Greensleeves mm. 1-8, pedal release marked before m. 2, beat 1

Greensleeves mm. 1-8, pedal release marked on m. 2 beat 1

In this example, do I release pedal BEFORE beat 1 of the second measure, or ON beat 1 of the second measure?

  • 1
    I hate this pedal notation precisely because of the ambiguity. I much prefer the modern notation with a ____^____ mark for pedal pumps. (The caret shouldn't be italicized or bolded.)
    – Dekkadeci
    Feb 7, 2021 at 16:27

3 Answers 3


The pedal should be both released and re-engaged in the moment after you play beat 1: Play note + quickly release and re-engage pedal.

Releasing before, or even on, beat 1 will leave a gap of silence that interrupts the melody.

  • I don't know whether the gap between the previous pedalling line and the "Ped." following it means that you let go of the pedal on Beat 3.5 or the following Beat 1. It looks like Beat 3.5 to me, which is why I never use "Ped." notation in my scores.
    – Dekkadeci
    Feb 7, 2021 at 16:31
  • @Dekkadeci - the graphic way it's printed is certainly not intuitive. It's pretty poor, as that's how NOT to pedal. Just like a broken pencil - pointless...
    – Tim
    Feb 8, 2021 at 7:25

You 'change' pedal on the new note. Up-down as you play it.

Actually, pedalling would ideally be be rather more subtle than is printed here. I'd do a light 'change' on a lot of the non-chord melody notes. Especially on the G♯ in bar 6. Don't want that smeared with the surrounding A's. There's even a lot to be said for sustaining the bass notes with the fingers and using no pedal at all.


The concept of pedalling in situations such as these is to sustain notes that can't be held with separate fingers.

With very basic triads such as these, there's pretty well no reason to use the pedal at all. What it will do is richen the sound, as it allows the strings to vibrate in sympathy - those which match harmonics of the played notes. It also allows playing to get sloppy, when notes are released too soon, because you can!

The pedalling here will be such that as you press the first note in a new bar, the pedal is quickly let go, and re-pressed before you let go of that new first note. So the change will happen all on that first note. Play, up pedal, down pedal, play next note.

I guess this is actually a pedalling exercise. Half of it (most of it) is unnecessary, as all notes in a bar can be sustained by simply holding them down - there are no big stretches with triads. And most bars have their notes which make up a particular chord. That's an important factor to bear in mind when pedalling. Notes which don't belong with a particular harmony are best unpedalled. As in bar 6, pedalling the A and G♯ together bleeds one into the other. Not a good technique here.

And that F in bar - maybe F♯?

  • 1
    I'm guessing the pedalling in this is to generate a bit of a 'harp vibe' with plenty of over-ring & harmonic going on.
    – Tetsujin
    Feb 7, 2021 at 8:18
  • @Tetsujin - maybe, but well over the top. Every two bars would suffice.
    – Tim
    Feb 7, 2021 at 8:35
  • I've seen scores with this much pedal and this much pedal pumping, but all of them were either "con pedale" or could definitely have used that direction.
    – Dekkadeci
    Feb 8, 2021 at 13:42
  • @Dekkadeci - I'd have thought that unless it was a very special piece, any half-decent player would be able to work out pedalling , certainly for run-of-the-mill pieces.
    – Tim
    Feb 8, 2021 at 13:52
  • @Tim - No, the rules I learned in piano lessons are to never use pedal unless directed, and to arpeggiate and not pedal any chords that are too wide (i.e. the way to "work out pedalling" is to not pedal by default).
    – Dekkadeci
    Feb 9, 2021 at 13:26

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