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PostPosted: Tue Aug 22, 2006 7:07 am 
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MaxW wrote:
In my opinion though, on most piano the tone isn't as nice with the una corda...on my teachers Steinway it has a very odd tone. Doesn't it also mean that the hammer only strikes 2 of the 3 strings?

I think it hits only one string if you push it all the way down, two if you push it halfway (think of Beethoven's 'poco a poco tre corde' direction). For sure this will change the sound drastically, losing the subtle interference of the 3 strings which normally determines the character of the tone. It is really a strange design, come to think of it. Somebody should build a grand with two sets of hammers instead :lol:

In response to pianolady's question (which I only just noticed) : No I never use the una corda pedal, although I find it difficult to create a true pianissimo, and perhaps should start using it in very selected places. But as MaxW says, the tone sort of falls flat. So hmmmm, I'm not sure.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 22, 2006 10:50 am 
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Location: Germany
techneut wrote:
MaxW wrote:
In my opinion though, on most piano the tone isn't as nice with the una corda...on my teachers Steinway it has a very odd tone. Doesn't it also mean that the hammer only strikes 2 of the 3 strings?

I think it hits only one string if you push it all the way down, two if you push it halfway (think of Beethoven's 'poco a poco tre corde' direction). For sure this will change the sound drastically, losing the subtle interference of the 3 strings which normally determines the character of the tone. It is really a strange design, come to think of it. Somebody should build a grand with two sets of hammers instead :lol:

In response to pianolady's question (which I only just noticed) : No I never use the una corda pedal, although I find it difficult to create a true pianissimo, and perhaps should start using it in very selected places. But as MaxW says, the tone sort of falls flat. So hmmmm, I'm not sure.


No, the una corda pedal on nowadays grands work so that one hit 2 strings if the pedal is pushed all the way down (For the 3 strings notes). For the 2 strings notes, one hits 1 string with una corda pedal. For one string notes, nothing changes regarding number of strings, whether the una corda pedal is hit or not.

I think the una corda for grands (not to mixup with soft pedal on uprights - complete different behaviour (the hammers will only be put closer to the strings)) is really an ingenious invention. Since the string numbers which come in contact with the hammer is less, the sound gets softer - however not very much, since the empty string will vibrate too, even without beeing hitten. But the second effect is indeed, that the hammer comes with a different felt part in contact with the strings, what is not so worn out. That's why it sounds not only a bit softer, but foremost mellower. This can be a very drastic difference.

I too find it difficult to create a true pianissimo (but worthful to try more and more), but that has not so much to do with the una corda pedal. One can play forte with una corda pedal and pianissimo without una corda pedal. But the sound change is drastically, and one robs a lot of sound change possibility if one don't use the una corda pedal. I use it for Chopin playing often, for Bach playing only occassional. It depends also on the grand I play - if it is a grand with worn out hammers, what sounds harsh, I would use it much more than on a new intonated grand.

There is a trick, if the hammers are terrible hard: One can put a piece of wood (ca. 1 mm thick) at the end of the action, so that if the una corda pedal comes back, it stops a millimeter sooner. So one hits also during normal playing all strings, but on different hammer felt place. It will sound much more mellow now, not harsh anymore. Caution however: if the hammers have deep groovings, there is hammer torsion created this way, because on hits the strings on the side of the grooves, so better consult the piano technician for that!

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 Post subject: Una Corda Pedal
PostPosted: Tue Aug 22, 2006 6:00 pm 
Hello MaxW,

If you would take the trouble to read some previous posts in this thread, you will recognize that the una corda pedal is acknowledged to cause the hammer to strike only two of three strings in the treble section, one of two strings in the tenor section, and always the single bass string -- albeit at different contact portions of each hammer.

Regarding your comment about an odd sound on a Steinway from using the una corda pedal -- I regularly practice and perform on a Steinway Model M grand, and have heard no sounds described as being "odd". To the contrary, I would qualitatively describe the sound as being more "intimate" -- especially when playing mp or quieter and legato. (In retrospect, if one were to use the una corda pedal while playing loudly and with a staccato touch, I could imagine that some rather unusual sounds might be unleashed. )

Sincerely,

Joe <jcfeli>


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 Post subject: Una corda pedal
PostPosted: Tue Aug 22, 2006 6:21 pm 
Hello MaxW,

"In my opinion though, on most piano the tone isn't as nice with the una corda...on my teachers Steinway it has a very odd tone. Doesn't it also mean that the hammer only strikes 2 of the 3 strings?"



Of course the una corda pedal means the hammer strikes two of the three strings in the treble section, one of two strings in the tenor section, and always the single string in the bass section -- these points were discussed in an earlier thread.

Regarding the odd sound you report on your teacher's Steinway, I submit these thoughts for your consideration:

I have regular access to a Steinway Model M, and have not encountered any odd sounds when using the una corda pedal ... with the understanding I am playing at a mp dynamic level (or softer) and legato passages. Perhaps if one attempts to use the una corda pedal for forte+ loudness and staccato passages, I would concede it is possible to hear rather unpianistic sounds even from a Steinway.

Cheers,

Joe <jcfeli>


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 Post subject: Re: Una corda pedal
PostPosted: Tue Aug 22, 2006 7:44 pm 
jcfeli wrote:
Hello MaxW,

"In my opinion though, on most piano the tone isn't as nice with the una corda...on my teachers Steinway it has a very odd tone. Doesn't it also mean that the hammer only strikes 2 of the 3 strings?"



Of course the una corda pedal means the hammer strikes two of the three strings in the treble section, one of two strings in the tenor section, and always the single string in the bass section -- these points were discussed in an earlier thread.

Regarding the odd sound you report on your teacher's Steinway, I submit these thoughts for your consideration:

I have regular access to a Steinway Model M, and have not encountered any odd sounds when using the una corda pedal ... with the understanding I am playing at a mp dynamic level (or softer) and legato passages. Perhaps if one attempts to use the una corda pedal for forte+ loudness and staccato passages, I would concede it is possible to hear rather unpianistic sounds even from a Steinway.

Cheers,

Joe <jcfeli>


I haven't used it in those ways, I just think it sounds a bit...warbly. I can't explain it really. Although his piano is relatively new and I wonder if maybe the more you use the soft pedal, the sound might have a bit more bite to it. At the moment I'm just not a fan of the timbre. Having said that I played on a Bluthner grand that had a lovely una corda sound...sounded almost like a harp.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Aug 22, 2006 8:07 pm 
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Joe, why are you posting the same message twice with the same meaning but different wording ?
Note that you can always edit your message if you have second thoughts.

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