I play piano. I took Trinity College London grade 6 practical and finished my theory course. I still don't understand why the Pedal sign looks like the word “Leo”. Could someone tell me what this is supposed to mean?
As already mentioned,
it's "Ped." in a funny font.
Once you know it, I guess you can't unsee it.
The font "French Script" has a similar small letter D:
The font "Monotype C" has a similar capital letter P with the uncommon "leg":
It's even more pronounced in "Vivaldi":
But, usually, Ped. is modelled as a single glyph like in Bravura:
David Rowland, the author of "A History of Pianoforte Pedaling" (Cambridge University Press, 1993), suggests the script "Ped" mark may have emerged in the late 1830s with the publisher Breitkopf & Co. This is based on early Chopin editions found at the Chopin Variorum. He further proposes that Breitkopf might have received new engraving punches around that time, with other publishers following suit.1
Some further hunting...
The first of Breitkopf's Chopin publications to use the script "Ped." (also the first to use the "snowflake" for pedal release) is the Ballade in F Minor, Op. 52, published in 1843. (The French first edition of the same piece, published by Schlesinger, contains a block "Ped.")
Also in 1843, Schlesinger published Chopin's Impromptu in Gb Major, Op. 51. It contains a block "Ped.", though it does include a snowflakey pedal release indicator.
The prior publications, the Fantasie Op. 49 (Breitkopf, 1841; shown below) and the Mazurkas Op. 50 (Schlesinger, 1842), use the block "Ped".
1 Email with Prof. Rowland. Reproduced here by his permission.
Could someone tell me what this is supposed to mean?
As you already know, it means Ped.
I still don't understand why the Pedal sign looks like the word "Leo".
Because the glyph for the "P" is made look similar to an "L", and the "d" is styled like an "o" with a tail on it. So while it means "Ped.", it seems to some people to look like "Leo`".