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The Pianist's Guide to Pedaling (Midland Book) Paperback – September 22, 1992

4.7 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

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" ... a most precious book which every serious pianist and teacher must own." - Journal of the American Liszt Society
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Product Details

  • Series: Midland Book
  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Indiana University Press; Reprint edition (September 22, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0253207320
  • ISBN-13: 978-0253207326
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #666,459 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Claus Hetting on May 8, 2002
Format: Paperback
This books is a resource for advanced classical piano students. It covers all manner of pedaling techniques, and adresses a wide scope of composers, including the classics, romantics, as well as baroque. All the pedaling examples are supported by score extracts, showing the exact suggested pedaling, and the various composers are discussed at length with regards to pedaling style & performance practices. Remember that using the pedal (although it sounds simple!) is something not mastered well by many pianists, and it can be enormously effective in generating a wide spectrum of tonal effects. You have to be a serious classical piano student to appreciate this book - but if you are, it is definately worth it!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As another reviewer noted, the great pianist and composer Sergei Rachmaninoff stated that "the pedal is the soul of the piano." Any piano teacher can tell you the teaching the art of pedaling is one of the most challenging (and at times) difficult part of pedagogy.
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.
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Format: Paperback
A past master of the piano once said that the pedal was the soul of the piano. This book gives much detailed and practical information and advice on piano pedaling.
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.
Recommended
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought this book when I needed guidance on the intricacies of pedaling. As any advanced pianist will tell you, pedaling is one of the most important aspects of playing a piece - a good technique will ensure a piece will sing while an untrained one will result in muddy colors.

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.
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This turned out to be a very pleasant book to read. It almost read itself. It's so pleasant you might not notice how much can be learned from it.

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.
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