Pedal markings

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    I’m sure this must have been addressed before so I apologize for asking again.


    Kay- I don’t think the various ways of writing pedals has to do with one method or the other. It probably has something to do with how that particular person was taught.

    It’s all well and good to have a system for writing your pedals in, and someplace on this site this was discussed and I posted a list of guidelines that ought to be observed in the interest of standardizing the way pedals are indicated. Good luck finding that post! But the bottom line, particularly if you play rented orchestra parts, is that you have to be able to read anything. ANYTHING! Left over right, right over left, below the bass staff, between the staves, both, in red pencil, green pencil, upper case or lower case, etc. Because those variations and more are what you will encounter, and life will be a lot easier if you can just read what someone else put down.

    It’s not always possible to change a pedal exactly where it is needed. There may be 3 or 4 pedals that have to be changed at the same time, and to avoid a log jam you have to move a few of them ahead of time. Other times a pedal change has to be moved because it causes a buzz. So again, you should learn to change pedals in as many ways as possible so you can meet the needs of every situation.

    Jennifer Newth

    I have been taught to write the


    I found this in the index on my computer. I wrote it for a student a few years ago.


    1) Write all pedals in simple, printed, block letters, straight up and down. Example: B#

    2) Write all pedals in dark pencil.

    3) Make sure that none of your markings touch any of the printing on the page. Mark pedals only where you have room to put them without touching anything else.

    4) Write all pedals large enough to see easily

    5) Write the pedals in where there is sufficient room to write them. They can be written between the staves or below the bass staff, as space permits.

    6) Always write the right foot above the left foot. Be consistent about that.

    7) Write each pedal change EXACTLY where you are going to change it. Sometimes this means writing it in the middle of a beat to avoid a pedal slide for example.

    8) If one foot is going to move the same pedal again a few beats later, put a line from the first change to the second. Just write the accidental(not the letter) for the second change.

    9) If one foot is going to move the same pedal again several measures later, put a short line after the first change, which will indicate that your foot can stay on that pedal, as in: B#-

    Write the next pedal change of the same pedal with a short line before it, as in the example: -B#



    Can you give us a list of all you have written in regards to the harp please?


    I’ve just recently been running across a chromatic being added and indicated as a pedal marking but never being changed back, either in the music or as a new pedal marking.

    Is it (relatively) safe to assume that this is just an error?


    It is usually safe to assume that the written music takes priority, and the pedal should be moved back (though harp music can sometimes slip up in remembering to put accidentals in all the right places in arpeggiated runs).

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