What Do Piano Pedals Do And How To Use Them

Knowing what piano pedals do and how to use piano pedals are very important for pianists to produce amazing sounding music. Here is a guide to that.

What do piano pedals do and what are piano pedals for?

What are piano pedals for? There are three different pedals on a piano, and here are their names and what the piano pedals do.

The Sustain Pedal (Damper Pedal)

Wondering what does the piano pedal do? The sustain pedal, often referred to as the damper pedal, is the most frequently used pedal on a piano.

When the sustain pedal is pressed, it lifts the dampers off the strings, allowing the strings to vibrate freely. This creates a sustained and resonant sound.

The sustain pedal is found on the right side and is typically operated with the right foot.

The Soft Pedal (Una Corda Pedal)

The soft pedal, also known as the una corda pedal, is usually located on the left side of the piano.

When the soft pedal is depressed, it shifts the entire action of the piano slightly to the right. This results in the hammers striking fewer strings, creating a softer and more muted sound.

Pressing the soft pedal only partially results in a quieter sound, while fully depressing it produces the softest sound.

The Sostenuto Pedal

The sostenuto pedal allows you to sustain selected notes while leaving the rest unaffected. To use it, play the desired piano keys, hold them down, and then press the sostenuto pedal.

The sostenuto pedal is especially useful for creating complex and layered compositions.

How to use piano pedals

Here is how to use piano pedals to create amazing sounding music. Alternatively, you could also register for our private piano lessons in Singapore.

  1. The Sustain Pedal (Damper Pedal):
    • The sustain pedal on the piano is the most straightforward to use and is commonly employed to create a rich and connected sound.
    • To use it effectively, press the pedal as you play a note or piano chord, and release it to stop the resonance. Experiment with the timing of your pedal presses to achieve various tonal effects.
    • For legato passages, press the pedal after striking the keys, and release it before the next chord change. This ensures a smooth, seamless connection between notes.
  2. The Soft Pedal (Una Corda Pedal):
    • The soft pedal is primarily used to create a softer and more intimate sound on the piano.
    • Press it gently for a slightly muted tone, and press it fully for an even softer, more ethereal quality.
    • You can use the soft pedal in conjunction with the sustain pedal for a delicate and sustained sound.
  3. The Sostenuto Pedal:
    • The sostenuto pedal is employed when you want to sustain specific notes on the piano while allowing others to decay naturally.
    • Press the sostenuto pedal after striking the notes you want to sustain, then release it when you want to let those notes stop resonating.
    • This piano pedal is often used in advanced classical and contemporary piano compositions to create intricate soundscapes.