For everyone experimenting with pedals, you must be keen on the role of each pedal on the piano. It is a common fact that the right pedal is responsible for sound production on the piano, and it might seem like the other two pedals are not as functional or essential as the right pedal.
Many emphases have been placed lately on the left pedal, and what the left pedal on a piano does is the question on every pianist beginner’s lips.
What Does The Left Pedal On A Piano Do
If you want to know more or have a piece of deep knowledge about piano pedals, this is the right page for you to be on. This is because this page aims to tell you all you should know, not just about the left pedal but also about all other pedals on a piano.
We will be kicking off this post with the sustain pedal, also called the damper pedal, and this is the pedal found at the right side of the piano.
The right pedal is the sustain pedal, and this is the most frequently used pedal found on the piano. Once you learn about the sustain pedal, you will enjoy imbibing it into almost every tune or song you play on the piano.
There is a general idea that the piano will produce a loud sound when you hold down the sustain pedal, and even though this might be true, there might be more than what we already know to this piece of information or thought.
Playing a key on the piano without holding down the sustain pedal means the key sound will stop sounding the moment you take your hands off the key, and this tells you that holding down the sustain pedal will cause strings to vibrate continuously until the sound dies off naturally or you release the pedal.
Holding down the key will cause you to imagine the sound getting loud, but creating more extensive and fuller sounds happens.
Allowing a pianist to create well-connected and fluid sounds sustains pedals’ most significant impact when playing. This means piano players will be allowed to freely move their hands when playing the piano without sounding choppy or disconnected.
Allowing several overtones to sound is also another benefit of the sustain pedal on a piano, and you will notice if the sound is lacking despite playing subtle pitches.
This is why a piano will produce rich and unique sounds, but learning how to play and master the sustain pedal might take some time to master or perfect. It is not with every music there will be an indication of the right time to use a sustain pedal, and there are two ways for the indication to be noted on sheets.
This post emphasizes the left pedal on the piano, and that is what we want to talk about right now. The left pedal is also called the soft pedal, and a pianist can also refer to this pedal as the Una Corda.
The role of this pedal is to switch the tone played on a piano to a softer tone. For example, depressing the soft pedal on the piano will cause the hammers and keys to shift slightly, allowing the hammer to reach a string or two.
The soft pedal is called una cord because una corda means “one-string,” and you will see una corda written in the music you have to play if you intend to play one string. On the other hand, Tre Corda implies three strings, and it can also be translated to mean allowing three strings to sound or releasing the soft pedal.
You can make use of the soft pedal when trying to create evident dynamics between soft dynamics.
However, you can use the soft pedal in a quiet setting, and it will be obvious you are using the soft pedal when the note you are playing is already soft.
Playing a loud dynamic and hoping the soft pedal will make it sound soft might not work, but using the soft pedal when playing a soft tune will work easier and faster.
The middle pedals on piano vary from one piano to another, and there are about three options you can expect from a middle pedal on a piano.
The Sostenuto Pedal
The sostenuto pedal is the most common middle pedal you will find on almost every piano.
The Practice Pedal
In some cases, the sostenuto pedal is replaced using the practice pedal. This pedal is designed to lock into place, so there will be no need to hold down this pedal. From its name, you can tell that this is one pedal that is recommended for practice, especially when you want to hold its volume down. Unfortunately, there is no notation to inform you when to use the practice pedal because it isn’t constantly used on a piano.
There’s No Third Pedal
Some pianos are designed to have two pedals alone, and the sostenuto pedal is the one that is always missing if there is no middle or third pedal on the piano.
If the middle pedal on your piano is the sostenuto pedal, it will function like a sustain pedal with few differences. The sostenuto pedal is a bit complicating and challenging to use, but having it to use on your piano is pretty rare.
It is not commonly found on pianos as piano repertoire was already written before discovering the sostenuto pedal. Abbreviations like SP or SOS is how it is indicated in music notations.
Final Note – What Does The Left Pedal On A Piano Do
You should ensure you are far seated from the piano for you to make better use of these pedals, and your legs must be extended so you can reach these pedals easily. If you are seated too close to the piano, you will have a problem playing these pedals. Pianists can end up overusing the sustain pedal because it creates harmonious and beautiful sounds.
Your food shouldn’t rest continuously on the sustain pedal unless the need for that arises, and pianists are known to use the sustain pedal to cover up their errors and mistakes when playing a sloppy technique on the piano. You should avoid doing this as it might lead to you playing messy and heavy sounds.