Pedaling - The Soul of the piano

By Peter Coraggio
Illustrated by Jon. J. Murakami

Neil A. Kjos Music Company, Publisher ISBN 0-8497-6215-4

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The art of pedaling is one of the most important of the numerous topics relating to the practice of piano performance. This humorous illustrated guide to the piano's pedals will enable pianists to understand and to begin using the pedals confidently from the start.

Although the first levers piano students learn to use are the piano's keys, the most misunderstood levers are the ones controlled by the feet - the pedals. Maestro Profondo, with the help of his assistant Musabella, introduces the piano's three pedals, (the damper, una corda and sostenuto pedals), shows how they work, and includes numerous examples and suggestions for their effective use. He explores the pedal mechanism, explains fundamental foot placement and control, and surveys basic damper pedaling techniques such as syncopated, legato, treading, half-damper and half-pedaling.

Profondo cannot and does not give absolute answers to the questions of the use of the pedal in individual interpretation because there are none. It is impossible to make absolute rules for when to pedal, what kind of pedal to use, or how much pedal to use. The art of pedaling relates to an awareness of historical style, the particular characteristics of the instrument being played, the performance venue, and especially to individual interpretation which is colored by the performer's personality.

Using the pedal correctly and artistically has to be cultivated and must never be automatic or random. Pedaling demands as much care as accurate playing with the correct articulation and expression. Sensitive pedaling requires the pianist to listen carefully to all sounds produced. It is an essential element in the production of beautiful piano sonorities and advanced piano performance.

Peter Coraggio