This is a special informational posts for beginners who are in confusion that what does the piano pedals do and why it is so important.
Pedals of piano depends upon the keyboard you are using.
You'll generally find 1 to 3 petals which you have to operate with your foot. All of the pedals on the keyboard carries its own function
So let's start off with the pedal that is most commonly used on acoustic pianos and it is the damper pedal and sustain pedal.
It will always be on the furthest right of all the pedals. And on a digital keyboard especially low end keyboards which only have one pedal it'll always be damper/sustain pedal
Basically the damper or sustain pedals does the same thing. In fact the names are synonymous with their function. So let’s understand its functionality.
The damper pedal or the sustain pedal controls the inbuilt pieces of keys wood with felt underneath resting on top of each string.
Every key has a damper that's connected to each of the strings.
When you play a note on the piano and you push the key than the key lifts up the corresponding damper and stays in that position till you leave the key. When you lift the finger the damper comes back down and stops the sound. but
Every note has its own damper to control its sound and when the sound is released.
Now when you push the damper pedal down you will notice all of the dampers comes up all at once for every single string.
So, when you play the keys and keep your foot on the damper pedal down. Than it will cause the keys to continue to ring until you let it go of the pedals.
And when the dampers come back down you it will stop the vibrating sound caused by the respective string.
The proper use of damper pedals is a great way to make the most magical sounds that you can create and hard to replicate without the pedals.
So in short damper pedals are used to create continuous fading effect sound when it is lifted and stops the vibrating string sound when released. This is the use of the damper/sustain pedal on the keyboards. And now you can understand why it is one of the most essential function in making music on the piano.
so let’s see what other pedals does.
Now let's say you have a piano or a keyboard with two pedals on it. So what does this second pedal does ?
Well the second pedal will always be on the furthest left of all the pedals. And the pedal is known as the soft pedal or an una Corda. But what does this una corda mean what’s its use.
The term soft pedal makes perfect sense because it is used to soften the sound of the keyboard.
let's understand its use and functionality.
When you push down the soft pedal or the UNA Corda down you will notice that the
keys shift slightly to the right. What this is doing is moving the action over the 3 strings from which each keys are attached.
The shifting results in change in the position where the hammers strikes the key’s strings.
So instead of striking all three of the strings it only strike two of the strings. Now you can understand why it is termed as soft pedal.
In simple words I can say that the soft pedal shift the hammer action to right and instead of striking all the three strings it only strikes 2 strings producing a slightly soft sound.
Now let's talk about the middle pedal. The middle pedal function will differ depending on whether you're on an upright piano or on a grand piano. But also some uprights will mimic the grand pianos function.
So let's see what it does on a grand piano.
On a grand piano the middle pedal is called the sostenuto pedal. If you are using keyboard or in a music industry for a while you can understand that some music calls for certain notes to be held and sustained while other notes stay disconnected or say or are stopped. Or you want to generate each individual note individually. How can you do that ?
This is where the sostenuto pedal comes into play. The way this works is when you play the note first and hold it with your fingers and then push the sostenuto pedal down and you will notice that the three notes still has their dampers held up and that's being done by the sostenuto pedal in the middle. And other notes does not get affected at all and plays exactly like they are supposed to be.
it's only the notes that you pre held and locked with the sostenuto pedal are being sustained.
You can use both of the pedals sostenuto pedal and damper pedal at the same time to create some wonderful effects.
On an upright piano the middle pedal (sostenuto pedal) is sometimes used as a practice pedal.
So, when you push the sostenuto pedal down you'll have the option to lock it by pushing it also to the left and what this will do is, that It'll bring another thicker piece of cloth between the Hammers and the strings for a really muted sound. This is designed for practicing so that when you play it will generate super soft sound and doesn't disturb your neighbors.
some higher-end upright pianos actually preserves the sostenuto function that you find in Grand Pianos.
So, Now you understand that what the three pedals of pianos do and why they are so important.
I hope you find this exclamation helpful. If you have any doubt or query feel free to leave a comment an I will be more than happy to help you out.
That’s all for now.
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This post was most recently updated on May 1st, 2019