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Grand piano with only two pedals?


Moonglow

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Hello,

 

Heres a question for all of you piano aficionados: I have a 5' 7" Yamaha G2 piano. Its approximately 30 years old (maybe older), very bright sounding, and in excellent shape. However, it only has two pedals, sustain and pp. No middle pedal. Ive been told that the piano was made in England, and that the middle pedal (sorry that I dont know what the hell its called) is only used in deep classical music. Ive seen pianos with only two pedals from time to time....and it really doesn't bother me that mine doesn't have one (actually I think it's kind of cool.....) and I wouldnt use it even if it were there.....but I've always wondered why only two pedals? Also, it does not make sense to me that the piano is an English model, as this is where many of the great classical composers are from! Any thoughts?

 

Thanks!

"We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing."

- George Bernard Shaw

 

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I agree with you, the middle or sostenuto pedal is far from being essential, compared to the other two.

 

It's not so uncommon to see pianos with just two pedals. Not to mention more often the middle pedal does a completely different job from one piano to another : sometimes it's a soft pedal, sometimes it lifts the dampers in the bass section only, sometimes it does the real thing, etc.

 

I wouldn't be bothered a bit by that, as I almost never use it and I play a lot of classical solo piano. :)

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I don't use the sostenuto pedal much, even when necessary or appropriate, simply because it's hard for me to fit my foot in there, especially with the sort of shoes I normally wear. It bothers me quite a bit that no piano manufacturer has thought of widening the pedal assembly slightly for this reason.
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It was Victor Borge who said, three pedals, who do they think I am?

No guitarists were harmed during the making of this message.

 

In general, harmonic complexity is inversely proportional to the ratio between chording and non-chording instruments.

 

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The sostenuto pedal is mainly seen on American pianos (or those styled after American pianos).

 

On an upright that middle pedal is often a practice pedal - it brings up a layer of felt between the hammers and the strings, and is of no musical use whatsoever.

 

The left pedal is supposed to slide the action so that only one string is struck, giving you a thinner tone. On a lot of uprights it merely moves the hammers closer to the strings, which does not sound the same at all, so on those pianos there's actually only one useful pedal.

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Originally posted by Moonglow:

but I've always wondered why only two pedals?

Probably makes it cheaper. AIUI A lot of the time the middle pedal doesn't work even when fitted.

 

Also, it does not make sense to me that the piano is an English model, as this is where many of the great classical composers are from! Any thoughts?

My immediate thought is "You what? You mean...err, no you'll have to name some great English classical composers, especially those w.r.t their piano works" :D

 

Sorabji perhaps if you class "great" in terms of size and loosely interpret "classical" as a genre.

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Originally posted by yabbadabbadoo:

My immediate thought is "You what? You mean...err, no you'll have to name some great English classical composers, especially those w.r.t their piano works" :D

 

Sorabji perhaps if you class "great" in terms of size and loosely interpret "classical" as a genre.

I thought I might get jammed for that after I wrote it......so I'll widen it out a bit....let's go with "Europe" instead of "England." Thanks to all who responded!

"We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing."

- George Bernard Shaw

 

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Elgar; Vaughan Williams; Britten; William Byrd (!); ...

 

I'm just guessing but I'd bet England, even without including the whole UK, produced a greater or equal number of important composers as, say, the US. And that's not even chauvinism, for I'm an American myself.

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Hi Moonglow - I have exactly the same piano as you. Yamaha G2, two-pedal model. Mine is from 1972, but very well-mantained. I have to say it has a rather mellow tone, compared with other Yamaha grands I'm used to play.

I miss the middle pedal sometimes, but when I bought it, I found that piano had a price/sound/feel/dimensions ratio that was just perfect for my needs at the time, so I gladly gave up the sostenuto pedal in favor of the other factors. :)

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You're right, cliffk -- I should have mentioned I have a club foot and require an orthopedic shoe on my right foot. I was afraid some confusion might arise from my comment. :D

 

Of course, I don't really *need* to use my *foot* to press the pedals. :idea:

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I've never owned a piano with a Sostenuto so I've never missed it. However, my Ensoniq MR76 supports it and Jim (BluesKeys) gave me a dual pedal he wasn't using (thanks again!) so I tried it for a bit and found it very nifty. But I mapped that pedal for other uses so once again I won't miss it.

 

Still, it was interesting the ways it can be used, and it wasn't very hard. Since I have two left feet anyway, it wasn't any worse than usual!

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I recently used the sostenuto pedal in the next to the last measure of the Magnetic Rag (by Scott Joplin).

 

If my piano didn't have it, I wouldn't miss it.

No guitarists were harmed during the making of this message.

 

In general, harmonic complexity is inversely proportional to the ratio between chording and non-chording instruments.

