The pedals

The pedals

The pedals of a grand piano not only change the volume, but also the tone character considerably. Here we clarify which pedal can achieve what effect.

By use of the right pedal, the dampers are lifted and thus make possible the vibration of all strings, which are again dampened through the release of the pedal. The left pedal on a grand piano causes the keyboard and action to shift to the right. This subsequently changes the sound to a quieter or modified tone, because the hammer strikes in a different location than usual and therefore no longer hits all three strings of a string choir, but only one or two strings. The left pedal on the piano reduces the distance of the hammer head to the strings and thus produces a softer tone. The middle pedal on the grand piano and as a special option on the C. Bechstein upright piano Concert 8, the tone-retaining pedal (also called sostenuto pedal), allows the tone played while pressing the pedal to continue sounding. The notes pressed thereafter are damped in the normal fashion. The middle pedal on other upright models activates a silencer or applies a felt strip (moderator felt) between the strings and hammer, so that the tone is softer and also duller. The right pedal, also called “forte pedal,” is intended for lifting the dampers (“senza sordini” = Italian, without damper). It serves to release the dampers touching all strings so that the tone can continue sounding after a key is pressed and released. Furthermore, the undamped strings of other tones vibrate at the same time, which gives the piano a fuller sound.

Sound absorption with moderator
A modern piano often has a middle pedal or a hand lever (“moderator”) which enables playing the piano softly without disturbing neighbours. For this, a felt pad is inserted between the hammers and the strings. Please note that the sound can extend through the instrument’s feet through the floor, walls and ceiling. You can break this sound connection by using rubber mats under the legs/feet of the instrument. If necessary, you can have a Bechstein Vario System installed.

Pedals 1
Pedals 2