How to demonstrate easily and clearly that all three pedals on a piano are working as expected?

It is a digital piano but probably the pedal action should be identical or similar. I am new with piano and only used the sustain pedal so far. I am not fully aware that exactly the others two must do.

  • You want to do that in a new piano you're about to buy? Feb 21, 2014 at 8:36
  • What make/model of piano is in question ? The third pedal of acoustic pianos doesn't serve the same purpose on each . It can be a practice pedal or for sostenuto. On digitals, the sockets for the pedals can be assigned for several different facilities.
    – Tim
    Feb 21, 2014 at 8:38
  • 1
    It is Roland FP-80, roland.com/products/en/FP-80, to be precise. The RPU-3 is visible on the picture. I have connected the three pedal unit, replacing the default single pedal unit. Sustain works as before. I can assign unusual functions like pitch bend for the remaining two pedals but the default action seems not doing anything. I already own that instrument.
    – h22
    Feb 21, 2014 at 8:49
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    Found! Sostenuto works as damper, but only for keys that have been kept depressed while pressing down the pedal (this is different from that I have imagined). And una corda actually also works, but to hear this I need to strike keys stronger than I usually do.
    – h22
    Feb 21, 2014 at 18:35

1 Answer 1


Roland FP-80 Connectors section at Specifications tab contains the following:


So I'll presume, that those are the pedals required for the answer.

As stated at Piano pedals article on Wikipedia:

Modern pianos usually have three pedals, from left to right, the soft pedal (or una corda), the sostenuto pedal (mainly found in American-made grands), and the sustaining pedal (or damper pedal).

To test the damper (or sustain) pedal You should:

  1. press the damper pedal (obviously)
  2. play some notes staccato
  3. the result is all notes that You've played should continue to sound until You release it

To test the soft pedal:

  1. press the soft pedal
  2. play some composition
  3. you will hear, that it sounds quieter (comparing to playing the same composition without pressing the soft pedal)

FYI: soft pedal is also called una corda

tre corde means three strings. On a non-digital piano the hammer strikes all the three strings that correspond to some single key that You press. This is the state of the piano when soft pedal is not pressed.

una corda means one string. This is the state of the piano when soft pedal is pressed.

So, basically, this is tre comparing to una. This should give You the idea of how much softer (quieter) the composition fragment should sound when You press the soft pedal.

FYI 2: You can find una corda remarks in urtexts of compositions written by Ludwig van Beethoven. For example, in Ludwig van Beethoven, Sonate für Klavier (B-Dur) op. 106, Artaria, 2588 in third movement, Adagio Sostenuto on page 25 at Beethoven-Haus in Bonn - Digital Archives here.

To test the sostenuto pedal:

  1. play some chord, for example, C-major and hold it while You press the sostenuto pedal
  2. now release the chord (but do not release the pedal)
  3. now play the C-major scale
  4. the result is You still hear the C-major chord, but not the C-major scale

Piano pedals > Sostenuto pedal:

By using this pedal, a pianist can sustain selected notes, while other notes remain unaffected.

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