Ped. symbol

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Hector Pascal
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Ped. symbol

Post by Hector Pascal » Sun Jul 26, 2020 6:49 am

Hi again,

I am creating a smart shape damper pedal line with a fancy Ped. character at the beginning of the line. Should I centre the middle of the "P" under the note stem , or centre the left hand edge of the "P" under the note stem?

(Note: On the left is Finale default positioning of its Ped articulation, and on the right is my work in progress.)

Cheerio,
Hector.
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Hector Pascal
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Re: Ped. symbol

Post by Hector Pascal » Mon Jul 27, 2020 1:17 am

... I decided to centre on the vertical stem of the "P". I looked at a few score samples on big publisher websites and there were some variations, including aligning the left edge of the "P". I also made a quick visit over to the dark side (just joking) to see what Dorico is doing and it appears to be consistent with the Finale default.

So, that is that itch scratched ;)
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HP.

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John Ruggero
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Re: Ped. symbol

Post by John Ruggero » Mon Jul 27, 2020 2:26 pm

Yes, the FInale default position is standard.

I hope you are not going to combine the Ped. symbol with a bracket. For me, that is the worst possible pedal system because it clutters up the music so much more than the simple Ped * without the increase in accuracy possible with all-bracket pedal notation.
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Re: Ped. symbol

Post by Anders Hedelin » Tue Jul 28, 2020 2:16 pm

Some contemporary composers use brackets only, for exact notation of pressing down and releasing the right pedal, when there's no question about which kind of pedalling is intended:
Pedal 1.JPG
Pedal 1.JPG (12.56 KiB) Viewed 260 times
In contemporary music you often see more detailed pedal instructions, for example these quite common ones (here the endings of the lines are not meant to be exact):
Pedal 2.JPG
Pedal 2.JPG (18.24 KiB) Viewed 260 times
This is a more practical notation than using asterisks and footnotes for every occurring kind of pedalling.

BTW I wouldn't recommend combining the old, Baroque, font for pedal with extension lines. Use a simple, modern-looking font instead in this case.
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Re: Ped. symbol

Post by John Ruggero » Wed Jul 29, 2020 6:24 pm

I think that the all-bracket system is best for intricate pedaling where the exact start for each pedal mark is important and there are many such indications in a row. Such exactitude is not possible when text rather than a line starts the bracket.
pedal example.jpeg
pedal example.jpeg (28.37 KiB) Viewed 232 times
A small fraction can be placed inside the bracket at its beginning can show fractional pedaling etc.

The old Ped.* system is best where the pedaling is simple and avoids the considerable clutter of bracket lines. It also works well for the sostenuto pedal: sost. Ped. * where a single use can stretch over several measures. And it can be used similarly for fractional pedaling in such situations.
Last edited by John Ruggero on Sat Aug 01, 2020 3:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Ped. symbol

Post by Anders Hedelin » Wed Jul 29, 2020 10:35 pm

I wasn't describing any personal preferences, just something that is used by some contemporary composers.
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John Ruggero
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Re: Ped. symbol

Post by John Ruggero » Thu Jul 30, 2020 12:15 pm

Hi Anders. Like you, I was pointing out the advantages of the all-bracket system over the the text-bracket system and that it works for any kind of pedaling including fractional without explanation. It is widely used in the US but less elsewhere apparently, because Elaine Gould didn't even mention it in her book. IMO the text-bracket system is deplorable because it combines the worst features of the other systems: more clutter and less accuracy.
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Re: Ped. symbol

Post by Anders Hedelin » Thu Jul 30, 2020 1:09 pm

Thanks, John. I didn't intend to prescribe 'the best method' universally. I think it's about context, as usual, and that different approaches meet different needs. When I've encountered the text-line notation with some composers, I've found it quite clear and practical. So, that doesn't mean that there aren't situations where other approaches are more suitable.

Possibly a more straight way to say this is, that the old Ped.-Asterisk notation is too connected to older music, and that some contemporary composers (and I) regard it obsolete.
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Re: Ped. symbol

Post by John Ruggero » Thu Jul 30, 2020 3:41 pm

I agree with your first statement, Anders, although it is hard for me to imagine a case where the text-bracket system would be preferable to the all-bracket system.

But not with the second. I think that utility, clarity and simplicity should decide matters of music notation, not fashion. The thought of constant long brackets under the entire Chopin Etude op. 10 no. 1 or such a piece written tomorrow, makes my flesh crawl.
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RVS Lee
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Re: Ped. symbol

Post by RVS Lee » Thu Jul 30, 2020 6:41 pm

John,

I absolutely take your point re clarity and avoiding clutter, but I can also imagine that a hybrid text/bracket notation might be necessary in a composition that involved player control of real time sound processing and effects - of which there are more and more every day.

RVSL

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Re: Ped. symbol

Post by John Ruggero » Sat Aug 01, 2020 3:03 pm

Thanks, RVSL. That's an interesting point. Could you post an example or a url?

