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Topic: Piano libraries: the missing soft pedal ....

  1. #1

    Piano libraries: the missing soft pedal ....

    Sorry, I miss the "soft pedal" in todays piano-libraries.

    Dear developers: Please surch for a solution to integrate this important function in your nice and wonderfull libraries. (No lowpass filter )
    Yes, I know, the use of the softpedal is sometimes controversial
    discussed--but its a very interesting and fundamental function of modern grandpianos.

    "The Soft Pedal

    Throughout the major upper section of the keyboard range, each note has three strings; in the lower range each has two, while the lowest notes have only one. On a grand piano, the soft pedal shifts the entire action slightly to one side so that the hammers strike one less string per note (or, in the lower bass range, the hammers strike off-center). This creates a sound which is more muted and less vibrant than without the soft pedal. Therefore, the primary use of the soft pedal is to manipulate sound quality. It is employed to create an atmosphere of mystery, other-worldliness, distance, inwardness, fantasy, et cetera.
    Unusual effects can be achieved by depressing the soft pedal to various intermediate degrees instead of all the way down. However, these are very subtle, specialized, and rare.


    Here an additional thread about the missing soft pedal/ sostenuto pedal:

    Last edited by Hans Grubner; 09-28-2004 at 02:52 PM. Reason: technical

  2. #2

    Thumbs up Re: Piano libraries: the missing soft pedal ....

    I found today: Synthogy has soft pedal samples!

    • Incorporates sample interpolation technology used for ultra-smooth velocity and note transitions.

    • Real Release and Soft Pedal samples.

    • Full length sustain samples, no loops.

    • Optional synth pad layer for modern/pop combinations.


  3. #3

    Re: Piano libraries: the missing soft pedal ....

    I think the 'soft' or 'una corda' pedal would be a good feature to implement, but...........

    1) You've got una corda with sustain pedal up and down to consider
    2) Una corda isn't just 'on' or 'off'. It's a bit like a clutch in a car, and you can have it partially down and have the keyboard and hammer mechanism only moved slightly, so there are many gradations and subtleties involved in getting it right.

    To implement 1) would double the sample size of the (already immense) piano instruments being released these days.

    To implement 2) would need some sort of modelling maybe?

    Sounds a big task to me, but I agree, I can't think of a single piano piece that I play where I don't use the una corda pedal somewhere. It IS pretty fundamental.

    The sampled pianos of today are still spectacularly good in general though


  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Olomouc; Czech Republic

    Thumbs up Re: Piano libraries: the missing soft pedal ....

    OOOH! must say that Ivory Pianos demos sounds GREAT!
    I hope there will be PC version soon

  5. #5

    Re: Piano libraries: the missing soft pedal ....

    From synthogy:

    "Ivory for Windows is expected in early 2005.
    Please keep checking our website for format and availability info."

  6. #6

    Re: Piano libraries: the missing soft pedal ....

    If you have a controller with three pedal switch inputs, you can actually get una corda, sostenuto, and damper happening with Ivory, with some of the Roland and Kurzweil controllers, for example.

  7. #7

    Re: Piano libraries: the missing soft pedal ....

    Does anybody actually "use" partial-soft pedalling. It woiuld seem to me that this is not a feature that piano manufacturers design aroiund and it could be inconsistant accross the register and certainly the "friction zone" would vary widely from piano to piano.

  8. #8

    Re: Piano libraries: the missing soft pedal ....

    While I've never been nearly a good enough piano player to have use for the soft pedal, it's this very kind of issue that has made most electronic instruments unplayable to me, such as electronic drums (where I am good enough drummer to hate them), and of course guitars (where there is absolutely no electronic instrument worth even looking at).

    However, I do notice that the gigapulse modeled sustain pedal is an on/off thing and I can't get used to it. You know, you can go up to a piano and stomp on the pedal and get it to ring like crazy, you can release it by sidestepping and get it to klunk and ring, or you can play a delicate piece and gently move the pedal and you cannot hear it coming off and on. With the gigapulse damper, it's kind of like it's a lead-foot kind of action, and there's no way to get it easy and delicate... I'm playing these soft exposed sections and constantly hear the pedal off and on... irritating. I'd rather not have the GP modelling the pedal at all if it's going to get in the way like this. This degree of technology really needs a key-type controller for the pedal that has velocity, envelope, etc., not just a switch.


    same solution would enable the use of the soft pedal.

    that said, I am stunned how musically I can play pianos on Giga, even the included pianos on GS3 Solo (all I have been able to try as of yet) and the electric pianos I have downloaded. While not 100% perfect, they are the first "real instrument" feeling electronic instruments I have ever played and I find myself addicted to playing them.


  9. #9

    Re: Piano libraries: the missing soft pedal ....

    Well I guess the point I was trying to make is that there is a difference between things a piano might do and what any pianist (save people like John Cage) would try to do. You are right that the GS grands are finally sounding like playing a grand as the models get more complex. While the gigapiano was sort of a dud, some of the concert instruments (like Post's) actually sounded in the same magnitude as the real thing.

    Posts damper behavior in the latest GS3 is finally behaving well. Earlier ones had far too drastic of a change between the pedal up and pedal down (although I think in at least one case this was just a bug).

  10. #10

    Re: Piano libraries: the missing soft pedal ....

    Quote Originally Posted by FlyingRon
    Well I guess the point I was trying to make is that there is a difference between things a piano might do and what any pianist (save people like John Cage) would try to do.

    Yeah, and to that I say, most piano players (I don't really know any "pianists"... I'm a rock'n'roll guy) I know would not use the damper/sustain pedal as an effect... but for the purpose of lifting the damper from the strings. Having such a dramatic audible effect from the damper pedal action as I can hear in gigapiano2 LE is distracting and, while showcasing a new feature of the sample library might be cool, it's not actually musically useful nor does it really work the way I think most players would expect. However, I think the fundamental problem is that MIDI controllers utilize a simple pedal-actuated switch for "sustain pedal", so it forces the sound lib developers to choose some damper behavior that is guaranteed to be NOT natural in some way, because on a real piano the damper pedal is not a switch.

    The drum folks have developed position-sensitive and velocity sensitive foot controllers for kick drum and more importantly for hi-hat, so the technology is there. In fact if you could map a variable-state controller (like volume pedal, mod pedal) to the sustain pedal then you'd at least have something with more than two states. Then it'd just take an electromechanical transducer-oriented pedal assy that would plug into a CV controller input (such as mod pedal) on your keyboard and viola, you have a variable controller for damper. Same thing could work for soft pedal.

    I can think of many ways to use current keyboards (controllers) and remapping of controller signals to make it work. Someone just really needs to build a three-pedal controller box with a MIDI output that you use to control these things. New controller options can open new instrument implementation opportunities.

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