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Classical Music/DeBussey performance prelude 1 bk 2


Hi Curtis
Another question if I may.
In Debussey prelude 1 book 2(Brouillards) I am not sure how to hold the notes(minims)in bars 10 to 15.
Do I use the pedal to do this and if so which pedal do I use
Thanks for your kind help.
Louisa Fairley

Hello Louisa,

This is an easy question to answer but unfortuneately quite hard to deal with at first.
It involves using the damper pedal - the one to the right - and pressing down on it about half way.  This pedalling can be found in many French piano works of the period.  In order to use it effectively, one needs to experiment with the piano itself, and this depends from piano to piano.  Try the passage slowly to find out how long the note will last until it disappears completely.  Start with the pedal down completely and gradually work upward.  It's a question of "feeling" with the pedal and as I mentioned before, it varies from instrument to instrument.
Often in cases like this we can consider using the middle pedal - the sostenuto - and this is used by playing the note first, then, with the key down, applying the middle pedal to hold just that note or notes.
French pianos didn't even have middle pedals until the second half of the 20th Century.  The French pianists are told how to "half-pedal" at a certain point in their musical experience.  It's not a bad idea at all but it does require quite a bit of work.
Also, try to play as many notes as you can with the right hand alone.
Hope this helps you.


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Curtis Stotlar


Piano performance of classical music


Performances in over thirty countries on four continents Teaching experience at Vassar College and the Conservatoire de Neuilly Currently Professor of Music at the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music

Eastman School of Music B.M Juilliard School M.S. Peabody Conservatory of Music Doctoral Program Student of Nadia Boulanger, Wilhelm Kempff, Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli

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