Sunday, October 12, 2008

The black keys



Now we're going to start venturing off the white notes of the keyboard


Now things begin to get a little bit more complicated.


Using the pedals

Most pianos have two pedals and some have three. Electronic keyboards may also have pedals or attachments.

The right pedal

This is the sustaining pedal (sometimes wrongly called the loud pedal). If you hold this down with your right foot it allows the notes to continue to sound until you raise the pedal. This is because the pedal raises the dampers off the strings which allows them to continue resonating after you have struck the note.

The left pedal

This is the soft pedal which makes the sound more muted. On an upright piano it does this by moving the hammers nearer the strings so they strike less powerfully. On a grand piano this pedal moves the whole keyboard sideways, leaving one string in each set of three unstruck.

The middle pedal

Some grand pianos have this third pedal. This is known as the sostenuto pedal and it allows you to hold the sound of a note above all of the others. Play the note while simultaneously holding down the pedal. Let go and that note will be sustained; if you keep the pedal down and play other notes, they will not be sustained. Some modern pianos have a middle pedal which is just a practice pedal, however.

Tips for getting started

Most beginners overdo the sustaining pedal. Use your ears- wait until you hear a chord sound, then apply the pedal (never pedal right on the beat- delay it slightly). You will need to release the pedal when the harmony (chord) changes. Try pushing your piano stool out slightly before playing a piece using pedal.


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