 

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"The Magnetic Rag" rocks the house, Dave! I'm glad to hear you've been playing it out. I'm looking forward to seeing where you used the sostenuto on that one.

 

I'm also going to try playing "Autumn Leaves" in Bbm -- never really tried that on a job, but it seems like a fun key, or keys, to inject some life into the tune. :thu:

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Originally posted by J_tour:

"The Magnetic Rag" rocks the house, Dave! I'm glad to hear you've been playing it out. I'm looking forward to seeing where you used the sostenuto on that one.

oh man, don't encourage him. The only reason Dave wouldn't miss it is because his old GT1 lacks the technology to do it justice. Well that, and he lacks a certain wide-eyed wonder and naive curiosity.

 

Sostenuto pedals are widely underestimated, underused, and underappreciated, for the simple reason that most of us don't have one.

 

Just a couple of ideas: silently depress select keys of the underlying chord structure (in the mid-range), and then begin your song. Wow, the whole thing will begin to shimmer. Just remember to change it when the harmonies shift.

 

Or try playing ragtime with the sos instead of the sustain. Gives it a kind of stomp quality that's cool for a change.

 

Or, the most obvious use, to sustain a bass note while enabling pedaled chord changes. The ending of a piece is often enhanced with the sos, as mentioned.

 

or....whatever you can come up with. A true sos is one BIG reason I'd love to have a grand.

 

In the meantime, the folks at generalmusic have figured out the math to give me the resonance associated with a sos pedal. It does much more than merely hold the note(s). I'm sooo lucky.

"........! Try to make It..REAL! compared to what? ! ! ! " - BOPBEEPER
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In the meantime, the folks at generalmusic have figured out the math to give me the resonance associated with a sos pedal. It does much more than merely hold the note(s). I'm sooo lucky.
You are indeed rare. (Have you been formally introduced to the 'dude'?)

No guitarists were harmed during the making of this message.

 

In general, harmonic complexity is inversely proportional to the ratio between chording and non-chording instruments.

 

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Originally posted by Dave Horne:

It was Victor Borge who said, three pedals, who do they think I am?

thanx for quoting our danish hero!

 

Originally posted by Krakir:

The damper gets little or no attention from me at all. I just play softer.

if you use it you'll notice that there is a difference in timbre, which can be very useful, and it is to me! it doesn't sound the same way to use the damper as to play softer, and the reason is that the white thing on the hammer (don't know what it is called in english) is softer when you pres the pedal, whereas when you play softer the hammer hits with the worn out white thing...
www.thomas.bryla.dk --- Powerbook 15" 1.5 Ghz G4, Logic Pro 7.1, Mackie Onyx 1640 w/ FW card, Yamaha P-250, WX7, Roland V-Combo, V-Synth, AX7, Korg M1-Bryla
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Originally posted by Dave Horne:

I recently used the sostenuto pedal in the next to the last measure of the Magnetic Rag (by Scott Joplin).

Love Magnetic Rag. Nice bouncing melody - not especially difficult, but quite tricky in passages.

I used to play it for a dance company, during a summer tour. I think never once I got that little sucker *perfecly* right - there was always a little clam here, or a little flam there... :D

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Originally posted by gangsu:

Sostenuto pedals are widely underestimated, underused, and underappreciated, for the simple reason that most of us don't have one.

I know you love the sostenuto. But is it why you also drive your car with the left foot for the brakes and the right for the gas? :P:)
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Back to the original question, music of the French romantic school is most likely to call for sostenudo. DeBussy calls for it extensively and it isn't really possible to "get by" without it in the passages where it is required.

 

It's one of those aspects of keyboard playing that seems like it couldn't possibly be a big deal until you encounter some repertoire where it's essential. Half-pedalling is sort of in the same category, as is articulation using spacing between notes (a harpsichord and organ technique). Or 3-over-5 crosses in fingering.

 

It is true that few pianos have a proper sostenudo, and that many of those that do have it so badly out of regulation as to make it useless. I have one on my M&H and have paid to get it adjusted right. I use it, albeit rarely.

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Originally posted by Cydonia:

I know you love the sostenuto. But is it why you also drive your car with the left foot for the brakes and the right for the gas? :P:)

Hahah, make that left foot on the brake, right heel on the clutch, right toe on the gas, right hand on what's left of the hand brake, and left arm out the window signalling the other drivers to go around. :evil:

 

BTW, I didn't credit you with the idea of substituting sos for sus, but it WAS your idea, if you remember. Pretty cool. :thu:

"........! Try to make It..REAL! compared to what? ! ! ! " - BOPBEEPER
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quote:
Originally posted by gangsu:

BTW, I didn't credit you with the idea of substituting sos for sus, but it WAS your idea, if you remember. Pretty cool. :freak:

 

The first ever (and probably last) cross-legging + cross-arms piano piece ever written. :cool:

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