I want to know what Pedale ad lib means. I have tried many ways to find out, but I still don’t understand what it means. Can anyone help me please?

  • 1
    Phrase also mentioned here and here. Commented May 2 at 21:32
  • 3
    "I have tried many ways to find out"—did that include simply googling the phrase? When I do, I find that the first few results are all variations on "An indication of with pedal or con pedale or pedal ad lib. is a way of expressing that pedaling for a given passage is up to the discretion of the performer," a result that comes from this very site. Commented May 3 at 13:29
  • @AndyBonner Shouldn’t this then be linked and marked as duplicate?
    – Lazy
    Commented May 9 at 8:16
  • @Lazy I think you’ll agree that while the answer serves this question well, the question is not a duplicate. Commented May 9 at 10:57
  • @AndyBonner I wouln’t know, you did not link the answer.
    – Lazy
    Commented May 9 at 11:01

2 Answers 2


"ad lib." means that it's up to your choice how to apply the pedal — the damper pedal (the one on the right) unless otherwise specified.


Often, the writer will want specific pedalling to be applied to whatever is written. That will be marked on the music with 'Ped' in fancy letters, with a mark where the pedal is let go. We're considering the damper, or sustain pedal here, not the sostenuto and certainly not the 'soft' pedal.

Where 'ad lib' is written, the writer has given the reader/player carte blanche to use the right (hand)! pedal as and when they feel it's needed. Most seasoned players will therefore use it in the most appropriate way - but not every one will use it exactly the same.

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