This construction refers to the early times of modern pianos when they evolved from harpsichords. It’s important to note that the una corda pedal is not intended to be a crutch for pianists to play softer. Using the “una corda” shifted the keys so that they would only strike 1 string. Cristofori's mechanism was a hand stop, necessitating a free hand for its use. Since the hammers have less distance to travel this reduces the speed at which they hit the strings, and hence the volume is reduced, but this does not change tone quality in the way the una corda pedal does on a grand piano. Instead, it moves the hammers closer to the strings, creating two differences compared to a grand piano: First, it changes the sound by giving the hammers less distance to travel, resulting in a softer sound, but not one in which the color is changed. The sostenuto pedal is used to hold low notes while higher notes are played stacatto, the una corda pedal is used to play softer, and the damper/sustain pedal is used to allow all strings to resonate. Pitch bends, Leslie speaker speed, vibrato, and so forth can thus be controlled in real-time. The name una corda literally means “one string” because when the pedal was first introduced (by the piano’s inventor Bartolomeo Cristofori, at which time it was a manually operated stop) it shifted the action so that the hammers struck one string rather than two. The pedal is still sometimes called the soft pedal because of its position, but it may have another name like modulation pedal. The soft pedal (or una corda pedal, Italian for 'one string') is one of the standard pedals on a piano, generally placed leftmost among the pedals. Tone quality is also affected by forcing the remaining two strings being struck to make contact with a part of the hammer felt which is not often hit (due to the whole action being shifted); this results in a duller sound, as opposed to the bright sound which is usually produced (due to the felt being hardened from regular use). On a grand piano, the left pedal shifts the keyboard slightly to the right, which results in the hammers striking one less string. This softens the note and also modifies its tone quality. It is also called the soft pedal because it is primarily used to soften the sound. J. I. Rodale, Laurence Urdang, Nancy LaRoche. Make sure you can play as soft as possible without the aid of the soft pedal – then experiment with pedal effects! Second, it changes the feel of the action itself in an undesirable way. There is discretion for the performer in its use, however, and it can be used when there is no notation when the performer believes its timbre or quietness is called for by the piece. In modern pianos, the strings are spaced too closely to permit a true "una corda" effect—if shifted far enough to strike just one string on one note, the hammers would also hit the string of the next note. The damper pedal is the most often and most technical pedal to use. Instead, its primary purpose is to change the color of the sound. Enter your name and email to receive 3 short introductory piano lessons, Save $198! On a grand piano this pedal shifts the whole action (including the keyboard) slightly to the right, so that the hammers which normally strike all three of the stringsfor a note strike only two of them. Lifetime membership just $399 with coupon code BLACKFRIDAY2020. On most upright pianos, the soft pedal operates a mechanism that moves the hammers' resting position closer to the strings. Tone quality is also affected by forcing the remaining two strings being struck to make contact with a part of the hammer fe… Digital pianos often additionally use this pedal to modify non-piano sounds such as the organ, guitar, or saxophone in ways appropriate to those instruments' playing techniques. The essential function of the soft pedal was invented by Bartolomeo Cristofori, the inventor of the piano. It is also called the soft pedal because it is primarily used to soften the sound. Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.Don't worry, your information will not be shared. On some of his pianos, it was possible to move the hammer mechanism so that the hammers struck just one of the two strings per note. How different the piano would sound if you would only strike one string at a time. stands for una corda and it refers to a piano’s leftmost of the three piano pedals. The soft pedal of this time was more effective than today, since it was possible to use it to strike three, two, or even just one string per note—this is the origin of the name "una corda", Italian for '"one string"'. Back in the day of Cristofori (early 1700’s), each note on this primitive piano had only 2 strings. Most of the keys on a piano have three strings, with the lowest notes having only one string. The soft pedal (or una corda pedal, Italian for 'one string') is one of the standard pedals on a piano, generally placed leftmost among the pedals. On an upright piano, the una corda pedal does not shift the action. Albert’s reply: u.c. Though, there are few upright pianos that use una corda action. On a grand piano, the left pedal shifts the keyboard slightly to the right, which results in the hammers striking one less string. stands for una corda and it refers to a piano’s leftmost of the three piano pedals. https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Soft_pedal&oldid=989877435, Articles containing Italian-language text, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 21 November 2020, at 15:10. In the 18th and early 19th centuries, the piano had evolved to have three strings to most notes. By Mozart's time (see Fortepiano), mechanisms had been invented that permitted the same function to be carried out by a knee lever (located below the keyboard), and in the late 18th century the pedal mechanism familiar to us today was introduced. 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