Piano Damper Pedal

Posted in Education, Music on July 1, 2016

This is a tutorial on some of the special points about the use of the piano’s damper pedal.

Pushing down the right pedal of a piano lifts the dampers off the strings so they ring freely.

There are several points along this up and down traveling of which to be aware.

______ 1. The top, when the pedal hits the wood.

______ 2. Where the dampers begin to lift off the strings.

25% down

50% down

75% down

______ 3. Where the dampers have all cleared the strings.

______ 4. The very bottom of travel.

The distances will vary from piano to piano. But the attentive pianist will feel and hear these positions as soon as she/he sits down to play.

  • Use the damper pedal between the two inner points (2. and 3.) to avoid clunking.
  • Listen to the sound with the pedal pushed down half-way; 25%, 75%, 10%, 90% etc.
  • Slowly lift the pedal (float off) to adjust the speed of dampening.
  • Often bass notes may tend to ring with more strength, because of the momentum of the bigger strings. So you can float off treble notes while the bass notes ring through.
  • Hold down a consonant chord while the pedal is holding a cacophony. Then slowly lift the foot off the pedal and hear the sound resolve to the held chord.

Following is a video showing these ideas:

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