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The Pianist's Guide to Pedaling (Midland Book) Paperback – September 22, 1992
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This book constitutes a fine treatise on this essential part of the pianist's technical equipment. And it's not just the damper (or right) pedal that gets discussed. Included are whole chapters on both the left pedal (or una corda pedal--a misnomer on modern grands, since the keyboard shifts enough to strike not one, but two strings), and on the middle pedal or sostenuto pedal, the presence of which remains a mystery to most folks. (Actually, European grand pianos for the most part lack a sostenuto pedal, and since the vast majority of the repertoire is by European composers, its use in performance is problematical).
There are also whole chapters on pedaling the music of Bach, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven (he gets 2 chapters), Chopin, Schumann, Liszt, Ravel and Debussy. There is also a fascinating (albeit too short) chapter on the "Catalan School" of pedaling, epitomized in the virtuoso playing of Alicia de Larrocha, and needed to properly perform the work of Enrique Granados. This last subject was something completely unknown to me prior to acquiring this book, and I found the discussion very interesting, since it required me to re-think completely my use of the damper pedal, and to listen much more carefully to my own playing. The Catalan approach to pedaling is both more and less intuitive than any other method of approaching this thorny subject (if that doesn't make sense, read the chapter and you'll see what I mean).
Sadly, there is nothing here on pedaling the music of Rachmaninoff.Read more ›
It is a valuable addition to the serious student's library. The judicious use of the pedal can make all the difference between an inspired or mediocre performance.
It is a very subjective art, and this book handles the subject matter very well.
The book is divided into two parts: basic techniques, and techniques specific to composers. This book is filled with valuable information and over the course of the last two years, I've found myself returning to it time and time again as a reference. I particularly like that the portion on composers contains reference to specific works to illustrate his points, as well as a historical context of the piece. In short, he lays out well why certain things need to be heard with the pedal and how to achieve them. I was impressed by the sheer amount of detail that went into the analysis.
In addition to these, I was also introduced to subjects in pedaling I had never heard of - for example the Catalan school of pedaling. I foresee myself returning to this book numerous times and always having something to learn when I do so - that to me, is the mark of a great book.
As one who avoids the pedal with both Bach and Mozart, I was happy not to get nagged about that. (Pedal on Busoni-Bach transcriptions, though? Definitely!) The historical perspectives on the pedal were enlightening, for example, it is at least suggestive to know that our modern syncopated style of pedaling came after, say, Schumann. Beethoven's famous "long pedals" (Moonlight first movement, recitatives in the Tempest, finale of the Waldstein) will remain mysteries after you read this book but you'll come away with new ideas about how to approach them. You also get a number of ideas about how to use the sostenuto pedal. The chapter on how Walter Gieseking played Debussy was at first interesting, but, like a number of places in this book, it turned into an over-long catalog of indications for near every work.
I suppose that could be a helpful reference.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I've read only one chapter that caught my eye--and it's worth the entire book. Evidently Dr. Banowetz attended the same master classes I did, with the legendary pianist Walter... Read morePublished on December 31, 2013 by bunny
This is an excellent reference book for both piano teachers and advanced students. The book looks at the history of the piano and its pedals, pedaling techniques and the... Read morePublished on December 9, 2013 by Vicki Miller
"The Pianist's Guide to Pedaling" by Joseph Banowetz is a comprehensive guide to the often overlooked important aspect of piano playing, the pedal. Read morePublished on July 30, 2012 by Carosa