arpeggiated chords, with pedal, both with and without tied extensions of the chord tones

This is from Burgmüller's "Harmony of the Angels", Op. 100 No. 21, edited by Ingrid Jacobson Clarfield.

I'm wondering about the difference between the green and red blocks. Doesn't the sustain pedal make the green parts sound exactly as the red ones?

I understand that sheets often use non strict notation for pedal-sustained notes, but here we have different sections of the same piece...

Considering (guessing) that the notation is different notation comes from the author (but not the pedal indications), would that imply that the author originally didn't intend to use pedalling in the green parts ? Or what?


1 Answer 1


There are two issues that would matter to a sufficiently experienced pianist.

  1. They can sound different. Unless one is extremely careful, there is a difference in how one plays a held note versus a non-held note, and this can be heard even in the presence of the pedal.
  2. Although the pedal is indicated for the entire measure, one may choose either to half-pedal or to lightly change the pedal during the measure so that the sound doesn't become to thick. In that case, notes would be lost when using the non-held notation, but would be retained with the sustained notation.

It's important to understand that pedal markings in piano music generally do not mean "sustain the note" — that would be indicated by the note duration. The pedal marking most often means "warm up the sound". Thus, the notes give the specific musical intention, and the pedal serves as a modifier to the sound (similar to a dynamic marking or articulation marking).

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