I've attached a picture of the music sheet I am learning that has a music notation that I do not know and would like to get some help to understand what it means. The music notation is on the first measure, below the bass staff. It is a straight line but then at a certain point it has a sharp point.

I did some research and I believe this is notation for pedaling, but correct me if I am wrong. If it is pedaling, how would I play it?

Using the first measure as an example, would I press the pedal at the first beat, then lift the pedal up on the third beat? But I don't understand how to interpret the notation after the third beat (I have boxed this portion in orange).

I also don't understand what simile means. I'm guessing it means to repeat for all other measures, but how do I know when to stop?

Music Sheet

  • It looks like damper pedal work but with some things I've never seen in damper pedal notation. "Simile" means "continue the same way". In this case, you would keep using the same damper pedal pattern until the end or there is some other mark in that area. It could be that there's supposed to be a "pop" of the pedal in there - where you are holding it down and you quickly lift and drop your foot which makes the dampers bang on the strings. Doing this without playing any notes makes the whole piano ring out. – Todd Wilcox Sep 8 '15 at 18:41

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This symbol indicates that you lift the pedal on the note indicated above it. The pedal is depressed (just milliseconds) after playing the note. So when you encounter the thing you boxed in orange:

In Bar 1:

  1. (Depress the pedal half-way just after playing the first melody note G.) Lift the pedal on note F.
  2. Push it all the way down just after playing the note F. Then break pedalling. (Lift the pedal completely.)
  3. Notice that the pedal is then played just after the G semi-quaver.

The composer wants the two semi-quavers [F, G] to be as "upbeat" to the second crotchet (2/8) beat of the bar (measure); and thus sound detached from the first dotted crotchet (3/8) beat of the bar. But they also wants only one note (G) from this set of two semi-quavers to blur with the next crotchet (2/8) beat.

Come to Bar 2: the boxed orange pedalling now applies to the notes [D, F].

For reason best known to them, the composer has shifted the previous pedalling technique by one semiquaver value forward. Now D is an "upbeat" to F, but still detached from it. (There is no blurring of sound from the previous dotted crotchet beat.)

simile just means that you continue this pedalling style as long as the melody has the same rhythm, or the harmony has the same pattern of notes, or you encounter another pedalling symbol. This will apply for a set of two bars.

Hope this makes sense!~

  • 1
    Also a really good answer thank you for your time. – T. Nguyen Sep 8 '15 at 19:51
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    I asked this question on a forum (only open to users of a commercial notation software program) whose members include professional performers, composers, and music engravers. They identified precisely the software used to create the OP's example. It does not have any built-in option to create the standard pedalling symbol shown in @garyF's answer, but you can "draw your own version". The exact shape of the symbol in the OP's example is not in standard reference books on music engraving. As such, I think the interpretation of the "orange box" to mean "half-pedalling" is ingenious but fanciful. – user19146 Sep 10 '15 at 14:51
  • @alephzero (btw: the symbol i showed is from wikipedia.) wrt answer: yes, the orange thing 's not part of the standard pedalling notation. but once you get to the point where music is an "art", standard notation is only a tool, and you have to try to understand the intentions of the composer. (Robert S's "Noch schneller", anyone?) from what i see in the title "Wind for Piano", i understand that the composer wants some blurring effect for those short notes (so depress the pedal even further). "half" (or ⅞) pedalling is to get the previous notes not sound as resonating as these "wind" notes. – garyF Sep 11 '15 at 4:58
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    @garyF From everyonepiano.com/Music-3951-Wind-Naruto-ED1.html, this is an arrangement - "Akeboshi arr: tenshi no kage" Most likely the composer had nothing to do with it. I'm quite well aware of piano pedalling technique. If the composer or arranger leaves the performer to guess what non-standard notation means (it is not in amazon.co.uk/Behind-Bars-Definitive-Guide-Notation/dp/… or similar reference books) that isn't very smart, IMO. I don't see any similarity with Schumann's (perfectly logical) performance instructions in his piano sonata Op 22, either. – user19146 Sep 11 '15 at 21:02
  • @garyF The symbol you showed from Wikipedia is a standard symbol, of course, but the "wiggle" at the end of the line in the OP's score is not. I'm aware of a few cases where the Japanese sheet music uses different symbols from Western sheet music, but with identical meanings. I took this question to another forum, where I know professional musicians hang out, to find out if this was another one that I hadn't seen before. Nobody else there had seen it either. – user19146 Sep 11 '15 at 21:16

Based on this performance of it, I think it's just fairly normal damper pedal work. Press the pedal down when the line begins, then lift it when there is a little up triangle shape. Mainly you will put the pedal down again right after you lift it, and some of the notation looked strange because the symbols were run into each other in the typsetting.

As I mentioned in my comment, "simile" means to keep playing in a similar manner. So again you should keep the pedal down, lifting it briefly at the beginning of each measure and after the first three eighth notes in each measure.

  • Well found. At everyonepiano.com/Stave-3951.html this music may also be seen (the words are a little curious), but only heard if you pay a subscription. I wonder if the notation is peculiar to everyonepiano; the confusing thing is that it one is inclined to assume that both the up-tick and the down-tick after it at the end mean something, and I don’t get the impression that these are mere artefacts of the typesetting, as they recur. Also confusing is that on that site the Pathétique includes conventional pedal markings; I couldn’t find other example of this notation. – PJTraill Jun 21 '16 at 0:14

It's a sustain pedal mark that is instructing you to release the pedal on beat 3 then depress it again on and of beat 3 because of the neighbor tone 16th note in your left hand.

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