Robert Estrin - piano expert

What is Half-Pedaling?

Learn this very interesting piano technique

In this video, Robert teaches you the not-so-well-known "half-pedal" technique that you can apply to your piano playing. He features Chopin's beautiful Ballade in G minor.

Released on September 23, 2015

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DISCLAIMER: The views and the opinions expressed in this video are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Virtual Sheet Music and its employees.

Video Transcription

Hi, I'm Robert Estrin and this is and with a continuing series on the art of pedaling. Today's subject is what is half-pedaling? You may have heard of this, half-pedaling. You figure either you're pedaling or you're not pedaling. How could you do a half of them? There is an art of pedaling, and half-pedaling is an essential element of that. We're going to explore the Chopin Ballade in G minor, the gorgeous theme in the middle section of this because it really captures how essential half-pedaling technique is.

Now, trying to play a melody like this with Chopin with no pedal at all is ridiculous. I'm going to do that, just so you can hear what it sounds like with no pedal. And this is, by the way, as I'd mentioned before an essential element of your practicing is to practice this without the pedal so you can connect as much as possible with your fingers. Here is how it sounds with no pedal at all.

It's a beautiful melody, but it sounds rather antiseptic, doesn't it? Without the pedal. Now if you've seen my other parts of the series, you know that you want to change the pedal when harmonies change. You know, if I played it with just the pedal going down whenever the harmonies change, basically it comes up. As soon as the harmonies change, it goes right back down. This is the sound you would get.

It's certainly a lot richer and fuller, but you can do so much more by using the half-pedal where you allow the bass notes, the accompaniment in the left hand, to sustain just a little bit while trying to milk every bit of sound out of the melody notes. And that is the secret of half-pedal technique, is trying to enhance the melody while diminishing the boominess of bass notes and this is the sound you get.

You notice also, sometimes they use quick bursts of pedal just to enhance the tone of key notes. So experiment with the pedal. It's not an all or off proposition. You can actually enhance the tone of selected notes by using different amounts of pedal. Experiment with your piano. You will notice that each piano you play has different characteristics. The pedal operates amazingly differently from one piano to the next.

Have fun with it with your music. Thanks so much for joining me. Robert Estrin here at and
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