Piano Pedals

Piano pedals are foot-operated levers at the base of a piano that change the instrument’s sound in various ways. Modern pianos usually have three pedals, from left to right, the soft pedal (or una corda), the sostenuto pedal, and the sustaining pedal (or damper pedal).

Some pianos omit the sostenuto pedal, or have a middle pedal with a different purpose such as a muting function also known as silent piano.

The development of the piano’s pedals is an evolution that began from the very earliest days of the piano, and continued through the late 19th century. Throughout the years, the piano had as few as one modifying stop, and as many as six or more, before finally arriving at its current configuration of three.

So do we need 3 Pedals in an Upright Piano?

In a traditional upright piano, there are typically three pedals. However, it’s worth noting that not all upright pianos have three pedals, and some may have only two. The three pedals found in many upright pianos are the soft pedal (una corda), the sostenuto pedal, and the sustain pedal.

Soft pedal (una corda): When you press the soft pedal, it shifts the entire action of the piano slightly to the right. This causes the hammers to strike only one or two of the strings per note, resulting in a softer and more muted sound. The una corda pedal is usually operated by the left foot.

Sostenuto pedal: The sostenuto pedal is found in most upright pianos, but not all. When you press this pedal, it allows you to sustain selected notes while other notes played afterwards are not sustained. This pedal is often used in more advanced piano compositions and requires precise control to utilize effectively. The sostenuto pedal is usually located in the middle and is operated by the right foot.

Sustain pedal: The sustain pedal is the most commonly used pedal in the piano. When you press this pedal, it lifts the dampers off the strings, allowing the sound to sustain even after the keys are released. The sustain pedal is typically located on the right and is operated by the right foot.

So the short answer is, No.. upright pianos actually have three functioning pedals. The middle pedal is almost always a dummy pedal that is used for other purposes than what is accomplished on grand pianos. A lot of them are used as practice pedals which place a piece of felt over the strings to dampen the sound for quiet practice.

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