Another possibility occurred to me later. If the composer uses brackets above and below the staves to show something special, then some other form of bracket pedal notation might be necessary. In that case I think a P in the same font as the traditional Ped symbol might substitute for the initial line since it provides a more accurate starting point than the Ped symbol. This has been already been used by some major publishers both in combination with the * and with a dashed line.
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Re: Ped. symbol

Post by Anders Hedelin » Sat Aug 01, 2020 3:34 pm

John Ruggero wrote:
Thu Jul 30, 2020 3:41 pm
The thought of constant long brackets under the entire Chopin Etude op. 10 no. 1 or such a piece written tomorrow, makes my flesh crawl.
I really didn't want to make your flesh crawl, John.
Who said anything about text being possible to combine with long, unbroken lines only? In my eyes this looks clear and good enough:
Pedal 3.JPG
Pedal 3.JPG (26.31 KiB) Viewed 109 times
Then, any good pianist would take any pedal instruction with a pinch of salt, and that goes for both of our examples of detailed pedaling, I think.
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Re: Ped. symbol

Post by motet » Sat Aug 01, 2020 5:53 pm

The horizontal lines don't seem to convey any information. Could you just do something like this?
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Re: Ped. symbol

Post by John Ruggero » Sat Aug 01, 2020 10:33 pm

Anders, I am not completely sure where the pedal is actually depressed in your last example. On the first note or on second note? And suppose one wanted to show that the pedal is depressed between the two notes? That's my issue with text as opposed to a simple line to start the bracket: it lacks precision. (I am very sorry about the flesh crawling thing; that was over the top.)

Motet, you put your finger on the issue of pedal brackets in general. They clutter the music without supplying much information. Substitute a Ped. symbol without terminating asterisks for each of the inverted v's in your example, place an asterisk at the end, and you will have the standard way to show overlapping pedal without using brackets.

Brackets are useful for showing the intricate pedal suggestions used in educational editions. One can show the pedal gradually released, for example, by letting the line slant upward without a terminating line. One can show slow overlapped releases by using an inverted u shape instead of a v etc. The bracket system is very intuitive because the first line shows the pedal going down, the horizontal line shows the pedal held down, the ending line shows it coming up, and the inverted v shows it going up and down in one quick operation. It can be a wonderful graphic depiction of practically anything that a foot can do with the sustaining pedal.
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Re: Ped. symbol

Post by Anders Hedelin » Sun Aug 02, 2020 11:13 am

John Ruggero wrote:
Sat Aug 01, 2020 10:33 pm
Anders, I am not completely sure where the pedal is actually depressed in your last example. On the first note or on second note? And suppose one wanted to show that the pedal is depressed between the two notes? That's my issue with text as opposed to a simple line to start the bracket: it lacks precision.
I can't see that it really matters exactly where the instruction indicates the pedal to be depressed. As I tried to say before, all experienced pianists take most pedal instructions merely as a suggestion. The actual pedal use in performance is practically always far more subtle and flexible - depending on the instrument, the acoustics and the interpretation - than what is shown with pedal markings in written music. Regardless of notational method. Some bracket notations in fact just supply a deceptive, purely theoretical exactness.

There are exceptions for very specific pedal effects, but that doesn't apply to any of the examples in this thread.
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Re: Ped. symbol

Post by John Ruggero » Sun Aug 02, 2020 12:13 pm

Anders Hedelin wrote:
Sun Aug 02, 2020 11:13 am
I can't see that it really matters exactly where the instruction indicates the pedal to be depressed. As I tried to say before, all experienced pianists take most pedal instructions merely as a suggestion.
I tried to answer that in my last post, Anders. In educational editions one is showing less experienced players how to handle the subtleties of pedaling in a normal acoustical environment.

In non-educational music, when a composer puts in a pedal indication, I always assume that it is important, thought-out carefully, and take it seriously, not as a suggestion.

For example, in a hypothetical Chopin work, it would make a big difference whether a ped. marking refers to the first low bass note of a sixteen note accompaniment or a second much higher sixteenth note. If it refers to the bass note, the bass note is to be held through as long as indicated by the asterisk. If it refers to the second, the bass note is not to be held. That is not theoretical, open to interpretation, or personal opinion. And if the player has to adapt the pedaling for the sake of acoustics, at least the player knows what the composer's intention was and can adapt intelligently.
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Re: Ped. symbol

Post by Anders Hedelin » Sun Aug 02, 2020 12:34 pm

John, I appreciate your serious and detailed answer. I think, though, that to settle this discussion we would need to analyse a lot of examples from the repertoire, and this wouldn't be the place for it.
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Re: Ped. symbol

Post by John Ruggero » Sun Aug 02, 2020 2:51 pm

Thanks, Anders. I think you are right. I may start a thread on pedaling over at Notat.io. Actually, there is a previous thread at https://notat.io/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=75 ... 486d41a3c3

There is another benefit or having two completely different systems of pedal marks. In Urtext editions one can clearly distinguish the original ped. * markings of the composer from editorial pedaling using brackets.
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Re: Ped. symbol

Post by Anders Hedelin » Mon Aug 03, 2020 10:58 am

Thanks for the link to Notatio, John. I think that many of the more important aspects of pedal notation have already been discussed there, and I have nothing to add to our discussion here really.

I agree with your point about having two systems for editorial purposes, but about the combination of text and brackets, I'm willing to agree to differ.
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