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How to properly use a keyboard sustain pedal...

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How to properly use a keyboard sustain pedal...

Postby Rhys Llewellyn » Sat Feb 20, 2010 8:33 pm

I'm pretty new to keyboards and whilst my technique seems to be coming along pretty nicely (self-taught) I'm not really sure how to use the sustain pedal.

I get the concept, but how do you go about making it not sound really messy. Obviously I know to release when changing chords, but for instance...

I've just learnt the classic hit "Alone" by Heart and as soon as I touch the sustain pedal it all becomes a big mess. The bass line is constantly jumping about the place and all the chords are very close voice-led inversions.

SO really what I'd like to know is, how do you keep the bass chords flowing smoothly without sustaining the melody also?

Thanks.
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Re: How to properly use a keyboard sustain pedal...

Postby Exalted Wombat » Sun Feb 21, 2010 2:18 am

Generally, the best advice re. the sustain pedal is "keep your foot off it!" This is only a VERY slight overstatement :-)
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Re: How to properly use a keyboard sustain pedal...

Postby Folderol » Sun Feb 21, 2010 2:15 pm

Exalted Wombat wrote:Generally, the best advice re. the sustain pedal is "keep your foot off it!" This is only a VERY slight overstatement :-)
You are Mr Alexander, my old piano teacher and I claim my five pounds :)

Hmmm. That makes you about 120 :shock:
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Re: How to properly use a keyboard sustain pedal...

Postby nhirst » Tue Feb 23, 2010 2:46 pm

obviously a generally good first principle is to "reset" the pedal on every new chord. treble notes sound ok smooshed together (even chords can sound ok), but bass notes usually sound horrible.

my various classical teachers taught me to lift the pedal off towards the end of every bar/chord, and then reapply just after you hit the next chord.

takes a bit of getting used to as you'll be slightly out of sync with the musical beat. but after a while it'll become second nature.
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Re: How to properly use a keyboard sustain pedal...

Postby Exalted Wombat » Tue Feb 23, 2010 9:53 pm

nhirst wrote:
my various classical teachers taught me to lift the pedal off towards the end of every bar/chord, and then reapply just after you hit the next chord.

I'll bet they didn't! Not if you were looking for a sustained sound, anyway. That way you'd get a gap. You lift AS the key goes down for the new note. Then "catch" that note with the pedal.

Think of "up-down" as a single entity. A "change" of pedal if you like. But don't over-do it. On a real piano, record yourself and make sure nothing is smeared and you're getting the sound you REALLY want. On keyboard, be even more sparing.
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You don't have to write songs. The world doesn't want you to write songs. It would probably prefer it if you didn't. So write songs if you want to. Otherwise, dont bore us with beefing about it. Go fishing instead.

Re: How to properly use a keyboard sustain pedal...

Postby nhirst » Thu Mar 04, 2010 3:41 pm

Exalted Wombat wrote:
nhirst wrote:
my various classical teachers taught me to lift the pedal off towards the end of every bar/chord, and then reapply just after you hit the next chord.

I'll bet they didn't! Not if you were looking for a sustained sound, anyway. That way you'd get a gap. You lift AS the key goes down for the new note. Then "catch" that note with the pedal.

Think of "up-down" as a single entity. A "change" of pedal if you like. But don't over-do it. On a real piano, record yourself and make sure nothing is smeared and you're getting the sound you REALLY want. On keyboard, be even more sparing.

you're absolutely right. i hang my head in shame.

23 years of AB grades obviously a complete waste of time...
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