <jcfeli>
     
  19. Anonymous

    Anonymous Guest

    Hello MaxW,

    "In my opinion though, on most piano the tone isn't as nice with the una corda...on my teachers Steinway it has a very odd tone. Doesn't it also mean that the hammer only strikes 2 of the 3 strings?"



    Of course the una corda pedal means the hammer strikes two of the three strings in the treble section, one of two strings in the tenor section, and always the single string in the bass section -- these points were discussed in an earlier thread.

    Regarding the odd sound you report on your teacher's Steinway, I submit these thoughts for your consideration:

    I have regular access to a Steinway Model M, and have not encountered any odd sounds when using the una corda pedal ... with the understanding I am playing at a mp dynamic level (or softer) and legato passages. Perhaps if one attempts to use the una corda pedal for forte+ loudness and staccato passages, I would concede it is possible to hear rather unpianistic sounds even from a Steinway.

    Cheers,

    Joe <jcfeli>
     
  20. Anonymous

    Anonymous Guest

    I haven't used it in those ways, I just think it sounds a bit...warbly. I can't explain it really. Although his piano is relatively new and I wonder if maybe the more you use the soft pedal, the sound might have a bit more bite to it. At the moment I'm just not a fan of the timbre. Having said that I played on a Bluthner grand that had a lovely una corda sound...sounded almost like a harp.
     

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